When planning burial arrangements, one important decision you’ll be faced with is how to mark the grave or memorial site. Designing a headstone, or other funeral marker or monument, will allow you to reflect upon your loved one’s life and legacy while creating a meaningful tribute that will stand the test of time.
If you’re working with a knowledgeable funeral director, they will provide you with information about purchasing a headstone or connect you with an experienced headstone designer or monument agent.
Knowing the answer to these three key questions before you begin will help you to make a good decision regarding the headstone’s final design.
How Much Am I Willing to Pay?
Your budget will be one of the greatest determining factors about your burial marker.
According to the International Southern Cemetery Gravestones Association, there is no average cost of a gravestone or marker because factors such as size, material, finish, lettering, artwork and other personalization options play a large role in determining the final price of a headstone.
When shopping for a headstone, you will also need to factor delivery charges and installation fees into your budget.
What Kind of Marker or Monument Do I Want?
Cemeteries can regulate the type of grave marker that is placed on each plot, so the type of marker or monument you choose may vary depending on where you’ve purchased your burial plot. Before you determine your preferred monument style, ask to see the cemetery’s regulations to ensure you’re able to have the marker of your choosing.
Though there are numerous options to choose from in regard to headstone materials, granite and bronze headstones are popular because they are durable, resilient and cost-effective. For those who are interested in a variety of color options, granite is usually the best choice because it comes in colors such as white, gray, green, black, blue and red.
In terms of gravestone style, there are also a number of options. However, the most common styles include:
Upright Monuments (Mausoleums) – Upright monuments are the most common headstone designs found in cemeteries. They are traditionally made from granite, marble or limestone and are fixed to the ground with a concrete base.
Flat Markers (Grass, Slab and Ledgers) – Typically, flat headstones are granite or bronze. Similar to traditional headstones, they can be produced in a variety of colors, finishes, sizes and materials.
Bevels – Bevel markers have a slanted face with the back edge raised higher than the front to give an upright appearance. One of two types of raised headstones, a bevel marker makes it easier to find in the cemetery than a flat, lawn-level marker.
Slants – Slant markers sit in an upright position, come with a polished face and have rock-pitched edges. Though they give the appearance of a traditional upright monument, they are typically less expensive. Slants also come in many different sizes and design options.
Cremation Monuments – There are a variety of monuments that can be used to memorialize a loved one who chooses cremation. Cremation monuments and headstones have compartments that hold one or more cremation urns for ashes.
What Do I Want the Inscription to Say?
The inscription, or epitaph, on your headstone is one of the most important elements when designing a monument. When choosing what your headstone will say, there are a few tips to help ensure the inscription is both personal and meaningful.
Take Your Time the wording for a headstone is vital. Headstone inscriptions are permanent so the decision should not be taken lightly. Choosing a headstone inscription is not a task that can be completed in a hurry, especially when you’re in the midst of grieving.
Designate a Family Representative
Often, there is a family member who will oversee the inscription process, and that is beneficial to families for numerous reasons. Typically, when you’re deciding on an inscription there are numerous family members who would like to offer input, but too many suggestions can result in a cluttered etching. Appoint a reliable family member who can manage the process and field suggestions so you are able to design the headstone in a timely manner without making anyone feel left out of the process.
Avoid Generic Phrasing and Clichés
Though it may be simpler to choose a standard inscription such as “In Loving Memory,” using a poem, favorite quote or personal saying that honors the person you’re memorializing would not only make the headstone unique, but also more sentimental for those who are visiting their grave.
Choose an Experienced Designer
A knowledgeable and compassionate designer is an incredible asset during this process. As the expert, your headstone designer will provide you with design suggestions and letterform recommendations that will help you capture the essence of the person you’re memorializing. They can also assist you in brainstorming ideas for other personalization options such as carvings or additional details.
If you’re in need of a monument or marker, and would like to work with an experienced designer who can help you create a beautiful memorial that honors the life and legacy of your lost loved one, call Bevis Funeral Home at 850-385-2193 to speak with a general agent.