The death of a loved one is a stressful, painful experience. Arranging for an appropriate funeral and memorial just adds to the stress. As a result, it’s perfectly understandable, and not all that uncommon, for people to overlook things or make mistakes when choosing headstones for graves simply because their mind is elsewhere. But it’s important to get it right. In this post, the team at Mile High Memorials look at some of the mistakes you should try and avoid when choosing a grave marker.
Avoid these mistakes when shopping for your loved one’s headstone and you’ll be sure to end up with the right one.
Not being aware of cemetery rules
Cemeteries are places where everyone’s dignity must be respected. Because of this, every cemetery has its own set of rules that stipulate which types of headstones are acceptable and which are not, and straying from those guidelines will result in your headstone being rejected. For instance, some cemeteries only allow granite grave markers, others forbid sharp corners and many have limits on how large a memorial can be. Before you purchase a cemetery plot make sure you will be allowed to erect the type of headstone you have in mind.
Not giving the inscription enough thought
In some cases, the deceased will already have chosen what he or she wants written on their gravestone. But in other cases, especially when someone dies young or suddenly, the inscription will be up to loved ones to choose. Our suggestion would be to keep any inscription brief and to the point. Rather than listing all the ways your loved one was special, choose a line of poetry or one from their favorite song that speaks to the kind of person they were.
Forgetting about tombstone maintenance
Some tombstones do a better job standing up against the ravages of time than others. Before you select a gravestone consider how likely you are to visit the site. If you believe you will visit often then a tombstone made of marble or sandstone may work. If, however, it’s likely you will not be visiting very often then those materials may not be great choices because they require more maintenance than, say, granite or bronze.
Buying the memorial from just anyone
In the wake of a loved one’s passing people often don’t want to deal with funeral details. As a result, they choose a company to supply the headstone at random and sometimes pay the price by getting a substandard memorial, or one that is different from what they thought they ordered. The best advice is to stick with a local dealer who has a solid reputation for providing quality grave markers at reasonable prices.
Rushing the process
When people are dealing with the loss of a loved one they often want things to just handle themselves. Faced with myriad funeral details they get impatient and revert to something like “Yes, yes, yes” or “Whatever”. This is not an approach that’s going to produce a memorial with staying power. As hard as it might be to be focused and patient you will be happy in the long run that you took your time with your headstone selection.
Not reading the guarantee
Headstones for graves are, like most other things, manufactured. And as is the case with most other manufactured items, most grave markers come with some sort of guarantee. Make sure you take a few minutes and go over the guarantee before paying for the gravestone. It should, at the bare minimum, cover any defects. Just don’t expect it to cover damage done after it’s installed.
Thinking bigger is always better
Not all grave markers are created equal. Therefore, bigger does not always equal better. How the stone is cut and polished makes a difference in its overall quality and will play a role in how well it stands up to the weather and time. If you have a choice between two stones that are the same price and one is large but imperfect and the other is smaller but flawless, we would recommend taking the smaller, flawless one every time, as the imperfect headstone will reveal its low quality over time by cracking or staining or wearing away.
Choosing symbols they don’t understand
The urn, the calla lily, ivy, a square and compass, an elk’s head and more are all common headstone symbols. Most people are not aware of the particular significance of those and other symbols, but they do indeed have significance. And that’s the point. You don’t want to purchase a headstone that contains a square and compass if your loved one was not a Freemason. Likewise, you don’t want an elk’s head on the tombstone unless the deceased was a member of the BPO Elks. Bottom line; be mindful of symbols.
Questions About Gravestones or Headstone Prices? Contact Mile High
Once installed the headstone is intended to last for centuries. As such, it is vitally important that you not rush the selection process or choose a headstone based solely on price or size. At Mile High Memorials we do our best to make sure that every client gets a headstone that is perfect for their situation. If you have questions about choosing the right headstone or you would like information on gravestone prices contact Mile High by calling us at 303-794-3443.