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How To Choose A Headstone

There’s no better way to honor a departed friend or family member than honoring their wishes and designing and erecting the right headstone. Sadly, this isn’t an easy job. The headstone selected should reflect the personality and the life they lived. It should also align with the cemetery rules and regulations and still fit your budget. So, how do you get it right the first time without breaking your back? Here is a guide on how to pick the perfect headstone.

Understand Cemetery Regulations

Every cemetery has its type and size limitations when it comes to headstones. While some accept large headstones, others limit the size. Some cemeteries have also limited the materials used to make the headstones to granite and bronze. It’s therefore essential to do comprehensive research before making a purchase.

Choose the Design

Headstones come in flat, kerbed and upright designs. Upright headstones stand at about 45 inches tall with a thick concrete base. Kerbed designs lay flat on the ground and are usually used together with upright headstones, while the flat designs are either slightly inclined or flat and come in various formats, shapes and sizes. Be sure the design selected anchors well with the cemetery regulations.

Headstone Material

The most popular headstone materials include limestone, granite, bronze and marble. Limestone and granite are the most used materials. These two are durable, easy to maintain and come in various colors. Marble isn’t commonly used owing to its lack of longevity. Although expensive, bronze is quite durable but isn’t widely permitted on burial grounds.

The Finish

The finish selected will affect the appearance and durability of the headstone over time. Some cemeteries don’t allow polished headstones owing to their reflectiveness. If this is the case, go for pitched, honed or partly polished headstones—these last a lifetime.

Select the Wording and Artwork (Inscription)

This is your chance to make the deceased’s headstone unique and distinct from the rest, so get creative. Try to encapsulate a vital thing in the deceased’s life or a personality with the inscription. Most people go for poetic or religious texts that reflect the departed’s life or console other people during hard times.

Headstone Shape

If you’ve been in a cemetery, you’ve realized that headstones come in different shapes. Some are bespoke, while others take the traditional route. Headstones can be book-shaped, half ogee-shaped, tear-shaped, heart-shaped, cross-shaped or serpentine-shaped. 

The Cost

Once you’ve selected the style, design and other elements of the headstone, it’s time to factor in the cost of the combination. Go for something within your budget, and feel free to make adjustments.

Sometimes, we don’t know what our loved one’s wishes were before their passing. We sometimes even have no clue what they liked or disliked, especially if they passed on at a tender age. The only thing left to do is use our best judgment and deliver the best. Yes, choosing the proper headstone for a friend or relative is an arduous and emotional process, but we hope this guide will make the process less overwhelming.