The memorial or grave marker is an important part of your advance funeral planning. Taking the time to order this ahead of time gives your family one less thing to worry about during a trying time. The following can help answer your questions so you are prepared.
Are there any rules governing gravestones or memorials?
There are no official rules. If you plan to have the marker used in a cemetery or mausoleum, check with their rules on grave markers. There are sometimes limitations on size, materials, or inscription styles that must be followed. If you are placing the marker on private land, you can purchase any type of marker you desire.
Where can you purchase gravestones?
There are multiple options. For example, if you pre-purchase a funeral package from a funeral home, they may include a grave marker as part of the package. You can also purchase markers direct from cemeteries, monument dealers, or from online memorial shops. The cost can vary greatly, so it is a good idea to shop around for the best deal.
How does pre-ordering a marker work?
Generally, you select the material, basic design, size, and inscription font in advance. You can even choose what you want the inscription to say, other than the date of course. You will also select any extras you want, such as an included photograph, a built-in flower vase, or lawnmower-proof edges on the stone. You can also pre-arrange to pay any erection fee to the cemetery, which is sometimes necessary if you purchase the memorial from an outside source. Keep the pre-order paperwork with your funeral planning documents so your family can easily access it when need be.
Are memorials erected immediately?
It depends. Upright memorials over lawn graves aren't usually erected until the ground has a chance to settle, which can take several months. The cemetery may provide a temporary marker in the interim. Plaques can usually be installed immediately. The cemetery usually offers storage for markers until it is a suitable time to install them at the grave site.
Who maintains the marker?
This depends on the bylaws of the cemetery. Generally there is a fund that covers basic maintenance, such as mowing the lawn and removing wilted flowers. Some cemeteries also allow family members to tend to the graves, which may include planting flowers over the site or trimming grass around the marker. Unless otherwise stated in the bylaws, the cemetery won't be responsible for fixing any damage to the memorial. This means if the stone cracks or becomes chipped, your family will need to pay for any repairs or replacement.
For memorial grave markers, contact a company such as An Thiel Monuments.