Choosing a final resting place, whether for a loved one or for yourself, is an important decision. Once that decision is made, a special monument to mark that space is one of the most personal and unique ways to commemorate an individual, couple or family. A memorial can be as simple or elaborate as you wish.
To help you fully understand your choices, we have created a free step-by-step guide to choosing cemetery property. This guide walks you through burial and cremation options and types of memorials for yourself or your loved one. From granite headstones, bronze markers and cremation benches, it will help you discover the choice that best fits your personal wishes, family preference and cultural traditions.
If you are interested in pre-planning your own memorial, the guide can serve as an informative source. When you're ready to get started, a Dignity Memorial® professional can answer your questions and walk you through the planning process to help ensure your wishes are followed.
Typically used to mark a ground burial, a headstone, also called a gravestone, is a carefully selected piece of granite that is cut and polished. It sits at the head of a grave space and can memorialize a single person or celebrate the lives of two or more people. Chosen for its permanence, granite is available in various colours and designs. Once you choose a headstone, it can be personalized with names, dates, symbols, illustrations and more. Not all cemeteries allow for headstones so be sure to ask when you’re looking at cemetery property.
For a number of reasons, including ease of maintenance and property aesthetics, some modern cemeteries feature only flush markers. Typically made of granite or bronze, a grave marker may be smaller than a headstone, but it still allows for personalization. Flush and bevel markers both sit at the head of a burial space. The tops of these grave markers are parallel with the ground. Bevel markers are taller than flush markers and have bevelled edges, as opposed to the straight edges on a flush marker. Both flush and bevel markers come in a variety of colours and can be custom-etched to display names, dates, faces, illustrations and other reflections of a life lived.
Upright grave monuments
An upright granite monument is a truly stately memorial choice. Larger than a headstone or grave marker, an upright monument is a polished slab of granite that stands upright on a granite base. Like a headstone, it can memorialize a single person, companions or even a family. Upright monuments come in different sizes and colours and have plenty of space for personalization. Some simply feature a person’s name and dates of life; others reflect a passion or personality in a heartfelt or even funny way. Not all cemeteries allow for upright monuments so be sure to ask as you explore property choices.
To find out more about your options for headstones, grave markers and upright monuments, download The Buyer's Guide to Cemetery Property for free. It will walk you through your cemetery options, how to make the best decision for yourself and your family and what steps to take next.
Once you review the guide and you’re ready to plan a funeral, cremation service or traditional burial, contact a Dignity Memorial professional. We're here to help.
Create a lasting legacy
Your life is one of a kind. Shouldn’t your final resting place reflect your special story? Choosing cemetery property is an important step in creating a family legacy, establishing a place of remembrance for future generations and paying tribute to a special life. The Buyer’s Guide to Cemetery Property answers all of your questions about this important decision, even if you choose cremation.
All fields are required.
An upright granite monument is a truly stately memorial choice. Larger than a headstone or grave marker, an upright monument is a slab of polished or steeled granite that stands upright on a granite base. Like a headstone, it can memorialize a single person, companions or even a family. Upright monuments come in different sizes and colors and have plenty of space for personalization. Some simply feature a person's name and dates of life; others reflect a passion or personality in a heartfelt or even funny way.
Types of grave monuments
Large crosses and angel statues are a few common grave monument designs. But you can opt for any design you feel best reflects your loved one. If your loved one enjoyed collecting art, you might choose to memorialize their life with an abstract sculpture. If they loved horses, you could include a statue of a favorite breed. A large music note or a guitar can be a fun way to capture a music lover's personality. A variety of creative ideas can be incorporated into the design of a grave monument.
Markers and monuments for cremation
Most cemeteries also offer options to memorialize loved ones who are cremated. Cremation urns may be kept in public or private mausoleums. There may be areas of the cemetery dedicated for the scattering of ashes, such as beautifully landscaped gardens. A loved one's urn may also be placed in a columbarium or cremation niche. A cremation bench may hold a loved one's ashes or mark the place where ashes have been scattered or buried.
How long does it take to get a headstone, marker or monument?
Depending on the complexity of the design and the type of material, it can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months or more to get the grave monument. Headstones made of granite quarried domestically typically take less time. Domestic granite comes in black, pink, gray and mahogany. Imported granite comes in a wider variety of colors, such as different shades of black, gray, blue, red, rose, green or brown. But it often takes more time than domestic granite, and the timeline can be unpredictable due to global supply chain issues and shipping delays.
Families who don't want to wait a long time to see their loved one's cemetery memorial completed will usually opt for a headstone of domestic granite.
How much does a grave marker or monument cost?
The cost of grave monuments and markers can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on what you choose. Flat markers range from $500 to $5,000 or more. Upright monuments can cost between $1,500 to $15,000 or more. Specialty markers and monuments may start at $15,000.
It's common for a family to buy their headstones or grave markers at the same time they buy cemetery property. Buying cemetery property ahead of need allows you to pay for the property in installments and can help ensure that family members are buried together. When you plan ahead you protect against rising costs and keep your family from having to worry about money at an already stressful time. Plus, once a marker is paid for in full, it can be installed, relieving the additional stress of waiting on installation.
If you're interested in planning ahead, a Dignity Memorial® professional can answer your questions and walk you through your options. Contact us.