Selecting a Grave Marker or Tombstone

Choosing a grave marker or memorial headstone for a family member can be a difficult task.  How do you determine what type of memorial marker is appropriate?  Knowing your cemetery regulations and discussing your options with your local monument company, will help you to make your decision.  Several domestic and imported granite colors are available. Many headstones are adorned not only with the name and dates of the deceased, but also with some befitting symbolism.  You may be called upon to make a decision about what is most appropriate for your loved one.  It may be that you choose something that reflects an important aspect of their life or interests – something they are remembered for.  Or you may just choose one of the many common symbolic themes such as religion, angels, doves, flowers, cross, praying hands, emblems representing hobbies, etc.

Usually, you will chose from granite and bronze as the material from which a headstone is manufactured.  Although use in the past, marble is not recommend because it is softer and more porous.

There are 8 common types of grave markers;

Monuments (which stand upright)

Slants (which are a more wedge-shaped upright)

Bevel or Pillow Markers (which are slightly beveled for ease of reading)

Markers (which are typically flat)

Bronze Memorials (which are flush to the ground)

Cremation Memorials (designed to hole cremains)

Benches (which are designed to offer seating also) 

Boulder Monuments (natural and rustic appearance)

Also bear in mind that you can chose either a single or companion grave marker.  As many loved ones chose to be buried together, it can often save money on a grave marker by purchasing a companion headstone.  Some people can consider this a little macabre to have a companion headstone selected when one party still remains alive, but it is certainly a much more affordable option in the long-run!

Selecting Headstone Epitaphs & Verses

Once you have decided upon the type of headstone and the design and symbolism, you will need to think carefully about what you wish to be carved or attached as an epitaph on the grave marker.  It is common to have the full name and dates of birth and death.  What else is added is down to personal choice of the family, and just how ‘personalized’ you wish the headstone to be.  It is wise to carefully plan this out, and your monument company will usually help you with this as part of their service.

Other accessories for grave markers

Adding a plaque or sculpture can enhance a grave marker or monument, and bronze adornments have become more popular.  In the case of veterans, bronze military plaques or emblems are often an important part of the design of a grave marker.  The practice of adding images and photographs to grave markers has increased in the United States, particularly now it is possible to add ceramic full-color photographs.  Many people also chose to add a vase to their grave marker in order that there is a permanent feature for floral tributes.

Furthermore, lighting should be considered as an accessory feature for your grave marker.  Candles have long symbolized remembrance in our culture, and with solar energy, it is now possible to permanently enhance a monument with solar crosses, angels, peace lights and cemetery lights.