Things to Consider When Choosing a Grave Marker or Monument

Whether you are pre-planning for a funeral or dealing with an unexpected loss, there will be many decisions to make regarding the memorialization of the person who has passed away. Choosing between different burial options and even which types of flowers to gather, can be overwhelming. But what will you choose when it comes to identifying the gravesite? Traditionally, a headstone, grave marker, monument, or memorial will be placed at a grave to allow it to be easily identifiable and honor the deceased. A lot of decisions will need to be made, both financially and aesthetically. We hope this guide will help with how best to choose a grave marker or monument.

Check Cemetery Regulations

Every cemetery is different. For green burial sites, all grave markers are natural to keep the integrity of the cemetery as untouched as possible. Some religious cemeteries have specific rituals and burial traditions, including where grave markers are placed. Other locations, like Hollywood Forever Cemetery, encourage you to get creative and personal with your grave markers, headstones, memorials, and monuments. Still, it’s always wise to run your ideas past a helpful cemetery employee. That way there are no unpleasant surprises. This includes what you can place on an epitaph, the size of a headstone, and the shape of a monument. It’s always best to be transparent. Be sure to get everything signed off on before you order a grave marker — you wouldn’t want to have to redo it. Many funeral homes and cemeteries will have pre-made options for you to choose from, as well as engraving services, so don’t be afraid to ask. 

Consider the Cost

There’s no right or wrong memorial for a loved one. It all comes down to what you want, and how much you would like to pay. While some may have the means to craft a memorial obelisk from marble, others may prefer a simple, traditional grave marker. Both can be equally acceptable options. Many purveyors of grave markers, headstones, and monuments will work with you on price or allow you to pay over time, so pre-planning is encouraged. The material the marker is made out of will also add to the cost — granite and marble may cost more than bronze, but are also likely to last longer. Maintenance is also an ongoing cost to consider. A simple marker or plaque may be easier to maintain, but a larger headstone, memorial, or monument will require more upkeep. Granite is considered to be the easiest for upkeep, but may not fit with your desired aesthetic. There are a lot of options out there, but without doubt there is something to fit budgetary and personal considerations for everyone.

Express What’s Important

You may be wondering what to place on a memorial or grave marker. This is usually a very personal matter. Many people will include the first and last name, while others will add a beloved nickname. Next, you could list the range of their life dates, from birth to death. Some include specific dates, while others only place the years. Still others will only list the age at which the deceased passed. Anything after that is up to you. Some popular additions include a favorite quote or bible verse, an epitaph to describe the deceased, or even an illustration. You can even include built in vases for loved ones to leave flowers. Grave markers typically only take up a small amount of space, so more elaborate writing or photos will be left to larger headstones, memorials, or monuments. Some might even choose to memorialize their loved one with a statue in their likeness, or a memorial bench or bird bath. It all depends on what you’d like.

We hope that this list of things to consider when choosing a grave marker or monument has been helpful. Planning the minutiae of a funeral or memorial can sometimes be overwhelming; please know that you are not alone in feeling that way. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for help or assistance with making these decisions. In the end, rest assured that whatever marker you choose will beautifully reflect the life of the person you are celebrating.

We want to help you make the best decisions for you and your family to celebrate the memory of a life lived. If you have any questions about our cemetery, funeral home or cremation services, please contact us.


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