Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Sounds Easy - - Until - - Ordering Memorial Markers

Sounds easy - - ordering headstones and monuments for Man’s family members whose final resting places have been unmarked for years.

Sounds easy - - until you actually start the process.

Suggestion - - maybe just do one at a time?  Dealing with three cemeteries has proven to be a bit of a challenge.  They all have different rules.  Different requirements.

Here are some suggestions, from things I am learning along the way.

Call each cemetery first thing.  As soon as you decide you want to place monuments, call the cemetery.  Ask questions.  What requirements, what restrictions are enforced.  Keep good notes, you are going to need them.  Get contact information, names, full street address and phone numbers, Also obtain the full address and contact data on where the memorial is to be delivered. Street address for delivery could well be different from where the office is.

Some of the restrictions will be size, some will be the type of materials required. Some cemeteries only allow bronze flat memorials.  Some restrict the smallest size allowed, or the largest size allowed.  Some require that “companion” stones are only one specific size.  (BTW, a companion stone is one that has two names, usually a husband and wife on the same stone.)

Inquire as to requirements for the base to set your memorial on.  Marble, or concrete.  Does the cemetery require that you have a request in for said base by a certain date, here in Michigan, there is one cemetery we are dealing with that must have an order for the base placed no later than September 30th.  Or, we wait till next spring.

And, of course, you need to know, what fees are involved. After you pay the price of the memorial marker, how much will you need to pay to the cemetery to have the memorial installed to their specifications.  One cemetery charges $600.00 for a companion stone.  One cemetery charges $250.00 for installation of a single bronze.  Once cemetery is replacing some weird little concrete stub of a “marker” for a minimal installation cost to us.

Work closely with the cemetery and the monument makers.  Put them in touch with each other. One cemetery we are dealing with requires a form to be filled out by the monument maker which we must sign off on or they will not accept delivery.  One cemetery has suggested a rubbing be made of other family stones.  They require as an exact match as possible.  You try matching a stone, in color and style when what you must match is over 70 years old.  Hint: they don’t quarry that kind of stone anymore.

You will find that if you use suppliers other than those recommended by the cemetery your fees and requirements may change.  If they order from a company they deal with continuously, you may or may not pay more.  The cemetery may be more or less cooperative.  They have reasons, to be uncooperative, some of the reasons probably have to do with $$, but, some of the nightmare stories of stones arriving in horrible shape and inscribed horribly, well, you can understand the cemeteries cringing when you state a desire to deal with other than their usual vendors.

Ask about lead time required by the monument supplier.  Ask prices.  Ask for discounts. Yes, at least try, ask for discounts.

You might consider informing the cemetery of exactly how the stones will be inscribed.  With Man’s grandfather we are working on having BOTH of his names inscribed.  The cemetery needs to know this.

I have asked the cemeteries what dates they have recorded.  This was particularly important when I was trying to come up with a birth date for Man’s grandmother.  It took me two days to review and consult and draw up a time line listing of her ages.  She was vain, she “fibbed” about her age on every single document.  And, oh, her death certificate, had her aged 61, but, the death date and the birth dates recorded do NOT figure up to 61.  We had different days, different months and a plethora of different years.  We had to “settle” on one set of dates, as Man was not going to consider a birth stated as “About 1888 to 1893".

Ask for photos of suggestions and of the final product from your vendor.  I am asking for photos of the final product before they are shipped.

Yes, it sounded easy - - in theory - - 

* Images of the headstones are mock ups of the stones/memorials we hope to be ordering in the next week or so.



  1. Replies
    1. Linda, MMMM, Not sure. Reflections From the Fence, Reflection's Flora and Fauna, two for Lenawee County, several others that are RV related. And, I was honored to be included here. :-)

    2. You were very worthy to be included here Carol, I always look forward to your posts!

    3. Ahhh, shucks Julie Goucher, thank you so much. Blushing.

  2. Thankfully the monument company here dealt with the cemetery for me. The cemetery installed the pad and the monument company installed the stone. I am surprised that one place wanted you to try and match up the stones.

  3. That is an option Apple, to let the companies work with each other, and you only need to decide what kind of inscription, etc. And, yes, this one cemetery has a rule that all family members in a plot must have stones that match. Private cemeteries can be that way.

  4. I like to read on monuments, if they were placed well after the burial, details of who placed the monument. My husband's great grandmother has a monument on her grave - very unexpected as his family are almost always those in the cemetery with the bare patches of dirt among gravestones :( - and the inscription on the stone has "Erected by ..." a cousin who we have never met but I would like to!
    Most interesting to read about the variations in requirements you are encountering.

    1. That is a good idea Anne, I have seen that done too. On at least one of the stones, the companion stone, I am barely going to get the inscriptions on it, the "father" has two names, and one is long. Frankly, I did not think of it, and it is pretty late in the game to change things up. :-(


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