When you need to choose a headstone or grave marker, you may get overwhelmed with the many choices and options available to you. Before you decide on the best headstone, either for yourself as something you're pre-purchasing or for someone else, consider a few helpful but important tips.
1. First check with the cemetery
Very often cemeteries have requirements and restrictions as to the types of markers they allow, including the size, color, finish, etc. If you want an oversized monument you may need to pay extra or it may not be allowed at all. Some families will want a large stone with the family name and then smaller ground markers for each individual but this too may not be allowed. Always check with the cemetery first before making any selection so that you don't pay for a gravestone you cannot use.
2. Consider choosing a marker with a base
Very often a headstone will have a large base at the bottom; this may be more expensive than a plain stone slab, but this is to protect it from lawn care equipment. This also allows any inscription near the bottom to be read easily and will keep your headstone level. If you are working with a company that recommends this type of base at the bottom, consider that option carefully. It can keep your grave marker from being toppled and protect it over the years.
3. Note the colors available
Many grave markers are made from granite as this is a solid material that lasts for decades. Note, however, that sandblasted granite will be much lighter than the raw material. When shopping for headstones, always make sure that you compare the raw material with finished markers, as you may be surprised at how much lighter the stone gets once it's treated.
You'll also need to choose a color for the inscription itself and if you choose a dark granite, the contrast between the color of the stone and a lighter shade of inscription will be more obvious. A light inscription will also not show as well against a light color of granite. These color choices are important so that your headstone is easy to read and the lettering doesn't get lost in the background color of the marker itself.
4. Proofread the inscriptions carefully
Always take the time needed to proofread the inscriptions carefully, including the spelling of names, the dates of birth and death, and any other wording. Once they're blasted into the monument, they're permanent. Have another friend or family member proofread them as well before the gravestone company adds the inscription. This will ensure they're accurate. If you are thinking about ordering a grave stone, consider consulting with the professionals at An Thiel Monuments.