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How to Choose the Perfect Monument or Memorial

Before the final work on the stone, most monument builders will prepare drawings and rubbings or have you review a completed stencil to help you visualize the finished memorial and to check for any potential errors.

By Amit KumarPublished about a year ago 4 min read

Purchasing a memorial is a significant time and financial investment that should be done with great thought and care. When purchasing a memorial, the monument builders of Atlanta recommends careful and relaxed planning.

Whether you are making immediate or pre-need funeral arrangements or purchasing cemetery property, you and your family are not required to purchase a monument from a funeral home or cemetery. In fact, there is a strong case to be made for deferring the purchase of a memorial, the one visual and lasting tribute, until other matters are resolved.

Your local monument builder is a reliable source of information about the various cemetery regulations in your area. Because cemeteries have rules about the size and type of memorials that can be placed in specific areas of the cemetery, it is a good idea to consult with a monument builder before purchasing your cemetery property.

View the various styles of monuments or markers at a permanent showroom. If you are unable to visit a showroom, speak with the monument builder about your requirements. Most provide some form of home service. Monument builders will assist you in designing a memorial and then complete all aspects of the memorial's production, from inscription to installation. Other items available for inclusion in your tribute include bronze remembrance lamps, bronze vases, floral attachments, religious items, and even reproduction photos.

Your wishes and the suggestions of a monument builder will help you choose the appropriate text, floral, epitaphs, and meaningful symbols for your memorial. Before the final work on the stone, most monument builders will prepare drawings and rubbings or have you review a completed stencil to help you visualize the finished memorial and to check for any potential errors.

Reasons to Purchase a Pre-Need Monument

People are increasingly opting to purchase their own monument before the need arises. You can choose the style, size, and color you want by planning ahead of time. A personalized design, which you can contribute to, can reflect your beliefs, values, or whatever else is important to you. What do you want future generations to know about you and your family? This is your chance to make a personal statement for history.

You have the ability to save money. Buying a monument before the need arises means you're using today's money. It will cost less now than it will in the future, just like everything else.

Purchasing a memorial in advance is less traumatic and emotional. You have the option of discussing the purchase with all family members. Most major purchases are made with the best interests of the entire family in mind. This is one of those significant purchases.

Choosing a Monument, Styles, Cost & Warranties

Cemetery memorials range from simple, flat, beveled, or slant markers to elaborate, multi-piece upright monuments. Monuments may also include crosses, statues, and flower vases where cemetery regulations allow.

Granite is used for most monuments because of its durability, low cost, and availability in a variety of colors, including gray, black, red, pink, brown, green, and blue. Marble is available in two colors: white and gray. Bronze is frequently used for flat markers and monument embellishments.

Granite and marble come in a variety of grades, some of which may not be appropriate for cemetery memorials. A reputable monument builder will be able to show you fine quality granites and marble that will accept various lettering and design work styles. When comparing prices, consider quality, finish, and design, as well as size.

Your monument builder should have a large collection of monuments on display. This allows you to see a variety of available colors, shapes, and lettering styles. These significant differences are not depicted in photographs or brochures.

Styles of Monuments

Upright monuments are available in a wide range of styles, shapes, and sizes, allowing for a wide range of creative and personalized works of art.

Slant and bevel markers are in the middle of the height spectrum between flat markers and upright monuments. They are available in single or double sizes and can be customized with symbols or inscriptions.

Flat markers can be customized, but the design is naturally limited due to the smaller area. Because they are flush with the ground, they can be difficult to find in the cemetery.


Monuments and markers are priced based on size, material color, design, and installation costs, as well as any applicable cemetery charges. Prices for flat markers and simple upright monuments range from under $1,000 to $10,000 or more for more elaborate monuments. Large and impressive walk-in mausoleums can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars at the high end of the spectrum. A very solid, concrete foundation is used beneath upright monuments, so there is very little risk of monuments tipping, shifting, or becoming unlevel.


Most memorial restoration services will provide a warranty against defects in material, workmanship, and installation. Inquire about your monument builder's warranty. If he doesn't have one, tell him about MBNA's Memorial Protection Program, which covers a stone for 10 years and pays up to $10,000.

Things You Should Know About Cemeteries

Monuments and markers are subject to different rules and regulations in cemeteries. Before purchasing a cemetery lot, find out what types of monuments and markers are permitted. A monument builder can provide you with information on cemetery policies in your area. Some cemeteries, also known as memorial parks, only permit flat markers. You will never be able to place a traditional upright monument in this type of cemetery. These cemeteries may also have an upright section. They may impose size restrictions, which may severely limit your options. When buying a cemetery lot, find out if traditional upright monuments are permitted and if there are any restrictions on location and size.

Many cemeteries charge various fees for monument installation, perpetual care, maintenance, and other add-on services. Some cemeteries will tell a customer that they are the only ones who can install a monument, that installation costs are included in the lot price, or that you must purchase your monument from them because your family member is buried in their cemetery. This is a CRIME. Before purchasing a cemetery plot, ask questions and make sure you get satisfactory answers.

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About the Creator

Amit Kumar

Full-time thinker & part-time writer...

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