When a loved one has passed away we are left with a terrible void in our lives. One way for us to commemorate the one we so dearly miss is by designing and placing an appropriate headstone or monument for that person. Sometimes, after losing a loved one, the task of headstone selection may seem to be overwhelming and I hope this short article simplifies the task of buying a headstone for you.

Know The Cemetery
Many cemeteries have their own set of regulations. A single plot may have different regulations than a family plot or two grave plot. These regulations put restrictions on the size of your headstone or marker they allow on your particular plot. These size restrictions will play a part in the selection of your design. Your local headstone company should be able to help you with this. Some cemeteries lead you to believe that you must buy your headstone through them. This is not true. They would be buying the monument or marker from a true monument company and reselling it to you. You may buy your headstone from anyone and have it installed in any cemetery you prefer by any monument company that carries liability insurance. This is a federal law.
Contact a Local Reputable Monument Company
Look for a local monument company that is a member of the Monument Builders of North America and who offers a full lifetime warranty against everything. These members of MBNA adhere to strict professional standards and are truly reputable monument companies. Speaking to someone at a local headstone or monument company will help you to sort out many of the details. Write your questions down ahead of time. Ask them if they are familiar with your cemetery?s regulations and what types and sizes of headstones are allowed at that cemetery. Always get your questions answered to your satisfaction. Some monument companies also sell things like granite counter tops, granite tables and furniture and are not true monument companies. Look for a company that looks after the manufacturing of monuments as their main line of business.
Visit a local monument dealer
Or, ask them to visit you. Either way you should be certain that they are a legitimate dealer. A true headstone dealer will have an actual location and headstones on display, they can also show you pictures of headstones that they have manufactured themselves and are not just photographs or drawings that they have purchased or taken of other company?s monuments. These picture that they show you should all be within restrictions of the cemetery. If a sales representative comes to your home be sure he is carrying with him or her actual granite samples of the stone he or she is selling you and not just pictures.
Select the headstone material
Granite headstones are normally seen in cemeteries as marble is much too soft a material to be able to last forever and be within the company warranty to last forever. Most cemeteries in Ontario do not allow for marble monuments do to their softness of the material. Also be aware that there are many colors of granite available in the industry that look nice and are very attractive because the grain of the granite has swirls or lines or steaks in it and some with even large spots or what we call cherries. These are soft spots or hard spots that will not allow a smooth carving in the granite on completion. There would in no way be a warranty with this kind of material.

Select the type and size of the headstone
Ask you monument company representative which types and sizes of headstones your cemetery will allow and choose from among those allowed. You can pick a shape at this time as well but please remember that not all shapes may be available for all types and sizes of headstones.

Choose what you want to be displayed on the headstone
A headstone is a lasting symbol and a tribute to the life of your loved one. It is important to choose something appropriate for the person the headstone is for. The inscription, symbols and/or pictures are included in this step. Each headstone type has a certain area in which your information can be displayed. There are size limitations so please tell your local monument dealer?s representative your thoughts about what you want. He or she should be able to simplify the process for you.

Approve the final layout
You want to see exactly what is going to be created. The paper with this information is called a proof and be sure to look at proof carefully. Be sure the information is correct and the design is how you want it to be. Allow six to eight weeks for the final proof and approximately eight weeks for completion of the monument.

Check the headstone
As soon as the headstone is delivered check to make sure that your information and design is the way you approved it in the proof. Is the information correct? Is the design correct?

Have the same company that sold you the monument set it
This is always the case with a reputable monument company. Placing the headstone at the gravesite should be done by a professional and this should always be taken care of by the company you purchased the monument from and not from a company that has been hired to install it for the company.

Buying a headstone can be complicated. Keep in mind the main points above and you will do well when you talk to your local headstone services company. Below are a few monumental terms that may help you when talking to a monument company.

ments side by side so we can put two monuments on a plot but call it one monument