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headstones and markers

Frequently Asked Questions About Headstones and Grave Markers

In many cases, when a family experiences a loss, the number of things to be decided with regards to planning end-of-life services is overwhelming, in addition to being completely new territory. We recently had a customer ask us for additional information on headstones and grave markers, and we decided to expand upon the topic for all those who may have questions about the process, but haven’t asked. 

What are my options for headstones and grave markers?

Whether you choose a full burial or cremation, one of the many things you’ll need to decide when a loved one passes, is how their final resting place will be marked. There are a variety of options available through either a monument provider or your funeral home.

Our preferred monument partner, Manchester Memorial, provides gravestones, custom cemetery memorials, grave markers, headstones, upright monuments, flush or flat markers, and family estate mausoleums. In addition Phaneuf offers bronze memorials, upright monuments, granite markers and accompanying vases to meet your needs and/or to serve the wishes of your loved ones.

What should people expect when working with a monument company?

Different monument companies will have different processes for quoting and creating customized grave markers for families. Before shopping for a monument provider, we recommended that you check with your cemetery to find out if there are any special requirements you should know about for grave markers. For example, a granite headstone may be appropriate in some sections of a cemetery, while bronze may be more appropriate for other sections, such as a memorial garden.

Most monument providers understand the importance of creating a unique and personalized grave marker as a memorial to a person’s life. Monument specialists typically meet with families to discuss different design options, requested inscriptions, size specifications, and more. From there, they will work to meet your needs and wishes, while adhering to any cemetery restrictions or guidelines.

Can the funeral home help me decide what to mark a loved one’s resting place with?

Certainly. With so many choices available for color, size and quality, selecting the right marker can be an overwhelming task. Most funeral homes are more than happy to assist you with making a decision.

Phaneuf provides families with a variety of options and suggestions based on the preferences of family members, close friends, and expressed wishes of the deceased. We can connect you to recommended providers in the area, who can further assist you with making this important choice.

How long is typical and reasonable to decide upon and get a marker?

Although there are no set rules as to what is considered a normal amount of time to decide upon and get a marker, some cemeteries do have restrictions with regards to how soon a marker can be laid. In addition, certain religious customs and cultures may have required ceremonies around laying the grave marker, which could possibly affect the timing.

How long does it take to get a marker made?

It often takes some time for markers to be created, especially if you are having a special inscription or other lettering engraved. In some cases, it can take several weeks to create a marker, and then additional time for shipping. The best thing to do is to ask the company representative for specific information, but you can estimate between 4-6 weeks, on average.

Can I add to an existing headstone or marker?

Yes. If you want to add something a little extra special to a headstone or grave marker, we can and do make arrangements to add lettering and/or inscriptions to existing monuments and markers.

What is the typical cost of a headstone, grave marker or monument?

Costs will vary based on the materials used and the type of marker desired. In order to get a specific quote for pricing, we’d recommend that you contact a representative so they can get the specifics and give you the most accurate pricing possible.

Can I pre-order a marker?

Yes. Headstones and markers can be pre-ordered as a means of ensuring that your wishes, or those of a loved one, are carried out. It can also lighten the burdens placed on children and family members once someone has passed.

Preplanning your final arrangements ensures that your family understands your final wishes and alleviates a great deal of stress.

Frequently Asked Questions About Headstones and Grave Markers - Phaneuf
  • ALAN B TABAKMAN Reply May 14, 2022 at 9:30 am

    I know headstones can raise or sink due to conditions, but can than move laterally (front to back) out of what once alignment with other headstones in the row. Thank you

  • Suzanna Reply July 23, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    Who do i contact about buying and installing a headstone for a grave. After it being 10years max

    • jhartley Reply July 28, 2020 at 12:21 pm

      Thank you for reaching out with a question on purchasing a headstone after a period of time. We are a funeral home in New England, and we work directly with a company called Manchester Memorial in Manchester, New Hampshire, and they assist local families with headstones for cemeteries in New Hampshire and Vermont. If you are looking for a headstone for a cemetery in New Hampshire or Vermont, they may be able to assist you, and can be reached at 603-622-9013.

      If you are not in NH or VT, unfortunately, we don’t have contacts for memorial headstones in other parts of the country.
      Best of luck to you,
      Buddy Phaneuf
      President, Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium

  • Liz Hudson Reply June 30, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    It’s good to know that it typically takes about 4-6 weeks for a marker to be made. My aunt passed away from breast cancer on Sunday, so we are working on her funeral arrangements. As soon as we have taken care of that, we will speak with local professionals about what type of memorial to make for her.

  • Gloria Rudisill Reply June 24, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    I know this sounds petty but my sister in law put a stone next to my husband that you can see from space. Which I don’t mind the size but I do not like my husbands being lower is it possible to raise by adding a bigger sone under the already present one ?

    • jhartley Reply July 14, 2020 at 7:46 am

      Gloria, you would need to get in touch with a local monument company that can provide you with options to increase the size. There are a number of ways to accomplish what you want to do but the monument company can provide the costs associated with each option.

  • Lyla Peterson Reply January 13, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    I’m glad to hear that you can preorder a grave marker. As I am getting older, I have been thinking about prepaying for my funeral services so that it isn’t a financial burden on my family in the future. I will look into prepaying for a custom grave marker as well.

  • Oliver Ray Reply September 13, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    It is good to know that a custom headstone takes somewhere between 4-6 weeks to be made. My family just had a family member pass away, and we want to make sure we have a gravestone that reflects his personality. We’ll have to remember that it might take a while before the marker is on the actual burial site.

  • Malia Davis Reply October 1, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    I love your tip to ask the cemetery if there are any specifications for monuments in the area. Like you said, granite may be a good option for some areas and copper for other ones. My grandmother requested a granite headstone, so we better find a cemetery that will accommodate this so that her last wishes are met. Thanks for making us aware that we need to consult with the cemetery and with the monument builders.

  • Rhonda Deckard Reply September 10, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    In the stastate of texas..if the surving spouse puts in her husband’s headstone can his sister have it removed for the one she wants

  • Elizabeth Reply September 4, 2018 at 12:54 am

    My father passed away on May 27 at 11:45 PM however they did not pronounce him until after midnight on May 28 and that’s what his death certificate reads. Can I put May 27 on his headstone?

  • james farmer Reply July 21, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    can two people be put on the same stone on one plot ?

  • Scott Reply July 5, 2018 at 12:02 am

    my fathers stone has been at the undertakers funeral home for months I was wondering if I have legal rights or not

  • Heidi Bookenstock Reply June 13, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    My father passed away a few days ago, and I’m helping my mother with his arrangements. One thing that we are unsure about is his head stone. I appreciate this article detailing how the funeral home will show us options and help us to decide.

  • Kathrin Reply May 29, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    My mother pre-paid for headstone, but because she was cremated the headstone was never ordered. When I asked about reimbursement for the pre-paid headstone they said that was not possible. To count it as a loss I live in Maryland

  • Ron G Reply March 18, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    I no longer live in my hometown but have maintained close relationships with many people there and would like to be cremated. However, I’d like my ashes spread on my grandmother’s grave in North Carolina and have a small stone made for those ashes. Also, I live in Richmond, Virginia and would like to have the remainder of my ashes spread over a grave site and a stone added. Is it possible for me to have my ashes spread and stone added to an existing grave?

    • Phaneuf Reply March 19, 2018 at 7:41 pm

      Hi Ron. Thanks for the question. You would have to check with the cemetery in question to see what their regulations are for scattering and adding markers to an existing grave.

  • Raisa Delima Reply September 16, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks for saying that the average time for a gravestone to be made is about 4-6 weeks. That would definitely be something to keep in mind if you think your loved one will be gone anytime soon. At the very least, it’s just good to have options in mind so that you know what you will do when your loved one does pass on. Thanks for all of the helpful information!

  • Harper Campbell Reply September 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    My grandfather just recently passed away, and I have been asked to help with the getting the headstone. It’s good to know that when it comes to how long it takes to get it made that it usually takes about 4-6 weeks to have everything done right. This will be good for us to know so that we are able to get things taken care before the cold months come.

  • SUsan Reply July 18, 2017 at 6:47 am

    My uncle passed away and I am a Catholic ..THere is a month’s mind mass coming up on the 30th of July … We were supposed to buy a stone tombstone.These were the questions at the back of my mind. Your answers have resolved all my queries ..THank you for the share.

    DO you customize tombstone as well? WHat’s the charge of the same?

  • Alice Jones Reply June 1, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    My father just passed away, so my sister and I are trying to figure out the funeral. Thank you for explaining how some cemeteries have special requirements for custom monuments. We’ll ask our local cemetery and see what they have to say about our custom designed monument for our father.

  • Jade Brunet Reply May 11, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    I did not know that there were different options for headstones and grave markers. It is good to know that flush and flat markets are both available. It would be good to find a funeral director when your loved one dies to relieve you of the stress of planning.

  • Max Jones Reply April 27, 2017 at 1:51 am

    I really like the idea of having help picking out headstones. I think that having a headstone is an important part of remembering a loved one, and I love that you said that funeral homes are happy to help. I think that headstones are a great way to show love for someone, and I think that as we prepare to bury my grandmother, a headstone is a great way for us to show that love.

  • Leviticus Bennett Reply April 26, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    That’s really neat that you can pre-order a marker to make the process easier. My grandmother is in the hospital and was telling me what she wants on her tombstone. We might as well pre-order it and just leave the death date blank until we need to fill it out.

  • Lillian Schaeffer Reply April 7, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    I like how you mentioned contacting your cemetery to see if there are any special monument requirements. My family is trying to get a monument together for our mother, and we want it to be something that will last. Perhaps it would be a good idea to make sure that what we decide won’t be prohibited in the cemetery she’s in.

  • Troy Blackburn Reply April 6, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    That’s a good point you make about how some markers take longer to make because of special inscriptions or other letters. I’ve heard, too, that you may want to consider having a flower holder included as part of the headstone so that you can leave a bouquet for your loved one. I’ll be sure to keep this great information in mind as we try to make a great headstone for my late grandmother.

  • Braden Bills Reply April 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I want to make sure that I get the right headstone. I didn’t know that there were so many different options! It seems like bronze is a pretty good material for this kind of thing, since it’s so durable.

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