The best guide to buying the perfect headstone / gravestone

In order to help you make the important decision of choosing a memorial headstone / gravestone, we have put together a list of questions that we are most commonly asked by our customers before they choose a headstone for a loved one.   

Choosing a memorial headstone is an important decision and one that you have to be sure about.  Some people will know what they are looking for straight away while others may feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of choices available.  We hope by reading through this guide it may help you with your decision. 

At any point in your decision process please give us a ring or pop in to speak with us, we find this helps customers out a great deal.

Many families ask, “what do people normally get?” There is honestly no “normal” nor is there a right or wrong choice.  Each headstone is unique to the individual and choosing a headstone is a unique experience.  This will be the very last thing you are able to do for your loved one.  Essentially what you are trying to do is mark someone’s grave, but you are also trying to say or show what meant the most to them on the gravestone you choose. This may seem completely impossible to do but there are lots of options to help you achieve this.  You may want to use a verse of scripture, a symbol, a poem or a picture which can either be etched or painted onto the gravestone.

One of the hardest challenges for us is the difference of opinion between the deceased’s loved one’s family. Choosing a gravestone is a difficult and emotional decision.  Sometimes a decision that needs to be done when emotions have been processed and settled down a bit, especially when there is a difference of opinion.  Essentially if you all can’t decide, it would be better to wait a while longer and let those involved in the decision the time to go over their ideas and thoughts then come together again to try to make a final decision.  It can be helpful to walk around a cemetery to gain ideas of what others have done to mark their loved one’s grave.  Ultimately a good thing to remember when making a final decision is to think what your loved one would have liked themselves? This can be helpful in gaining back focus on the situation and help to settle a lot of difference of opinions.

It is essential that the decisions made are agreed, as a gravestone is a permanent fixture honouring someone’s memory.  

A customised headstone can be something really unique and special however it can be challenging to decide what you want to include on the headstone and exactly how you would like the stone customised.  It is important to think of what best represents your loved one while creating a special memorial headstone that will be an everlasting memory for their family and friends. 

 

There are various ways a headstone can be customised including colour and shape, but also you may wish to consider using photos, designs and pictures on the headstones.  We have put together a selection of etchings, paintings, photos and designs, with their prices, to give you some ideas, but this is just a small sample of what we can offer. 

Your imagination really is the only limit.  One small caution we would give is not to over fill a headstone as this can make the headstone look cluttered. 

There really are unlimited possibilities!

Once you have decided you would like to erect a memorial headstone on your loved one’s grave, the process is as follows:

1.  After you have described to us approximately what you would like, we will make a scaled, life like template of your loved one’s memorial headstone. You can make as many changes to this as you would like, so you don’t need to worry about getting is right immediately.

2. Once you have made the decision on all the customised features including style, size, colour, thickness and the approximate inscription you would like on the memorial headstone we then ask for a 50% deposit to confirm your order.

3. We then ask for a copy of the grave lair certificate so we can do the paperwork on your behalf that the council requires. This takes the council around 3 weeks to process.

4. We then ask you to sign off on the template when you are 100% happy with it. This point is critical because once we start to undertake the work on your loved one’s memorial headstone it is extremely difficult for us to make any changes to the headstone (in terms of wording, pictures and dates etc.) Therefore if you have made a mistake or have had a change of mind after signing off on the design, it will be expensive and sometimes not possible to make any changes.  This is why we encourage you to take your time in the decision process and require you to confirm the final design template before we process your order.  We will not process any order without final confirmation. 

5. Once we have the headstone ready to be erected, we will send you a photo of it and request the final 50% of the payment.

6. We then erect your loved one’s memorial.  We will notify you once it has been erected and send you a picture of it installed.

The time it takes to erect a headstone can vary and can also be affected by bad weather.  As a guide we normally say to allow 4 – 6 weeks for any stock headstones and 12- 14 weeks for any customised headstone not kept in stock.

This time does not include the time it takes you to make a decision on the design and other details of the headstone. 

It is really a personal choice.  Headstones can be purchased from a memorial stone masons like ourselves,or you may like to use the funeral director you used to arrange your loved one’s funeral. But we would obviously love you to choose us to help you commemorate your loved one.

We won’t just hand you a leaflet and ask you to pick a gravestone.  We would like to offer you any support in the decision process that we can, while making you fully aware of all the options available to you.  There are absolutely no limitations on what we can do for you, and we look forward to customising your loved one’s headstone the exact way you, and they would have liked it. We know how special that person was to you so we want to do everything we can to help you commemorate them.

Yes, we offer a full guarantee on all our gravestones. We are also registered with NAMM Memorial Masons and Sculptors and we are on the National Association of Memorial Masons. All our memorial fixer employees are highly trained and qualified to carry out this work.

We supply and erect headstones nationwide.

We have erected headstones all over Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. All the prices are shown on this website with no hidden extras.  The only additional cost would be is, if your cemetery is outside the area we have included deliver to, an additional charge would then apply for delivery.  We have an allowance of £140 on all our headstones to cover cemetery fees.  However if your local cemetery fees are more than this, the price would change accordingly.

Yes we do.  We are based just outside Invergordon right beside the Tomich Café.  Here we have a variety of examples for viewing.  Many of the options on display can be mixed and matched to create the personalised gravestone you want.

We do not use high pressure sales techniques. Its well known in the funeral and memorial industry that the first company you speak to is usually the one you use, so many companies do not show their prices in order to get customers “in the door.”

We want to be as clear and as transparent as possible with all our potential customers, hence we display all the prices with no hidden extras.

Also, we will not continuously call you back. This is not because we do not care about you, its because we understand how difficult a process this can be.  Therefore, we rather wait for you to get back in touch with us whenever you are ready to continue the process.

Local authorities do have some restrictions. Obviously, you are not allowed anything that could be interpreted as offensive to anyone living or deceased. In the Highlands, Sutherland, Caithness and Moray areas the biggest size of the memorial is 1500mm high by 900mm wide by 450mm deep (base.)  The size restrictions throughout the rest of the UK can vary quite a lot so please give us a call and we will get in touch with your local council to find out this information for you. Other than size some cemeteries have restrictions regarding kerb sets and do not allow them.   If you would like a kerb set but there are none already in the cemetery your loved one is buried in, it is most likely this is a restriction and you will not be allowed one.  However we will check this information and confirm it for you if you wish.  The main reason councils do not allow Kerb sets is because of the maintenance of the grass around them which council workers have to maintain.  Even if you guarantee to do the upkeep yourself, they will still not allow it because you will not be around forever to continue the upkeep. You are however allowed to put temporary items around the base of the gravestone or around the grave itself (temporary meaning it is not concreted in and can be moved easily.)  If you choose to put temporary items around the gravestone, you would need to maintain this area yourself otherwise it would look messy because of long grass. Some Councils will permit you to plant a commemorative tree or place a bench, but this will carry a charge. Church yard cemeteries can have the most restrictions on them.  New headstones would need to be in keeping with the old-fashioned type of memorials that are already in place, but again we would be happy to check exact restrictions for you.

In terms of the best type of material for longevity and extremely low maintenance, then granite would be most suitable for this option. Granite also comes in a large array of colours allowing you more options to customise your loved one’s gravestone.  However granite does not come in white.

If you wanted a white gravestone you would need to choose Marble. However there are a couple of disadvantages with Marble.  For simplicity Granite is like compressed cement powder.  It is a very tightly knitted together material and very solid, so it stands up very well to weathering. Whereas Marble is a lot softer.  It is more like sugar granules tightly compressed. There are a lot more microscopic cavities in Marble so it is more susceptible to weathering. 

What does weathering mean? With wind, snow, ice, algae and the sun coming in to contact with the gravestones all the time, weather elements slowly but surely nibble away at the microscopic sugar shaped granules and ware them away. This may take around 30 years or so to start to take effect but can happen sooner depending on the weather conditions the Marble is exposed to.  The lettering on the gravestone can then look more faded (in terms of depth) because the face of the stone is disappearing a little bit at a time.  Algae has a much bigger effect on Marble than it has on Granite.  Certain conditions favour algae for example if your headstone was behind a wall or under a tree (shaded or wetter areas) then green or black algae would start to grow on the marble memorial headstone  Algae is not a major issue to the appearance of the headstone as long as you are happy to give it a scrub once in a while.

Because granite is used 95% of the time if you choose a Marble headstone it will certainly stand out from the rest.

All our memorial headstones are available in different stock sizes or we can make them to any size you like (cemetery restrictions apply.)  For ease of use we have only listed our memorial headstones in 1 size on our website and brochure.  

Our headstones are available in a large number of colours, please follow this link for the colours of granite that are available.

We request a 50% deposit to confirm your order followed by the remaining 50% just before the gravestone is erected.

We accept payment via:
BACS
Cheque
Credit card with a 2% fee PayPal with a 3% fee.
Payment can be taken over the phone.

Alternatively we offer a payment plan to spread the cost of the memorial.  For further details on our payment plan please click here for more info.

The gravestone must be paid in full before we can erect it (excluding payment plans.)
Our prices are subject to change without prior notice.

Thank you for visiting our website and taking the time to read these guidance notes.  We hope it has helped you make some decisions and we hope you will give us a ring or pop in to speak with us if you have any more questions or would like to see our memorials in person.