How to Plan a Gravestone at a Time of Need: Navigating Memorial Arrangements with Care

Losing a loved one is difficult no matter the circumstances, and during such an emotional time, planning a gravestone or memorial may seem like an overwhelming task. Every day at Create A Legacy In Stone, we work with grieving individuals to thoughtfully plan tributes to the memory of their loved ones. Our experience in this line of work gives us a firsthand understanding of the compassion and grace necessary to plan a gravestone in a time of need. We know that the process of selecting and designing a memorial for your loved one may be extremely difficult, but we’re here to help you do so with empathy and clear, reliable guidance

In this guide, we’ll explore how to plan a custom gravestone during this period of grief. We’ll discuss the options and services available to you at Create A Legacy In Stone, and highlight the importance of personalization and storytelling in creating a truly meaningful memorial.

How to Choose a Custom Memorial Company

Selecting the right custom gravestone company is vital to starting your memorial process on the right foot. It’s essential to work with professionals who understand the sensitivity of your situation and can offer guidance and support throughout the journey.

While you may be overwhelmed by the many memorial companies in your area as you start your research, there are a few ways to identify a reputable gravestone company. Look for companies with a reputation of excellence in their community, many positive customer reviews, and experienced designers who can help you turn your ideas into a cherished memorial.

These elements point to a high degree of emotional awareness and compassion within the company, and suggest that you will be assisted by memorial professionals who understand your grief and have a proven track record of producing great results for families and individuals just like you.

Understanding Gravestone Options

You have many options at your disposal when selecting a gravestone for your loved one. Nearly every element can be the subject of decision making, from the size, shape, and stone to the images and messaging included on its façade.

The first thing to consider when planning a gravestone is not the memorial itself, but rather its ultimate location. Your chosen cemetery will have its own unique rules and specifications regarding memorial size, shape, placement, delivery and installation times, etc. It is important to be aware of these specifications, including any limits or restrictions, and have them on-hand as you begin the memorial planning process.

Once you’ve selected the cemetery and plot for your loved one’s memorial, it’s time to consider the type of stone you’d like your memorial to be crafted in. At Create A Legacy In Stone, we specialize in granite memorials, as granite is native to Minnesota and an enduring, timeless symbol of permanence. We offer a wide variety of both domestic and international granite colors, including nearly two dozen mined right here in the Upper Midwest.

The stone you choose will have an impact on the timeline of your memorial’s creation, as some stones are subject to domestic or international shipping, customs, and other stocking considerations. In general, our timelines from order processing to installation of your memorial are 6-14 weeks for standard and popular domestic granite colors and 6-20 weeks for standard and popular international granite colors.

It’s important to keep a minimum of six weeks’ lead time in mind as you consider your loved ones’ memorial; if possible, we recommend starting the planning process before your loved one’s passing. We understand that this may be a painful proposition, but it helps to ensure you will have your custom memorial in time for your loved one’s burial or celebration of life. It also may enable you to get your loved one’s input on their memorial’s design, which can be a meaningful experience for everyone involved and help guarantee the final design is one your loved one would appreciate.

You’ll also need to select a type and/or shape for your loved one’s memorial at this stage. Among the most popular types of gravestones are upright or slanted headstones, lawn-level or flat grave markers, and cremation urns and memorials. Each type of gravestone offers its own unique benefits and downsides; in our professional experience, upright headstones offer the greatest design versatility, with a wide range of sizes, shapes and artistic opportunities available. Lawn-level memorials are the most economical option and a classic, elegant approach to a loved one’s memory. While they offer less room for wording and design, they are an ideal choice for placement in cemeteries where space is limited.

If your loved one expressed any preferences regarding their memorial prior to their passing, it is important to consider those preferences and weigh them against your budget, cemetery restrictions, and any other personal factors that may come into play during this time. Ultimately, your Memorial Consultant will work with you to design a gravestone that both you and your loved one can be proud of.

The Importance of Customization

Create A Legacy In Stone was founded on the belief that a gravestone can be a permanent tribute to a person’s life, their passions, and their legacy as a whole. We prioritize storytelling in our design process, and strive to ensure each memorial we create has a personal touch that will ring true to surviving friends and family members of the departed.

Thanks to modern innovations like laser engraving, stone importing, and other cutting-edge technologies, gravestones and memorials are more customizable than ever before. Our customization options include ceramic or laser-engraved portraits, custom inlays, precision carving, custom lettering and much, much more.

This degree of customization capabilities can be a blessing and a curse: While it means that your ideas can be implemented with ease and creativity, it also means you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options and ideas! We understand that it is unspeakably difficult to condense your loved one’s life into a few lines of text or a handful of images. That’s why we offer all our clients our free Story Guide to help focus your thoughts, feelings and conversations regarding your loved one’s life and memory.

Our Story Guide allows you and your family to lead the creative process, thoughtfully determine what ideas and memories you’d like to share through your memorial design, and ultimately create a meaningful story in stone. You can work through the story guide with your loved one’s family and friends, or with one of our skilled and compassionate Memorial Consultants. No matter how you choose to approach the Story Guide or with whom, doing so with an open heart and the joy of reflecting on a life well lived will ensure your final memorial design is one that will be cherished for generations to come.

Our Step-by-Step Process

When you reach out to begin designing a memorial with Create A Legacy In Stone, you’ve set into motion the first step of our eight-step process. Our process is designed to gently ease you and your family into the custom memorial process, starting with our free Story Guide, and help you design a gravestone that looks and feels authentic to your loved one’s legacy.

  1. First, you’ll sit down with your family and our Story Guide to reflect upon the life of your loved one and collect your thoughts on your initial concept. There’s no need to worry about envisioning a full design just yet—your memorial consultant will help you with that!
  2. Next, you’ll communicate your thoughts and concepts to your memorial consultant, who will work alongside our professional designers to ensure your story is represented exactly as you’d imagined.
  3. When the design is complete, you’ll receive a preview to review for accuracy and adherence to your vision. If your design isn’t exactly what you wanted, you are under no obligation to move forward with a contract — our design process occurs at no cost to you, regardless of whether you decide to finalize your design.
  4. Once you have given final approval on the design, including the type of stone, lettering, and other manufacturing details, production will begin.
  5. Your selected stone will be carefully extracted from the quarry for the first phase of production.
  6. Our skilled stoneworkers will cut, shape and finish the memorial.
  7. We complete all the carving and engraving on your memorial in-house at our plant.
  8. Your memorial will be delivered and installed. We work directly with your cemetery’s caretaker to guarantee a smooth installation by our team.

When our eight-step process has been completed, you will receive a photograph of the installed monument along with an invoice.

You will have 80 days to review the memorial in person and confirm its accuracy and quality. If any concerns do arise regarding the finished memorial, we’ll work closely with you to correct any issues and ensure your satisfaction with your final installation and product.

Planning a Gravestone: A Healing Journey

It goes without saying that the loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult experiences we go through as human beings. Yet despite the painful nature of such a loss, planning a personalized memorial can be a beautiful, meaningful way to honor the life and memory of your loved one — and doing so may help you to process their loss and begin the lifelong journey of healing through grief.

As you embark on the custom gravestone process, it’s important to choose a reputable vendor who will treat you with the compassion, respect and utmost care you deserve at this emotional time, and who will give you the best possible options for creating a memorial that will truly reflect your loved one’s story. When you are ready to begin the journey of planning a custom gravestone, we would be honored to be that reputable, compassionate vendor for you. The experienced Create A Legacy In Stone team is here to guide and support you every step of the way, helping you create a memorial that authentically reflects your loved one’s life. Please contact us to learn more about our custom gravestone planning services and to begin the memorial process.