Do You Have to Buy a Headstone from the Cemetery?

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on July 28, 2020

A headstone or memorial celebrates and honors a lost life, not just for immediate surviving family, but for generations to come. When you decide you’re ready to buy a memorial—or at least start researching options—it can quickly become overwhelming.

Many families’ first instinct is to contact a cemetery to discuss grave marker options. You may select this cemetery because a plot was previously purchased there, you have other relatives buried in that cemetery or because of another personal reason—such as your faith or your hometown.

In any case, you do not have to purchase your headstone from that cemetery. In fact, it is often in your best interest to work with a third-party, such as a memorial provider.

Below, we’ll explain the benefits of pursuing other memorial purchasing options.


Why Purchasing Through a Cemetery Seems to Make Sense

At first glance, purchasing a memorial directly through the cemetery seems like the best option. You might ask yourself:

  • Where else would I go to purchase a headstone?
  • Won’t this be the simplest and quickest option?
  • They can give me the best value, since they won’t have to work with other companies, right?

On the surface, these assumptions seem correct. However, there are actually several reasons that working with a third-party memorial provider will benefit you in the short- and long-term.


Full-disclosure, Milano Monuments is a third-party memorial provider. Our 50+ years helping families design and place memorials makes us confident recommending that you purchase from a regional memorial provider instead of the cemetery.


Question 1: Where else would I go to purchase a headstone?

The cemetery is where the memorial will be placed, but you can purchase headstones from cemeteries, funeral homes or memorial providers. Memorial providers are especially experienced with grave markers of all styles, materials, shapes and sizes.


Question 2: Won’t this be the simplest and quickest option? 

It could be, but as a symbol of a life lived for generations, shopping around and researching area providers can introduce you to new ideas you otherwise wouldn’t consider. Memorial providers are uniquely equipped to design memorials to exceed your expectations, while also making the process as simple as possible for you. Their experience with various cemeteries enables them to work through the paperwork, placement fees and other aspects so that you don’t have to worry about it.


Question 3: They can give me the best value, since they won’t have to work with other companies, right?

This is a common misconception. Though the memorial is placed in a given cemetery, that cemetery often outsources the headstone creation. Working with a reputable memorial provider actually cuts out the middleman so that you can work directly with the designer and creator.


3 More Advantages of Working with a Memorial Provider

Conducting research beyond the cemetery, simplifying the experience for you, and providing the best possible value are just three benefits of working with a reputable memorial provider.


1. They’ll Know Cemetery Rules and Regulations

Each cemetery has its own requirements for the memorial types permitted on its grounds. A third-party memorial provider will not only be able to walk you through these options for your preferred cemetery, but if you have a specific headstone design in mind, they can help you find a cemetery in your area that will allow it.


Access the Cemetery Guide


2. They’ll Know the Installation or Placement Fees at Each Cemetery

In addition to memorial rules and regulations, each cemetery has a placement fee that typically covers the memorial’s foundation and other services in the cemetery (i.e. placement of the memorial after delivery, maintenance of the cemetery grounds, and perpetual care).

Fees can vary greatly from one location to the next, ranging from around $100 to $1,000 or more. A third-party provider can help you understand these costs ahead of time, even educating you on various cemetery fees if you’re interested in other options.


3. They’ll Walk You Through the Paperwork and Logistics, and Advocate for You

You want a memorial partner that supports your interests and will make the process as simple as possible. During this grieving process, a supportive partner makes all the difference.

Every individual and family has the right to design the memorial that best represents their beliefs, values and personality. And they should be free to do it on their own timeline. Due to cemetery regulations and practices, this freedom is not always what the customer experiences.

At Milano Monuments, we advocate for you. You won’t pay for anything you don’t have to, you’re allowed the creativity and design you desire, and you’ll know exactly what to expect at every step in the process.


Compare Regulations and Fees at 40+ Cleveland Cemeteries

We created the Northeast Ohio Cemetery Memorial Guide to help you navigate common fees and regulations. It includes an interactive map and list of 40+ cemeteries across the Cleveland and Youngstown area, providing the memorial regulations and fees for each place. Access it here.

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Topics: Memorialization

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