One of the more frequently asked questions we receive is, “How long does it take to create a headstone?”
While researching this question, you will find the timeframe can vary dramatically.
We state on our FAQs page that it can take anywhere from one to six months depending on the type of memorial. It’s hard to provide families with an exact number knowing there are several variables that can either speed up or delay the process.
One reason is that memorials and headstones are deeply personalized symbols of the life of a loved one, so each is crafted specially for the individual or family. They are unlike many mass-produced commercial products—every stone is unique and every detail is significant. From size and shape to material quality and personalization, every custom detail impacts the timeline.
Below, we highlight the main factors that impact the timeline for a headstone or memorial.
Factor #1: Memorial Design
The first factor that can affect the time it takes to craft a memorial is your design preferences. How do you want the headstone to look? Is there a certain color of granite you want? What kind of lettering do you prefer?
The timeline for crafting a memorial depends on these design preferences.
While almost any style of granite is available, some may not be in stock and will depend on the memorial provider’s inventory. For example, aurora red is a much rarer color than the standard gray. If you need a headstone or memorial right away, choosing a more unique granite may not be your best option.
Shape and Size
Larger, more intricate headstones take longer than ones that are smaller and more straightforward. For instance, upright monuments with unique shapes are going to take longer to craft than a lawn-level memorial that sits flush with the ground.
Custom Upright Monuments
Straightforward, Lawn-Level Memorials
Factor #2: Payment and Approval
Once you decide on the design, the memorial specialist will create a mockup of your memorial so you can see exactly what will be created. But before production can begin, the provider will need some or all of the following:
- If you can provide a majority of the cost upfront, then the memorial provider can move forward with production.
- Signature from a responsible party. Whether it’s a funeral director or family member, the design must be approved. This includes signing off on a visual mockup of the memorial with the correct spelling, dates and designs.
- Cemetery notification and/or approval. Most cemeteries require an approval for new headstones and memorials. This typically includes a signature from the responsible party confirming the plot location, information and design. Receiving the approval back can take up to four weeks depending on the cemetery and its specific requirements.
After the memorial provider receives payment and approvals, they can craft your memorial and deliver it within eight to 12 weeks (weather permitting).
Tips For an Efficient and Easy Process
Although the time needed to craft a headstone varies, there are ways you can work with your memorial provider to help expedite the process.
- Pay in full and approve the design. The faster the memorial provider receives payment and approval, the sooner they can start production and schedule delivery.
- Get the cemetery’s approval. You may need approval of the design of your headstone depending on your cemetery.
- Set realistic expectations. Although specialists will work with you to design a memorial as unique as the life lived, custom designs take longer. If you need a memorial right away, consider a common design.
- Choose a material that is in stock. While almost any style of granite is obtainable, some might not be readily available. Out-of-stock materials require the memorial provider to place an order with a supplier to have it shipped to their location. At Milano Monuments, our experts will give you a tour of our 50,000-square-foot facility, so you can see our current inventory.
- Consult your memorial provider during the less-busy season. Like most businesses, memorial providers have an off-season. To accelerate the turnaround for a memorial, your best chance is during the winter, from November to February.
- Find a local dealer who is knowledgeable about cemetery rules. Regulations vary from cemetery to cemetery. Consult with a memorial provider who is knowledgeable about local cemetery rules. They often have relationships with cemetery officials and can accelerate cemetery approvals and headstone placement.
- Ask your memorial specialist about an expedition fee. Some memorial providers will expedite orders for a fee.
Designing a Memorial for the First Time?
We created the Headstone Design Guide, which walks you through the extensive personalization and design options for a memorial.