Picture this scenario: Your family has completed designing a memorial for a lost loved one. It perfectly and uniquely reflects his or her life lived, with personalized etchings and a portrait, and hand-selected granite.
Your family has worked hard to ensure the memorial is exactly what you and your lost loved one wanted, all while staying within budget. However, you might be surprised when your memorial provider mentions an additional cost to install the headstone in your cemetery of choice.
This scenario is more common than you may think. But you can protect your family from unexpected costs, like headstone placing fees, by educating yourself on common installation fees, and by choosing a memorial provider that is transparent and open throughout the process.
What Exactly Is a Memorial Setting Fee?
When planning a memorial for a loved one, you may see installation costs referred to as a placement or setting fee. This fee 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).
Most importantly, remember the cost to place a memorial can differ significantly from one cemetery to another, even in the same city or county. Below, we explore three common factors that may affect the final setting fee at your cemetery.
We’ve created an interactive map and list that includes publicly available information about memorial fees at 40+ Northeast Ohio cemeteries. Access it here.
1. Is It an Individual Memorial or Companion Memorial?
While some local Northeast Ohio cemeteries permit single memorials only, most also allow double or companion memorials. A companion memorial is for two people who were very close—typically for spouses or siblings. It's normally a headstone that goes over two side-by-side graves.
Cemeteries typically charge more to install a companion memorial compared to a single, as it takes up more real estate and requires a larger foundation. For instance, a single memorial typically has a 24 in. by 12 in. base, whereas a companion memorial's base is 48 in. by 12 in.
While fees can vary greatly from one location to the next, some installation fees for a companion memorial will be approximately double that of an individual memorial. At other locations, the difference will be minimal. This is another reason to consult with a third-party, such as a memorial provider, if you are considering different cemeteries
2. What Is the Memorial Type or Style?
Some cemeteries allow for a wide range of memorial shapes, sizes and types, ranging from lawn-level to bevel to slant to upright memorials.
However, depending on the type of memorial you choose, your setting fees could differ. In general, cemeteries will charge in this order if style impacts setting fees (listed from lowest to highest installation fee):
3. Will the Memorial Include a Vase?
A memorial vase provides your family with a place to decorate the memorial with flowers or flags, especially on special dates of significance like a birthday, anniversary or holiday.
When choosing a memorial vase, you’ll want to know the vase installation fee at your cemetery. It generally is a minimal cost, but something your family will want to account for in a final budget.
Uncover More On Cemetery Fees and Regulations
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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