Things You Need To Know When Designing, Building, And Buying A Memorial.

When it comes to buying a memorial for a grave, either for you or for your loved one, finding a quality monument builder can be difficult. Not all memorial designers are created equal and most providers you can find online will only complete half the job. 

In this article, we are going to take you through the whole memorial buying process, from start to finish. Everything you need to know about the whole process is here. At Monument Connect, we hope our years of experience will help to grow your knowledge of the process so that you can make a better buying decision when that time comes. 

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Table of Contents  

  1. What is a grave memorial?
  2. What does the Memorial Designing process entail?
  3. Who sells memorials for graves?
  4. How do I build one for my family/loved one?
  5. What is a fair price for a memorial or monument?

What is a grave memorial?

A grave memorial is, most commonly, a piece of polished granite that is placed at the “head” or the top of the memorial plot in a cemetery. Throughout the United States and Canada, the tradition of placing a grave memorial at a loved one’s grave is a lasting one, preserving the memorialized story forever. 

There are 2 types of memorials available for purchase on the market today. One crafted with love and created by a memorial artist that will tell the story of your loved one, and a second that aides in telling no story, crafted by an online retailer that is more worried about selling you the cheapest stone rather than the craftsmanship of what is actually engraved or carved. 

The first type, the story telling type, is what we at monument connect wish for all of our memorial clients. The whole point of a memorial is to inspire celebration of that person or event. The death of a loved one should be a celebration of life. A memorial created by one of our memorial artists from around the U.S.A. will proudly boast that story of celebration forever. 

What does the process of creating a memorial entail?

Ok, so if you were interested in having a grave memorial created here are some things you should know to both get your memorial designed right and save you money up front. Here is an example of the process to help you better understand. 

  1. The cemetery does not actually create the memorial. That is right. If you are purchasing a memorial from the cemetery directly there is a 50% to 200% mark up on what the stone actually cost to build because the cemetery wants to make money. This is a disservice to their memorial customers all to allow you to “bundle” the plot and casket and memorial together. 
  2. The cemetery or online retailer will not show you all the option. Once again, bing that they are not the memorial artist, the cemetery has a very limited “cookie cutter” design book to choose from. Purchasing one of these will most certainly have your memorial looking like the 10 other monuments around you. 
  3. Going direct with a memorial artist is not only going to save you money, but will likely lead to a better monument being created. The story of your loved one, the celebration of their life in stone should be created by an artist that can bring that story to life in stone, not just a name on a template design. 
  4. Buying a stone online comes with its’ own issues. In 2021 convenience is king, but purchasing a memorial online leaves out a key part of this process. The online headstone maker will not come and install the stone for you… This means that if you purchase a headstone online, it will get delivered to your house and not the cemetery. With an average weight of 200 lbs at their smallest, you will likely need to still call the local memorial artist to help. 


The memorial you are designing is destined to help tell the story of a loved one forever. That story should be designed as an art piece and not just a stock template. This is exactly where Monument Connect can help, we want to help get you in the studio of a memorial designer that can build the same if not better memorial for less than the cemetery mark up. 


Who sells memorials for graves?

There are 3 main players in the memorial designing industry, but only one of them who actually crafts the actual stone. The 3 cohorts that you can buy a memorial from are:

  1. The Funeral Home or Cemetery itself – Once again, they have limited designs because the cemetery is not the creator of the memorial
  2. A local (likely small, family owned) Memorial Artist – This is the best way to get a memorial that is custom built for your loved ones story at below cemetery mark-up
  3. An online retailer who is trying to sell you the cheapest possible stone to turn a buck. (Think amazon, but as we mentioned above, you will likely be responsible for the placement of that stone) 

How do I build a memorial for my family member or loved one?

Building a memorial for your loved one is easy if you go to a quality memorial artist. These are local, “Mom and Pop” monument studios that are experts on the specific rules and regulations for your chosen cemetery. These designers will be able to craft a perfectly custom memorial with far more uniqueness than you would get from a cemetery. 

We can help with finding the perfect memorial designer for you. Someone who can 1, produce beautiful memorial designs and 2, be with you from start to finish and install your work of art into the cemetery for you. This is often times a difficult process to go alone and one of our Monument Connect staff would love to be an extra resource to you every step of the way.  

What is a fair price for a memorial gravestone?

There are many things that go into the price of a memorial, size, color, engraving work, just to name a few. We highly recommend starting a specific granite and building out from there. Or, starting with a specific style and customizing from there. 

For flat grave markers in the U.S. you can expect to pay anywhere from $400+ depending on your chosen color and size. As you customize more of the stone to your loved ones story, that will likely put you in the ballpark of $800 to $2000

For an Upright memorial it is best to refine the pricing with the monument builder we pair you with as the prices can very wildly from $800 to $20,000+ for the most elaborate of set ups. 

All in all, these price estimates are not what a cemetery would charge for the same stone. If you buy directly from a cemetery you can uniformly mark up the costs listed +25% at bare minimum. Because of this truth, it is best start with a memorial artist from the beginning as it will likely save you time and money.