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  3. When to start looking for a headstone?

When to start looking for a headstone?

Traditionally, headstones are used to help families commemorate the passing of a loved one. If you have recently lost a loved one, commissioning a headstone can be a daunting task during this very emotional time. Many clients ask our memorials team when is the right time to start looking for a headstone. Here, we will when to get started on the headstone memorial.

How long should you wait before erecting a headstone?

It is best to wait 6-12 months after the burial to allow the soil to settle down around the grave site. Some cemeteries also use machines to pack the soil and reduce the air which can reduce the time needed for settling.

The cemetery might ask you to wait for a specific period of time before placing a headstone or gravestone, alternatively, some might encourage you to order the headstone fairly soon after the burial.

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Why should you wait?

Here are some good reasons you should take your time creating the headstone.

  • Allows the soil to settle down - When the earth is dug, it loosens up the soil. Once the coffin is laid inside and the soil is put back, there are still tiny pockets of air. By giving time for the soil to settle down naturally, the grave won’t sink and the headstone will remain upright. The headstones can be either vertical or horizontal. In the case of the vertical headstone, it is best to wait for 6-12 months. For horizontal headstones, 6-8 weeks is sufficient.
  • You can make a clear decision - Waiting before erecting the headstone can give you time to process the loss and deal with the grief. The waiting time will enable you to decide on the headstone design once you are ready.
  • Consider season changes - Seasons also play a huge role in this decision. Extreme climate conditions like rain/snow affect the soil and grave. It is best to avoid the process during this time. Waiting for a full year will also be a fitting way to commemorate the passing of your loved one.
  • Depends on the materials and stonemasons - It is ideal to start the ball rolling and decide on the inscription and headstone materials even though you are waiting. The headstone materials and construction will depend on the availability of materials and your stonemason. So even though you are waiting, talk to a memorial service and discuss the time frame in which you can get the headstone erected.
  • Lastly, family traditions and religious beliefs are an important consideration as well.