Honouring Loved Ones: A Guide to Choosing the Right Headstone

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Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging experiences we may face in life. It is a time when we feel a mix of emotions, including sadness, grief, and sometimes even anger.

However, during this time, many of us feel it is essential to take some steps to honour our loved one’s memory and celebrate their life.

One such step is choosing the right headstone for their final resting place.

A headstone serves as a physical marker of the person’s life and allows future generations to remember them.

In this guide, we will provide you with tips on choosing the right headstone for your loved one.

Headstones and memorials in a cemetery

Selecting the Material for the Headstone

One of the first steps in choosing a headstone is selecting the material.

Headstones can be made from various stone materials, including:


Granite is a common choice for headstones because of its durability and longevity. It is resistant to weathering and staining, making it a good choice for outdoor use. Granite is also available in a variety of colours and can be polished to a high shine, making it a versatile material for different styles of headstones.


Marble is a softer stone than granite, but it is still a popular choice for headstones due to its timeless elegance and beauty. It is easy to carve and can be found in a variety of colours, though white marble is by far the most popular for headstones. However, marble is more prone to staining and weathering than granite, so it may require more maintenance over time.


Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is commonly used for headstones. It has a natural, rustic look and is available in a range of colours, including white, grey, and beige. Limestone is easy to carve, but it is softer than granite and may be more prone to erosion and weathering over time.


Sandstone is a popular choice for headstones due to its unique texture and colour. It is easy to carve, making it a great option for detailed designs. However, like limestone and marble, sandstone is a softer stone than granite and may require more maintenance over time.

When selecting the material for your loved one’s headstone, consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, and personal preferences. Each material has its own unique characteristics and can be used to create a headstone that is both beautiful and enduring.

Selecting the Size & Style of the Headstone

The size and style of a headstone should be chosen based on the cemetery’s regulations and the family’s personal preferences.

Here are some things to consider:


Cemeteries often have regulations regarding the size of headstones. Be sure to check with the cemetery before selecting a headstone. It is also important to consider the size of the plot and the other headstones in the area.


The style of a headstone can range from traditional to modern. It is important to choose a style that reflects the person being remembered and their personality. A traditional headstone may be appropriate for a more formal or conservative person, while a modern headstone may be more fitting for someone with a creative or unconventional personality.


Headstones come in a variety of shapes, from simple rectangles to more elaborate designs such as hearts or angels. The shape can be used to convey a message or theme that is meaningful to the person being remembered.


Some families choose to add accessories to the headstone, such as vases or carved statues. Be sure to check with the cemetery to ensure that accessories are allowed and follow any guidelines or regulations.


The inscription on a headstone is an important element that should be carefully considered. It can include the person’s name, birth and death dates, and a message or quote that reflects their life or personality.


Images or symbols can be added to a headstone to represent the person being remembered. For example, a musician might have a musical note or instrument carved into their headstone.


An epitaph, or inscription, is a short message or poem that is often inscribed on a headstone. It can be used to express the feelings of the family or to convey a message from the person being remembered.

When choosing the design for your loved one’s headstone, consider their interests, hobbies, and personality traits. It can be helpful to browse through examples of headstone designs to get ideas and inspiration.

You can communicate your preferences or vision with a memorial masonry company – here at Ursells we have our own skilled professional headstone designers can help create a custom design that is unique and meaningful.

A Macbook laptop on a graphic designers desk

Selecting the Inscription for the Headstone

The inscription on the headstone is perhaps the most crucial aspect of choosing a headstone. It is a way to honour your loved one’s memory and ensure that their life is remembered for generations to come.

Some things to consider when choosing the inscription include:

Name & Dates

The name and dates of birth and death are the most basic information that should be included in the inscription.

Personal Message

You can also include a personal message that reflects your loved one’s personality or their favourite quote.


Symbols can be a powerful way to represent your loved one’s life. For example, a cross for a Christian or a Star of David for a Jewish person.

A Few Common Headstone FAQs

Q: How much does a headstone cost?

A: The cost of a headstone can vary depending on the material, design, and inscription. On average, quality and expertly crafted headstones can range anywhere from around £1,000 to several thousand pounds, so it’s useful to have some sort of budget in mind when you begin your search for the right headstone.

Q: Can I choose any design for a headstone?

A: There may be restrictions on headstone designs at the cemetery. It is important to check with the cemetery before making a final decision.

Q: How long does it take to make a headstone?

A: The timeline for creating a headstone can vary depending on the design and material. It is important to discuss the timeline with your memorial masons to ensure that the particular headstone you choose can be completed within a timescale you’re happy with.

Q: How long does it take to install a headstone?

A: The installation time can vary depending on the cemetery’s policies and the type of headstone you choose. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Q: Can I customise the design of the headstone?

A: Yes, you can customise the design of the headstone. Many companies offer a range of designs to choose from, or you can

Choosing a headstone to honour a loved one’s memory is a deeply personal and important decision.

By considering factors such as material, design, size, and style, you can create a headstone that is both beautiful and enduring. It is important to take the time to make a thoughtful decision and to work with a professional who can guide you through the process.

The right headstone can provide comfort and solace for generations to come.

At Ursells, we specialise in creating exquisite headstones and memorials for families in Ross on Wye and surrounding areas of Herefordshire. With over a century of experience since our establishment in 1885, we understand the importance of crafting meaningful tributes that truly reflect the unique personality and spirit of your loved one. If you are looking to discuss the design and creation of a one-of-a-kind memorial, we are here to help. You can reach us at 01989 562530, send us an email at info@ursells.co.uk, or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with us.

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