Choosing a monument for a loved one is a profound and significant decision that goes beyond mere aesthetics. It serves as a lasting tribute, encapsulating memories, emotions, and the essence of the departed. A thoughtfully chosen monument can provide a sense of closure to grieving families, and it offers a place of reflection and remembrance for generations to come. The importance of this decision lies not only in its immediate visual impact but also in its enduring role as a testament to the life and legacy of the one who has passed. Custom Headstones and Monuments in Edmonton by Sunset Memorial & Stone understand the significance of this choice.  

What are the Different Types of Monuments? 


Headstones, also known as tombstones or gravestones, are the most common type of monument seen in cemeteries. They are upright markers that typically display essential information about the deceased, such as their name, birth and death dates, and a personal message or epitaph. Headstones can be made from various materials, including granite, marble, and bronze, each offering different aesthetic and durability benefits. These markers can also include engravings, pictures, and other personalized elements to honor the individual’s memory. 


Footstones are smaller markers placed at the foot of the burial plot, complementing the headstone which is located at the head. They are often used to denote the boundary of the plot and can include initials or brief inscriptions. Footstones are usually more modest in terms of design and size compared to headstones, but they still play a meaningful role in marking and honoring the resting place of the deceased. 

Monumental Sculptures 

Monumental sculptures are more elaborate and artistic forms of monuments. These can range from lifelike statues to abstract designs, often commissioned to reflect the personality, interests, or achievements of the deceased. Monumental sculptures offer a unique way to commemorate a loved one, transforming their resting place into a piece of art that conveys a deeper emotional and aesthetic resonance. They can be crafted from various materials, including stone, metal, and even wood, depending on the desired effect and longevity. 

Flat Markers vs. Upright Monuments 

Flat markers, also known as lawn-level markers, lie flush with the ground and offer a discreet yet elegant way to mark a burial site. They are easier to maintain and provide a uniform look across a cemetery. Upright monuments, on the other hand, are more traditional and noticeable, standing vertically above the ground. They allow for more extensive inscriptions and elaborate designs. The choice between flat markers and upright monuments often comes down to personal preference, budget, and cemetery regulations. While flat markers offer simplicity and ease of care, upright monuments offer a more prominent presence and greater scope for personalization. 

Choosing the Right Material 

Selecting the appropriate material for a monument is a crucial aspect of the memorialization process, as it affects not only the aesthetic appeal but also the durability and maintenance required. There are several commonly used materials, each with its unique properties and benefits. 


Granite is one of the most popular choices for monuments due to its exceptional durability and wide variety of colors and finishes. It is resistant to weathering and can withstand the elements for decades, making it ideal for long-lasting tributes. Additionally, granite can be polished to a high sheen or left with a more natural, matte finish, allowing for a wide range of design possibilities. 


Marble offers a classic and elegant appearance, often chosen for its smooth texture and timeless beauty. While marble is slightly more susceptible to weathering and staining compared to granite, it brings a sense of sophistication to the monument. It is particularly popular in historical cemeteries and for use in statues and sculptures. 


Bronze is frequently used for plaques and embellishments on monuments, offering a rich, warm appearance that contrasts beautifully with stone materials. It is highly durable and develops a natural patina over time, which can add character and depth to the design. Bronze elements are often used in combination with granite or marble to create intricate and lasting memorials. 

Other Materials 

Sandstone, limestone, and slate can be used for monuments, offering unique textures and colors but requiring more maintenance and being less resilient to environmental factors. Choosing the right material involves considering climate, maintenance, appearance, and budget. Consulting a professional can help in making the best choice for a meaningful tribute. 

Design Considerations Personalization Options 

Inscriptions, Engravings, and Images 

Personalizing a monument is crucial for creating a meaningful tribute. Options include inscriptions for names, dates, and epitaphs, as well as engravings that range from simple text to intricate designs. Adding images like portraits or significant symbols further personalizes the monument. Advanced technologies now enable detailed etchings and photographic reproductions, capturing the essence of the individual’s life story. 

Cultural and Religious Symbols 

Incorporating cultural or religious symbols in monument design adds meaning and significance. Symbols like the cross or Star of David reflect the deceased’s faith and heritage, providing comfort to family and community members. It’s important to respect and accurately represent these symbols to align with the deceased’s cultural and religious practices. 

Size and Shape 

Choosing the right monument size and shape requires balancing personal preferences with cemetery regulations. Consult cemetery rules for dimension guidelines to ensure compliance. The monument should complement design elements and inscriptions, with options like upright monuments for elaborate engravings or flat markers for a subtle look. Ensure the monument’s scale fits harmoniously within the surrounding environment. 

Aesthetic Appeal 

The aesthetic appeal of a monument is crucial as it visually represents a loved one’s legacy, reflecting their personality and interests. Important considerations include the monument’s color, texture, style, and decorative elements. A well-balanced design can provide comfort, pride, and an aesthetically pleasing tribute for future generations. 

Budgeting and Costs 

Factors Influencing Cost 

When planning a memorial, understanding the factors that influence the cost of a monument can help you make informed decisions: 

  1. Material: The choice of material significantly affects the overall cost. Granite and bronze tend to be more expensive due to their durability and aesthetic appeal, while materials like sandstone and limestone can be more affordable but may require additional maintenance. 
  2. Size: Larger monuments naturally require more material and labor, leading to higher costs. The size also impacts transport and installation fees. 
  3. Complexity of Design: Intricate engravings, personalized inscriptions, and custom shapes add to the cost. Simple, flat markers tend to be more economical, while elaborate sculptures and detailed etchings elevate the price. 
  4. Additional Features: Adding elements like bronze plaques, porcelain portraits, or custom sculptures can increase the cost. Likewise, incorporating lighting or gardens around the monument adds to the budget. 
  5. Location: The cemetery’s location and its specific regulations can influence costs, including fees for plot acquisition, maintenance, or installation. 

Budget Planning 

Setting a budget is a crucial step in the memorialization process: 

  1. Assess Your Finances: Begin by evaluating your financial situation to determine what you can comfortably afford. 
  2. Get Estimates: Request quotes from multiple monument providers to compare costs. Ensure that the quotes include all potential expenses, such as materials, designs, and installation fees. 
  3. Prioritize Needs vs. Wants: Clearly distinguish between essential elements and additional features that can be adjusted or excluded based on your budget. 
  4. Plan for Long-term Maintenance: Consider any long-term care or maintenance costs when planning your budget. Some materials might require periodic cleaning or restoration. 
  5. Reserve a Contingency Fund: Allocate a small percentage of the budget for unexpected expenses or changes during the process. 

Financing Options 

To ease the financial burden, many monument providers offer various financing options: 

  1. Payment Plans: Many providers offer flexible payment plans that allow you to spread the cost over several months or years. This can make it easier to manage larger expenses without compromising on the desired design. 
  2. Installment Payments: Some suppliers may permit installment payments, where you can pay for the monument in stages as work progresses. 
  3. Loans: Specific loans are available for funerals and memorial services. Consider consulting with your bank or financial advisor for suitable options. 
  4. Insurance: If a pre-need insurance policy or burial insurance was in place, those funds might be used to cover the cost of the monument. Review the policy details to understand what is covered. 
  5. Community and Crowdfunding: In some instances, family and friends may contribute towards the memorial. Online crowdfunding platforms can also be utilized to gather financial support from a broader community. 

By thoughtfully considering these factors and exploring various financing options, you can ensure that your loved one’s memory is honored in a way that aligns with both your vision and budgetary constraints. 

Legal and Cemetery Regulations 

Local Edmonton Regulations 

When installing a monument in Edmonton, be aware of cemetery-specific regulations on materials, dimensions, and design. Consult cemetery officials to ensure compliance and avoid issues. 

Permit Requirements 

Securing permits is essential for monument installation in Edmonton. The cemetery requires a detailed permit application, including design, materials, and installation methods, along with proof of plot ownership and adherence to guidelines. Approval can take weeks, so apply early. 

Installation Guidelines 

General guidelines for monument installation in Edmonton cemeteries include requirements for foundation support, stable anchoring methods, and proper alignment with existing markers. Professional installation services are recommended to ensure compliance and secure placement, helping to maintain a harmonious layout. Familiarizing yourself with these guidelines facilitates a smooth installation process. 


Choosing the right memorial monument involves careful consideration of several factors, from aesthetic appeal and material selection to budget planning and adherence to legal regulations. By understanding the influences on cost, setting a realistic budget, and exploring various financing options, you can ensure a fitting tribute to your loved one while managing expenses wisely. Additionally, being aware of local regulations and securing the necessary permits will facilitate a smooth installation process, ensuring the monument stands as a lasting testament to their memory. Thoughtful planning and informed decisions throughout this process will help create a meaningful and enduring legacy. 


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