What You Should Know When Selecting a Headstone

If you have decided in your funeral planning process that you are going with either a burial or cremation option and need to pick out a headstone or grave marker, Iowa Funeral Planning has a variety of options to choose from. While we know it can be an overwhelming process to go through during your time of need, we have trained and compassionate funeral planning counselors on staff to help you select the best option for you. Here is what you need to know about picking out a headstone for your loved one:

Different Kinds of Headstones

When searching for a headstone, it is important to note that there are various shapes and sizes. Each cemetery is different when it comes to their rules and guidelines for headstone sizes and types so be sure to research what requirements your cemetery might have. Below is a general outline of the different sizes and shapes for the most common headstones and monuments.

Flat Markers

These headstones are also known as “grass markers” and they lie flat on the ground at the head of the grave. Flat markers are also flush with the grass.

Bevel Markers

Similar to Flat Markers, Bevel Markers are headstones that also lie flat on the ground but are about 8 inches tall and sit above the grass level.

Slant Markers

Also known as “pillow markers,” these headstones usually sit about 18 inches tall. Like the previous two, these markers sit flat on the ground, however, the front of the stone is angled backward, creating a wedge-shaped feature to better display the name and life dates of your loved one.


What most people think of as the true headstone is also called a monument. These are usually tablets varying in width and height that stand above the grave. These range from fairly simple in design all the way up to ornate and elaborate structures and statues. If a family wants to save money during the funeral pre-planning process, companion monuments may be purchased as well. Iowa Funeral Planning even offers grave benches as an option for a memorial.


These stones are a unique class of grave marker in that they cover the entire grave. They are about 8 inches thick and stand above the grass. These are usually engraved and can be used with a headstone or as a headstone themselves.
Iowa Funeral Planning offers a wide range of affordable headstone options to choose from. Headstones from Iowa Funeral Planning are offered to the families they serve as well as the general public. They specialize in finding a marker that is unique to the client.

Concerned About What To Write On Your Headstone Epitaph?

One of the final phases of laying a loved one to rest in a cemetery is deciding what their headstone or grave marker will say; these words are known as the Epitaph. These final words are a lasting memory of the person being laid to rest. Epitaphs can range from simple to ornate and are reminiscent of the person’s life and/or personality. These words are either chosen by the person before they pass on or the family that they leave behind. While some chose to place life accomplishments on the headstone, others simply place the name and the dates of the deceased.

Religious Epitaph

Often, families will choose a verse reference to symbolize peace, rest or passing on for their family member. Others will pick a favorite verse of their loved one. It is also common for families to place a well-known prayer on the headstone.

Simple Epitaph

For a simpler option, families will place the name of their loved one with the birth and death date. This is often accompanied by a simple phrase known as an ‘aphorism’ which is a simple truth about life or the person being buried.

Poetry or Song Lyrics

A more unique form of epitaph can be a favorite poem or song of the deceased. Usually found on larger memorials, families will place lyrics of songs and/or segments of poems to remember the loved one.


Often when an epitaph is written by the deceased, the words will be written in first person. The family may also choose to write the words in first person. These words range from simple or thoughtful words all the way to ornate or humorous.
Our goal at Iowa Funeral Planning is to provide a resource and a counselor to help with your funeral planning needs. We have funeral homes in Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Waterloo, and Tama County. If you’re looking for a unique burial memorial or headstone for your loved one or any other funeral planning services, Iowa Funeral Planning can help today.

24 Hour Immediate Service

Our main goal at Iowa Funeral Planning is to provide our customers with assistance and options when it comes to planning a funeral. We know how overwhelming this process can be, and we are here to help get you through it. Our counselors are trained, compassionate professionals and will work with you, your wishes and your budget to plan funeral services to best fit your situation. All of our initial consultations are free of charge and completely confidential. There is no obligation to purchase anything when you use this site or contact us with questions. In the case of imminent death of a loved one, Iowa Funeral Planning offers 24 hour immediate assistance to help you make decisions regarding funeral arrangements as easy as possible. Call us today at 888.682.7002 for a free and confidential consultation with no obligation.

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