How to Select a Cemetery
How to Select a Cemetery
The word ‘cemetery’ comes from the Greek words Koiman or Koimeterion (meaning sleeping place). There are many different types of cemeteries including Church, Commercial, Community, Family, Military, and Slave cemeteries.
When choosing your cemetery for burial and considering purchasing memorial property, it is wise to consider these facts:
|NOTE: State law allows purchasing memorial from outside vendors like Eastern Memorials in order to save money” please contact us at 703.393.0999 for Free Quote.|
Location: Will you go there often? Consider visiting the location and meeting the staff. Check out the physical condition of the grounds, roads and buildings.
Who Owns the Cemetery?: Is it a Private Cemetery, Church Cemetery, Local Municipality Cemetery or owned by a Profit Conglomerate.
Space: Will it just be for one person or for a family?
- Is the lot single depth (for one person) or double depth (for two people)
- Do they allow additional cremated remains in the single depth grave and what are the fees?
- What is the maximum size of the memorial allowed on a single and double site?
Religion: Does it meet your spiritual or religious requirements?
Pay Attention to:
- How friendly and knowledgeable cemetery staff members are?
- Are the staff member confortable interpreting cemetery map?
- What are the fees for memorial installation if purchased from the cemetery and if purchased from an outside vendor like Eastern Memorials.
- Does the cemetery allow an outside designer in assisting for selecting and design of memorial?
Military Service: Is the deceased a Veteran?
Cost: Cemeteries vary widely in costs. Be sure you understand and are aware of all related costs, including perpetual care, right of interment, opening/closing, vault, mausoleum, columbarium, etc. Ask for an itemized price list.
Rules and Regulations: Get a copy of the cemetery’s rules and regulations. Pay attention to the type and size of monuments that they allow. Ask if they have different rules and regulations for different sections of the cemetery. Be very specific about the types and sizes and the lot requirements.
Resale: Find out if the plot can be resold should the need arise. Does the cemetery have a buy back program? Is there a deed transfer fee and how much is it?
Aesthetics: Do you like the place and its surroundings?
Markers: What kinds of markers do they allow? What are the size limitations? What kinds of memorials are prohibited?
Flowers and Grave Decorations: Do they allow real, silk or any flowers on the gravesites? Pinwheels? Planting?
Consider walking through the cemetery: and talking to people who already have their loved ones interned there and ask them questions about the cemetery and the upkeep of the grounds and the memorials.
TYPES OF CEMETERIES
PRIVATE CEMETERIES can encompass anything from churches, schools, family or locally owned cemeteries. They were mainly set up to serve the needs of the entity that owned them. They are small, conveniently located and generally possess a relaxed, easy feeling. They are customarily cared for by an ‘old timer’ who enjoys his time maintaining the property while at the same time can offer assistance and knowledge to the families who come there. We love the humbleness of the smaller cemeteries and the fact that people have a lot of freedom in the choice of the monument that they can place in them.
A CHURCH CEMETERY is a sacred place. As the last resting place of the human body, the Church blesses its cemeteries and devotes them to the service of God and His people. This type of burial place is the creation that comes from the profound respect and reverence the Church holds for the human body. Many people with deep religious faiths prefer that their loved one continue to remain united with its church. The church cemetery also serves as a place of familiarity and allows for a feeling of great comfort for those family members who will visit the site. Most churches allow traditional granite memorials. All churches abide by their own set of rules and regulations.
Family Cemeteries are not as common today as they once were. During the early settlement of America if no public or church cemetery had been established locally, families would seek out a small plot of land bordering their property to create a family plot. As time went on, more city, church or commercial cemeteries opened up giving people the choice and opportunity to use them. Due to growth and development of communities, people moved away from their properties, leaving progress to take over thus annihilating many of the sites. In keeping in the FAMILY CEMETERY TRADITION, however, persons still interested in seeking a FAMILY TYPE CEMETERY tend to purchase ESTATES in private cemeteries to create their own private or family sections.
CONGLOMERATELY OWNED CEMETERIES
COMMERCIAL OR CONGLOMERATELY owned cemeteries are owned by large corporations and tend to be run more like business organizations. About 15 years ago there was a huge wave of cemetery purchasing across America by commercial companies. They saw a window of opportunity and determined that there was lots of money to be made in the cemetery as a business. Big businesses do what they do. They look for ways to make money in order to increase their profits to their shareholders. It is important to note that these increases will also be passed on to you as the consumer.
Many of our local conglomerate owned cemeteries are designed with the consideration of the cemetery aesthetics and lawn maintenance as being their chief concern. They are created to be more efficiently maintained with lower labor costs for maintenance in mind, thus leaving not much choice in selection when it comes to choosing monuments or memorials. Most memorials in commercial cemeteries must be flush with the ground to allow for ease of lawn cutting.
Commercial cemeteries tend to have higher priced plots and many unjustifiable fees associated with the burials and placement of the memorial. They often increase their fees from time to time. They have substantial enhancement fees which cover the enrichment and improvement costs of the continuing preservation of the cemetery. The problem with these conglomerate cemeteries is that they’ve lost the personal touch. They are cold and interested only in sales and profits. The good news is, they are, large enough and powerful enough to have the financial resources available to ‘give away’ products or services and to offer you a package plan or a payment plan. They do not leave room for a family to truly personalize their memorial and have limited and restricted selections of what you can place on their property.
MUNICIPALLY OWNED CEMETERIES
CITY or MUNICIPAL Cemeteries became widely popular for people who did not own land or property and who were looking for a local place to bury their loved one. CITY cemeteries are funded and maintained by the city. Costs for burial sites in city cemeteries are quite reasonable. Generally, when purchasing your plot, you also are required to contribute to an endowment fund which allows the cemetery and your site to be taken care of. Most Community cemeteries follow their own set of rules. They tend to be welcoming and pleasant in surroundings. We are fans of city cemeteries because they allow the consumer to place a fitting memorial to their loved one in their plot without lots of hassle or unnecessary regulating.
The concept of the Military Cemetery dates back from the 19th century, although for centuries soldiers struggled to give fallen comrades honored burials. Military cemeteries are a statement of our nation’s culture. Military Cemeteries show honor, respect and admiration for our gallant soldiers.
To sum it all up, this is how Eastern Memorials feels and what it could mean for you:
- CONGLOMERATE CEMETERIES: Too large, too many restrictions, too many fees, too highly priced, impersonal
- MUNICIPAL CEMETERIES: Not as large, reasonably priced, well maintained, this is a good choice
- PRIVATE: Small to mid size, least expensive, typically no or little fees, minimal restrictions, good maintenance, serene settings, family friendly.