Information Center

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to wait any length of time after a death before ordering a memorial?

No. Typically it takes one-to-six months to produce and deliver a memorial. Most cemeteries will have the ground prepared and the foundation poured well before that.


Do I need to purchase a memorial even in the case of cremation?

No. Marking a grave space is entirely optional and up to you. For the sake of reflection and comfort, however, we recommend a memorial of some type. It also provides easy access to genealogical information for future generations.


Does every cemetery allow the same types of memorials?
No. Marker and monument regulations can vary wildly from cemetery to cemetery. In some cases, regulations can even vary from section to section in the same cemetery. It’s always best to first check with your cemetery or a qualified monument company (which, we are), to be sure your monument conforms to cemetery restrictions.


How long does it take to complete a memorial?
If using inventory stock material, we expect to deliver your completed memorial six to eight weeks after you’ve approved of your artwork and design. Custom memorials and monuments from non-inventory stock can take up to three-to-six months to complete and deliver. Many variables can influence completion time, from quarry location and rarity of stone to seasonal weather and changes in final design.


Why would I buy a memorial in advance?
Memorials are made to represent the person they are made for. Who better to decide how they want to be remembered than that person? And, of course, because decision-making is far more bearable in advance than in times of grief.


What type of material should a memorial be made of?
These days, most monuments and markers are made from one of three materials: granite, marble, and bronze. We recommend granite in most cases because of the design freedom it offers and the durability of the stone. Visit our Information Center for more details.


Who will install my memorial?
In most cases, Patten Monument installs the memorials we make. There are, however, certain cemeteries that require the use of their own installers. In those cases, Patten will deliver the monument to the cemetery or designated area.


How long does a memorial and/or marker last?
Monument lifespans vary based on the type of material used. Marble, for instance, will break down relatively quickly while granite will endure typical weathering for centuries.


How much does a monument cost?
The cost of markers and monuments vary widely based on a number of factors. Size, materials, finish and extra items such as vases or ceramic photos can all affect the cost of a memorial. We are happy to give you specific prices. Just contact us.


What is the difference between granite and marble?
Marble is a metamorphic stone. Metamorphic meaning to “change in form.” As such, marble tends to break down over time, especially when exposed to the elements. Granite, on the other hand, is an igneous rock, so it lasts much longer, showing little visible wear for centuries at a time.


How are the carving and design put on the stone?
Please refer to our Information Center for complete answers regarding how markers are made.


If I want a special design, can you do it?
Yes, Patten Monument is a complete custom manufacturer and can likely fabricate any design you would like.


Should I use years only or month, day and year?
This question is an entirely personal choice. Listing the full date of birth and date of passing offers more complete information for future generations, but like we said, the choice is wholly yours.


If I run into problems at the cemetery who should I go to for help?
If the problem concerns the physical marker we suggest you call us first. If it is a different type of issue, and you cannot get clarification from the cemetery, you can contact the State of Michigan’s Cemetery Commissioner.


I’ve never bought a memorial before. Where do I begin?
Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our 5 Things to Know Before You Choose page for clear, complete information about markers and monuments. Doing so will make you a more informed customer, more confident to design the marker of your choosing.


Better Business Bureau
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Funeral Directors Association
Indiana Funeral Director's Association
Monument Builders of North America