Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of general questions about our process. If you have any further questions at all, please contact us.

I've lost a loved one. What should I do?

The first thing to focus on is the funeral. It must be planned and paid for, or at least a plan needs to be made for payment. You should look through all the available records to see if there was a prepaid funeral contract. This may be kept with or near a will or estate planning file. The deceased may even have left instructions about what kind of funeral or other service he or she might want. You should look for this information.

How long should I wait before ordering a memorial?

The right time to order a memorial is a very personal decision. Some families chose to select the memorial at the same time they are making funeral arrangements. Other families need more time to make this lasting and important decision, so they might wait until they can decide what the most appropriate memorial might be. Still others want to have their own arrangements made prior to their death so they won't have to burden their loved ones with these decisions. We call this pre-need purchasing, and it is very common in our industry. There is no "right" answer to this question--it is a very personal decision based on specific family situations. It is not necessary to wait for a grave to settle. A memorial can be ordered immediately after a death.

Should I make an appointment to discuss my memorial needs?

An appointment is not always necessary, but to ensure that we can give you the attention you deserve it doesn't hurt to either call ahead or set up an appointment to make sure a representative will be in the office when it is most convenient for you.

What is a headstone? Is it the same thing as a grave marker?

Several terms are used to refer to graveside markers. These include headstone, gravestone, marker, memorial, monument and tombstone.

How are monuments made and where do they come from?

The material used for stone monuments is quarried from beneath the earth’s surface. Huge blocks of stone are cut from cliffs of the quarry and jolted from the ledge with a dynamite charge, then lifted to the surface by cranes. Once at the factory, these blocks are sawed into slabs, polished, then broken in selected sizes for monuments and markers. Carving and lettering is done using a combination of sandblasting and hand sculpturing.

Are all monuments and other stone products the same, regardless of where they are purchased?

No. Granite and other stone material come out of the earth in varying quality grades. The quality grade (i.e. A, B, C grade, A being best) is determined by several factors. Some of these factors include the stone's overall appearance, color and pattern consistency, mineral content, and density.

How is etching done on a monument, and can it be done on any monument, regardless of color?

Etching is usually done on black granite. This is because the process used to create the etch is simply scratching, or removing the polished surface of the stone, revealing the lighter, natural color of the rock underneath. The image that is seen in an etch is visible because of this contrast of the dark polished surface and the lighter stone color underneath.

Many of the older monuments in the cemetery are hard to read. Why, and will my monument be this way with time?

It is true that many of the older monuments are hard to read. This is because of the material that was used plentifully at the time they were erected. Marble and limestone were readily available and easy to cut because they are relatively soft, compared to granite. The industry has learned over time that this material does not weather as well as granite. As a result, granite has become the material of choice for monument manufacturing.

If I want a special design, can you do it?

We pride ourselves in our ability to personalize each and every memorial. When you sit down with one of our design specialists, they can help you design a very meaningful and personal memorial. We have thousands of design options to chose from, or we can accommodate your special requests to personalize your memorial.

Do all cemeteries allow the same type of memorial?

Cemeteries each have their own requirements for the size and type of memorials that they will allow. Some restrict the color of granite that can be used, and others only allow bronze. We will work with you to determine what is allowable for your cemetery and what will look best on your gravesite.

Can I see a preview of what my memorial will look like before you install it at the cemetery?

Before any work is put to stone, a paper proof is put together so the customer can see what the finished product will look like. This is so you can verify all spelling and dates to ensure that no errors are made.

How long will it take to produce my monument or marker?

In most cases it takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to produce an average monument. This includes providing a proof for approval. On in-stock items the time of production is usually less. Sometimes we are able to accommodate rush orders on simple jobs.

How long does it take for lettering work to be completed?

Outside work is very dependent on variables not within our control such as weather. We try to complete all lettering requests within a timely fashion, sometimes within 3 to 4 weeks. This includes getting rubs of the existing lettering so that we can duplicate size and style of letters to match.

Do you complete lettering work and install monuments in the winter time?

No outside work is done during the winter. While monuments can be completed during the winter we can not set them in the cemetery until spring. Most cemeteries in this are close during the winter months and don't allow work to be done.

Who will deliver our monument and set it in the cemetery?

We deliver and set our own monuments. There are services available to do this for us, but we know that the appearance of a monument in the cemetery is the final result of our labors and the proof of our abilities. The most beautiful monument can look terrible if it is not set properly. Also, the lasting beauty of a monument over the years has much to do with the techniques used in the setting process. This is not the time for short cuts and haphazard methods. In short, we have seen the work others do, and we are not impressed. As long as humanly possible, we will directly supervise the setting of our monuments.

What type of guarantee comes with your memorials?

Earl Wenz Inc. has been in business for 150 years and we stand behind our work 100%. All workmanship is guaranteed to be of the utmost quality.

How much do memorials cost?

There are many variables that will influence the cost of your memorial. Since most memorials are fairly customized, it is almost impossible to give a general price for same sized monuments. Choices include size, color, carving or etching, finish, and the amount of lettering. These will all effect the price of your monument. Estimates can be given upon request, but cannot be determined until all variables have been discussed and decided upon. Even the cemetery where your monument will be erected will influence the cost as each cemetery has set fees they charge for installation. Please contact us for details.

Why should I buy a memorial from Earl Wenz Inc.?

Earl Wenz Inc. specializes in making memorials. We have our own manufacturing plant and do our own work. We are experts in the field of memorials, having been in business since 1843. While a cemetery may be convenient, it does not specialize in memorials. We can provide the expertise to design an appropriate memorial for you, and we offer a complete selection of designs and colors.