What’s a Companion Headstone? Types, Cost & Designs

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A traditional headstone usually marks the grave of an individual. However, that’s by no means the only type of headstone there is. 

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For example, a companion headstone is an alternative that some families and individuals may consider for various reasons. Whether you’re planning your own funeral or planning a loved one’s, this might be an option worth looking into.

That said, you might also have some questions about the topic first. This general overview should address them. It covers what a companion headstone is, what types of companion headstone designs are available, how much a companion headstone might cost, and where you can purchase one online.

What’s a Companion (Double) Headstone? 

Sometimes the burial site of two people who were very close in life will feature two headstones close to each other. A companion headstone is slightly different. Instead of two separate headstones, it’s one single headstone for two people. Thus, a companion headstone is typically larger than most average headstones.

Most companion headstones mark the burial sites of spouses. However, there are instances when it makes sense to use a companion headstone to honor a different type of relationship.

For instance, sometimes siblings may be very close. If two siblings passed away before either one married, their loved ones might choose a companion headstone for them. Two siblings might make this choice for themselves when planning a funeral, too. They may request that when the second sibling passes, their loved ones bury them in the same plot as the first sibling, complete with a companion headstone.

Sometimes companion headstones also serve a basic practical purpose. For example, if space in a cemetery or family plot is limited, a companion headstone may be necessary.

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How Much Does a Companion Headstone Cost?

A range of factors can influence how much a headstone costs. Naturally, because companion headstones tend to be larger than others, their average prices also tend to be higher. They also require greater support, resulting in a higher installation cost.

Other factors which may contribute to the cost of a companion headstone include: 

  • Material: The material from which a headstone is made will play a significant role in its price. For example, although marble headstones are less durable than granite, they still tend to cost more, as many find marble more attractive.
  • Customization: The degree to which a companion headstone features custom elements, like laser engravings, will contribute to the overall cost.
  • Size: While most companion headstones are larger than average headstones, that’s not always the case. If one person is buried atop another, the headstone can be smaller, as it’s technically only marking one burial plot. Regardless, companion headstones can range from flat grave markers to large monuments. Typically, the larger the headstone, the greater the cost.

Because various factors play a role in the cost of a companion headstone, like all types of grave markers, the cost of one can vary substantially on a case-by-case basis. Although some companion headstones cost as little as $400 or $500, when you account for installation costs, you should expect to spend at least slightly over $1000 for a companion headstone. An ornate and large companion headstone can even cost over $10,000.

Different Types of Companion Headstones

Companion headstones come in a range of styles and types. The following are among the more common.

Flat

A flat companion headstone is exactly what it sounds like: a flat, ground-level grave marker. Some choose this type of headstone because it tends to be the most affordable option. However, others may specify they want their headstones to be flat because the idea of a grave marker that calls attention to itself conflicts with their values.

Wedge

A wedge companion headstone typically resembles a small rectangular stone rising from the ground that’s been cut at an angle, creating a facade that can bear the names of the deceased. This option will cost more than any other type of headstone due to the amount of material required to make it, but it’s also sturdier than a traditional upright headstone.

Upright

An upright companion headstone resembles any other common type of upright headstone. It’s a slab that stands upright at a burial site. It may feature a base, but it doesn’t need to.

An upright headstone tends to cost more than a flat headstone but less than a wedge style. However, upright headstones can vary significantly in size. Some are much larger than others. It’s therefore possible for an upright companion headstone to cost more than a wedge.

Companion Headstone Design ideas

A companion headstone’s design may not necessarily be that different from the design of any other type of traditional headstone. However, sometimes the design of a companion headstone is unique, reflecting the bond between those whose burial spots it marks. Design ideas to consider include the following.

Hearts

Some companion headstones resemble two hearts overlapping one another. This design is ideal for two spouses or romantic partners. 

Usually, this type of companion headstone is upright. It might also have a light pink color, enhancing its symbolic qualities.

Rings

A similar companion headstone design consists of an upright, wedge, or flat headstone with an image of two rings interlocking on the facade. Often, this image will separate the names of the deceased.

Interlocking rings suggest romantic love in the same way heart shapes do. However, because this type of headstone doesn’t require any special carving or shaping, it may cost less than one that resembles overlapping hearts.

"Gap" companion headstones

Sometimes, a companion headstone will resemble a typical upright or wedge headstone, with one difference: there may be a gap in the middle of the headstone, separating it into two sections. Often, loved ones will place flowers, candles, or other or special items in this gap.

The part of the facade below the gap might also feature the last name of the two people whose grave it marks. Their respective sections of the upright facade may thus only include their first names.

Portraits

It’s not uncommon for companion headstones to feature portraits of the deceased. Laser engraving and similar innovations have allowed artists to create very accurate likenesses for headstones.

However, adding this feature to a headstone will increase the price. That isn’t meant to discourage anyone from buying a headstone with an engraved portrait. It’s simply a factor worth being aware of.

Where Can You Purchase a Companion Headstone Online?

Buying headstones used to require working through a funeral home or local supplier in person. That’s no longer the case. Now, you can buy companion headstones online. 

There are many reasons to consider doing so. For example, buying online gives you the opportunity to compare more prices. It also gives you access to a wider range of options.

However, even if you like the idea of buying a companion headstone through the internet, you might not know where to buy headstones online. Don’t worry, if so. The following are a few options worth keeping in mind.

Amazon

Many headstone suppliers have their own websites through which they sell their products. However, some people prefer the convenience of buying a headstone through a platform with which they’re already familiar. If you feel this way, you can buy a companion headstone through Amazon.

Just be sure to check reviews before doing so. Amazon often simply facilitates the sale of items like headstones, with another company actually being the seller. When buying an item as important as a headstone, you want to be sure you’re buying from a reputable source.

Memorials.com

Memorials.com is one of the top online sellers of headstones, as well as caskets, memorial jewelry, and similar products. You might choose to purchase a companion headstone from this retailer if you’re also buying several other memorial or funeral items, and you don’t wish to make the process more complicated than it needs to be by purchasing different items from different sellers.

Memorials.com also boasts a reasonably extensive selection of companion headstones at various price points. Browse the shop’s inventory to see if they offer what you’re looking for.

Etsy

Many people don’t realize that it’s possible to purchase headstones from Etsy. You might choose to do so if you want to know your purchase is supporting an individual artist instead of a large company.

You may be able to find an artist on Etsy who does commissions, creating a custom headstone based on your preferences. This will likely cost you more than you would spend on a prefabricated companion headstone, but if you can afford it, you might be willing to go this route to ensure a headstone matches what you’re looking for perfectly.

As always, though, be sure to check reviews thoroughly before ordering a custom companion headstone through Etsy. Additionally, if you’re commissioning a custom headstone, understand that it may take an artist some time to complete. You shouldn’t commission a custom headstone for a burial that’s happening in a few days, unless you can place the headstone later on.

Legacy Headstones

Since 1920, Legacy Headstones has cultivated a reputation for being one of the most reliable headstone suppliers in the nation. Now, you can buy from this company directly through its website. Along with a range of headstone styles, Legacy also offers tools to help you customize your headstone’s features and overall design.

Companion Headstones: Celebrating a Special Bond

Naturally, a companion headstone isn’t ideal for all burials. However, when two people shared a unique bond, burying them next to one another with a single companion headstone marking their graves could be a symbolic way to keep that bond alive.

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