1. Memorials
  2. Information
  3. Types of Memorials

Types of Memorials

When the unfortunate time to choose a gravestone or memorial to commemorate a loved one, the amount of information and choices can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of confusion around the terminology of memorials and monuments, gravestones and tombstones, plaques and urns.

Which one is which and how do you decide what’s right for you and what’s appropriate? It’s no surprise that deciding on the right funeral options and memorials can be a tedious task. Call Monumental Masons Brisbane to take the weight off in finding the perfect commemorative memorial for your loved one.


When looking at commemorating a loved one’s life, it can be a bit daunting and overwhelming to look at all the options and make a choice. From urns to tombstones, plaques to headstones and everything in between, there are so many options around that we thought we would give you a little information about memorials to help sort it all out. If you are still unsure, give your local monumental mason or memorial specialist a call and they will be able to provide you with some more information.

Common Terms for Memorials

  • Headstone
  • Gravestone
  • Tombstone
  • Monument or Full Monument

What is a monument?

A monument is a structure that has been erected to commemorate a person or event that has passed. It is placed over a grave to remember a person’s life and can be a statue or other type of construction. A monument generally refers to the entire physical memorial, this could be a selection of things from just a headstone with base, to what is called a ‘full monument’.

What are full monuments?

A full monument is exactly how it sounds. A full monument is more elaborate than your standard plaque or headstone. A full monument is generally identified by a headstone with a base or slab, but the major identifier is the kerb or border which runs around the entire boundary of the grave. These also feature a full-length slab covering the entire grave or in some cases a garden bed or pebbles/chipping.

These aren’t the only items that can be found on a full monument. There are many monument accessories that are often added including crucifixes and other religious motifs, vases & flowers, lamps and solar lights, statues, urns etc.

Aren’t memorial and monument the same thing?

The words ‘memorial’ and ‘monument’ are regularly used interchangeably, although they are slightly different things. A memorial is a structure, such as a monument, that is intended to celebrate the memory of a person or an event.

On the other hand, a monument is a structure that is built for symbolic or commemorative reasons, but it can be used as a memorial (confusing we know!).

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What's the difference between gravestones & tombstones?

A gravestone, also known as a tombstone, is the term used for an entire monument, including both the base and the headstone. It is generally used as an indicator for where a deceased person has been buried, with details of their life and/or death.


Information about headstones

The term ‘headstone’ is quite a common one but can mean a few different things to different people. The words headstone, tombstone, and gravestone are used interchangeably (although this is technically incorrect), however generally a headstone is the part of a gravestone that has an inscription on it. They can be of varying sizes and materials and are traditional grave additions in some religions.

Urns or Vases

The terms ‘urn’ and ‘vase’ can be used interchangeably, or even together such as a marble urn vase. An urn is, in essence, a vase that has a cover on the top. It can be of varying shapes and sizes, as well as different structures and materials. If someone uses the term urn, instead of vase, they are usually referring to how the object is used rather than what it looks like. Urns are used to hold cremation returns and are seen as things of beauty to hold loved ones in.

What are plaques?

Plaques can go by many names when it comes to remembrance purposes, including commemorative plaque and memorial plaque. A plaque is generally attached to a stone, wall or other vertical surface and can be made of a variety of materials, including stone, wood or ceramic. They are used to indicate the resting place of a loved one and commemorate their life. They can be used in place of headstones or in addition to other memorial options.

Memorial Plaque

What are cemetery requirements & religious restrictions

A lot of people aren’t aware but cemeteries often have different areas or sections, sometimes not easily identifiable. These sections often have regulations set by the cemetery and are often divided by religious belief. These rules define what type of monument can be erected in which area. When choosing a monument it is important to first identify what area or section of the cemetery your loved one will be laid to rest.

Which memorial option should I choose?

It is completely up to you as to what memorial option you feel best suits the loved one you are commemorating. You may find one fits perfectly, or you may find you would like a combination of different options to get exactly what you’d like. One thing is for sure, with the variety of options out there, you will be able to find (or custom make) a suitable memorial for what you are after.

If you are wanting more information regarding any of the above memorial options, or are unsure as to the best option for you, give Monumental & Masonry Supplies a call on 07 3265 5433 or complete a quote request form. We have been supplying premium quality stone products since 1980 and we can be trusted to provide a quality long-lasting product for your loved one's final resting place.