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Comparing The Different Types of Grave Markers: An In-Depth Guide

The way you choose to honor and remember a loved one who has passed away is a big decision. It's tough because, during this time of bereavement, funeral arrangements have to be made. And one of the main things to consider in all of this is your loved one's final resting place. With so many types of grave markers available and numerous ways to set up a gravesite, it can feel overwhelming to make a decision. In this informational article, we take a look at the difference between monuments and memorials and compare the types of grave markers that are available on the market today. 


Typically made of granite and marble, headstones are the most common type of grave marker used for a gravesite. A headstone's purpose is to identify the individual buried in a particular graveyard plot. There are many ways to design a headstone. Most include the name, birth and death dates of the deceased, while some also have a special quote or phrase. These engravings help visitors identify the deceased. Depending on the headstone's design, there may be ample space to add imagery. 

If the deceased was in the military, the headstone will often include a sign or symbol indicating the deceased's division. Additionally, it's common for married couples to share a headstone, but this type of grave marker can be assigned to individuals, as well. If you choose a headstone for your deceased loved one, make sure to look into rules and regulations for cemetery headstones

Memorials vs. Monuments

What's the difference between monuments and memorials? While a monument is a type of structure created to commemorate a person or event, a memorial serves as a focus for remembering something or someone. We take a closer look and compare the memorials vs. monuments in this section. 


A memorial is an object or structure that is designed to remind people of a person who has passed away. When it comes to honoring the deceased, many memorial ideas to choose from. For example, if the deceased is cremated, you can store their ashes in an urn, plant a garden or erect a memorial bench. 

On the other hand, if the deceased will be buried, there are other options to consider. Sculptures and grave markers are two popular choices. When it comes to sculptures, marble is predominantly used because it's easy to work with and has a beautiful finish. 

Because there are many types of grave markers, they can be made in any size to conform to the cemetery or memorial park regulations. Most memorial grave markers are made of bronze or granite, both of which are easy to engrave and customize. Cemeteries typically prefer granite because it is an extremely hard stone that can withstand weathering and comes in a variety of colors. Bronze, marble, sandstone and slate are also popular, though they're not as durable. Most bronze memorials are sanded, polished and affixed to either a wooden plaque or a granite surface for stability. 


Often the same shape as headstones, monuments come in a variety of shapes and sizes like lions, large obelisks and tall and skinny spindles. As a result, they're often thought of as larger headstones. You'll see monuments in cemeteries in the forms of saints, angels or animals watching over the deceased. While sandstone and slate have been used to construct monuments for many years, susceptibility to erosion makes both types of rock unsuitable for contemporary monuments. If you're considering a monument for your deceased loved one, make sure to ask if the cemetery has specific requirements like height restrictions. 

Browse Our Selection to Find the Perfect Type of Grave Marker for Your Loved One

Choosing the right type of grave marker for your deceased loved one is a big decision that should be handled with care. The experts at Legacy Headstones are here to help. With years of experience-backed knowledge, we can guide you to find the best type of grave marker for your deceased loved one. We offer a variety of options from flatupright, and premium customized headstones to memorial accessories. If you have any questions about our selection or would like more information, contact us today.

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