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Memorial vases

Memorial vases are a popular choice to help commemorate the life of a loved one. This guide will explain how you can choose a grave vase, from the material and design to adding a personalised message.

What is a memorial vase?

A memorial vase, also known as a grave vase or cemetery vase, is designed to hold flowers at a graveside. For many people, putting flowers on a grave or memorial is a way to pay their respects and honour a memory. A grave vase will help to keep flowers fresh while also making the grave or memorial look well-tended and colourful. You can choose to have a standalone grave vase which fits to the ground on a spike or a memorial vase which forms part of a larger memorial. There is also the option of having a memorial vase with its own inscription.

How to choose a grave vase

If you'd like a memorial vase to commemorate your loved one, you'll need to consider whether you would like a separate vase, or whether you will choose a headstone that incorporates a flower holder.

In some cases, depending on the design of the headstone you’ve chosen, you may decide to have two memorial vases, placing one either side of the headstone. 

You may also want to consider the following:

Rules and regulations for grave vases

It’s important to be aware that churchyards and cemeteries have different rules about the kinds of memorial vases they allow. It can be helpful to understand these before you choose the vase, to make sure you choose something suitable and avoid being disappointed.

Your local Funeral Director will advise you on your options, based on the place of burial you have chosen.

What types of designs are available for memorial vases?

Memorial vases come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some vases have a flat surface which can be used to engrave a message. Those with a rounded surface are often better suited to stand at the side of a headstone, particularly if you want to display on either side.

  • Stone grave memorials: Designed either as stand-alone memorials or built into the headstone, these memorials often include a removable chamber for water or oasis to preserve the flowers, as well as an area for engraving.

  • Grave vases with spikes: Designed to be stand-alone, these spike grave vases are designed to be pushed into the group next to a grave, allowing to move the location of the flowers when you wish to.

  • Stand-alone grave vases or grave pots: Designed either in a traditional vase shape or as a pot, these stand-alone vases can be placed on or around the grave.

What is the best material for my grave vase?

Granite, marble, and stone memorial vases are all popular choices because of their durable nature. You can also choose for them to be made from the same material as the headstone, if you would like these to match. Stone, granite, and marble all tend to work best for simpler designs.

  • Granite: Polished black granite is a popular choice for traditional memorial designs.
  • Marble: The creamy appearance of marble creates a softer, more delicate appearance.
  • Stone: Stone has a soft, natural appearance which is often well-suited to country churchyards.

As an alternative to stone, metal memorial vases are also durable and tend to offer some more intricate designs.

  • Stainless steel: If you would like the vase to keep its shiny surface over time, stainless steel is a good option.
  • Bronze: This material changes colour over time, taking on a less shiny and sometimes almost greenish tinge. This makes it a good choice if you’d like the vase to blend in more with its surroundings.

Personalising a memorial vase

Most cemetery vases can be engraved to include a special message about your loved one. The size of the grave vase and the available space for engraving will affect the length of the message you can include. If you opt for a larger memorial vase, rather than one of the smaller designs of the grave vase, you may wish to add a picture, which can be a beautiful and personal touch.

It’s important to be aware of any rules or regulations that affect the design and wording you can include on your memorial vases.

Your local Dignity Funeral Director will be able to provide advice and guidance on what you can and cannot include.

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