Seven Keys to Writing a Headstone Inscription that Honors Your Loved One

By: VGFS
Friday, August 6, 2021

A headstone is an expensive, permanent, and important monument so it’s essential that you get it right.

Once you’ve chosen the grave marker, it’s time to think about the words you want to inscribe on it, as they will live on forever as a tribute to the departed. Memorial quotes can be lengthy messages or short sentences or anything in between. They can be flowery, romantic, poignant, or concise, but whatever the length or style, it should reflect the essence of the one who passed on.

In the following article, we will share seven important considerations that can help you create the perfect epitaph to honor your departed loved one.

Don’t rush the process.

A headstone is a big purchase and writing an epitaph for it is vitally important. You should never be pushed into something you don’t want or hurried through the process. You may forget something or even make an error on the birth or death date. Take time to think through what you want, including the overall tone, wording, and font. Once you have everything outlined and selected, double-check the spelling and date from the birth certificate and the date from the death certificate. It’s easy it is to get these facts wrong amid the stress surrounding the loss and the funeral. For that reason, it is always a good idea to have another person verify the epitaph for accuracy before submitting it for inscription.

Keep it simple.

Headstones can involve many bells, whistles, and tailored options. With so many choices available, it leaves plenty of room for error. Instead, go for understated elegance, such as the name, key dates, and possibly a brief inscription or quote. Keep the ornamentation simple, too; perhaps a cross or favorite flower. In the end, you will keep the costs down and end up with a far more beautiful headstone.                 

Steer clear of clichés.

Phrases like “Rest in Peace” and “In Loving Memory” have become overused. If you’re responsible for writing the headstone copy and are feeling stuck, ask your family and friends for help in rephrasing these unimaginative sayings. With some creativity, you can convey the same sentiments but in a way that feels more meaningful.

Turn to the classics for inspiration.

If you find it difficult to create your own emotionally resonant inscription, get inspired by the best. Choose a line from a poem, hymn, song, Scripture, or famous author. Better yet, choose a saying or verse that was a favorite of your departed loved one.

Conduct some research.

If you’re really struggling with the design and inscription for the headstone, consider viewing images online or visiting a local cemetery to get some ideas. You will come across an endless array of options, so strive to find something that feels appropriate and strikes an emotional chord.

Don’t go overboard on customization.

Although personalization is a buzz word in the funeral industry right now, your headstone inscription is not the place to try to tell the entire story of your loved one’s life. Leave the Ravens-themed sendoff or dance party for the celebration of life and keep the epitaph more practical. Your departed loved one was and will always be special and unique. No single phrase, poem, or image can capture them completely and that’s perfectly OK.

Look to the future.

What headstone inscription, quote, or description of your loved one will you treasure a year from now? What will still warm your heart and stir up fond memories in a decade? Keep it simple, think about the qualities that resonate most, and go with your heart.

We hope you find these headstone inscription guidelines helpful. If you need additional pointers or information, please reach out to us anytime. It is always our pleasure to assist you.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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