How to Write the Perfect Inscription
Memorial plaque wording – When designing a memorial for a loved one, the inscription and decorative elements on the monument are a lasting tribute to represent their life, family and legacy. This inscription or wording is known as an epitaph.
Honouring a loved one is a special privilege, and it can be a daunting task to make all of the decisions necessary.
Writing the memorial plaque wording is challenging and made more complicated by the limited space available.
We have put together this guide to assist you if you’re struggling to decide on the best combination of lettering, motifs and words to convey a poignant and lasting tribute.
Memorial plaques can come in many shapes and sizes, materials and formats. They can be in the format of a bronze plaque, a lawn plaque or an inscription engraved or carved in stone.
They are usually written to be quite formal in tone, communicating the feeling of loss felt by family members, but also displaying optimism and hope as a tribute to the life of the person who has passed.
There are, however, no hard and fast rules. Rather the wording and design should be dictated by the way the person lived their life, the things that they loved and the things that people remember and loved about them.
A witty, humorous one liner may be the best way to sum up the life of a person who lived life impulsively and embraced fun. A person who was a performer, or a writer may be best remembered with their favourite song or quote. Looney Tunes voice actor Mel Blanc famously has “That’s all folks!” inscribed on his epitaph.
Although all memorials are personalised, there are several elements that most will have. The memorial plaque wording, length and layout are also determined by budget, the type of inscription and the kind of monument.
Most inscriptions and plaques will contain a combination of the following:
1. An opening or introduction like “Remembering…”, “In memory of”, or “Dedicated to the memory of”
2. The name of the deceased person or persons in a family monument.
3. The date that the person was born and died.
4. A personal message, quotation, prayer, poem or phrase that is meaningful to the person. This could be a saying they were well known for, something that summarises their personality or beliefs, or even a bible verse or famous inspirational quote.
5. A summary or end line. This is like a final word of sentiment showing love or respect for the deceased. Examples such as “Forever in God’s arms”, “Resting with Angels”, “Gone but not forgotten”, “Beloved Sister and Mother”, etc.
6. Decorative elements. These can be religious symbols, laser-etched portraits, actual mounted photos, or other meaningful graphics and symbols such as flowers.
7. Photographs and Portraits. These can be engraved, etched or attached to the plaque or headstone.
Combinations of wording are seemingly endless when writing inscriptions, but several commonly used phrases are used for introductions or opening wording on epitaphs. This section may also make reference to the relationships and connections that a person had.
Here are some examples to assist in your planning:
This usually includes their full name, but can sometimes include nicknames, pseudonyms, and initials. Sometimes middle names will be omitted due to space limitations.
When a person was known by an alternative name, this will sometimes be used in place of their full name, usually in quotation marks. For example, Edward “Teddy” Brown.
The dates on a monument can be used to indicate the day the person was born, the date that they died, or they may also include their age when they passed away.
These dates can be formatted in several ways, depending upon character limits, space, aesthetic, formality and tone and even the materials that the monument or plaque is made from. Here are some examples of ways to format dates on a memorial plaque.
Using modern techniques, we are able to etch or engrave a portrait of your loved one directly onto their grave or headstone or memorial plaque.
This is a frequent request for pet memorials too.
For a more traditional or classic option, actual photographs can be mounted behind glass and framed for protection from the elements too.
The T. Wrafter & Sons team are very experienced in offering support and guidance to ensure that your memorial plaque wording is a fitting tribute to your loved one. We work in collaboration with you to offer suggestions and advice that will honour your memories.
We welcome the opportunity to work alongside you and invite you to make an appointment to visit our Nudgee office to discuss your requirements.