What to Engrave on an Urn Inscription

What is the correct format for an urn inscription?

Here are some examples and ideas of what to engrave on a cremation urn to personalize for your loved one.

Urn Inscription Ideas

Standard Urn Inscription Format

In Loving Memory
John Doe
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 2022

Other first lines:

  • In Loving Memory Of
  • In Memoriam
  • In Remembrance
  • In Fondest Memory Of
  • In Treasured Memory Of
  • In Honored Memory Of
  • In Cherished Memory Of
  • Happy Memories Of

Other epitaph date formats:

  • 1/1/43 – 12/31/22
  • 1/1/1943 – 12/31/2022
  • Jan. 1, 1943 – Dec. 31, 2022
  • January 1943 – December 2022
  • 1943 – 2022

Additional lines:

Often a short epitaph, 2-15 words in length, will be engraved below the dates. (See below for list of short epitaphs.)

The format would then look like this:

In Loving Memory
Jane Doe
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1999
Faithful Wife, Loving Mother

TIP: Please be aware that engraving space on a cremation urn is typically limited. You may want to put a lot of text on the urn, but in our professional experience “less is more.” If there is more you would like engraved, you can often engrave a poem or quote on the back or top side of the urn. You can also get an engraved memorial, such as a plaque, photo album, candle holder, or name plate to place near the urn with additional engraved text.

Engraving a middle name:

  • John D. Doe
  • John David Doe

Engraving a nickname:

  • John “Jack” Doe
  • John David “Jack” Doe
  • John D. “Jack” Doe

Bible Verses for Urn Inscription

  • Love is patient, love is kind.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • God is our refuge and our strength.
  • The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
  • Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)
  • Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (ESV)
  • He gives His beloved sleep.
  • The Lord bless thee and keep thee;
    The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;
    The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.
  • And so we will be with the Lord forever.
  • We live by faith, not by sight.

More Scriptures here: In Loving Memory Bible Verses for Epitaph

Short Epitaph Poems for Urn Inscription

You are not forgotten, loved one
Nor will you ever be
As long as life and memory last
We will remember thee

Memory is a lovely lane,
Where hearts are ever true,
A lane I so often travel down,
Because it leads to you.

His charming ways and smiling face,
Are a pleasure to recall,
He had a kindly word for each,
And died beloved by all.

A silent thought, a secret tear,
Keeps his memory ever dear.
Time eases the edge of grief,
Memory turns back every leaf.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Though absent you are very near
Still loved, still missed, and very dear

There is a link death cannot sever,
Love and remembrance last forever

Remembered always with love sincere
Memories keep him ever near

You still live on in the hearts and minds
Of the loving family you left behind

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee

More: 101 Funeral Poems

Short Epitaphs for Urn Inscription

  • Loving Father, Husband, Brother, and Friend
  • Loving Mother, Wife, Sister, and Friend
  • Faithful and Loving Husband
  • Faithful and Loving Wife (Mother, Sister, etc.)
  • Sadly Missed, Lovingly Remembered
  • Forever Remembered, Forever Missed
  • Safe In the Arms of Jesus
  • Asleep In Jesus
  • He, Being Dead, Yet Speaketh (Hebrews 11:4)
  • Absent From the Body, Present With the Lord
  • In God’s Care
  • I Know My Redeemer Lives
  • We Love You Always
  • He Loved and Was Loved
  • In the Cross of Christ I Glory
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
  • Blessed Are the Dead That Die In the Lord
  • In His Keeping
  • In God’s Hand
  • Forever In Our Hearts
  • At Rest
  • At Peace
  • Though Gone From Sight To Memory Dear
  • Until We Meet Again
  • Safe At Last the Harbour Past
  • Forever In Our Thoughts
  • Rest In Peace
  • May He Rest In Peace
  • May She Rest In Peace
  • Much Loved
  • Peace At Last

At Urns Northwest, we offer engraving on nearly all of our wood urns. We can help you set up the perfect inscription or epitaph for your loved one.

Inscriptions for Companion Urns for Two People

One of the most common questions we get regarding inscriptions is about companion urns – how do you engrave when one spouse is still living?

Here are some tips.

Inscription When Both Are Deceased

When both individuals are deceased, the classic epitaph formats are often the ideal inscription. Here are two ideas, which include names and dates of birth and death:

Companion Urn Inscription Ideas
1. Names & Dates Side by Side
Only when space allows!
Companion Urn Inscription Ideas
2. Names & Dates

Inscription When Both Are Living

When you are a couple pre-planning together for your final arrangements and are considering a companion urn, you have the opportunity to discuss how you would like to be memorialized with an inscription.

Generally, pre-planned inscriptions include both names and a sentiment expressing your devotion to one another, such as “Together Forever”, “Loving Husband, Devoted Wife”, or your wedding date.

Companion Urns Inscription Ideas
3. Names & Quote (no dates)
Companion Urns Inscription Ideas
4. Names & Wedding Date
Companion Urn Inscription Ideas
5. Names, Birth Dates, Wedding Date

Inscription When One Is Deceased

When one of the companions has passed away, the years married are known and definite, so an option for inscription on the companion urn is to list the number of years the couple was married, or the dates through which they were together.

Another idea which we will often suggest in this situation is to have the urn engraved with an inscription similar one of the ones shown below. Then make arrangements for after both individuals are deceased for a simple engraved metal plate to be inscribed with the dates and placed over the top of the original inscription.

This gives the living spouse the ability to have a beautifully engraved memorial urn, then have complete and accurate epitaph information on the urn for posterity.

Companion Urns Inscription Ideas
6. Names & Years Married
Companion Urns Inscription Ideas
7. Names & Dates Married

Read more about companion urns in our Complete Guide to Companion Urns.

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