Urn Inscription: Ideas and Standard Formats
You have selected the perfect cremation urn for your loved one, and you know that you would like it laser engraved with a personalized inscription including the name and dates of birth and death. But now it is time to decide exactly what to have inscribed, you wonder: what format should we use? Should it be just the name, or should the urn say "In Loving Memory" first? What about the dates? Just numbers, or should the months be spelled out? Should there be a memorial quote or epitaph? What one short phrase could possibly sum up a person's life?
Ultimately, these decisions come down to the personal preferences of the family. But if you would like some guidance on the standard formats commonly used for urn inscriptions, or ideas for meaningful quotes, poems, and Bible verses, here is our guide to cremation urn inscriptions.
Standard urn inscrption format
In Loving Memory
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1999
Other first lines
In Loving Memory Of
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 – 12/31/99
1/1/1943 – 12/31/1999
Jan. 1, 1943 – Dec. 31, 1999
1943 – 1999
Additional lines format
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
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1999
Faithful Wife, Loving Mother
Including a middle name
John D. Doe
John David Doe
Including a nickname
John “Jack” Doe
Urn Inscription Epitaph Quotes
Bible verses for epitaph
Choosing a select few word to represent and memorialize the life of a loved one is a daunting task. When putting an inscription on an urn, or an epitaph on a headstone, the important features to look for in a quote are significance, brevity, and relevance.
If you would like to honor the faith of a loved one by inscribing a Scripture verse on the urn or headstone, the significance of the quotation is already inherent. After all, the Bible is the Word of God, and what could be more significant than the very breath of God?
As for brevity, below we have gathered a selection of brief and fitting Scripture verses for an epitaph. These verses are listed in the English Standard Version of the Bible, with links to the traditional King James Version (KJV, which uses words like “thee” and “thou” and verbs that endeth in “-eth”) as well as the popular and contemporary New Living Translation (NLT). These Bible verses will fit on most cremation urns and memorial headstones in a readable font size. If the verse sounds familiar but not quite the way you remember it, it may be that you have heard the verse before in the King James Version or some other translation.
The last feature that should be considered for a epitaph inscription is relevance to the individual’s life and faith. Only you and those closest to the deceased can determine this, so peruse these Scriptures with an eye toward the verse’s relevance to your loved one.
Scriptures are listed below in the order that they appear in the Bible.
Popular Bible verses
Poems for epitaph
Poetry has long served as a means for expressing thoughts and emotions concerning life, death, love, and loss. A quote from a poem can be perfectly suited for honoring your loved one's life, while at the same time expressing your sorrow in their passing.
For inscriptions on headstones, tombstones, or cremation urns, keep in mind the surface area available when choosing or composing the epitaph, as space is usually limited. Sometimes just the first line can be engraved, or, with some of our urns, an inscription with name and dates can go on the front and a longer poem can be etched on the top or back.
Below are many favorite short epitaph poems for use as an inscription on an urn or a headstone.
Short epitaph poems
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
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
Sadly Missed, Lovingly Remembered
Forever Remembered, Forever Missed
Forever In Our Hearts
All Will Be Well
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
We Love You Always
He Loved and Was Loved
She Loved and Was Loved
Peace At Last
Short epitaphs for urn inscription - Christian / religious
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
I Know My Redeemer Lives
I Will Glory in My Redeemer
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
In God’s Care