Urn Personalization (A Guide to Personalized Urns for Ashes)

We get many, many questions about urn personalization. And we love it!

When you contact us about personalizing the urn for your loved one, it means that you care about how the urn looks and how you will be honoring the memory of your loved one. Those are two things that are very important to us as well. We're always glad to help you get the memorial urn you want, the way you want it.

So feel free to contact us if you don't see your question answered here.

Call us at 877-900-5309. Tap the number to call on your mobile. We answer M-F during typical daytime business hours and always respond to messages, so leave a voicemail if it's after hours or if we were on the other line when you call.

You can also email us here. We typically get back to you in a matter of hours, or by early Monday if it's over the weekend.

With any message, be sure to let us know which product(s) you're talking about! That will help us give you the best info.

Ok, let's talk urn personalization! Here's our guide to personalized urns for ashes.

Urn Personalization

Many of the urns we offer can be personalized. This includes laser engraving (for wood, metal, and stone urns) or fired-on and glazed-over lettering (for ceramic urns). Each of those options is permanent, meaning that the urn will always be properly identified.

Each urn will vary with how it can be personalized as well as the number of characters, lines, and surfaces.


  • Keep it simple and brief. You'll never be able to fully sum up a beloved person's life. Often, fewer words are more timeless, classy, and meaningful.
  • There are standards for a reason. If you go with the classic setup, you can't go wrong. It will always look nice. Things get dicey when you try to fit a ton of sentiment onto the urn. There's no need to reinvent the wheel.
  • Just the name and dates are ok.
  • Trust the experts. Let us know what you want engraved, and we'll make it look nice. It will be centered, spaced evenly, etc.
  • Don't try to squeeze in too much. If necessary, let's engrave two sides, or choose a different urn with more engraving surface. Or have a separate plaque engraved to display by the urn. There's no reason to try to fit every important concept onto the urn.
  • We can engrave multiple sides. Do the classic In Loving Memory/Name/Dates on one side, and put a poem or other saying on another.
  • If you have questions, ask us. We're here to help! Chances are, we've dealt with similar setups. We can give advice on what fits, what looks good, proper format, and anything else.

With those tips in mind, let's take a look at how to format the inscription, and what to say.


Will The Text Be Centered?

Yes. Our engravers personally look at and set up each inscription. We always center it, space and size it appropriately, and generally make it look nice, timeless, and classy.

We personalize thousands of urns and memorial each year, and know what looks good. If you have something specific you want, let us know and we'll make it happen. Otherwise, we recommend that you give us the name, dates, and other text you want inscribed and leave it to us.

We'll make it look great.

What Should I Engrave on a Cremation Urn?

This is completely up to you. But typically, most urns for ashes are personalized with three lines of text: a brief memorial phrase along with the person's name and dates. Sometimes a fourth line is added with a sentiment, quote, or Scripture verse.

Here is the traditional format:

  • Line 1: In Loving Memory
  • Line 2: Name
  • Line 3: Dates
  • Line 4: Sentiment (optional)

How Long Can the Inscription Be?

Typically, for most standard-sized adult urns, we recommend 3-4 lines of text at about 40 characters maximum per line.

We can sometimes "squeeze" more on, just keep in mind that it may involve shrinking the text to a smaller size.

For urn personalization, less if often more. Simple is classy and timeless. You'll never go wrong with a simple "In Loving Memory" over the name and dates.

If you want something specific that is longer than the 4-line, 40-character standard, ask us and we'll work with you to make it happen. We can also often engrave multiple surfaces; for instance, the top and back of the urn.

What Should the Epitaph Say on a Cremation Urn?

The first line of an inscription is often called an epitaph. This is a brief memorial phrase that offers a tribute to the decedent.

The most popular epitaph phrase, by far, is "In Loving Memory." It is also sometimes phrased as, "In Loving Memory Of."

Other popular epitaph inscription phrases:

  • Forever In Our Hearts
  • Rest In Peace
  • Beloved (Husband/Wife/Mother/etc)
  • Remembered with Love
  • In Cherished Memory Of
  • Until We Meet Again
  • Loved & Remembered
  • In God's Care
  • Asleep in Jesus

How Should I Format the Name on a Cremation Urn?

If in doubt, simply write out the person's full legal name.

But sometimes questions arise when the person had a very long name, multiple middle names, a suffix, honorary titles, military rank, or a nickname. Let's take a look at those instances.

  • Long names: We can generally make it work, unless it is an item with size restrictions (for instance, jewelry). Enter the full name as you would like it, and if there is any issue with making it look great we will reach out to you.
  • Multiple middle names: Choose what you would like displayed. As with long names, we'll make it work. But don't feel obligated to keep every middle name. You can abbreviate the middle names to initials, or drop them altogether. In that case you would just do the first and last names.
  • Suffixes: The most common suffixes are Sr., Jr., or roman numerals (II, III, IV, etc). We recommend writing out the full name, followed by a comma and then an abbreviated suffix (Jr. or Sr.) or the roman numeral. If your loved one had a roman numeral, we would suggest that you choose a block or italics font, and stay away from script fonts.
  • Honorary titles and ranks: If the person had a title, for instance a doctorate or military rank, it is entirely appropriate to include it. Typically this would be "Dr." before the name, or the military rank in proper military format.
  • Nicknames: This is probably the most common question people have about names. See next question.

How Should I Do a Nickname on an Urn Inscription?

We suggest this format: First Name "Nickname" Last Name. For instance, Ronald "Dutch" Reagan.

However, if the person really only went by a nickname, it is perfectly fine to leave off their original name. Remember, this memorial is, first, to honor the individual's memory and, second, to comfort you and the family.

Will using the nickname in place of the first name honor their memory and provide comfort to you and the rest of the family? Then do it that way.

How Should I Format the Dates on a Cremation Urn?

There are several ways to format the dates on a cremation urn.

  • December 11, 1929 - February 23, 2020
  • 12/11/1929 - 2/23/2020
  • 12/11/29 - 2/23/20
  • 1929 - 2020

If the urn has space limits, you'll want to go with one of the shorter numerical options. However, most adult urns with an open space for an inscription will easily fit the first option, with the months fully written out. That is the most common choice for date format.

What Should I Put for a Remembrance on a Cremation Urn?

The last line of an inscription is often called a remembrance. This is a short phrase or quote that sums up the decedent's life and values.

Common remembrance lines may include:

  • Beloved Husband, Father, and Grandfather
  • Loving Wife and Devoted Mother
  • Safe in the arms of Jesus
  • Well done, good and faithful servant. - Matthew 25:21
  • God, Family, Country
  • He served his country well
  • Beloved by family, cherished by friends
  • The best is yet to come

What Else Can I Say on a Cremation Urn?

Ultimately, it's up to you what to put in the inscription. Some families just do "Dad" and a favorite quote. Others have the front, top, and back engraved with not only the name and dates but also poems, quotes, and more.

If you're looking for some good idea for quotes, sayings, and other sentiments to personalize the urn, here is our ultimate list of memorial quotes.

What Are Some Good Poems for Urn Personalization?

Here are some favorite poems to engrave on the cremation urn.

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

Even as the sun goes down,
To end the light of day,
It's rising on a new horizon,
Somewhere far away.

Saved by grace alone!
This is all my plea:
Jesus died for all mankind,
And Jesus died for me.

May you touch
Dragonflies and stars,
Dance with fairies,
And talk to the moon

More inspiration here: 101 Funeral Poems.


We've covered many of these topics in our Complete Guide to Companion Urns. Read that article for everything you need to know about buying an urn for two people.

But in brief, here are the main considerations when personalizing a companion urn.

What is the best inscription format for a companion urn?

- Option 1:

  • Together Again
  • John & Jane Doe
  • Married July 7, 1967
  • Together 53 Wonderful Years

This first option is ideal when only one of the people have died. You know how many years they were together, so you can use that where the dates typically go.

- Option 2:

  • (Centered) GALBRAITH
  • (Left) John T.        (Right) Linda R.
  • (Left) 3/11/1944    (Right) 9/7/1948
  • (Left) 12/20/1998  (Right) 1/22/2020

This option features the last name centered, with one person's name and dates below to the left, and the other person's details evenly spaced to the right side. We know it's not easy to format when typing into the personalization boxes. Just enter it however you like, and we'll get the idea.

If you put in the details like it's shown above, we certainly won't engrave "Centered" and "Left/Right" on the urn. Our engravers personally look over each inscription to ensure that it looks classy.

- Option 3:

  • In Loving Memory
  • Jane T. Doe
  • 1954 - 2019
  • John A. Doe
  • 1953 - 2020

Most companion urns have space for 4-6 brief lines of text. We will of course center it, space it appropriately, and make it look nice.

How do I personalize the companion urn when only one person has died?

This is the most common question we get regarding companion urn inscriptions. Here are some options.

  1. In Loving Memory
    John & Jane Doe
    Together Forever
  2. John & Jane Doe
    Married August 9th, 1967
    Together in life, together forever
  3. John & Jane Doe
    Married 53 Wonderful Years
    Until We Meet Again

The idea is to use the wedding/anniversary/special date in place of the typical birth and death dates. You can also include the years married or together.

Otherwise, you might consider skipping dates altogether. Just put their names and a meaningful line or two of text.

Here is a popular and, in our opinion, very classy inscription:

  • Names (e.g., Dave & Jean)
  • Together Again

Sometimes, simplicity is the most effective.


If you're concerned about the time it takes to personalize the urn, don't be. We'll work with you to get it done in time!

We're pretty well set up to personalize your urn in a very timely way. Most often, personalization does not significantly affect the production or delivery time.

On each product page, you'll see the typical production time noted on the details. This is often something like "Made to order within 2-5 business days." Keep in mind that it will also take several days for the urn to be shipped to you.

As always, if you need to arrange specifics just contact us. We will work with you to make sure you get the urn done and delivered by the date you need it. You can also note any important details in the "order comments" box during checkout.

Because most of our cremation urns are needed by a specific date, we are always very careful to follow the instructions you provide. We will contact you if there are any issues getting the urn completed and delivered in time.

Just be sure to provide accurate contact info (phone number and email are preferred), as well as specific, detailed instructions. It's most helpful to us to see information like, "Please deliver the urn by Thursday, March 12 for a service on the 13th."

Lastly, please bear in mind that each product will have different personalization options and availability. Some may take longer than others, or at times our shop may be busier than at other times. If there is any doubt, contact us!

Read next: Can I Get the Urn Delivered in Time?