Memorial plaque wording and memorial verses
Finding the right words to commemorate a beloved person or pet can be hard. There are so many emotions involved, so many quotes seem appropriate – or there’s nothing that quite covers what you really want to say. Here are some ideas to help you find the perfect memorial plaque wording for your loved one.
Remember that you’ve only the space of the plaque to fill. Unless it’s very large, or the writing is so small that it’ll be hard to read, any more than a few lines of words will overflow the space.
If you want an image as well, there’ll be even less room for words. So your wording has to be short and to the point.
Don’t rush into it
Sometimes it can be helpful to wait a bit before deciding on your memorial plaque wording: what seems highly appropriate in the immediate pain of your loss may feel trite or maudlin a few months down the line, which is the last thing you’re looking for. Take time to think about what you and other family members really want to say.
Start by narrowing down what you want the people reading the plaque to know about the person you’re commemorating. For example, will you put the person’s full name or just a short form of it – or maybe just “Dad” or a nickname? Will you have an opening line such as “In loving memory”?
Do you want to give the person’s birth and death dates? Is there a particular achievement you want them to be remembered for? Or a hobby they were passionate about? What made the person special to you, the family and his or her friends?
Where to find ideas
Did the person have a favourite song or poem that you’d like to quote from, or a favourite saying? If they were religious, you can find a plentiful supply of memorial verses in the Bible and in hymns.
If they weren’t religious, there are lots of other places you could try for a memorial quote that sums them up for you.
A search through a dictionary of quotations or online, using a favourite word as your keyword, can turn up some unexpected gems.
Some other good search terms are:
- Absent/absence, act/action, adventure, angel(s)
- Beauty, beloved, birth/born
- Dance(d), dare, dark/darkness, dawn, day(s), delight, door(s), dream(s)
- Earth, echo, eye(s)
- Fill, flower(s), forget/forgetting, free/freedom, friend
- Gift(s), glory, go, golden
- Happy/happiness, heart, home, hope
- Journey, joy(s)
- Last, liberty, lie(s), life, lift, light, live(d), lose/losing/loss, love(d)
- Memory, mind, moon, morning, music
- Ocean, out
- Paradise, pass/passage/past, peace, presence/present
- Rainbow, remember, rest, rich(es), river, road, rock
- Say, sea, season, see/sight, silence/silent, sing/song, sky, sleep, smile, sorrow, speak/speech, spirit, star(s), still, story, strong, style, sun, sweet
- Take, talk, taste, tear(s), tell, thank(s), think/thinking/thought(s), time, today, tomorrow, tongue, touch(ed), travel/traveller, tree, true, trust, turn
- Wake, walk(ed), wander, way, well, wind, wings, wisdom, wonderful, woods, words, work, world
- Year(s), yesterday, young, youth
As you can see, you can find appropriate memorial plaque wording in what seem like the oddest categories, while the ones you might think would be the obvious place to start don’t always have anything helpful.
Once you’ve found some quotes that resonate with you, make a shortlist; discuss them with your family and friends and whittle them down to the final one. This process can be very therapeutic, as you consider how your dear departed would have reacted to each quote: it can bring tears, and laughter too.
When you’ve made your final choice of wording, it’s time to chose the memorial plaque itself. You can order using our online form, by phone or, if you’re in the area, come in and talk to us.
We have years of experience of what works and what doesn’t and we’re always happy to help with layout, fonts, colours, images and materials (and, if needed, kleenex).