Should You Engrave a Personal Epitaph?

Hannah Halberstam
May 13, 2021
Should You Engrave a Personal Epitaph?


Personal epitaphs have been engraved on tombstones and memorials for thousands of years. Traditionally, personal epitaphs were chosen by the family or loved ones of the deceased. Today, however, personal epitaphs are sometimes even chosen by people before their deaths in order to have a say regarding their resting place. But should you engrave a personal epitaph? Let’s take a closer look at what epitaphs are and how--or if--you should choose one.


What is a personal epitaph?

Personal epitaphs are engraved phrases, words or sentences on a memorial marker such as a headstone, tombstone or other marker intended to indicate someone’s final resting place. Personal epitaphs can be short, such as “rest in peace” or “here lies (name)”; they can also be longer, such as epitaphs that contain a quotation or poem.

Personal epitaphs are one way that family, friends and loved ones can memorialize someone who has passed on. Just as someone might use an AFTR system to interact with their loved one’s resting place, a personal epitaph is a way to make a human connection with someone’s grave site.


Engraving an epitaph on a loved one's gravestone: What to consider

If you are goinig to engrave an epitaph on the stone of a loved one, youu should consider the following:

How big is the stone? How many words can easily fit on the stone?

The larger the stone, the larger the space for the epitaph. In addition to the overall size, you will want to consider the style of the stone. Is it long? Round? Flat? This could impact how many words you can fit in an epitaph.

Do I have the budget for the epitaph I want to have engraved?

As a general rule of thumb, the more complex the epitaph, the more expensive it will be. It will cost considerably more money to engrave a short poem rather than "In Loving Memory".

What type of epitaph do I want?

Consider whether you're looking for a short, more general epitaph such as "In Loving Memory," or "Here Lies (loved one's name)". Epitaphs can be anything that you want them to be. Quotes from ffavorite books or movies, quotes that you create yourself, or even something written by the person who has passed. 


Remember to talk extensively with the company that you are purchasing the headstone from, as they will know more about the complexities and limitations of epitaphs.