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Tips for choosing a headstone inscription

Choosing a poignant headstone inscription can be a source of great anxiety and stress. It can also be a source of comfort and joy when the words are appropriately selected. Here are some useful tips for choosing just the right things to say at a time of grief and sadness:

  1. Take your time in choosing words. No one should rush or be made to feel pressured into choosing an inscription too quickly. It needs to be right for you and your family.

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2.Choose one relative to take the reins. This will simplify the process and leave no confusion or miscommunication. For a wide range of Headstones, visit a site like Headstones from Abbey Memorials

  1. Avoid ‘In memory of’; it has been overused and is very much the beginning of most standard headstone inscriptions. This popularity means it has lost some of its meaning and impact over time. Instead look for another way to express this sentiment, like ‘remember with affection’, or perhaps even, a small pictorial carving. An engraving can often reveal something that words cannot.

4.Avoid too many words cluttering the stone. For example, the date when only the years are inscribed is usually used. However, when creating a headstone for a baby or young child, the days and months can be really important, particularly if they were only alive for a short period.

  1. Avoid a list of attributes, try to summarize points in short sentences.
  2. Consider choosing Headstones that have an impact on those who read it. For example, a line of poetry. ‘What will survive of us is love’ to have an impact on everyone who read it. Many people like to put, for example, ‘beloved daughter, mother, sister and grandmother’ who in 20 years may seem a bit irrelevant. Far better to put something that will stand the test of time.
  3. Wit is said to be the smartest form of humour but this doesn’t always translate from conversation to inscription. It really needs to be very smart to keep a gravestone funny as the years pass. So, avoid humour unless it’s excellent and highly apt or something the deceased specifically requested.

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  1. Be open and receptive to all design ideas you are offered.
  2. Go for timeless design and letterform; avoid short-term trends that do not last and choose your letterforms with similar considerations.
  3. Find a professional who has had many years of experience in making gravestones; they will be able to offer sound advice if necessary. If possible, pick a hand carved stone- this will give you more freedom in the use of space and you will not be restricted to a template. Keep in mind that there are no rules; no right or wrong and the person who commissions the stone should be getting what they really want.


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