Grave Inscriptions: What Are The Rules?


When it comes to grave inscriptions, there can be some confusion on what you can and cannot write. Choosing the right wording to commemorate a loved one can be quite difficult. It’s going to be there forever, so you want to pick appropriate and timeless text. They’re not only comforting for loved ones, but it’s a great way to tell others about who is laid to rest. So, what are the rules around epitaphs?

Honouring Loved Ones

Although there aren’t really any written rules about grave inscriptions, there is some guidance on what is and isn’t allowed in individual graveyards. Cemeteries and churchyards will each have their own regulations on what they permit and this will vary place to place. Obviously, no offensive language or hate speech should be used. What is allowed tends to be at the discretion of where the headstone will be, so make sure this is checked beforehand. It’s important to get the text you want to be approved prior to the inscription process.

If you’re looking to have a headstone in a church graveyard, it’s important to ensure quotes are in keeping with the faith. The Church In Wales say that grave inscriptions should be ‘simple and appropriate’.

Engraving letters

What Is Included In Grave Inscriptions?

When choosing what to write on a headstone, there are many possibilities. Usually this includes:

  • An introduction – e.g., ‘in loving memory of…’
  • Name
  • Date of birth and death
  • Relationships – e.g., ‘beloved daughter’, ‘doting husband’
  • Impact – e.g., ‘forever in our hearts’, ‘a passionate nurse’

It’s also possible for quotations or poems to be engraved on a headstone if wanted. We recommend keeping grave inscriptions concise as there’s a limited amount of space to work with. Remember that these words need to be timeless and will last lifetimes from now.

If it’s possible another person’s name is going to be added to the headstone, then ensure to leave space for that too. Once it has been decided what is going to be written, it’s important to consider what font is going to be used. This will be dependent on what type of headstone is used as some fonts only work on certain materials.

Contact Griffith Memorials For Advice With Grave Inscriptions

Whether you are arranging a new memorial, or looking to add to an existing one, get in touch with us today. Our friendly and empathetic team have a wealth of experience and can also give you advice on what to write if you are unsure. As well as lettering, we offer custom images and designs to help personalise a grave. Contact us now to find out more about grave inscriptions.


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