A commemorative plaque can be the most effective way to honour our history, serving as a visible celebration of a building, life, or event. Holding a ceremony for the unveiling of a plaque can help to generate further interest; however, it is important to know just how to plan an unveiling ceremony correctly.

Organising an unveiling ceremony takes a significant amount of work, which means that preparations need to begin well in advance of the proposed date. Preparation time depends on the scale of the event, but on average, an unveiling ceremony can take anywhere from six weeks to six months to organise.

As the organiser of the unveiling, some of the basic things you will need to consider include the venue, the scale of the event, the type of easel hire and drape to use, as well as identifying speakers and the unveiler.

The first step is to check that the property owner is happy to hold a commemorative ceremony on their premises. Once this has been approved, the next stage is plan a date and time for the ceremony. This is often timed to coincide with a specific event; for example, the date of a historical event or the anniversary of a person’s birth or death. It is important to ensure that the ceremony is planned at least two or three days after the commemorative plaque installation has taken place.

Prince Charles Unveils Summit Centre Plaque

You will also need to decide on the scale of the event; a small ceremony with just 10 people will take much less planning than a large ceremony. Most commemorative unveiling ceremonies are attended by up to 30 people, although larger scale events can see visitor numbers of around 100. It is important to consider whether the location can hold the invited number of visitors.

Welsh slate commemorative plaque with gold gilded inscription
HM The Queen Commemorative Plaque

You will then need to identify speakers as well as a person to carry out the unveiling, and extend invites as early as possible. The speakers will generally be experts on the subject of the commemoration, or someone who is connected to the person or subject being honoured. They can also be local politicians, known personalities or dignitaries. The person unveiling the plaque does not necessarily have to be one of the speakers and is often a person of notable authority with a connection to the subject of the commemoration.

Stone Sign boulders and monoliths plaque gallery Engraved Welsh slate monolith with rustic edges

Depending on the subject of the commemoration and the scale of the ceremony, you may also wish to alert local media to the event. This should be done as early as possible, with interviews and photo opportunities being offered to help generate further interest.

Once you have a confirmed time, date and guest list, the next stage is to plan to the content of the unveiling ceremony. Typically, a ceremony will include speeches, readings, and performances by choirs before the unveiling of the plaque. The correct equipment will need to be arranged well ahead of time depending on the events taking place at the ceremony, including the easel and drape along with any necessary stages, amplification systems and seating.

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A commemorative ceremony will usually be followed by a reception with refreshments available. You will need to arrange for food and drinks to be supplied for the number of guests, ideally in a location close to the commemorative plaque. Unveiling equipment such as an easel and a pair of curtains will need to be sourced also. Here at Stone Sign, we can provide a rented easel for your ceremony if this is required.


It is important to source your commemorative plaque from a trusted sign maker that you can rely on for quality. At Stone Sign Company, we have years of expertise in creating beautifully bespoke unveiling plaques. We provide an unparalleled service from start to finish, with our talented in-house team who can assist and guide you through the process from start to finish.

The process starts with our in-house designers who will create your custom design from scratch. All stonework is done in-house by our master craftsmen and crafted to the highest degree to provide premium quality. We can work with tight deadlines and still provide the best quality, beautifully crafted stone plaques.

Bronze square commemorative plaque with black detail
Andriy Shevchenko Portland stone unveling plaque
MOD Boulder with brass set in plaque
RBLI slate commemorative plaque with 23.5ct gold inscription
Welsh slate commemorative plaque with gold gilding

We source only the highest quality natural materials to create our plaques, and we use processes such as hand carving and 23.5ct Gold leaf gilding for an opulent finish. Our team are experts in bringing any vision to life, ensuring your plaque is a perfect fit for your commemoration.

We are proud to have been trusted to produce many commemorative plaques for the Royal Family, the RNLI, The Imperial War Museum and more recently for Waltham on the Wolds Parish Council’s War Memorial.

Please contact us today to find out more about commemorative plaques and easel hire.