When celebrating the life of a loved one, there are many things to think about, including the order of service program. More than just an itinerary of the ceremony, a funeral order of service booklet is a personal thing to create – not only for the day of the funeral, but to be cherished as a keepsake of the day in the years to come.
To help you get the wording just right and figure out what you want to put in your loved one’s funeral order of service, we’ve written this page-by-page guide.
The Front Cover
The front cover of an order of service acts an introduction. Traditionally, there are three things you should always include on the front of your booklet:
• A photo of the deceased
• The name of the deceased
• Their date of birth – date of death
Some choose to add the message ‘In Loving Memory of’, ‘In Celebration of’ or ‘Celebrating the life of’ above or below the image of the deceased, like in the example below.
The important thing to remember is to keep this page clean and uncluttered – there are only a couple of necessary details and it’s important not to draw emphasis away from them. Many people choose to use black and white imagery for an order of service to either achieve a certain effect or because they perceive it as being cheaper, however if you print your funeral orders of service online, there are no extra charges for full colour printing.
The Inside Pages
This page covers the schedule of the funeral service and is usually set out as a list. The first thing you would normally write at the top of this page is a short title, e.g. ‘Celebration and Farewell’, followed by the full name of the deceased – and if you would like to include them, any nicknames.
Underneath this, you may wish to include a short message followed by a list of the deceased’s family in order of social proximity – for example spouse first, followed by parents, then children, then grandchildren.
Then you should add a simple list of what’s going to happen during the funeral and in what order.
If you would like to include more details as to the schedule of the service, you can add extra pages to accommodate this and will most likely need to print order of service booklets. If you’re keeping to a list, print folded orders of service which are a cheaper option that are usually delivered faster.
Although you will usually be guided on the schedule of the service by the person leading it, it will probably include most or all of the following:
• A musical procession as mourners enter and sit down
• An introduction from the person leading the ceremony
• Songs, hymns and poems, with lyrics written out where participation is encouraged
• Readers and speakers (name both the reading and the person speaking, e.g. Let Me Go, Christina Rosetti read by Michael)
• Committal and blessing
• Closing music
Your loved one was a fantastic personality, and that should be remembered too. Any additional pages can be used to convey this! You can include pictures, memories their family members have shared, favourite quotes, poems or music. Remember that a funeral order of service doesn’t have to be a sad thing – if someone looks back on it and smiles at the memory of the life being celebrated, that can only be good!
The Back Cover
On the back, you can include another image of the deceased – maybe in a group image with their family or showing a different side of their personality than the one you used on the front.
It’s also a useful place to mention any charities or organisations for donations. If the deceased has requested donations to be made to a specific charity at their funeral, make sure this is communicated here.
Along with thanking mourners for attending the funeral and showing their support for the family, it’s also good practice to include the details for the burial/cremation as well as the wake so people know where to go next.
A further option is to add where the deceased’s memorial plaque or gravestone will be so people can go and visit this in the future.
We hope that this guide has helped you finalise your funeral order of service. Remember that your funeral order of service is a tribute to your loved one, and you won’t go far wrong. For more examples, check out these examples of orders of service for a non-religious ceremony.