Creating an order of service for a funeral is a lovely way to pay tribute to the person you’ve lost. Done well, it can really make their personality shine. But with the funeral in a week or so, the pressure’s on to get it right. How do you go about putting one together?

Here’s everything you need to know to make your own funeral order of service in the UK.

 

What is an order of service for a funeral?

A funeral order of service is a booklet that tells guests at the funeral what will happen during the ceremony. It usually has a schedule for the day, along with readings, songs, and photos of the person who has died.

 

How to make a funeral order of service

No two orders of service are exactly alike. But there is some basic information that all of them have. So, we’ve put together a funeral order of service outline to get you started.

 

Front cover 

The front cover of the funeral order of service doesn’t need much – just the essentials. These are:

  • The full name of the person who has died (and maybe their nickname, if it was used a lot). Celebrating the life of Thomas ‘Rozzer’ Rockwell.
  • Their photo
  • The day they were born, and the day they died. 4/10/1941 ~ 8/01/2020.
  • A quote or short line in memory of them. Beloved dad and comedian, gone but never forgotten.
  • The date, time and location of the funeral service

The photo can be a recent shot or something from earlier on in their life. Try to find something that suits the kind of person they were. If they were serious and proud of their military career, find a photo where they’re in uniform. Or if they told lots of jokes and were happy to take the mick out of themselves, a funny photo can raise a smile.

Try to use a photo where the person you’re honouring is alone. Group photos can be a little confusing.

 

Schedule of the day

The first few inside pages of the funeral order of service are dedicated to a schedule for the day. This tells the guests what to expect. Typically, these pages will include:

  • The entrance music played as the coffin is brought in and guests gather (you may like to say what the song is)
  • Welcome introduction by the person leading the service
  • Songs and hymns played during the service (with lyrics, if you like)
  • Book passages, poems and any scripture read during the service, and the name of the family member or friend giving the reading
  • Committal and blessing (the committal is when the coffin is taken away to be cremated or buried, and the blessing is a call for reflection or prayer).
  • Closing music (again, you might like to include the title)

The schedule isn’t set in stone, however. It depends on the way the venue is run. So, it’s a good idea to check your schedule with the funeral director and the person leading the service to be sure you’ve got it all right.

 

Personal touches

If you like, you can use the next few pages to tell guests a little more about the person who has died. Here are some funeral order of service ideas you could try:

  • A timeline of their life, signposting things like their wedding day, graduation, first grandchild, and so on
  • Quotes from their favourite books, poems or songs
  • Extra photos of them at different times in their life
  • Drawings of them (perhaps by their grandkids?)
  • Quotes about the person who died from friends and family
  • Stories and sayings they liked to use

Remember though: the more pages you add, the more expensive printing will be. Also, some professional printers ask that you use their templates. This can limit the kind of thing you can include. If you design your own funeral order of service, you’ll have more freedom.

 

Farewell

The last page or two of the order of service round things out. It’s best to keep them simple. For example, you could:

  • Include a final photo of the person who has died (something a little different from the one on the cover)
  • Thank guests and those who have sent their condolences
  • Invite them to donate money towards a charity in memory of the person who has died
  • Explain when and where the reception or wake will be (if you’re having one)

Another great way to keep funeral attendees updated is to create a free online obituary at Beyond. You can invite guests, share times and locations and invite friends and family to post their own photos, videos and stories. Find out more about our obituaries here.

 

A few design tips for a great funeral order of service

  • Make sure the font is easy to read. It’s tempting to use fancy swirling fonts, but it’s more important to be legible!
  • Pick one style, and stick with it. Try not to switch between lots of different fonts and colour schemes.

 

Who does the order of service for the funeral?

Making a funeral order of service is often a collaborative effort. Close family members will have the final say on what goes into the booklet. And it’s a good idea to ask the celebrant or religious representative leading the service to check the schedule.

You can create an order of service for a funeral yourself at home if you like. All you need is Microsoft Word, ordinary A4 paper folded in half and staples.

But if you want the orders of service to feel a bit more special and long-lasting, it’s best to get them designed and printed on card by a professional. Especially if design isn’t your thing. Your funeral director can help you organise this. They may also be able to advise you on the funeral order of service wording.

 

For more funeral advice…

Whether you’ve decided to use a professional, or create your own funeral order of service from scratch, we hope this guide has helped! For more advice on arranging a funeral, don’t forget to take a look at our Help Centre. From tips on what to take to a funeral to funeral attire and celebrations of life, we can answer any question.

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