Since the dramatic social impact of the pandemic, the funeral industry has changed in many ways, inspiring people to begin thinking differently about how they want to honour the lives of their loved ones. As we enter 2022, the entire world is looking to take a step towards a more productive, healthy, and joyful life, with over 50% of funeral services now described as ‘’celebrations of life’’.
Such changes mean people have more freedom to opt for a meaningful ceremony that is more personal to them, and better reflects their wishes. However, with such levels of autonomy, many people have begun to feel overwhelmed and directionless with their funeral order of service designs.
To resolve this, we have created the following blog to better inform you of the typical design elements that you should consider, and those elements that may or may not have cultural significance. By adhering to this information, you should feel better equipped to decide which elements to keep, and which to avoid, to ensure that your personally designed order of service is as harmonious as possible.
What is a funeral order of service booklet?
Traditionally, an ‘order of service’ was a booklet given to those attending the funeral ceremony, often including a timeline of the events happening throughout the service. As well as this, an order of service provides lyrics to the hymns and poems included in the ceremony, to aid attendees if they would like to read or sing along. An order of service is also a nice keepsake for people to take home with them in memory of their loved ones.
Creating a funeral ‘order of service’ is often a chance for friends and family to work together; choosing photos, messages, and sentiments that symbolise their life and deciding together the best way to represent that life to larger circles of friends and loved ones.
What should be included in a funeral order of service booklet
There are a few variations of what should be included in a funeral order of service. What you and your family decide to include largely depends on your family’s culture and religious beliefs.
That being said, the majority of ‘order of service’ booklets are arranged using a similar format, the foundations of which have been included below:
Typically fashioned to appear simple and respectful. A cover page should include a photo of the person being remembered, their full name, and any nicknames they may have had. It should also include the person’s date of birth and date of death.
You may additionally choose to include a short message, quotation, or sentiment that further represents the person also. Some people also choose to feature the location, date, and time of service.
The central pages of your funeral order of service generally include a schedule of the events to be taking place at the ceremony. This only needs to be a simple list detailing to guests what will happen and what to expect. The order of events is not specified and is completely up to you, but may include the following:
- A musical procession as those attending the ceremony enter
- Music, songs, hymns, or poems. It is recommended to list and highlight specific hymns and poems in bold so that attendees can follow along more easily
- Readers and speakers recounting stories about the loved one who passed. These are usually named
- Group prayers, hymns, or music
- Closing music
Depending on the venue, or the place of worship where you are holding your ceremony, you’ll need to check the outline of the service with the director of the ceremony before you decide to print. They are likely to have a particular way of running things, and you should make sure they can fit in all your proposed plans before you promise anything in your booklet.
Once you have outlined the service, there are numerous ways in which you can use the next few pages. Many families choose to use this extra space to include extra insights into the life of the person being celebrated, either through picture collages, their favourite quotations, and sentiments, or – if it’s a religious ceremony – some verses of scripture.
Some families get creative and choose to display a timeline of the person’s life, picking out a few of the most important events and milestones that person may have had in their life, and marking the dates with photos.
As you approach the final pages of your booklet, it’s typically good practice to express your gratitude to those who attended the service, extending your warm wishes to more distant friends and relatives also who may have not been able to attend the ceremony itself, but will receive a copy of the booklet. It is also a warm gesture to include thanks to the company that provided you with the funeral service.
Some additional pictures or words can go on the back. If you have chosen a recent picture of your loved one to display on the front page, then it can often be effective to add a few older photographs of them on the back page.
Design elements worth considering
Different cultures and ceremonies have contrasting beliefs with regards to what colours are acceptable, and what are not. As a general rule of thumb, it is advised to match the colours of your funeral order of service booklet to the theme of the event.
For example, if you are hosting a more formal and religious ceremony, then neutral colours are typically favoured, as they offer a sense of class and elegance, typical neutral colours are black, blue, brown, and purple. On the contrary, if your ceremony is non-traditional, then a splash of colour may be more appropriate. Especially as more and more perspectives shift towards celebrating the life of your loved one.
When creating content for the event, make sure to use language that embodies and represents the mood of the celebration. It is up to you to decide how formal you’d like it to sound, and whether you would like to add a touch of humour or not.
It is normally best to use a tone that reflects the personality of your loved one. A traditional religious ceremony normally commands a more formal tone to be taken. For non-traditional services, you can set your tone. Just make sure your tone is consistent throughout, and inoffensive to others.
Similar to tone, your font choice is very important when you design your order of service. Ideally, you want to choose something that reflects the tone of the service. Many people are tempted to choose ornate, calligraphy-style fonts when designing their order of service, however, these can often be challenging to read. If you choose to use these ornate fonts, then use them sparingly – ideally solely on the front cover, as this will have more impact. The rest of the booklet should be clear, and easy to read, with no less than 11 point text sizing.
Funeral Stationery at Memorial
Whatever style of funeral order of service you opt for, the most important thing is to make sure it reflects your loved one and their wishes. We have plenty of other resources for you to read if you would like further clarification on this important element of your service, such as template wording examples and tips on writing an order of service.
If you would like any further advice on your design considerations or have any questions regarding the information presented throughout this blog, then please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team would love to hear from you and will help wherever we can.