It can be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to a loved one, especially if the preparations of the funeral fall upon those heavily affected by the loss. Therefore, it can be challenging to write an order of service that honours the memory of the departed.
Almost 85% of funeral preparations in the UK are handled by bereaved family members, creating a significant amount of pressure to organise the order of service properly.
As such, at Memorial Stationery, we have created this blog to help ease the pressure and provide valuable templates for an order of service to support you in this difficult time.
What is a funeral order of service?
Funeral order of service is a booklet or memorial card that outlines the structure and running order of the funeral service. It’s traditionally shared with family, friends, and guests that they can then keep after the funeral, becoming a memorable keepsake of a loved one.
An order of service should be seen as a celebration of your loved one’s life, that could include elements such as anecdotal stories and messages, hymns, songs and even photographs. When it’s time to write a funeral order of service, it can be as simple as a single memorial card or even an eight-twelve-page booklet that acts as a tribute. Ultimately, you can create and personalise the order of service that suits how you want a loved one to be remembered.
The aims of an order of service are to:
- Help guests follow the ceremony and know what comes next
- Indicate the readers or speakers that are recalling stories or reading passages. Occasionally, full passages are also included in the written order of service
- Include lyrics for songs, hymns, or poems for guests to sing along to
- Act as a physical reminder of the loved one that has passed away, usually with photographs
The details of what to write in a funeral order of service can also vary depending on if the individual was spiritual or religious. If the service is intended to be more informal, then the structure may differ also.
How to write a funeral order of service
As you write the funeral order of service, it’s important to remain consistent throughout with the tone as well as the font.
It’s best to keep the overall elements of the order of service simple, starting with the cover. Whether this is a memorial card or a booklet, the front page typically includes:
- A photo
- The full name of your loved one
- Dates they were born and passed away
- Date, time, and location of the service
With the inside spread, it can be as detailed as you like and may vary depending on the type of ceremony you’d like. The person that will be conducting the service is usually able to help with the order of service. A general guide for the inside includes:
- Entrance music to be played on arrival
- Introduction and welcome by the celebrant conducting the service
- Hymn, prayer, or song
- Reading, poem, or passage
- Eulogy or tribute to the departed
- The second hymn, prayer, or song
- Farewell and closing words
- Exit music to be played as guests leave the service
If you’re struggling to write the order of service alone, this can also be an opportunity to reach out to loved ones and friends to support you and come together. If things become too overwhelming leading up to the funeral, our Memorial Stationery staff are exceptionally friendly, with an empathetic approach that constantly goes into ensuring that your journey is as straightforward as possible.
If you require additional support, the NHS website offers further guidance that may be of assistance.
Funeral order of service wording examples
We have created a few examples of wording to use in an order of service:
“[Name]’s family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to everyone for all their love, support, condolences, and kind words in this difficult time. [Name] will forever live on in our hearts and will be missed by all. In loving memory of [name]”.
“[Name]’s family would like to thank you for attending today and for all your kind words and support since [Name’s] passing. They warmly invite you to [location] after the service to join them to share more happy memories in a final farewell to [name]”.
Religious Order of Service Example
A religious service invokes the presence of God as you say farewell to the departed. There is usually religious text and hymns throughout the order of service to help suggest this further. An example that could be adapted for a religious order or service:
“’ My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ Psalm 73:26. As [name] joins our lord, his heart and memory will live on within us. We thank you for your prayers and kind words.”
Non-religious Order of Service Example
A secular, or non-religious service may differ slightly in how the order of service will be written and is a suitable alternative for those not necessarily comforted by religious themes. This is the final opportunity to express an element of your loved one’s life that they enjoyed sharing. For example:
“[Name] family would like to send their warm wishes to all who knew and cared for him. As many of you know, [name] was a big advocate for the environment and a donation to [charity] will be collected in his memory. If you wish, you can contribute at [link/location].”
If you’re looking for further support or funeral stationery, you can browse our funeral order of service templates here.
We have a range of standard design templates that include four pages, with a photo cover. As well as the option to create bespoke designs and templates. that comes with eight, ten or twelve pages to include additional pictures and memories. Each design can be customised and personalised to suit how you want the loved one to be remembered, such as font changes, additional images, design patterns as well as other options. All customisation can be edited directly in our unique design software that can be found on each of our funeral order of service templates.
Ultimately, it’s important to create a warm and welcoming service where people will feel comforted to honour your loved one’s memory and Memorial Stationery are here every step of the way.