The Funeral Guide

arranging a funeral order of service

A funeral is of course an emotional time and one that should be dealt with sensitively. The funeral arranging process may be difficult, but it is something incredibly important. Before anything else, you’ll have to sort out funeral arrangements. Things like the cars to take attendees, flowers, wake arrangements, and the appropriate funeral stationery. The arranging can be a stressful and emotional time and should include the close family to make sure any final wishes are honoured.

Before planning you need to know:

  • Were there funeral instructions left in the Will?
  • How is the funeral going to be afforded?
  • Are there savings in the will left for the funeral?
  • How would the deceased most like to be remembered?

What you’ll need:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Funeral order of service
  • Transport
  • Music, hymns, and prayers if applicable
  • Wake arrangements (food potentially)
  • Decide burial/cremation/alternative method
  • Date/place
  • If you wish to use a funeral director
  • Personal extras

Funeral order of service template

For your order of service, you can use our templates online and fill them in with the relevant information. Alternatively, you can personalise your funeral order of service with our ‘design your own’ tab.

What is the normal order of service for a funeral?

Your funeral order of service should include:

Entrance Music

Introduction and Welcome by the Celebrant

Hymn, Prayer, poem, or Verse

Reading(s) and who is reading

A Funeral Address or Appreciation of the life


Hymn, Prayer, poem, or Verse

Commendation & Farewell


Dismissal and Blessing

Exit Music

What are the stages of a funeral?

All funerals may be slight to vastly different, but a traditional funeral service should look something like the below.

Musical opening: Funeral music plays as the guests arrive.

Introduction/words of welcome: The person leading the service will welcome guests and introduce the service. This could be a funeral director or a religious leader, such as a priest. Or a family member or close friend of the deceased.

Prayers and readings: Traditional funeral services held at places of worship and officiated by a religious leader often include prayer and scripture readings. This isn’t crucial, however, and if you choose not to have a religious ceremony this can be replaced with poems or words of importance.

Musical selections and hymns: A church choir or organist may accompany attendees in singing hymns or perform hymns on their own. Alternatively, you can just play a CD, or hire live musicians. Whatever works best for you.

The formal reading of the obituary: The leader of the service can read a short obituary provided by the family.

Eulogy and tributes: Speakers are called to the front of the room to give prepared eulogies or tributes to the deceased.

Informal eulogies and tributes: Attendees are asked if anyone else would like to give a brief eulogy or say anything in tribute to the deceased.

Thank you and acknowledgments: The leader of the service or a family member will thank the guests for attending.

Viewing of the deceased: Traditional funeral ceremonies often include an additional viewing period at the end of the service. Attendees can line up to pay their last respects to the deceased.

Closing: The leader of the service will give a closing statement and announce where the reception is being held. A religious leader may provide a final speech and then attendees will leave and make their way to the after-funeral celebrations.

It’s important to note that all funerals differ and there is no ‘correct’ way to say goodbye to someone. Instead, you should use what you know about your loved ones and have a service that correctly portrays their life and the things they would have wanted. Some people will prefer a somber goodbye, whereas others may not want an emotional send-off, but a celebration of their life instead.