A funeral may mark the death of a loved one, but it can also be a celebration of their life. Creating an Order of Service is more than just putting together an itinerary for the day, it’s a chance to work with your friends and family to share a story, some photos and memories that capture the life of someone close to all of you. And for those who won’t be able to make it to the ceremony, the order of service will serve as a keepsake.
Whether you are choosing to create your own, or you are organising one with your funeral director, here’s a guide to creating an Order of Service for a funeral.
What is an Order of Service?
An Order of Service details the schedule of events for a religious service or ceremony. This can be handed out to family and friends as they arrive for the service or sent to people who cannot attend. They are used to help people know what time they need to be where on the day. You will need to state the time and place of the funeral reception, as well as the address of any other locations you want them to attend.
What Should be Included in an Order of Service for a Funeral?
The programme should include the order of events and any specific times. Many people will choose to create a front cover with the deceased’s name, date of birth, and a personalised photo or image. It’s a good idea to include the address of each location, including the service, the crematorium of burial grounds and the wake.
If the funeral is a religious service, many people will include hymns for people to follow. “Hymns are very popular with an order of service,” says Nancy, a printer from Busy Fingers of Cirencester, “particularly ‘Morning has broken’, ‘Lord of the dance’ and ‘The Lord is my Shepheard’. Most will also include the lord’s prayer too”. Non-religious (secular) services tend to have readings, poems, and references to music instead.
What should the Order of Service look like?
Nancy says “the most popular layout for an order of service is to have an image on the front cover. Sometimes people have photos on the back along with a folded sheet in the centre for the text”. Cover images could be of the deceased or of a neutral image, such as flowers. The booklet can then be stapled or wire bound to form a keepsake for attendees. If there are many attendees of an older age, you may wish to consider using larger text sizes or short, easy-to-read sentences.
What if I’m creating an order of service on a budget?
If you are on a tight budget, an Order of Service can be printed onto one sheet of A4 paper and folded in half to form a booklet. Black and white print will also keep things cheap at the printers if you do not have a printer at home.
If you have an open budget, you can choose a card-covered booklet and print the pages in colour. The card cover can be printed in soft white or cream. This will allow you to add cover images on the front and back of the service. You could also devote the centre pages to more colour photos.
What else can I add to make it more personal?
Aside from photos, you can add details of the loved one, like their name and age, or a full obituary and biography. You may wish to add a quote or a poem that represents them. If someone is delivering a eulogy, you could print this in advance so that people can read it again later. It’s also a good practice to mention any preferred charities for donations, preferably one that was important to the person being honoured. You could also thank those who attended the service or offer a tribute website for guests to write on after the event.
There is so much to plan at a funeral and it can put a lot of pressure on family and friends. If you are thinking about planning a funeral for yourself or for a loved one, Age Co Funeral Plans will help cover the costs in advance. These pre-paid packages start from £15.09 per month and will be a weight off your mind.
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