Order of Service

What is an Funeral Order of Service?

An order of service for a funeral is a printed sheet or booklet with information about the content of the service and the names of those involved. It serves as a guide, outlining the sequence and details of the event or ceremony.

An order of service booklet ensures that all participants, from organisers to attendees, are well-informed about what is happening and when, thus minimising the potential for confusion or disruptions. It also enables those attending to join in where appropriate, whether it is singing along, praying, or following the words of a reading.

If you are appointing a faith leader, funeral director or celebrant they can assist with preparing the booklet. If you are putting it together yourself, do check your thoughts and ideas with whoever is taking the service just to ensure that they are happy with what you have planned.

Content Guide for an Order of Service

As well as containing a programme of the sequence of events, an order of service also provides an opportunity to include personal touches, such as photographs of the person throughout their life and fond memories or anecdotes, making it a lovely memento for attendees to take away with them.

Information Required for an Order of Service:

Layout for an Order of Service

The following is intended as a rough guide. The choice of content and layout of for the order of service booklet is a matter of personal choice.

Front page:

  • photo of the person
  • their full name and/or the name they were typically known by
  • date of birth and date of their death
  • datetime and location of the service
  • Symbolic elements such as flowers, candles or religious symbols

Middle pages:

  • welcome and introduction and name of the officiant (vicar, priest, celebrant or other)
  • details of songs, music and musicians
  • prayers and hymns
  • who will be presenting the eulogy or tributes
  • readings (with or without words) and who will be giving them
  • photo or collage of photos
  • meaningful or favourite quotations
  • Blessing, if appropriate

Final page:

  • photo or photos
  • departing music
  • expressions of thanks to those who have attended the funeral and provided support
  • a meaningful or favourite quotation
  • any preference for charitable donations 
  • details of the location of the reception or wake that follows the service, if there is one
  • details of, and thanks to, the funeral director or funeral organiser

Designing and Printing the Funeral Order of Service

There are a number of options for the design and printing of the order of service booklet.

The funeral director, if one has been appointed, may be able to help find a local printer, or they may have an in-house printing service.

If you prefer to handle the printing yourself, you may know of a local printer, or ask friends and family for recommendations. There are also very good on-line services offering templates with pre-made layouts that can be customised with your own text.

Before you design and order your booklet, consider the following:

  • Typeface – choose something that is clear, large enough and easy to read.
  • Paper or card – the quality of the paper or card chosen can make a difference to how professional the final product looks and feels.
  • Quantity – be sure to order enough booklets for everyone but not so many that there is excessive wastage.
  • Timing and delivery – choose a reliable printer and make sure that the booklets can be delivered in good time for the service.

For ideas and examples of style and design, please see Stationery for Funerals Inspiration section.  Creating an Ideas Folder enables you to save all the content (readings, music, etc) in one place and to share it with those involved in producing the order of service.

If you have appointed a funeral director they can arrange the printing, or you will find both local and on-line printing companies in the Stationery for Funerals Providers section of whiteballoon. If the number attending is not too high, some people choose to print the order of service themselves to keep costs down.

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