A funeral is a ceremony, and like many other ceremonies – weddings, religious celebrations – it’s traditional to have an order of service. If you’re not sure what to include, or how to put one together, this guide will explain.
What is a funeral order of service?
An order of service outlines everything that will happen in the funeral ceremony, such as readings, prayers and songs. It’s also a way to remember the person who has died, by sharing photos and memories of them. An order of service is usually a small, printed booklet that’s given to people who go to the funeral.
What to include in a funeral order of service?
An order of service can be as big or as small as you want to make it. We've listed some of the things you could include in your funeral order of service content, depending on how much space you have.
For the cover:
- Name of the person – keep in mind that depending on the funeral venue, you may be required to include their full legal name on the order of service at least once
- A photo of the person for the cover
- Location of the funeral service
- Date and time of the funeral service
Inside the funeral booklet:
- Funeral itinerary – listing all the parts of a funeral service in the order they will happen
- Words for the poems, prayers or songs being read or sung at the funeral
- More photos or short memories/quotes at the end of the booklet – this optional but a nice touch so that everyone has a keepsake to take away
For the back cover:
- You could choose to leave this blank or to add a thank you message.
- If you’re collecting charity donations as a way to commemorate the person who has died, you could also include details of your chosen charity and how to donate.
- Details of the wake
Who does the order of service for a funeral?
It really depends on what you’d like to do. Your funeral director or the celebrant leading the funeral can help you plan what to put in the order of service. Once this is done, you’ll need to get the order of service booklet designed. Again, your funeral director may be able to do this for you. Or you can organise this yourself which will add a personal touch. It can also be a way to save costs.
How to make your own funeral order of service
If you decide to make the order of service yourself, you'll need to plan, write, design and print it before the service. Remember, the bigger it is, the more it will cost to print. In 2022, the average amount people spent on an order of service was £105 (SunLife 2023).
If you’ve decided to design the order of service yourself:
- Use an online design tool – Canva.com is particularly easy to use and has a selection of funeral order of service templates you can use for free.
- Ask a local printer – many will have a simple order of service design they can edit for you.
- Ask a friend or family member who is good at design to help. This could be their contribution to the funeral, instead of buying a wreath or making a donation.
Funeral order of service examples
Not sure what an order of service looks like? We’ve created some simple examples of religious and non-religious funeral orders of service. We created them in canva.com – showing that it’s easy to make your own order of service using online tools.
You can see the full order of service examples by clicking the links below:
- View an example: Funeral order of service example - non-religious funeral
- View an example: Funeral order of service example - religious funeral (Christian)
Find more help with funeral planning
Looking for more help with planning the funeral? Take a look at our funeral planning advice hub to find more articles and guides to help you at each step.