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Arranging a funeral and want to put together an order of service booklet, but not sure where to start? This article will give you some guidance on how to make a funeral order of service, including what info to include, how to get it designed and printed and some ideas to give it a more personal touch. Plus we’ve put together some examples so you can see how straightforward it can be to make your own funeral order of service too.  

What is a funeral order of service?

A funeral order of service outlines everything that will happen in the 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. This is so that the people attending can follow along with different parts of the ceremony and take part in the prayers and songs if they’d like.  

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 booklet, 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 is 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 for those attending and to anyone who’s shown their support or helped you organise the funeral service. 
  • 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 

Choosing a photo for the order of service booklet 

When choosing a photo of the person who’s passed away you might want to talk to other family members and their friends if they have any photos that you weren’t aware of. Finding something that reflects their personality and helps people think of memories they shared together will go a little way to making mourners smile. Having said that, you might prefer to honour your loved one with a more serious photo – perhaps they serviced in the armed forces when they were younger? Or were honoured with an award? There’s no right or wrong way of choosing the photo for the order of service booklet. Choose the photo that best commemorates your loved one in the way you’d like. 

Funeral order of service ideas 

Many people choose to make a funeral order of service that’s not just for use at the funeral. It can also be a memento that everyone can take with them afterwards. So it’s worth keeping in mind that you don’t have to strictly follow an order of service template if you don’t want to. Here are a few ideas of what else to put in an order of service for a funeral to make it into a cherished keepsake: 

  • Did your loved one enjoy cooking? Add one of their recipes to the order of service booklet so that everyone who loved their cooking can share it with future generations. 
  • Add a list of “things you may not know about” them. Collect stories from their childhood from close friends and family and put together a few of these in the order of service. It’s a good way of sharing and remembering lots of different points in their life that not everyone is aware of. 
  • Dedicate a page to their family tree. This is an interesting way of learning more about their heritage, where other people in the family came from and how they’re linked to younger generations in the family. 
  • If your loved one was a keen gardener or had a specific flower that they loved, add a packet of seeds to each order of service booklet. They can then plant it in their own garden in memory of the person who’s passed away. 

All of these ideas for the order of service can be adapted or changed to suit the personality you’re saying goodbye to. You may even want to think about making room to add other things in. The good things about making a funeral order of service is that there are countless options to personalise it. 

I always like to include something from the person themself - like one I’m working on at the moment where we’re putting in a poem but written in their handwriting.
Alex - Celebrant

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 2023, the average amount people spent on an order of service was £111 (SunLife 2024). 

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. 

Order of service booklet cover with portrait of man and text "In loving memory of Walter Williams" A page from an order of service for a celebration of life

You can see the funeral order of service examples by clicking the links below: 

Order of service booklet cover with a portrait of a woman alongside text "In loving memory of Sarah Marie" Page from an order of service booklet with lyrics from a hymn

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.

Header photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels