A funeral is a ceremony, and like many other ceremonial services – weddings, religious celebrations and rites of passage – there will be an order of service. The close friends and family of the departed will plan the order of the service with the help of the funeral planners and the person conducting the ceremony.
If you’ve never been in the position of planning a funeral service before, you may be wondering what actually makes up a funeral service. The funeral director or planning service you have chosen will discuss the options with you, and you will have a big part to play in the process to ensure the ceremony reflects the person it is celebrating the life of. Once you have agreed the order of service with your funeral home, you have the option of printing it out for attendees to view.
Each order of service is different as it is personalised to the deceased. Of course it will also depend on the type of funeral ceremony you have chosen – if you are having a religious leader conduct the ceremony they may insist on certain rituals. Whereas, for a non-religious funeral, the order of service may be slightly different with a humanist celebrant. Here are some examples of what typically goes into the order of service at a funeral.
Usually a funeral will have at least one reading, which can be performed by the person leading the service or a relative or close friend. Sometimes people close to the dead feel obliged to say a few words, or the family may ask someone to read something on their behalf while they mourn.
A reading can be religious, from a holy book, or it can be universal such as a poem about meeting again. If the person who died arranged a funeral plan, they may have even suggested a reading themselves.
Blessings or Prayers
In a religious funeral ceremony, the celebrant will lead prayers or conduct blessings for both the dead and the mourners. There is usually a shared verse or prayer which everyone reads together.
Most funerals have some sort of tribute or eulogy which remembers the individual. This often includes details of the deceased’s early life, their career, their hobbies and personality traits. It often also mentions family members and any fond memories provided by the bereaved.
Towards the end of the service, it is time to say final goodbyes to the deceased. In a crematorium ceremony, curtains may close on the coffin or mourners are asked to leave the room before it is taken away. In a burial, there is a short committal service by the graveside which follows the funeral service.
If you are providing an order of service booklet for mourners, in addition to the reception venue location you can also include photographs and the date of death. These service booklets can be taken away and kept forever.