If you’ve been asked to give a funeral speech or eulogy, you might have questions about how to get it right. Here are some tips to help you write a heart-warming funeral speech.
What is a eulogy?
A eulogy is a speech that’s given at a funeral or memorial service. It’s a way to share memories of the person who has died. It’s also called a funeral speech.
A eulogy can be delivered by family or friends, or by a celebrant (the person leading the service).
How to write a eulogy
It’s a good idea to think about the eulogy in different sections (start, middle and ending) and then focus on writing each one in turn. You could write one section a day if you’re finding it difficult to sit down and write the whole eulogy at once. Before you start writing anything at all, you might like to chat to other friends and family members to hear their memories too. There might be specific things they’d like you to mention in the speech.
How to start a eulogy
Starting a eulogy can feel like the hardest part. One easy way to begin is with a story about the person who has died. You could talk about how you met them or share a story that shows the kind of person they were. To find some inspiration, try writing down some of your favourite stories. They can be touching, funny, emotional or inspiring.
Here are a few things you could think about to get started:
- The first time I met them…
- The thing everyone always said about them…
- The last time I saw them they said…
- The thing I will always remember about them…
What to say in a eulogy
Keeping to a basic eulogy structure will make it easier for you to say, and easier for people to follow. Try to have 3-5 main points, then give yourself 1-2 minutes to say each point.
Things you could include in your eulogy:
- Stories that show the personality and best qualities of the person
- Share the person’s favourite poem or song lyrics
- Share something that the person said, and that you will always remember
- Talk about their favourite interests or hobbies
- Celebrate the biggest achievements in their life
Rather than simply writing a funeral speech that tells the person’s life in order, consider basing the eulogy around the stories and moments that stand out.
How to end a eulogy
It’s best to end your funeral speech with something memorable and meaningful. You could end with an uplifting quote from the person who has died, or you could finish with a final story. You could even end with a sentence about what you think the person would say to everyone if they were still here. Alternatively, you could finish with a poem or song.
How long is a funeral eulogy?
Eulogies are usually quite short. Try to write a speech that lasts between 5 and 10 minutes, as a guide. But it’s important to think about how long you feel comfortable speaking for. If you only want to speak for a couple of minutes, that’s fine too.
Tips for speaking at a funeral
- Practise the speech as much as you can. Ask someone to listen to you read through the eulogy and give you advice about where you need to slow down or speak more clearly.
- Use something to help you remember your words. You may prefer to have the speech written down word-for-word. Others prefer short prompts or cue cards.
- Don’t worry about faltering. Nobody expects you to get through a eulogy flawlessly. You may stumble over sentences, you may become upset. No need to apologise – just take a deep breath and move on when you can.
- Bring a copy of your speech written out in full. Even if you don’t plan to use it. That way, if you don’t feel you can deliver the speech on the day, you can ask someone else to read it for you.
What to do if you can’t do the eulogy
If you can’t face delivering a eulogy at the funeral, that’s perfectly OK. You can ask a friend or the person leading the funeral to read your speech for you. They can also help you to write it, if you’re finding that difficult too.
Hopefully our eulogy tips have helped you understand how to write a funeral speech. You’ll find more tips and advice about planning or going to a funeral in our advice hub.