When it comes to funeral planning, there are no strict rules when it comes to how you set up the memorial service—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few guidelines you can rely on to help. The order of service (also known as the funeral service sheet or funeral program) is a sort of itinerary for the memorial service, outlining what your guests can expect and providing a memento to take home after the service completed. Religious in nature (but not required to be), this is a great way to organize the day so that you don’t become overwhelmed by decisions.
Because the order of service is such a standard practice for religious memorial services, there are plenty of places you can turn to find more information. You can ask for help and support from your funeral director, religious officials, or even your own ideas of what should or should not be included.
The typical funeral order of service includes:
- Entrance Music
- Seating of Pallbearers
- Opening Remarks/Invocation
- Call to Prayers
- Funeral Poems/Scriptural Readings
- Hymns/Funeral Songs
- Photo Montage/Videos of Deceased
- Committal of the Deceased
- Exit Hymns/Closing
As you can see based on this list, there is plenty of wiggle room for you to design an order of service in keeping with your own ideas of what should or should not be included in a funeral. With the exception of the entrance music and the closing, the order of operations can exist in any way you choose, and you can opt to include some of the features that matter to you at the exclusion of others.
The most important thing to remember is that the funeral you are planning isn’t just yours—and it doesn’t just belong to the deceased, either. A funeral service is a way for everyone in attendance (friend, relative, or community member) to get some much-needed closure and share in the bereavement process. Even if you wouldn’t normally opt for a heavily religious service, be sure and take the needs of others into consideration.
Printing the Order of Service
Order of service printout designs tend to be fairly similar; they often include a scenic photo, photo of the deceased, and a saying or Bible verse fitting for a funeral. While it’s often easiest to stick to this type of design (if only because the funeral home is prepared with the materials), you can also opt to create your own handout and have them professional printed.
Making a funeral unique is something you only have one chance to do, and changing up the order of operations or creating a visually stunning funeral program is a great way to stand out for a relatively small time and money investment.