Creating an order of service for a funeral

What is an order of service?

An order of service is a small booklet given out at a funeral. It usually includes:

  • An outline of what will happen during the service
  • Words for any hymns, songs or prayers so guests can follow alone
  • A few photos of the person who's died

A good order of service helps guests to know what's going to happen during the funeral, and when. They also act as a keep-sake from the event. Many guests will take them home, and it'll often get placed on display somewhere, like a shelf or mantle piece.

Who does the order of service for a funeral?

The person organising the funeral is usually in charge of making the order of service. However, it doesn't need to be tackled alone! People close to the person who's died, like friends or family, are usually happy to help. They might be able to give advice on what sorts of readings or songs to choose. They might also have photos of the person who's died that can be used on the cover or back.

If you've got a funeral director they'll be able to help too. If the venue you've chosen has a time limit, they can use their experience to help you work out a service that fits.

Finally, if you have someone officiating the funeral (this means leading the event), it's a good idea to involve them in the process. If you're having a religious ceremony they can provide guidance on the sorts of things to include.

A step by step guide to making an order of service

  • Decide who and what to include in the service
  • Decide the order of proceedings
  • Collect the words for any hymns, songs or prayers you're including
  • Collect key details to include (eg: date of birth and death, full name)
  • Collect photos to use in the booklet
  • Decide how you'll get it printed