A funeral program is a small brochure that usually contains a tribute to the deceased and details of what will take place during the funeral or memorial service. You may also hear it referred to it as an “Order of Service,” or a Memorial Folder.
A funeral program is not required, but most people like to provide one since it helps those attending the funeral or memorial service follow along and participate more fully. The program also gives those who are paying their respects something to take with them as a memento.
The funeral home or church may offer to compile and print the program for you. If they do this for you, someone close to the deceased should work closely with them so the program truly reflects the unique life of the person being memorialized. Many families prefer to handle the program on their own since it can be very rewarding. It gives them a chance to look back on and appreciate the life of the deceased and participate in making the arrangements.
Funeral programs generally contain four pages. Think of a page of 8 ½ x 11 paper folded in half. You can make your program longer if you like, but for most people, four pages are enough.
There are many tools available if you want to create your own funeral program. Working with a specialized funeral printing company is the easiest and most cost-effective way. These companies offer a variety of templates and make it easy and affordable to have professional looking programs printed quickly.
What to Include in the Funeral Program
The content of your funeral program will depend on your personal preference and the type of service you are having. It can be as simple or as complex as you like. Think of the program as two separate parts: the cover and the contents. The cover usually includes:
- A photo of the deceased
- The name of the deceased
- The deceased’s date of birth and death
- A quotation or inspirational saying (A favorite of the deceased or one that you think captures the essence of the person being remembered.)
- A funeral program title (A short phrase or caption that sets the tone for the service. Examples are “A Homecoming Celebration,” “A Celebration of Life,” “A Loving Farewell.”
If you are having a religious service, you may want to include a relevant scripture passage. For a secular service, a poem or favorite reading may be appropriate. You may also want to include a quote that the deceased found meaningful. Instead of inside the program, some designers will place the quotation on the cover. You have a great deal of flexibility in how you place your information since there are no hard and fast rules.
Among the items that are commonly included in the inside of the in the funeral program are:
- Service Information (Date, Time, Location, Person Officiating)
- Funeral Outline (Order of Service): The events that will take place during the service.
- People participating in the service: (Officiant, Persons giving Eulogy and readings, soloists, musicians, Others)
- Music Selections (Lyrics if appropriate)
- Poems, Readings, or Scriptures
- Funeral Prayers
- Obituary or Biography of the Deceased
- Interment details
- Funeral Reception Information; Time and Place
You are not limited to the information shown in the list above. Nor are you required to have all of these items. The list is provided so that you will have an idea of the type of information many people like to include. If you want to do something different—go for it! The real point in having a Funeral Program at all is to honor a loved one and help those who are grieving for them remember them. Exactly how you do that will depend on your culture, traditions, and personal preferences.