How to write a funeral order of service booklet9 July 2019
It is never a document that anybody is going to look forward to having to design and have printed – and is something that will be considered amongst a lot of other important arrangements at a difficult and trying time. It is, however, what will perhaps be the longest-lasting element of the funeral arrangements, so it IS important to get right!
Your order of service will likely be retained as one the keepsakes for the bereaved of the person they have lost and want to remember. It is different from composing any other form of printed document and needs to be carefully composed – here are some aspects to consider for your order of service design:
The cover page
Obviously, this page is important – this is what will greet the mourners and has the initial impact. The family will likely want it to be a meaningful photograph of the remembered person and a short, but poignant statement. It must include their legal name, dates of both birth and death, and, likely, the location and time of any service.
Ensure that the photo chosen is simple, and solely focussed on the person being honoured – spend time with your family to select an image you feel fully represents the character of your loved one. Although it is obviously a sombre occasion, the photo doesn’t have to represent that – it may be nice for all involved if it is an uplifting picture that will make people smile when they pick it up in future years.
Outlining the service
These pages should contain the detail of the actual order of events and any ceremony taking place – don’t miss the important bits when making your order of service booklet.
They will likely include:
- Music to be featured at different stages of the proceedings
- Readers and speakers and their order in the ceremony
- Group prayers, hymns or music
- Any committal or blessing
Ensure you confirm any order of service with those authorities performing any ceremony.
This can take a number of forms – it may be some thoughts or comments from family and friends, it may be a collage of photographs from different stages or events from the lifetime of the remembered person; it may include specific quotes or verses associated with them or can be a combination of any of these things. It is important that whatever is chosen, is of meaning to the bereaved.
Like the front cover, this is best kept simple – often another meaningful photograph, but perhaps in a family or group scene – something that projects a different side of the remembered person than the photographs featured earlier.
This is often the place to mention any nominated charities and such for donations, and to thank those who have attended, for their support and good wishes. It is also the opportunity to issue an invitation to any further ceremony or reception that follows the service.
Order of service design
Having decided upon the content for the order of service printing, you should consider the actual design and layout. Here are a few aspects to consider when doing so:
- Keep it simple
- Choose a paper/card that is not heavy or cumbersome, but will last for a good period of time without becoming worn – people will keep these order of service cards for many years
- Make it easy to read – choose fonts and a size that portray a clear and dignified message
- Choose colour photos that capture the character of the remembered person. The difference between the cost in printing a colour photo or black and white is not great – but the impact and memory of celebrating a life in colour may be!
- Provide information for both those attending and those absent from the proceedings
An order of service may be a difficult thing to produce, but will act as a physical reminder of a celebrated life that your family and friends can treasure for years to come.
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