What do I put in an Order of Service?

Blog post: what to put in an order of service. Funeral order of service, funeral service sheet, memorial service, funeral stationery, celebration of life

Blog post: what to put in an order of service. Funeral order of service, funeral service sheet, memorial service, funeral stationery, celebration of life
Far from its origins as a functional document to guide you through a funeral service, a modern day Order of Service is a lovingly prepared tribute, keepsake and lasting memorial to the person who has died. Indeed, it is the only element of the funeral arrangements that lasts beyond the service itself and has become an item to be treasured. With this in mind, it is no wonder that one of the questions most asked to be by families is “What should I put in the order of service?” or “What do most people do?”.

The honest answer is that, there is no “should”. Anything goes, and every family chooses something different. But here are some ideas and suggestions to help and guide you in curating a tribute that is right for you, and for the person you are remembering.

The core elements

Common to most Orders of Service is the running order of the funeral service itself. This allows guests to understand what to expect, and what might be expected of them – and helps the funeral service run seamlessly.

Things most (but not all) families will include are:

  • Favourite photo(s). All of my designs include space for at least 4 and often many more
  • The full name and dates of life of the person who has died
  • The venue, date and time of the funeral or memorial service
  • The name and position of the person who is leading the service
  • The running order of the various elements within the funeral service
  • The titles and artists/authors of any music that will be played or poems/readings that will be read
  • The name(s) of any family members or friends who will be speaking or reading, and often their relationship to the person who has died
  • The words of any songs, hymns or prayers that you wish the congregation to join in with (unless these will be displayed on a screen at the venue)
  • Any instructions for the congregation – for example putting flowers into/onto the coffin, or standing/kneeling at any points.
  • Details of any reception or wake (if all are welcome)
  • Details of any charity that has been selected for those wishing to make a donation in your loved one’s memory, and details about how to donate (QR codes are very popular and I can generate these for you).



Choosing photos is a whole topic in itself which is why I’ve written a separate post just for this! Do take a read here – I hope it will be helpful.


A hugely common question that I’m asked is “Do I include the words of the poems?”. My recommendation is – yes. Poems often convey the sentiments of the person who had died in terms of how they’d like others to remember them, or how those closest to them are feeling towards their death. These words are hugely helpful and comforting for others to look back on privately after the service, so to have them written and there to be remembered is something I’d highly recommended.

Personal touches

Along with the above, lots of families wish to extend the personalisation of the order of service to include unique tributes that they want others to remember about the person who has died. Some of the things I see and love are:

  • pieces of artwork that were created by your person. These can be instead of, or as well as, photographs
  • recipes from your person. Did they have a signature dish that you’d like to pass on? If the recipe is handwritten, even better. What a lovely legacy to leave.
  • their favourite songs, books, podcasts or playlists
  • links to blogs or YouTube videos that your person might have created
  • drawings done by children in the family, in memory of your person
  • a printed copy of the eulogy or spoken tribute
  • a record of particular achievements or dates of significance in your person’s life
  • quotes or “words to live by” that were important to your person


I hope this guide is helpful but remember; it really is a case that anything goes, and I would wholeheartedly encourage you to personalise it to whatever extent you can. These are your pages. They can be anything you want them to be. There is no ‘one size fits all’ or format you need to stick to. Make it theirs, make it personal, make it the tribute that you want to give.

Categories: Uncategorised