When arranging a funeral, the main goal is to reflect the personality of the loved one that has been lost. An order of service is a way to pay tribute and when done well can really make their personality shine.
At SC & BS Cocks we understand that with only a week or so before the funeral, it can get stressful when there are so many other things to organise and focus on as well. We want to help in any way that we can. That is why we can also handle arranging the order of service for you. Whether you decide to get it done professionally or do it yourself, we’ve put together this guide to go through what an order of service is and what goes into one.
What is an order of service?
Some people may think of an order of service as being a book of hymns and poems for guests to read from. However, it can be so much more than that. It can be a good way to pay tribute to your loved one and a keepsake for family and friends who are in attendance. Many people will include photos of the person who has passed away, remembering the life they lived. An order of service also typically contains a schedule for the day.
How do you make an order of service?
Most order of service cards will follow a general outline but can be altered to make them more personal. They are unique to everyone and no two will be the same. It’s all about creating something unique to the person you have lost. We have put together an example structure and the basics that are commonly put on each page:
The front cover of an order of service doesn’t need to be overwhelmed with different elements. They will typically focus on the essentials. These include:
- The full name of the person who has passed away
- A photo of them
- The day they were born and the date of their passing e.g. DD/MM/YYYY – DD/MM/YYYY
- A short line in memory of them e.g. Beloved dad, grandad & uncle. Gone but never forgotten
- The date, time and location of the funeral service
For the photo, most will choose one that is a recent shot, although you can of course use one from earlier on in their life. Try to find something that reflects who they were. If they had a particular hobby they were known for, maybe use a photo of them doing that or if they were a bit of a joker or a comedian, maybe use a photo of them laughing and being funny. Another example would be if they were more serious and proud of a military career, perhaps use a photo of them in their uniform.
Schedule of the Day
The first few inside pages are commonly used to layout the schedule for the day. This tells the guests what will be happening and what to expect. A schedule will usually include:
- The entrance music that will be played as the coffin is brought in
- Songs and hymns that will be played or sung. Some people choose to include lyrics for guests to read from)
- Passages and poems that will be read out during the service and the name of the family member or friend who will be giving the reading
- Committal or blessing
- Closing music. Some people like to include the name of the song in the schedule
These points aren’t set in stone and the schedule doesn’t have to follow these exactly. It all depends on where the ceremony is held. It is a good idea to check with the funeral director and the person leading the service to make sure that the schedule is correct.
Other pages in an order of service may include some more personal touches. These are used to remember the loved one who has been lost and looks at memories from their life. These pages often include:
- Photos of them at different stages in their life
- Quotes from a favourite book, song or poem
- Quotes about them from family and friends
One thing to remember is that the more pages that you include, the more expensive it will be to print. If you intend on using a professional printer, you should check with them about your layout as they may also require you to follow their templates.
The last page or so of an order of service will usually round things out and bring the service to an end. They are typically kept simple. Some people like to use them for things such as:
- A final photo to remember them by (something different to the photo used on the front)
- A thank you to all the guests and everyone who has sent condolences
- An invitation to donate to a charity in memory of them
- Outline where and when the wake will be if you are having one
Some Design Tips
We just have a little more advice when it comes to creating the order of service:
- Try to keep it simple: Don’t try to cram too much on the page. Anything that you can fit in can always go in a condolence book
- Make sure it’s easy to ready: Try to choose a font that will be easy to read. Clean and tidy fonts are best. Although calligraphic fonts will look lovely, that will make it less legible
An order of service is usually created collaboratively between close family members who will have the final say on what goes into it. It is also usually a good idea to ask the celebrant or religious representative who will be leading the service to read it over to check the schedule.
We hope that this guide has helped, whether you choose to create one from scratch or use a professional. We know that it can be a difficult and overwhelming time and are always here to help you organise the funeral. As part of our services, we can also organise the designing and printing of order of service cards. If you’d like to ask us about what we can do, please do get in touch.
We also have useful contacts and other useful information that you may find helpful. If you do have any further questions, we are always only a phone call away. You can either call us on 01452 617892 or use our online contact form.