How to create an Order of Service for a Funeral: A Step-by-Step Guide

Organising a Funeral 

Planning a funeral can be an emotionally challenging task, but knowing how to make an order of service  can provide structure and guidance during this difficult time. Creating an order of service is a crucial step in organising the funeral, as it outlines the sequence of events, readings, and tributes.

In this article, we provide you with a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to make an order of service for a funeral, ensuring a beautiful and memorable experience for all those attending.

Step 1: Gather essential information for the order of service

To begin creating the order of service, start by gathering all the necessary information.

This will include the full name of the deceased, their date and place of birth and death. Additionally, consider any significant achievements, roles, or titles held during their lifetime. Don’t forget to include the date, time, and location of the funeral service.

Step 2: Determine the order of events for the service

The next step is to determine the order of events for the funeral service. This will help create a logical flow and structure.

Begin with an opening or welcome message, followed by readings, eulogies, music, and other commemorative elements.

As soon as you possibly can, consult with family members, friends, the presiding minister or celebrant to decide which components hold the most significance and meaning for your loved one’s service.

Common elements include:

  • Opening remarks or welcome message
  • The name and title of the person taking the service
  • Personal reflections or eulogies
  • Readings or poems
  • Musical interludes or hymns
  • Photos
  • Commemorative rituals or customs
  • Closing remarks or thank you messages
  • Details of any charity for donations
  • Information about a post-service gathering
  • A message of thanks from the family

Hymns have a wide variety of versions so it is important to establish which is your preferred choice and your minister or celebrant can guide you with this.

Some hymns can be quite long and the person leading your service will also be able to tell you which verses may be omitted.

Step 3: Choose readings, poems, and music that reflect the individual’s character and any special requests left by them

Select readings, poems, and music that reflect and honours the life, personality, and beliefs of the deceased.

Consider pieces that were significant to them or that embody their values and interests. Involving family members and close friends can help in suggesting readings or poems that hold special meaning.

When choosing music, think about their favourite songs or pieces that evoke their character and spirit.

It is always helpful to check with close family to ensure that the selected content aligns with the overall tone of the service.

Step 4: Design the order of service for a funeral professionally

Once you have gathered all the necessary information and decided on the order of events, it’s time to design the order of service document.

If you have access to a graphic designer or professional design software such as Adobe InDesign this is ideal.

However, you can use programs such as Microsoft Publisher or Canva to create a polished layout.  

Whichever package you use, we strongly recommend saving your document as a PDF which can be opened by your chosen print provider without the need to have the parent application. But do check their Artwork guidelines before commencing work on your document.

In the absence of any design skills or suitable page layout software, check with your funeral stationery provider whether they provide templates for you to use online.

Begin with a cover page featuring the deceased’s name, date of birth, and date of death, along with any relevant images or symbols.

Within the document, include the order of events, incorporating the names of individuals involved in each component, such as readers, speakers, and musicians.

Add the chosen readings, poems, and musical selections, ensuring they are properly attributed to the author or composer.

You may also include photos, quotes, or personal messages that reflect your loved one’s personality.

A typical order of service for a funeral will usually run to four A5 pages. But the use of photo montages and longer content for different denominations means that booklets can run to eight, 12 or even 16 pages.

Step 5: Seek assistance and delegate tasks to ease the process

Planning a funeral and creating an order of service can be overwhelming, so don’t hesitate to seek help and delegate tasks.

Family members, friends, celebrants, or professional funeral directors can assist with collecting information, designing the document, or proofreading the final version.

Collaborating with others ensures that the order of service represents a collective effort and helps alleviate some of the burdens during this challenging time.

Step 6: Print and distribute the order of service on the day of the funeral

After finalising the design, it’s time to print copies of the order of service.

Consider the number of attendees expected and print enough copies to ensure everyone can follow along.

If in doubt, ask for a few more to be printed – just in case. The cost of a few extra copies is negligible compared to the cost of a top-up reprint and may be useful if you want to send copies to those not able to attend the service.


Our mission is to help you every step of the way in preparing your Order of Service for a Funeral. Feel free to call us on 01824 708 804, where our helplines are open between 9am and 5pm on Monday to Friday. 

Alternatively, please fill in the contact form on our website or email, even if it’s just for a quick chat before you get started.