The funeral order of service tells guests about the order and contents of the funeral service and can be kept afterwards as a meaningful memento. The order of services can be given out as people enter the service, placed in a basket or laid out on seats for mourners to pick up.
An order of service for a funeral is usually in booklet form, but the number of pages varies depending on the length of the service and the detail you would like. Typically the funeral order of service is prepared by the person organising the service, but your funeral celebrant and funeral provider can also offer support.
Having an order of service for a funeral can also be a way for those not able to attend to feel included. You can send absent friends and family a copy so they can feel part of the send off.
These first steps are a useful place to start to help you write a funeral order of service.
Site Manager, Arun Crematorium
“An order of service can provide you with structure when you’re organising the funeral. Planning out the service can set your mind at rest that the songs, readings, tributes or moments of reflection you’d like to include will all have their time and space.
“Every order of service is as unique as the person being remembered. Following a traditional format can be helpful if you’re not sure what to include. However, you don’t have to feel bound by tradition if you don’t want to be and you can include your own unique ideas to reflect your loved one.”
You can make the funeral order of service individual to your loved one as you knew them best. However, some places of worship may have a set template for how funeral services are run.
Below is a standard running order for a funeral service.
The front of the funeral order of service is the first impression guests will have.
It is common to include:
The back of an order of service for a funeral provides space for additional details.
Some ideas for what to include are:
Other types of funeral stationery are also available. You may choose to order different funeral stationery instead of or as well as the order of service for a funeral.
|Type of stationery
|When is it used?
|What is its purpose?
|Sent out before the funeral service
|Communicates the time and place of the funeral service to attendees
|At the funeral service
|To have a lasting record of who was there on the day
|Memory board/welcome board
|At the funeral or wake
|Provides a place for photos of your loved one and welcomes mourners
|At the funeral or wake
|Allows friends and family to leave messages sharing their condolences and memories
|Cards for a memory box
|At the funeral or wake
|Plays the same role as a condolences book - cards can be kept in a box also containing any sympathy cards friends and family bring with them
|Given out at the funeral or wake or sent to those not able to attend
|Small cards with a photo and quote for attendees to keep in their wallet or purse to remember a loved one
|At the funeral or wake
|Gifts to attendees to remember a loved one like memorial pins, seed packets or bookmarks
|Thank you cards
|After the funeral or wake
|Sent out to thank attendees for coming
If you're looking to plan a cheap cremation, it's useful to be aware of funeral order of service costs. On average people in 2023 spent £111 on order of services for funerals.
Attributes of a funeral order of service that can affect the cost are:
 The average spend on order sheets in 2023 was £111 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs).
There are ways you can keep your funeral order of service costs to a minimum.
If you prefer to keep things simple or you're worried about funeral costs, you don't have to have an order of service at all. In 2023, 8% of those planning a funeral service cut back on the order of service itself to keep costs down.
You can even choose not to have a traditional funeral service at all. An unattended direct cremation provides an alternative for those who don't like funerals, don't have the funds for an extravagant service or would like to celebrate their loved one's life in an alternative way instead.
 8% of people in 2023 did not use order of service cards (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs).
Including extra personal touches outside of the standard traditions can make the funeral order of service feel like a truer representation of your loved one.
A list of your loved one's favourite music, books, films, TV shows, games or other interests gives attendees an enjoyable way to feel close to their lost loved one.
Including a quote, saying, mantra or joke your loved one was known to use often will remind attendees of your loved one as they were in life.
Including something your loved one created themselves like a recipe, poem, piece of music or artwork is a fitting tribute to their achievements.
If your loved one had a story about their life they often told or a memory that they often shared with friends and family you may like to include this too.
Laying out key life events lets funeral attendees remember the moments they were part of and possibly even get to know your loved one better.
If your loved one had thought about their own funeral wishes in advance, they may even have written a farewell message to include.
If arranging a funeral service has you thinking about your own preferences, you may like to consider planning your own funeral ahead of time. A Distinct Cremations funeral plan lets you choose your funeral and pay for it in advance too, removing any financial burden from your family.
Here are some answers to further questions commonly asked about planning an order of service for a funeral.
Once you've finalised the funeral order of service, it can take between a few days or a few weeks to get it printed depending on the printer you choose. For speed, you can print the order of services yourself at a printing shop or using your own printer.
Bear in mind readability when designing your order of service. Small or swirly fonts can be harder to read. If your loved one was environmentally conscious you can choose eco-friendly paper and printing services or a green funeral option.
To make your funeral stationery and funeral order of service personal you can include photos that capture your loved one's personality, designs in their favourite colour and motifs of their favourite animal, sport or other interest.
You can also get input from as many people who were close to your loved one as you can. As long as you feel emotionally ready to talk, sharing memories can be a healing part of the grieving process.
Call us on 01543 212000 to start the process of setting up a dignified and low cost funeral for your loved one.
Alternatively, see our further guidance about how to plan a funeral service.
Our funerals are carried out without fuss or unnecessary expense. Our compassionate team is on hand to respectfully support you through every aspect of the arrangements.Arrange a funeral
Whilst arranging the funeral order of service, you may like to also consider writing an obituary as a lasting tribute to your loved one's life and achievements.How to write an obituary
Choosing funeral transport is another key consideration when planning a funeral service. Funeral cars can be expensive but there are also affordable funeral transport options.Guide to funeral cars
Below are a selection of reviews from those who have arranged a funeral or purchased a funeral plan through Distinct Cremations.
"Smooth and straightforward purchase with plenty of contact and feedback."
“Easy to use and very helpful. Very easy to use their services and always called with updates. Sorry to say I've had to use their services twice now and I've already booked my own service. On both times I've used this service I've been kept informed by calls to everything going on. All my requests were made to feel like no trouble whatsoever, happy to help attitude made what was a very emotional time pass with no problems. Ty to all the teams involved"
"Quick and easy to arrange. Very good value. The information pack arrived days after I made my enquiry. It was so easy to arrange the plan that I wanted. The follow up call was very reassuring. I am very happy with the service provided."
"Already recommended to other family members. Easy to access and apply for a plan at a good price, and even better, in 20 years time there will be no additional cost. It's not a subject that anyone wants to think about but now I have it sorted it has given me peace of mind knowing my family won't have the worry or cost when that time comes, now I can forget it and enjoy many more years, highly recommended. Hassle free application that was completed in minutes but I'm not planning on using this plan anytime soon!!"
"I was very pleased with the prompt efficient service that I got, everything was explained to me, and the paperwork was easy to understand, and there was no pressure put on me for a decision. I would most certainly recommended this company for price and efficiency."
“Happy with everything. We were well pleased with the consultant Sarah Mills she was very helpful and made us feel very confident that we were doing the right thing about our funeral plan."
"Positive without being pushy. Easy to understand the scheme, helpful brochure and a realistic price. The staff I contacted were polite and professional. Great value. An ideal alternative for those of us who don't want a lot of fuss."