Blue Flowers On Poetry Book

A funeral order of service helps your guests to know what to expect when they arrive at the funeral and can also help you to finalise what you would like to include as part of your loved one’s service.

We can support you with your funeral arrangements. Give our friendly and knowledgeable team a call on 01543 212000.

What is a funeral order of service?

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.

How to write a funeral order of service

These first steps are a useful place to start to help you write a funeral order of service.

  1. Check whether your loved one left any instructions. They may have already shared wishes with you or left details in their will.
  2. Ask close friends and family what they would like to see included and whether they'd like to be involved in the service.
  3. Think about music and readings that remind you of your loved one or that they really liked.
  4. Gather memories to include in speeches or the eulogy. Thinking back on your loved one in life may also help you make choices about what to include in the funeral order of service.

Funeral Order Of Service On Chair

Adam Westwood

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.”

What to include in a funeral order of service

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.

  • Entrance song
    Include the name and artist of the funeral music playing as people enter or the coffin is brought in.
    Entrance music, "Time To Say Goodbye" by Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman
  • A welcome
    Mention the name of the person conducting the service.
    Welcome & introduction conducted by Emily Wilde, Celebrant
  • Popular songs, music or hymns
    As well as names and artists, you can explain why these songs were meaningful to the deceased. If you would like people to sing along it's helpful to include the words to the songs too.
  • Readings, poems, passages from books or prayers
    You can include the readings in full for people who prefer to read along, why they were chosen and the names of people giving the readings.
  • A eulogy talking about your loved one, their life and their achievements
    Write the name of the person giving the eulogy.
    Tribute given by Mike Strong, Simon's son
  • A moment of silence
    Quiet reflection can be used for prayer, especially if those attending are from different faiths, or just for people to take a few moments to remember their loved one.
  • Memories, tributes and speeches
    Other people close to your loved one may also want to share a few words.
  • Committal of the coffin/burial
    At a cremation funeral, a curtain will usually close around the coffin. At a burial the coffin will be lowered into the ground.
  • Farewells and thank you
    The service may be ended by a celebrant or family member.
    Closing words and farewell delivered by Erin Strong, Simon's wife
  • Exit music
    End with the name of the song or music playing as people leave.
    Exit music, "I've Had The Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

What to include on the front

Stack Of Order Of Service Booklets

The front of the funeral order of service is the first impression guests will have.

It is common to include:

  • Your loved one's personal details
    Full name plus nickname, dates of birth and death
  • Details of the service
    Date, time and location
  • A photo of your loved one
    Formal or light-hearted and recent or from the past, however you’d like to remember them

What to include on the back

Person Holding Order Of Service Booklet

The back of an order of service for a funeral provides space for additional details.

Some ideas for what to include are:

  • More photos
    Family photos and photos of hobbies or achievements
  • A goodbye message
    A note thanking attendees for coming or a final quote
  • Further information
    Details about funeral donations to charity or the wake/celebration of life

Arrange a funeral with Distinct Cremations

At Distinct Cremations, we specialise in dignified simple funeral arrangements.

Avoid the stress and expense of a traditional funeral. Find out more about how we can support you.

Arrange a funeral

Other types of funeral stationery

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?
Announcement cards Sent out before the funeral service Communicates the time and place of the funeral service to attendees
Attendance cards 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
Condolences book 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
Memorial cards 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
Mementoes/keepsakes 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

Costs of funeral stationery

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.[1]

Attributes of a funeral order of service that can affect the cost are:

  • Size of the booklet
    A longer or larger booklet with more pages will cost more.
  • Type of paper chosen
    The thicker and more luxurious the paper, the higher the cost.
  • Colour or black and white printing
    Full colour will likely cost more than printing in black and white.
  • Number of copies
    Try and anticipate the amount you need so you're not paying for more.
  • Extra details like embossed text
    Decorative touches can look very effective but will push up the prices.

[1] The average spend on order sheets in 2023 was £111 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs).

Condolences Book With Photo Of The Deceased

There are ways you can keep your funeral order of service costs to a minimum.

  • You can print simple order of service sheets yourself at home.
  • Ask what your funeral provider can offer as this may be less expensive than arranging yourself.
  • Create a digital tribute to your loved one instead which you can share with attendees via email, by attaching it to an online event invitation or by placing a scannable QR code at the wake or celebration of life event.

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.[2]

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.

[2] 8% of people in 2023 did not use order of service cards (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs).

Alternative order of service ideas

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.

List of favourites

Older Man Taking Book Off Bookshelf

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.

Meaningful quote

Three Older People Talking In Living Room

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.

A personal creation

Funeral Sheet Music On Coffee Table

Including something your loved one created themselves like a recipe, poem, piece of music or artwork is a fitting tribute to their achievements.

An anecdote

Book On Kitchen Table With Flowers

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.

A timeline

Stack Of Order Of Service Booklets On Table

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.

A message

Pen And Notepad On Kitchen Worktop

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.

Funeral order of service FAQs

Here are some answers to further questions commonly asked about planning an order of service for a funeral.

How long does it take to get an order of service printed?

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.

How can you make funeral stationery personal?

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.

Other useful resources

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.

Arrange a funeral

Sue arrange flip

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

Obituary guidance

Hand Holding Pencil To Write Obituary

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 cars

Coffin With Flowers In Hearse

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

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who followed their instinct with Distinct and chose to buy a funeral with us.

5/5
Based on 715 reviews Feefo Logo Feefo Gold 2024
Read all our reviews
Anon 30 May 2024
first class
Mark 21 May 2024
Excellent communication, very helpful and we got just what we wanted in a service. Highly recommended and we will use again. Mark Oliver
Anon 2 May 2024
Service very efficient, and comprehensive. Understandably, you "chased me up" when there was a delay in my response to place an order, but this delay was whilst I contacted all those relatives who might have had a view to express.
Anon 24 Apr 2024
I was very happy with the service I received and they are only a phone call away if I or my sons should need advice or help in any way
Wendy 8 Apr 2024
This is a good company, the cremation was dealt with very smoothly without any problems. The staff were very courteous and professional throughout. Everything was explained over the phone and they were very patient answering my questions. The ashes were delivered on time to my door. Highly recommended.
Anon 7 Apr 2024
They gave a superb service, they were very professional from start to finish, but also friendly and empathetic too, at what was a very difficult time for myself and the family
Anon 6 Apr 2024
Dee was lovely and understanding and advice was easy to understand
Anon 5 Apr 2024
Very kind and helpful lady. She talked me through everything that I asked her about.
5/5
Based on 715 reviews
Feefo Logo
Read all our reviews

Not found what you're looking for?

Not found what you're looking for?