How to write an order of service booklet

Of all the many documents people have to cater for, or produce in their lives, then surely designing a funeral Order of Service is one of the most difficult and testing. As trying as it may be, at a time when so many other arrangements are being sorted, it is important to get this element right.

The Order of Service books will act as keepsakes for many family members and friends in honour of the bereaved. Here are some aspects to help when considering your Order of Service printing:

Pick photographs that best represent a loved one

Order of Service booklets should feature photographs in different sections. The front cover should carry a photograph of the person being honoured – this is usually a picture focussing on and depicting only that specific person. This is to highlight the main purpose of the ceremony – you should spend time with your family looking at and choosing an image that you all feel will best represent your departed loved one.

Whilst this is a sad day, many will see it as a celebration of that person’s life as well as a respectful remembrance, so the photograph does not necessarily have to be a sombre or sad image – it can be an uplifting picture, an image that will make people smile when they see it in future times.

The closing page should also carry a meaningful photograph – often people choose a picture of the departed in a group situation, with family or friends – something that portrays a different aspect than represented on the front cover.   

The front cover will highlight the person

This is, obviously, an important aspect of Order of Service books – the front page will greet the mourners and clearly highlight the person the service represents. A meaningful photograph should be accompanied by a short, but poignant statement relevant to the person along with essential information such as dates of both birth and death, their full, legal name and the time and location of the service itself.

Include the running order of the service

The Order of Service booklet should contain pages outlining the detail and ‘running order’ of the ceremony – aspects such as the music being featured at different stages of the service, the readers and speakers at the ceremony, group prayers and hymns (if applicable) and any blessing or committal.

Include comments, thoughts and remembrances

This stage of the service can contain a number of different features – comments, thoughts and remembrances of family and friends, perhaps a displayed collage of photographs depicting different events and times of the departed or it may include verses and poems that were meaningful to the person and family, or even specific quotes that carry some relevance and emotion to the bereaved family.

Add further invitations and ways to honour the person on a closing page

The closing page should feature the photographs mentioned earlier along with the thanks to those participating and attending the ceremony – it is in this section that you should mention any nominated charities for donations, if relevant, and to issue invitations to further ceremonies or receptions that are to be held following the service in honour of the beloved.  

Overall design should be kept simple with high quality printing

When considering the design and layout of Order of Service books there are some aspects to consider – keep it simple, choose a quality material for your Order of Service printing – many people will want to keep these Orders of Service booklets for reference – and make it easy to read. It is also worthwhile remembering that there may be people unable to attend the service in person but will receive a booklet, so provide information for both those attending and absent from the actual proceedings.  

Remember, whilst an Order of Service booklet is often an emotionally difficult thing to produce, it can act as a physical reminder of the life of a loved member of family or friend and how you have celebrated that life – it is something people will keep and treasure for many years!  


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