When you are put to the task of creating a booklet for a funeral or memorial service, studying a sample funeral program will help you gather a few ideas. If you already have a niche for design, developing the program won't be difficult. Even if you do need some assistance, plenty of free funeral program templates are available on the Internet to guide you.
Elements of a Sample Funeral Program
Since the booklet will become a keepsake for many who attend the funeral, several items should be included:
- Full legal name of the deceased person
- Dates of birth and death
- Time, date and place of funeral
- Name of the priest, minister or other dignitary officiating the service
- Place of interment
- Full names of pallbearers
- Name of the person delivering the eulogy
- Titles of songs played and/or sung
Religious Funeral Program Examples
If the deceased person is having a religious funeral, other elements can be included in the program:
- Scripture, Gospel or Bible citations: State the reference and the person who is reading it
- If the funeral service has servers, as is used during a Catholic Mass, those names should be listed as well.
- Bereavement verses
Optional Elements to Include in a Funeral Bulletin
Depending on how many pages you want the funeral program to be, many other elements you can include:
- Pictures of the deceased person
- Favorite poetry
- List of surviving family members
- Brief biography
- Charities where donations may be made
- Time and place of the "after funeral" breakfast or luncheon
- Funny anecdotes or quotes
- Words of gratitude from the family to those who attended the service
- Artwork created by the deceased person
How to Write an Obituary for a Funeral Program
An obituary is supposed to be a summary of the deceased's life, so it's easy to feel overwhelmed when tasked with writing an obituary. Keep in mind that people aren't expecting something Pulitzer-worthy. Write from the heart and use a template if that makes the process easier for you.
Funeral Program Wording
There are no absolutes when it comes to the wording of the funeral program, so let your heart guide you as you write the funeral program. Ask yourself what information the deceased would have included within the program had they written it themselves. Would they insist upon some spiritual elements or mentions of sayings or mottos they held dear? You want to create something that is not only informational but a reflection of who the person was in life.
Selecting a Cover for the Funeral Program
The cover of the funeral program should speak not only of the person who died but also about the type of funeral being held. The cover will be the first thing everyone will see and most likely remember the most about the program. Samples of funeral program covers include:
- A sunrise or sunset
- Any nature scene
- Falling rain
- Flowers, trees or plants
- Crosses, rosaries or other religious symbols
- Collage of photos or a single photo of the deceased person
Paper for the funeral program covers can be found at any office or stationery store. Religious gift stores also carry a line of spiritual pages that can also be used. If you do decide to create your own, a short bereavement verse or Bible quote can be added.
A Final Gift to Your Loved One
Funeral booklets don't have to be complex, yet they don't to be simple either. If you have time, put as much as you want into a program, especially photographs. Keep the booklet a simple size; a standard sheet of paper folded in half horizontally should be sufficient. Make sure you make enough extra copies for families to take an extra one home as a keepsake or for others who couldn't attend the service.