The Outline of a Memorial or Funeral Service
The outline of any order of service for funeral or memorials are similar. Each have particular elements that are included. This is a basic outline that includes things typically within a ceremony and can be expanded upon, added to, or trimmed down depending on the family's needs. You may want to take note and outline the service you are planning for your loved one by reviewing the key points below. This will assist you in thinking your way through what is included and how to best prepare for each item you want included.
OPENING MUSIC - Select music and songs as the beginning entry or start of the service. Choosing some of your loved one's favorite music is appropriate regardless of whether they are considered to be "funeral music". They can be performed by a soloist or choir, instruments (piano, guitar, harp) or even be played from a recording.
READINGS - Readings from a religious service or certain scriptures can be read aloud. Perhaps the deceased had favorite scriptures written in his or her bible. The readings should acknowledgement the loss of the loved one and offer support to the surviving family members.
SERVICE MUSIC - Favorite music can be played during the middle of the service to break up the speaking or readings or played during special times. Funeral attendees could join in the singing of hymns or songs with lyrics read from a hymnal or written within your funeral program. A soloist might perform a selection during this time from a favorite song.
EULOGY - The designated speaker or speakers give a presentation or tribute to the deceased. This should be personalized, remembering the deceased life and accomplishments, offering hope and solace to the surviving family and friends. Those in attendance can offer their own testimonials during a time of sharing, remembering happy and sad times they shared together.
PRESENTATION - Any other special presentations should be done here, such as photos, a video or memorial slide show can be presented. Create your tribute and decide in what order to memorialize your loved one and accept the passing. You can use special music, poetry and certain sayings they were known for or liked. You can either have someone present it so its read aloud or write it in the bulletin handout. You can also light candles near the casket for a lighted memorial.
CLOSING - You can have a designated person say a few words or the officiant at the end of the service. You may choose to include a concluding song for everyone to sing or a soloist and group. A pastor might offer last words of condolence and encouragement benediction.
GRAVESIDE - At the grave site prayers can be said and you can provide songs sung as a group or by a soloist after the officiant has given the last rites or provided the gravesite blessing. If it is a cremation, this could be a time of scattering the ashes in which the ceremony would include the dispersement of cremains.
CELEBRATION (Repast) - The time after the ceremonies where family and friends gather together in a home, church or funeral home to share a meal in the celebration of the deceased life. You can give your condolences personally to the immediate family during this time of gathering.