How to structure a funeral order of service

In this article we will address how to structure a traditional funeral order of service.

Is it necessary to have a running order of the funeral service?

Yes. It is important to consider and plan out the running order of the funeral service in advance. This is to ensure the funeral service runs smoothly and ensures those who are participating in the service know when and where they are needed. The service leader will often guide you through the running order and will usually be the one to prepare the running order of service, however if you are planning the service yourself, it is important to plan out the service ahead of time.

Why do you need a running order of the funeral service?

We have outlined the main reasons as to why you need a running order of service below...

  • Timings - to ensure you keep to time. This is especially important if you are planning a funeral service at a venue in which you have limited time to hold the ceremony.
  • Participants - to ensure all those who are participating in the service know when and where they are needed.
  • Structure - to ensure the service runs logically and smoothly.
  • Peace of mind.

What is a typical running order of service?

A typical order of service includes the following...

  • Entrance music
  • Introduction from the service leader
  • Hymn, Prayer or Song
  • Reading or Poem
  • Reading of the eulogy
  • The committal
  • Closing music

Who speaks first at a funeral?

Typically, the service leader will start by introducing the service. The service leader is the person who conducts the service and can be a celebrant, funeral officiant, minister, religious leader or a family member.

Who reads the eulogy at a funeral?

The eulogy is traditionally read out by a close family member or friend of the deceased. However, in some cases the service leader will read out the eulogy.

Who walks in first at a funeral?

The service leader will lead the procession for the funeral service. The coffin will follow the service leader, along with the Pallbearers. Immediate family and friends will then often follow the coffin into the service.

Who should carry the coffin at a funeral?

Traditionally, there are 4-6 pallbearers that are required to carry the coffin. These can either be designated Pallbearers in which are supplied by the Funeral Director, or they can be chosen family members and friends. Pallbearers can be any gender and there is no set rule around who can and cannot carry the coffin. However, there are certain things to consider when choosing the Pallbearers, such as height and strength … You can read more on How to Carry a Coffin here.

Who traditionally speaks at a funeral?

  • The Service Leader
  • Close Family and Friends

There is no real limit as to who can speak at a funeral, however one thing to take into consideration is time. As previously mentioned, timing can be a key factor when planning your funeral service. If there are family and friends who wish to perform a reading or speech, then you can offer them to do so at the funeral wake.

Do you need an order of service booklet at a funeral?

It is strongly encouraged to have the order of service printed in a booklet for the funeral service. This enables mourners to follow along with the service and join in with any hymns or songs. You can also include photographs and memories in the order of service, making them a beautiful keepsake for mourners to take away and cherish in the mourning period following the funeral.