So somehow you got the job, the god-awful job of creating the program for the funeral service. Granted this is supposed to be a golden opportunity for you to honor grandma but somehow instead with just the thought of it, you are filled with overwhelming emotions and stress. Unfortunately Grandpa asked you (grandchild who has two kids & a full-time job – you) and even though you didn’t really want to say yes – you loved your Grannie too much to say “no.” 24-Hours into agreeing to this task, and countless Google searches later, you realize you have got your work cut out for you.. and the funeral director gave you no real information on what to do.. or where to start.
So what are Memorial Funeral Programs anyway?
Memorial funeral programs highlight the key points of the funeral service, summarize the life achievements & capture the essence of your love one lost. It is the first piece distributed to family & guests as they arrive. Something they hold on to and cherish from the moment they walk in to the chapel – it is a celebration of your loved ones life and an important detail that no memorial service should be without.
Memorial funeral programs typically include:
1. The funeral order of service
2. The family tree (usually just the immediate family) sometimes pictures are included.
3. Photos of the deceased / birth & death date, place of service
4. Obituary or your loved ones “story”
5. Funeral or bereavement poems
6. Scriptures or readings
7. Hymns or song lyrics
8. Thank-you messages & other special notes (ie. Directions to the luncheon)
The order of service helps guests follow the order of events happening during the service. Often, hymns & scriptures are included so guests can sing or follow along. I have found that including scriptures & lyrics to hymns helps family & guests participate in the service allowing everything to flow along smoothly.
The funeral program is also a great way to share your favorite past and present photos of grandma. They can be arranged in a Collage type format or strategically placed throughout the entire program. Color and black & white photographs remind guests and family of the life grandma lived, the person she was, her smile, her grace… often, when designed beautifully, guests keep the program for years to come, and the memory of grandma lives on.
Funeral poems and scriptural verses can also be found within funeral programs to help guests follow along with the priest during readings. Take the time to meet with grandma’s closest friends & find out what scriptures or poetry were meaningful to her. You’d be surprised how having scriptures and poems in the program helps your guests become more involved in the service. Priests also appreciate that your guests can follow along as he reads. Often, song & hymn lyrics are included as well. This encourages everyone to follow and sing along with organ player or music CD. Often the words of the songs can be very powerful and will immediately connect everyone together during this emotional time.
It is also a nice idea to include your loved one’s story in the funeral program. Take a minute to write-up a brief paragraph or 3 about who she was, her accomplishments, her family, her passions, etc. This little story will remind family and friends of the celebration of her life.. and trust me, grandpa will love it!
Truth is, this is your program & you have the freedom to include whatever you’d like. It can be as short or as long as you see fit. Creating a beautifully designed program will make an impact that will create a lasting impression. However with all the details and planning that goes into a funeral service, you might not have the time, talent or resources to create a program from scratch. There are great resources that can help take care of all of this for you. All you need to do is fill out a quick questionaire which will help you figure out what will go in your program and then go on to picking out your accompanying photos.
We know you really wanted to do it yourself, but often times, purchasing a memorial funeral program can be a big relief. It is cost effective and can save you time and is emotionally the easy choice. Plus, a professionally designed program will make an amazing impact on your guests.