Planning A Beautiful Service

Planning A Beautiful Service

Essential Components Of An Obituary Program

Cherly Fox

Saying goodbye after the death of a loved one is among the most painful experiences of life, yet it's also a time when some practical decisions must be made. Whether you're making the decisions on behalf of the bereaved or are currently dealing with grief head-on, these essential components to an obituary program will simplify the process to help you easily figure out the best ways to honor your loved one.

Program Cover

An obituary program for a funeral or cremation service should include a photograph of the deceased along with a simple statement. Most people choose "In Loving Memory of" above the photograph, with the person's name beneath it. A tasteful background image, such as a rainbow or other symbolic stationary image, may be included on the cover. Alternately, a plain white background, or one in the person's favorite color may be included.

Obituary Page

The deceased's obituary should be included in the program. Some people choose to have this first or last, but it is an essential part. The obituary in the program can be the same one that appeared in the newspaper or the funeral service website, or it can be a longer, unique one for the program. Those who are closest to the deceased should make the call on what sort of obituary to include.

Order of Services

An essential part of an obituary program is the order of services for the funeral, memorial service, or cremation ceremony. Aside from the prelude, the rest of the services typically happen in any order the organizer chooses to plan them. There are no hard and fast rules, so more things may be added, and not every funeral includes all these services. In any order, the written plan for services typically includes the following:

  • Prelude Begins - Music is often played as people enter the chapel or area that's set aside for the service.
  • Pallbearers Are Seated - With a funeral, those who will be carrying the coffin are often seated in their own section after the funeral has begun.
  • Other Participants Enter - A pastor and/or other speakers enter at this point.
  • Prelude Stops - The prelude concludes as music stops.
  • Prayers, Quotes, and Other Thoughts - Certain prayers or other words of wisdom that meant a lot to the deceased are typically read.
  • Spoken Obituary/Eulogy - Someone who was close to the deceased typically talks about their life story.
  • Sharing - Others who want to speak up about the deceased may be invited to do so.
  • Music - Whether playing some recordings or featuring live singers, music is often an important part of the service.
  • Postlude - The ceremony often concludes with a postlude. Music may be playing during this as people make an exit. If a funeral is held, the casket is often taken out at this time.

Back of Program

The back of the program can be left blank, or you may include one last image of the deceased. Traditionally, the back image will be a recent photograph of the one who has passed away. It can be the most recent family photograph or a head shot.

Finally, simply including these necessary parts of an obituary program will ensure that you honor the memory of the deceased without adding stress to an already difficult time. The process of making an obituary program need not be confusing or complicated. Companies that specialize in these services, such as Honor You Memorial Products, can provide more information or answer other questions.


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Planning A Beautiful Service

When my mom passed away, my dad and I were charged with the task of planning a funeral that everyone would love. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a difficult task, since many of my mom's relatives didn't speak English. We mulled over what to do, and we decided to meet with the funeral director for a few tips. He told us a few ideas for how to make the experience easy for everyone to understand, and we implemented his suggestions. It was incredible how much easier it made things on the day of the funeral. Read here for more funeral arrangement tips so that you aren't left stressing about more than you need to.