How to write an Order of Service for a Funeral

20 January 2022

What is an Order of Service?

In short, an Order of Service (OOS) is a document that will tell the mourners at a funeral what is going to happen within the next 30 minutes (be aware that some funerals are 20 minutes).

Who would you create one and why do you need to create an Order of Service.

You will be given an Order of Service when you attend a funeral. You can create your own Order of Service or have your funeral director or a printer create one for you. There are several items that need to be included in your order of service. This article will help you with the process and make it easier for you when creating your own Order of Service. It is important to note that you can run and organize a funeral yourself.

However, we would advise that you ask a celebrant to help you. The celebrant can either run the service for you or guide you through the process. There will be a fee for their services (the fee is often covered in the costs from the Funeral Director or your funeral plan), but it will make the funeral much easier for you if you decide to run the service yourself.

An Order of Service is an integral part of the funeral process. It lets the mourner, you, and the crematorium staff know what to do during the service. An OOS, details what is expected from the congregation. An Order of Service will be handed to mourners at the chapel entrance or are placed on the chapel seats.

Why have an Order of Service?

Many people are unfamiliar with the process and procedure of a funeral. For some, it is a strange and scary setting, especially if you are attending because of the loss of a loved one. After all, it is not an everyday event. As a guest, you don’t want to do anything wrong; you want to show support and respect. This is where the Order of Service comes in. It is a step-by-step guide to what is going to happen during the funeral service. You could look at an Order of Service as a meeting agenda or a recipe.

How to write an Order of Serivce

Most orders of services are A5 (an A4 piece of paper folded in half).

Page One

  1. On the front of an Order of Service will be the name of
    the deceased; for example
  2. After the name will be the deceased date of birth and
    date of death
  3. After the name will be the deceased date of birth and
    Then there will be a photograph of the deceased that
    typically represents their personality.
  4. Next, you will have the location of the service. This could
    be a church or a crematorium and the date and time of the service.

Order of Service

In Loving Memory of
Samuel Anderson

27 August 1978 – 1 January 2021

What should be included in a eulogy

Poole Crematorium
18 January 2021 at 11.30 am

Page Two

  1. The next page will list the events taking place during the service. There will be the song name and artist.  This will take 2 minutes.
  2. There will be a welcome message and the name of the celebrant or person leading the service, followed by the opening words. This will take 2 minutes
  3. Then we have the eulogy. The eulogy will be read by the celebrant or the next of kin. The celebrant will have written the eulogy in conjunction with the next of kin. In some circumstances, the next of kin may have written the entire eulogy, or the deceased may have written their own eulogy. This will be decided before the service. There may also be family or friends who wish to speak during the eulogy, and they will be added to the order of service. The eulogy will take only 15 minutes.
  4. After the eulogy, you will then have some reflection time or praying time accompanied by some music. This will last for 4 minutes.

Order of Service

Entry Music
Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf


Julie Farmer,
Forget Me Not Celebrant,

an Independent Funeral Celebrant
Opening Words and Introductions

Reflections of my brother
by Ian Anderson

Reflection Music
Monsters by James Blunt

Page Three

  1. A member of the deceased family or friends or the celebrant may read a poem or ask the congregation to say the Lord’s Prayer. If the Lord’s Prayer is being said, the printed prayer will be included so everyone can say the prayer together. Saying the Lord’s Prayer is optional. You do not have to have any religious aspect to a funeral service. 
  2. It is now time for the committal to take place. Everyone will face the coffin and say their quiet goodbyes. The immediate family may lay a rose or flowers on the coffin. Children may put a picture they have drawn for the deceased or written letters. The committal will last about 3 minutes.  The coffin will remain in situ, but the curtains may be drawn around the coffin. This is a decision the next of kin will make. It is common for the curtains not to be drawn as most mourners wish to touch the coffin on their exit to say a private goodbye to the deceased. It may sound morbid, but it gives a lot
    of comfort to the mourners, and people touch the coffin without realizing they are doing it. This is the last goodbye to the person they loved and spent time with.
  3. There will then be the closing words, where the celebrant will thank everyone for coming to the service, thank the funeral directors and crematorium staff.  This will take 4 minutes.
  4. Finally, there will be some exit music.

Order of Service

Poem – Remember Me
By David Harkins
Read by Emma Anderson


Closing Words

Exit Music
If I could turn back time by Cher

Page Four

  1. On the last page of the Order of Service, you can add
    additional photographs, a song or a poem the deceased
    has written.  
  2. There will also be directions to the celebration tea or wake/party wake/party after the service. Some people will choose to add a charity for donations in the deceased’s name instead of bringing flowers.

Order of Service

Order of service for Sam Anderson
Sam with his son Luke, two weeks after his birth. Then Sam, Elizabeth and Alice. Luke and Mary playing on the beach

A funeral generally lasts 30 minutes.  This includes entering the chapel and leaving.  Timings are as follows:

  • Entering the Chapel – 2 minutes
  • Introductions – 2 minutes
  • Eulogy – 15 minutes
  • Reflection – 4 minutes
  • Committal – 3 minutes
  • Exit – 4 minutes

Please be aware there are some crematoriums that only offer services for 20 minutes.  If this is the case, the above times will have to be adjusted.

To download a pdf copy of Sam’s Order of Service select download below.


To get a free template to create your own Order of Service click here