What to Include in the Funeral Program
The content of your funeral program will depend on your personal preference and the type of service you are having. It can be as simple or as complex as you like. Think of the program as two separate parts: the cover and the contents. The cover usually includes:
- A photo of the deceased
- The name of the deceased
- The deceased’s date of birth and death
- A quotation or inspirational saying (A favorite of the deceased or one that you think captures the essence of the person being remembered.)
- A funeral program title (A short phrase or caption that sets the tone for the service. Examples are “A Homecoming Celebration,” “A Celebration of Life,” “A Loving Farewell.”
If you are having a religious service, you may want to include a relevant scripture passage. For a secular service, a poem or favorite reading may be appropriate. You may also want to include a quote that the deceased found meaningful. Instead of inside the program, some designers will place the quotation on the cover. You have a great deal of flexibility in how you place your information since there are no hard and fast rules.
Among the items that are commonly included in the inside of the in the funeral program are:
- Service Information (Date, Time, Location, Person Officiating)
- Funeral Outline (Order of Service): The events that will take place during the service.
- People participating in the service: (Officiant, Persons giving Eulogy and readings, soloists, musicians, Others)
- Music Selections (Lyrics if appropriate)
- Poems, Readings, or Scriptures
- Funeral Prayers
- Obituary or Biography of the Deceased
- Interment details
- Funeral Reception Information;Time and Place
Choose a template design and paper size, or create your own design.
You may decide to pick a funeral program designs that reflects your loved one’s style, such as a favorite color, flower or hobby. It is also very common to use religious images on the funeral program cover. The layout of the template is the paper size and the fold of the template. You can use a simple layout such as a bifold (single fold) layout that prints on standard letter sized paper, or you can use a trifold, graduated or step fold or large style layout. Choosing a professionally designed template will cut down on design time because it will already be laid out correctly and will print properly. Templates will help you make a beautiful custom funeral progr
ATTENDING FUNERAL SERVICES
How do I handle awkward questions about the death?
Be prepared to hear words that are intended to comfort but are awkward or seem inappropriate, such as, “You’ll get over it,” “It was her time,” or, “I know exactly how you feel because I lost my little Chihuahua last week.” While these types of questions may be bad funeral etiquette, understand that many people just aren’t sure what to say or how to say it.
Expect many questions regarding the circumstances of your loved one’s passing, especially if it was sudden, unexpected, or involved an accident. Be prepared with a brief response and remember that you aren’t obligated to tell the entire story. Most people simply want to give you an opportunity to talk, although you may cross paths with those whose morbid curiosity won’t be satisfied without hearing every detail. Including the cause of death in the obituary, if appropriate, can alleviate some of these questions.
Above all, if it is possible, be gracious to all who express sympathy, regardless of how inconsiderate or unfeeling their remarks might appear. They will someday be in your place and understand what is and isn’t inappropriate.
Attending Funeral Services: Arrive early.
- Services often are delayed because of the people who show up five minutes before the starting time and find they have to park a block away and then try to find a seat, perhaps after the service has already started.
- If there is a registry or guestbook, be sure to sign it with your first and last names and, if appropriate, your relationship to the deceased (“co-worker,” “friend,” “colleague,” “college roommate”). It is important to the family to see who attended the service, and they may use the registry to send thank-you notes.
- Don’t try to seek out the family before the service; if you find that they are greeting people, keep your interaction brief and find your seat quickly. Sit toward the front only if you are a member of the family; close friends generally sit behind the family, while those who are co-workers or acquaintances sit further back or in the rear.
Attending Funeral Services: Photography
There are very few reasons for taking pictures when attending funeral services. In some religious traditions, any type of recording device is forbidden at a funeral (see Funeral Customs). Even if custom doesn’t forbid photography, taking photos can be seen as an invasion of privacy.
- If you have been specifically requested by the family to photograph the service—perhaps because certain family members couldn’t attend—do so with the utmost discretion, using natural light if possible rather than a flash, and avoiding close-up photos of grieving people.
- Etiquette demands extreme respect for others; keep this tenet in mind when taking photos. Be particularly aware of what is in your background when taking photos. It is quite easy to catch a mourner in a moment that they would not like to have published.
- Photographing the deceased in the casket, unless the family has asked you to do so, is generally considered in very poor taste.
Attending Funeral Services: Visitations.
If you were close to the deceased or the family, it is customary to visit the family upon learning of the death.
- This visit may be at the family home, at the funeral home, or at another designated place chosen by the family.
- If you knew the deceased but not the family, be sure to introduce yourself by first and last name and let them know what your relationship was to their loved one: “I am Heather Jones, and I worked closely with Suzanne at XYZ. She was a dear friend and colleague. I am so sorry.”
- If visiting at the funeral home, take a moment to stand by the casket (if it is present) to pay your respects, whether you offer a silent prayer or simply reflect. Greet the family either before or after you pause at the casket, depending on if the family is occupied when you arrive.
- Be sure to sign the guestbook or registry if one is available.
- A formal, scheduled visitation period may include a prayer or a brief service; it is impolite to leave in the middle of it.
- It is appropriate to bring along a card with a personal note and flowers or a basket garden, although flowers are not customary for all religious beliefs and ethnicities (see Funeral Customs). Flowers should always be in a vase to relieve the family of the burden of locating one.
- If visiting at the family’s home, you may want to take along a re-heatable casserole or other dish. It’s wise to call first to see whether such help is desired. Close friends of the family may offer to take on some household chore. If your visit comes at a time when many others are visiting, see if you can serve coffee or help in other behind-the-scenes ways to make the family available to receive callers.
- Keep your visit brief, unless you are lending a hand or are encouraged by the family to stay longer. After you have expressed your heartfelt sympathy, asked if you can help in a meaningful way, and perhaps offered a warm memory or two, leave. This is not the time to “hang out,” talk about your own bereavement or catch up on old times.
When a family member dies, you’re faced with making funeral arrangements during the height of grief. Planning a funeral involves making decisions you probably never considered prior to the death – what to write in the obituary; whether to have a memorial service; whether to choose burial or cremation, and what type of casket or urn to choose. To help protect yourself, learn how to avoid common funeral scams, and what you can do if you feel you’ve been a victim.
Get Everything in Writing
Most of the time the funeral home isn’t out to scam consumers; instead, there’s simply a misunderstanding between what the consumer thought he would receive versus what the funeral home thought it was supposed to provide. Other times, they are trying to convince you to pay for a good or service they won’t ultimately deliver.
Consequently, it is important to actually sit down, and talk with somebody, and get everything in writing, says Bob Arrington, CCO, founder and president of Arrington Funeral Directors in Jackson, Tennessee, and treasurer of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). “Sit down and talk to somebody face to face and eye to eye,” Arrington advises. “Tell them what you want and how want to do it, and listen to them tell it back to you. That way, everybody is on the same page.”
Request an Itemized Price List
The FTC’s Funeral Rule requires all funeral providers to give customers an itemized general price list of their goods and services at the first, face-to-face meeting, or when the customer asks for it. The itemized list ensures that you know all of the available products and services and their costs. The funeral home must also provide you with an itemized list of the cost of all caskets and outer burial containers it offers. Frank Dorman of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) office of public affairs says that the funeral home can provide this information in one of several ways, says.
- It can give consumers one general price list.
- The funeral home can also give separate lists for goods and services, and caskets and outer burial containers.
- The funeral home may give you a list that includes a range of casket prices and outer burial containers, provided that the list includes a disclosure that a full casket price list is available.
If you are not offered an itemized list at the first face-to-face meeting, ask for one. If the funeral home refuses, or claims they don’t have one, find a new funeral home.
Ask to See Caskets in Your Price Range
Funeral industry studies show that the majority of people shopping for a casket purchase one of the first three models they are shown. It is therefore to the funeral director’s advantage to show family members the most expensive caskets first.
To avoid spending too much on a casket, let the funeral director know your budget, and ask to be shown caskets within that price range. If the funeral home doesn’t have the casket you want on hand, it can easily be ordered in time for the funeral.
Think Twice About Purchasing a Sealed Casket
Nobody wants to think of their loved one’s body decomposing after the burial. Some funeral homes prey on this by convincing you to purchase a sealed casket, which they claim will delay or completely avoid decomposition. These caskets include a gasket, which typically cost the funeral home between $12 – $20, but can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your casket.
However, studies have shown that not only do sealed caskets not stop decomposition, they can actually cause the caskets to explode. In fact, the FTC’s funeral rule expressly prohibits funeral homes from claiming that a sealed casket will stop deterioration. Sealed caskets do prevent water from seeping in to the casket for the time specified in the casket’s manufacturer warranty, but they cannot stop decomposition indefinitely. So purchase one if it gives you a measure of comfort, but do so knowing that it can’t prevent decomposition forever.
Don’t Purchase Services You Don’t Want
Sometimes, a funeral home may try to convince you that you must purchase a service that is not required. For example, funeral home staff may insist that the deceased be embalmed, even though in most cases embalming is not legally required. Another tactic is when staff at a funeral home insist that in order to receive a desired service, you must purchase an undesired one – for example, requiring that you purchase memorial cards if you hold a memorial service.
To protect yourself, do not agree to purchase any goods or services that you do not want. If the funeral home insists, ask them to provide you a copy of the law that requires you to purchase the offered good or service. If they refuse, take your business elsewhere.
You Can Purchase Your Casket Anywhere
You are not required to purchase a casket from the funeral home in order for the home to take care of your loved one’s remains. The funeral home may also not charge you additional fees if you do purchase a casket from a third-party. However, funeral homes may offer discounts on goods and services to those who purchase caskets from them, and are under no legal obligation to offer those same discounts to individuals who purchase a casket from a third-party.
If the funeral home insists that you must purchase a casket from them, or indicates that it will charge you a higher price for its services if the casket comes from a third-party, take your business elsewhere.
Don’t Pre-Pay for a Funeral
It seems like a good idea in theory – the funeral and all associated products are paid ahead of time, thus eliminating the need for your loved ones to plan and pay for a funeral. However, pre-paid funerals aren’t necessarily as wonderful as they seem to be. There is no guarantee that your wishes will be carried out, or that the goods you ordered will arrive. There may also be additional costs later. For example, flowers and music may not be included in the prepaid cost.
In addition, getting out of these contracts can also be difficult. If the funeral home that received prepayment goes out of business or relocates – or if the deceased relocated – you may be unable to get your money back.
Bring a Friend
If funeral providers try to prey on your emotions, you need somebody who can take the emotion out of the situation. When meeting with a funeral provider, bring along a friend who had little to no ties to the deceased. They won’t be as emotionally vulnerable as you, so they will be better able to spot a scam, and help you stick to your family’s wishes.
Many people preplan their funeral in order to eliminate the need for family members to make final arrangements at their death. Some things to consider when preplanning your funeral include:
- Choosing a funeral home
- Choosing burial or cremation
- Selecting a casket or urn to hold your remains
- Planning the memorial service
Some people preplan down to the type of flowers and music they want played. To make sure the surviving family is not burdened with funeral costs, some also purchase burial insurance to cover the costs, as they do not need to be paid in advance. The NFDA created a Bill of Rightsfor Funeral Preplanning, which outlines how a funeral home should treat you when preplanning your funeral.
Do keep in mind that if you fail to inform your loved ones that you’ve already made funeral arrangements, they could make their own arrangements at your death, which would result in your wishes not being fulfilled. Preplanning your funeral also does not take into consideration the fact that funerals are usually for the bereaved, and forcing them to abide by your wishes could increase their grief.
Local Funeral Homes Versus “Chains”
While “chain” funeral homes do exist, Arrington said 80% of funeral homes are locally owned and operated, whether by a family or an individual. Where local funeral homes have an edge, he said, is their approach. As community members, they tend to be more service oriented. Because they serve as their own boss, and don’t have to report to a national office, they’re generally more flexible, which means you may have a better chance of negotiating prices, he added.
If You Were a Victim
If you’ve been the subject of a funeral scam, or believe that a funeral home is attempting to take advantage of customers, you should file a complaint with the appropriate organization. For violations of the Funeral Rule, contact the FTC. For other scams, contact your state Attorney’s General Office; the Funeral Consumer’s Alliance provides downloadable pamphlets that discuss your rights as a consumer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You should also file complaints with the NFDA and the local Better Business Bureau. These organizations can take action against the funeral home, and also let the public know what homes should be avoided.
Saying Goodbye With Dignity
The vast majority of those who provide funeral services are honest people who, though in business for profit, aren’t trying to pad their pockets at your expense. Instead, they are genuinely trying to help make the process of arranging a funeral as easy as possible so as not to cause you further grief. However, there are unscrupulous providers who will not only attempt to take advantage of your vulnerability, but also outright lie and steal from you. But by knowing what to look for ahead of time and going in with a clear idea of what you do and do not want in a funeral service, you can ensure that you will be treated fairly and with dignity during the process.
Create A Farewell Poem To Say Goodbye To Your Family
Several of our customers have asked us to create for them a farewell poem, to be read at the service. The poem can express your love, joy, pride, memories of your family, with parting thoughts that may be too emotional for you to express to them in person.
What a beautiful parting gift to your loved ones!
“Hello Judith. I just read the poem you wrote for me, and it was so beautiful. You captured me in the exact words I would like to have used, but couldn’t do it myself. The poem fits me perfectly and left the exact message I wanted for my family.”
It’s As Easy As 1,2, 3!
Judith can create a poem just for you.
Judith will translate your feelings into poetry – as a special token of your love for your loved one.
Judith has created poetry about grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles.
Her poetry has also helped folks convey their feelings when they were at a loss for what to say when it came to sensitive subjects such as an estranged family member, death by suicide, or by drug overdose.
So say farewell to the ordinary and separate yourself and your loved one, from all others.
Judith is a worker bee, toiling several hours on each poem. She knocks every poem ‘out of the park’. You might expect to have to pay hundreds of dollars for an original poem of this calibre.
The price is $69.97.
We will ask you to fill out a form to tell us about your loved one. Such things as;
- your favorite memories
- or what made them special?
- Why you loved them?
- Their favorite things and sayings.
- Their acts of kindness or courage.
- and whatever you would like included in the poem.
Also if the poem will be;
- read aloud, inserted in the funeral program, or given out as a hand out?
- Would you like it to be religious, (as in mention of an after-life) or non-religious?
This is the eulogy I wrote for my brother, after his battle with cancer ended. His children and I sat together and shared stories. I took several notes and then sat down and wrote it.
Bruce was born in xxxxxxx, Ontario to xxxx and xxxx . As the first-born son, Dad hoped Bruce would follow in his footsteps and someday take over the family farm. Bruce, however, had severe hay fever.
Instead Bruce chose to follow farming through a degree in Agricultural Engineering. When he graduated from the University of Guelph, the new crop in the ground was oil. Bruce would continue the pursuit of crude throughout his lifelong career.
Oil took him around the world, but the place that captured his attention and heart was Nova Scotia, where he met and married Darlene. His ready- made family doubled in a few years; as Mark and Lori were soon joined by Katie and Jason.
In 1985 the Berry clan headed west to Calgary to Petro Canada’s head office. At home, Bruce didn’t talk a lot about work and we were never sure exactly what he did there, but his business card said ‘Drilling Superintendent’.
Whatever that is, it means you travel to Algeria, Singapore, Madagascar, Equator, Costa Rica, Alaska, Botswana, the Arctic, England, Kenya, – just to mention a few destinations where his work took him.
His favourite trip, however, was when he took his daughters to Paris. The other trip he loved to take was to the arena, to watch Mark and Jason play hockey.
After moving to Calgary, every summer the family returned to Ontario and Nova Scotia. He would pack everybody into the van – including the dog – and off they would drive across Canada. No easy feat. Obviously staying connected with family and friends was very important to him.
In 1996 Bruce and Darlene separated. Years later, Bruce admitted that a key factor to a successful marriage is; “If you’re wrong, say you’re sorry. If you’re right – just shut up.”
He must have learned this lesson because the last few years he and Darlene became very good friends. And Darlene – as well as his four children – were right beside him on the journey he traveled, battling the cancer.
And so today we say goodbye to Bruce. A man who when confronted with his illness, never complained. Was always positive. Courageous throughout the pain. Set a wonderful example for his children.
And his children helped him travel to the other side.
He was the nicest brother.
Adding eulogy quotes to your speech, is like seasoning your speech with spices, demonstrating colorful descriptions and thoughtful explanations. Trying to write an eulogy when you are staring at at blank piece of paper, is about as easy as pulling teeth from an alligator. By incorporating classic quotes into your script, it is like being handed a life raft. It provides you with a base to work from and is particularly invaluable in helping describe the deceased’s character. Some of the eulogy quotes are entertaining, some are witty, some insightful in expressing your points of view.
Eulogy Quotes by Jim Rohn;
The following are quotes by Jim Rohn that I like to use in describing the character of the person.
- “The good life is not an amount; it’s an attitude, an act, an idea, a discovery, a search.”
This next quote works well as a metaphor to compare the deceased to a well-fashioned day;
- ” A well-fashioned day – with a beginning and an end, a purpose and a content, a color and a character, a feel and a texture – takes it place among the many and becomes a valuable memory and treasure. At midnight the winged messengers come and gather up all these pieces and take them off to wherever the mosaic is kept. And surely, on occasion, one messenger says to another, ‘Wait ’til you see this one.'”
- “Happiness is the art of learning how to get joy from your substance.”
- “Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design.”
- “Happiness is both the joy of discovery and the joy of knowing. It’s the joy that comes to those who painstakingly design their lives and then live them with artistry. Happiness is both giving and receiving, reaping and bestowing. It comes to those who deliberately expand their horizons and experiences. It resides in the houses of those who have the ability to handles disappointment without losing their sense of well-being.It is activity with purpose. It’s love in practice. It is both a grasp of the obvious and an awe of the mysterious.”
- “If we are fortunate, we one day find that person who impacts our world in such a way that our life is never the same again. By chance, or by design, we met that someone who offers the support, encouragement, and inspiration to become more than we ever thought possible. For me that person was (name of the deceased).”
- “Man should be judged by the deeds done to help his fellow man.” – Ted Turner
- “Life truly is a boomerang. What you give, you get.” – Dale Carnegie
“When a man’s life is over, it remains true that he was one sort of man and not another. A man who understands himself under the form of eternity knows the quality that eternally belongs to him, and knows that he cannot wholly die, even if he would, for when the movement of his life is over, the truth of his life remains.”
philosopher, George Santayana
Eulogy Quotes about mistakes:
“The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.”- W.C. Magee
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard
You can observe a lot just by watchin’. – Yogi Berra
A human life is sacred.
It is sacred in its being born.
It is sacred in its living.
And it is sacred in its dying.
Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul.
Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
– Pamela Vaull Starr
Behind every successful man is a surprised mother-in-law.
Christopher Robin eulogy quotes are wonderful for incorporating grandchildren into the service. Here are two favorite ones for them to read aloud.
- “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” -Winnie the Pooh to Christopher Robin
- The following is what Christopher Robin said to Winnie The Pooh. I think if (name of the deceased) was here, he/she would say it to us too. “If ever there is a tomorrow when we ‘re not together, there is something you must remember. You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even we are apart, I will always be with you.”
-Christopher Robin To Winnie The Pooh
Eulogy Quotes on Happiness:
- “He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy.”-J.W. von Goethe
- “There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. “- Logan Smith
- It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” – Charles Spurgeon
- “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” – James Oppenheim
Our lives are songs; God write the words
And we set them to music at pleasure;
And the song grows glad, or sweet or sad,
As we choose to fashion the measure.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man (or woman) who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
– Mark Twain
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
-H D Thoreau
The Golden Rule is that there are no golden rules.
– G B Shaw
Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.
The following is a great ending for an eulogy. Former Canadian Prime Minister used this line in ending his eulogy to President Ronald Reagan.
“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends and say – my glory was that I had such friends.”
Music played or performed should be a tribute to the deceased. Music provides quiet background. Consider a playlist of favorite songs of the deceased, playing while guests find their seats, and at the conclusion of the service as people leave.
Often in a memorial service one or two songs are played during the service. Some people select hymns. If possible, let the audience know that the song selected was important to the deceased and explain why.
A favorite song of the deceased can be played in the background of the funeral video tribute of your beloved’s life.
Perhaps live jazz or bluegrass was a favorite in which a local band could be obtained.
Another option is to perform a favorite song by a soloist.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner. For some, this is one of the most special days of the year, while for others, it’s one of the saddest. Either way, it’s a time set aside to honor your mother — whether she’s here or already passed on. Celebrate your mother for the person who she is or was and how she raised you.
If you are blessed enough to have your mom still with you, take her to lunch or dinner at her preferred restaurant. Bring her some flowers or her favorite sweet treat. Tell her that you love her and appreciate everything she’s done for you. If you can do more, take her to a spa for the day or for a makeover. A shopping trip or visit to a local vineyard are all amazing ideas. The goal is spending one-on-one time with her, showering her gratitude and affection.
You can also write her a letter or even include a personalized note in a Mother’s Day card. If you aren’t sure what to say, look for a poem online written specifically for Mother’s Day. Thoughtful words, whether spoken or penned, will mean more than any material item you can purchase.
However, if your mom has died, Mother’s Day will conjure up many emotions — both sad and happy. If your mother’s death were recent, you may not want to celebrate, which is OK. Just make sure to let others around you know that ahead of time, so they don’t surprise you with a special card or flowers.
If you do feel up to memorializing your mom, there are several honorable traditions can you follow such as bringing flowers to the cemetery, having a special dinner with family and friends either at home or at your mother’s favorite restaurant, or tending to a garden and planting some of her best-loved flowers, all which can help heal a broken soul or heart.
Another way of dealing with grief on Mother’s Day is by finding or writing a special poem in memory of your mom. Online, you can find a variety of funeral poems for mothers that are suitable to use. These are typically written by those whose mothers have died and understood the pain and emptiness that are felt. You can also try your hand at writing poetry. Just write down what you are feeling. Share it with family members or put it away for safekeeping.
Booklet templates can come in either letter size, legal, or even tabloid size sheets of paper. The templates are generally created with two pages in the document therefore printing on one sheet front and back. To create a booklet, you need to duplicate the second page or inside page as many times as you like in order to create a booklet presentation.
Most families like to use the funeral program as a final celebration and tribute to their loved one. Often, printing on one sheet does not allot enough room so creating additional pages will enable them to add extra pictures and text. The templates are convenient and versatile in this fashion since you can essentially produce as many pages as you need or desire.
Depending on the size of booklet template you purchase will dictate the amount of room you have. It’s best to take a look at your overall information and photos you want to include before you purchase a template. The more you have to include, the larger your template should be.
Also take into consideration the cost of printing. Will it be more cost effective to print it on a larger paper or add additional pages to a smaller one? You may want to call the printing business you are thinking of having them printed at and get an idea of cost. It’s good to stay within your budget since there will be other funeral expenses that you will incur.
Look for a website resource like the one we noted below that offers templates in various sizes and software applications. This way if one software doesn’t work, you can exchange it for another.