planning a funeral program
Planning a Funeral

Planning a Funeral Program

Funeral Programs can differ based on religion, culture, service choices, or personal preference. At Funeral Bulletin, we create our funeral program designs to incorporate as much or as little content as is required. We’ve put together the below guide, simply to help you decide what you do and do not want to include in your service sheets.

The Basics

When planning for a funeral program, there’s some basic information you’ll need to collect: Deceased full name, date of birth and date of passing, service date, time and location, celebrant name, names of pallbearers, funeral directors name, and contact information.

Why include the funeral director’s contact information? It is advisable to include the contact details of your funeral director on the program as opposed to your own contact details. Sometimes after a funeral service, people may want to get in-touch with you and your family to express further condolences, share memories etc. These people are not always known by you and your family. Having the details of your Funeral Director on the program gives these people an avenue to make contact, whilst protecting your privacy. The funeral director can advise you that someone wishes to make contact, and it is then up to your discretion if you would like to meet with that person. The same is recommended for death notices in newspapers.

The Order-of-Service

The ‘order of service’ is a rundown of how the formal part of the service will be structured – it’s the ‘program’ part of ‘funeral program’. It usually starts with a welcome from the Celebrant/Minister, what happens after that is dependant on the family, but can include any or all of the following:

Welcome, Introduction and Opening Remarks, Eulogy, Readings from Family and Friends, Singing of a hymn, Personal Tributes from Friends and Family, Song (Live or digital music), Video Montage/Slideshow (with music), Concluding Remarks, Committal.


How many photos? Most people like to have at least one photo in memory of their loved one on the funeral program. Funeral Bulletin templates are designed to house various numbers of photos, ranging from one or two, through to seven or eight. Keep in mind what photos you have available when selecting a template.

Quick-tips on selecting good photos

  1. Avoid unintentional fuzziness- Even if parts of the picture are sharp, if other parts are fuzzy and it’s not clear that they were meant to be that way, it can detract from the photo.
  2. Avoid clutter- This could be objects, structures, shapes, colours or textures that spoil the composition by distracting focus from the main subject. Unfortunately placed objects behind a subject can appear to be ‘growing’ out of the person – stick to photos with a single focus (the person) and clear plain backgrounds.
  3. Avoid crooked lines- that can’t be easily straightened without losing important parts of the picture
  4. Avoid unflattering facial expressions- It goes without saying that you want to select images where your loved one is looking their best, smiling photos are always the most flattering.
  5. Select bright, well lit photossteer clear of photos with dark backgrounds, and go for well lit, light and bright images.
  6. Avoid things creeping in from the edges of the frame- Example: when a pet steps in front of the camera just as you take the photo and you catch a portion of them on the edge of the frame, try to avoid these photos unless the obstruction is easily cropped out.


Extras can be anything including poems, readings, bible verses, hymns, music lyrics and artwork. There is a wealth of material on the internet for you to choose from. If you are considering including a poem in your service sheet, Funeral Bulletin has curated a list of both religious and non-religious Funeral Poems, as well as a variety of quotes to make the selection process easier for you.

Enlist family and friends!

Sometimes, making even small decisions about funeral details can be exhausting. Don’t forget, people love to help you in your time of need. You will have many friends and family offing – “if I can help in any way, please let me know”. Take advantage of the skills of those around you – more often than not, people will actually appreciate being able to help, even in a small way.