The essence of a funeral program goes beyond a mere sequence of events—it serves as a crucial part of the mourning process, honouring and remembering a loved one’s life in a dignified manner. This document sets the tone and structure of the funeral or memorial service, providing a blueprint for attendees while also acting as a keepsake, a tribute that family members and friends can hold onto for years to come.

The task of crafting a funeral service program can be challenging, especially during times of grief. This article aims to guide you through this process by outlining the structure of a typical funeral program service. It provides a comprehensive understanding of each segment of funeral program samples and how to personalise it best to pay a fitting tribute to the departed soul.


Sample Funeral Program Order of Service

1. Opening Remarks

The opening remarks set the stage for the funeral service, often delivered by the funeral director or a chosen speaker. This section typically includes a heartfelt welcome message acknowledging the attendees, their connection to the departed, and their gratitude for their support. It may also include a brief discussion about the deceased, their life, and their impact on those around them.


2. Funeral Service Overview

This section offers a structured outline of the funeral program, helping attendees understand the flow of the funeral service. A brief explanation of each segment and its importance in the overall service provides context and anticipation for the ensuing sections of the funeral program. This overview may also include a mention of the departed’s faith or beliefs if they significantly influence the structure of the service.


3. Opening Rituals

The opening rituals signify the formal start of the funeral or memorial service. These rituals may include an invocation, prayer, or moment of silence, symbolising the occasion’s solemnity. Music often complements these rituals, with hymns or other songs selected for their relevance to the deceased or their ability to create a reflective, respectful atmosphere.


4. Tribute And Eulogy

The tribute section allows for a more personal and intimate exploration of the departed’s life. Friends and family members share anecdotes, recount shared experiences, and highlight the deceased’s life and achievements. This section culminates with a eulogy, a more comprehensive account of the departed’s life, typically delivered by a close family member, friend, or designated speaker.


5. Scripture Reading Or Poem

A reading, whether a religious scripture or a secular poem, often follows the eulogy. This reading is carefully selected for its relevance to the deceased person’s life and beliefs. A thoughtful reflection or interpretation of the text can be included to highlight how the chosen reading reflects the deceased’s life or values.


6. Special Tributes And Remembrances

This part of the funeral service program provides a platform for sharing personal stories and memories of the deceased. It may include a slideshow or video presentation capturing key moments of the departed’s life, adding a visual and often poignant element to the service. It allows the attendees to connect more intimately with the deceased person’s life, story and personal journey.


7. Committal Service

The committal service signifies the final farewell. It typically involves reading final prayers, blessings, or other rituals specific to the departed’s beliefs before the departure of the casket or urn. This part of the service is a crucial step in mourning and grief, representing the acceptance of loss and the start of healing.


8. Closing Remarks

The closing remarks wrap up the funeral service. The speaker expresses appreciation for the attendees’ presence, the emotional support provided, and any contributions to the service. Encouragement is also given to continue cherishing the life and legacy of the departed, suggesting ways this can be done, such as through charitable acts in their memory.


9. Reception And Fellowship

After the formal graveside service, attendees are invited to a more informal gathering or reception. This event allows attendees to share memories, offer condolences, and find mutual comfort. Details of this gathering, including the location, timing, and any specific customs to be observed, are typically provided.


Examples Of Traditional Religious Vs Non-Traditional/Secular Funeral Program

Traditional Christian Funeral Service Program

  • Opening Remarks: A welcome from the minister or priest, often including a Bible verse about the promise of eternal life.
  • Hymn or Musical Selection: A hymn chosen by the family, often with significance to the deceased.
  • Prayer: A prayer for comfort and strength, often led by the minister or priest.
  • Eulogy: Delivered by a family member or close friend, reflecting on the life and virtues of the deceased.
  • Scripture Reading: Readings from the Bible that offer hope and comfort.
  • Sermon: A brief message from the minister or priest that gives a spiritual perspective on death and eternal life.
  • Prayers of Intercession: Prayers for the deceased, the bereaved, and other needs.
  • Committal: A farewell prayer as the body is prepared for burial or cremation.
  • Benediction: A final blessing and dismissal.
  • Reception: An invitation to a gathering for refreshments and shared memories.


Non-Traditional Funeral Service Program

  • Opening Remarks: A secular celebrant or family member opens the service.
  • Musical Selection: A piece of music that was meaningful to the deceased.
  • Eulogy: A tribute to the deceased, focusing on their life, values, and achievements.
  • Readings: Selected poems, quotes, or passages that reflect the deceased’s beliefs or outlook on life.
  • Moment of Silence: Time for personal reflection or prayer.
  • Picture Slideshow or Video Presentation: Visual representation of the deceased’s life.
  • Sharing of Memories: Attendees share personal stories or memories.
  • Closing Remarks: A final tribute, and details about any post-service gathering.
  • Reception: An opportunity for attendees to offer condolences and share memories.

When you look at it, the typical funeral flow of a traditional religious funeral will not significantly differ from a non-traditional or secular funeral.

The differences mostly reflect on the choice of words for reading, musical selections, and certain rituals. A skilled funeral director will be a great asset in these situations.


Cultural Differences

In the multicultural landscape of Singapore, the funeral service often varies due to the diverse range of cultural practices and religious beliefs. Each ethnic and religious group brings distinct customs, traditions, and rituals to saying goodbye, influencing funeral or memorial services.


Chinese Funeral Services

In traditional Chinese funerals, for example, the rites are elaborate and extend over several days. The Buddhist funerals or Taoist funerals may include rituals, with food offerings and joss paper. The program order may also incorporate a wake, where mourners pay respects to the deceased. The commemorative booklet typically contains the deceased’s biography and family messages.


Indian Funeral Services

Indian funerals, particularly Hindu ones, incorporate rituals such as lighting a lamp, prayers, and hymn singing. The funeral program order might include a detailed explanation of these rites and the deceased’s final journey to the crematorium, where the eldest son typically performs the last rites. Sikh and Christian Indians have their unique customs, impacting the structure of the funeral service program.


Christian Funeral Services

Christian funerals, irrespective of the ethnic group, tend to follow a relatively standard order, beginning with an opening statement from a minister, followed by hymns, scripture readings, a sermon or eulogy, and prayers. The service concludes with commitment, blessing, and recessional.


Malay Funeral Services

Malay funerals, rooted in Islamic tradition, aim for a swift burial, ideally within 24 hours after death. The service is simple yet profound, with prayers (Solat Jenazah) performed by the community. The funeral program might include a section detailing the ritual cleansing process of the body (Mandi Jenazah) and the wrapping of the body in a white shroud (Kafan).

Cultural and religious practices significantly influence the content and order of a funeral program. These traditions provide a framework to express grief, celebrate the life lived, and offer a sense of closure. Adhering to these customs while planning a funeral service program can make the ceremony more comforting and meaningful for the bereaved family and community.


Conclusion On How To Write A Funeral Service Order

Crafting the order of service can be a daunting task, especially during times of grief. However, breaking down the process into these components can make it more manageable. Above all, remember that the aim is to create a program that best honours the unique life of the departed.

Personalise the program to reflect the individual, their values, beliefs, and their lasting impact on those around them. Through these personal touches, a funeral program becomes a poignant tribute to a cherished life.

Casket Fairprice is a funeral services provider and undertaker in Singapore that provides quality service during this most difficult time. From funeral preplanning, to grief counselling, our team of experienced funeral directors and staff is here for all your funeral needs. Contact us today.


Frequently Asked Questions About Funeral Order Of Service

How Long Should A Funeral Service Typically Last?

The duration of a funeral service can vary widely depending on cultural practices, religious beliefs, and personal preferences. However, most services typically last between 30 minutes to an hour.

Can I Include Photographs In A Funeral Program Order Of Service?

Absolutely. Photographs can provide a visual tribute to the deceased. They can be included in the program or as part of a memorial or photo slideshow.

Who Is Typically Responsible For Creating The Funeral Program?

The responsibility often falls to close family members or the will’s executor. The funeral director can often provide assistance or resources for creating the program.

What If The Deceased Did Not Have Any Religious Affiliation, What Should The Order Of Service Look Like?

For those without religious affiliations, the service can focus more on their achievements, personal stories, and shared memories. The family and friends are able to create their own funeral order. They may also choose the music, poetry, and readings that were meaningful to the deceased can also form part of the service.

Is It Necessary To Print Physical Copies Of The Funeral Program?

While providing printed funeral programs is common, it’s not mandatory. Some families opt for digital versions to share via email or social media, especially when there are restrictions on physical gatherings.

Can We Have A Funeral Program For A Cremation Service?

Yes, a funeral program can certainly be created for a cremation service. Like a traditional burial service, it provides an order of events and serves as a keepsake for those who attend.

How Soon Should I Distribute The Funeral Program To The Attendees?

Funeral programs are usually distributed at the beginning of the service. Still, they can also be sent out beforehand, particularly if they contain important information about the actual service itself that attendees need to know.

Can We Include Charitable Donation Details In The Funeral Program?

If the deceased’s family has chosen to request charitable donations in lieu of flowers, these details can certainly be included in the funeral program. This can guide attendees who wish to contribute in honour of the deceased.