When a death occurs often the last thing you can think about is how to write the program for the funeral. Still this should be done. A program allows the mourners a visual remembrance of the deceased and the memorial. You can write a funeral program with a few little tricks by following these steps.
- Determine if the deceased had any requests. Some people who are nearing the end prefer to organize the details of their own funeral before they pass. Be sure that the family executor has verified any request the deceased may have.
- Provide the basics. A funeral program should include at a minimum the following details:
- Deceased’s name, date of birth and date of death
- Date, time and location of the funeral service
- Listing of the music and poetry during the service
- Listing of eulogy reader(s)
- Address and time of gathering after service, if applicable
- Locate a photograph. Funeral programs should include a photo of the deceased, preferably one of them in happier times. The photo can be a formal picture taken at the last holiday or a casual shot that best represents the spirit of the deceased.
- Write a short biographical section. When possible, honor the deceased with a few words about their life. A few paragraphs may not seem enough to summarize a person’s life but try to list the major highlights and what mattered most to the deceased.
- Provide survivor’s names. People like to see who the family of the deceased are so that they can be certain to speak with them after the service and offer personal condolences. Providing the surviving families names makes this easier for the attendees who may not have been close with the entire family.
- Verify names and spelling. It seems simple but when you are grieving it is easy to forget Uncle Ronnie or how to spell Grandma’s name. Have someone outside the family review your program for spelling and to make sure everyone is included before you have the program printed.
- Get final approval. Often the funeral program is written by a relative but not the spouse of children of the deceased. Those closest to the deceased may have a hard time trying to write the program. Make sure that the spouse and children get a look at the program and the chance to provide their input and approval before going forward.
Writing a funeral program can be heart wrenching. It is difficult to say goodbye and summarize the life of another person. Honor them by respecting their wishes and providing a concise and respectful statement of their life and the service that honors them.