A funeral program is a unique way to share your loved one’s story with others. Creating one can be a challenging but rewarding experience.
The main focus of a funeral or memorial service program is to paint a picture of the person and drive home their most important ideas and qualities.
1. Think About the Message
The aim of a funeral is to celebrate the life of a departed loved one, and the funeral program can be an important part of this. It provides a way to share information about the service, including the order of events, readings, music, and speakers. It can also include a special quote or poem that best reflects the life of the deceased.
When writing the tribute, it can be helpful to consider what elements of their life people will want to hear about. This can help you decide how much information to share, what order to present it in, and what type of tone you’d like to use. For example, did they enjoy lighthearted humor or have a more serious side? What was important to them? How did they affect the lives of others?
In addition to the usual information, such as a short obituary and the date and time of the service, you may wish to include photos on the cover or throughout the program. This can be a wonderful way to capture a special memory of the person and help guests feel closer to them.
You might also wish to include a list of songs if you know which ones will be played at the service. You could even add lyrics so that attendees can connect more deeply with the music. This can be especially helpful if you’re planning on singing songs that they particularly enjoyed or if you plan on using songs from the funeral Mass.
The funeral program can be a good place to share information about how to donate to the cause that is most meaningful to your loved one. It can be hard to ask for donations during this sensitive time, but giving people a chance to support something they knew the deceased would have supported is a good idea.
It’s essential to remember that the tribute is for the deceased and not the family members or friends delivering it. If you feel that you don’t have the energy or writing skills to do this yourself, it’s okay to delegate it to someone else. Delegating this task will relieve some of the pressure and allow you to focus on what matters most.
2. Consider the Audience
When writing a tribute, it is important to consider how it will resonate with the audience. It is not enough to simply list the deceased’s accomplishments and highlights – you need to tell stories, paint a picture of their character, and highlight specific aspects of their personality that made them unique and special. This will help bring them to life in the minds of the people in attendance.
For example, if your friend loved to volunteer, it’s important to share how their commitment to their community affected the lives of those around them. Using powerful quotes is also an effective way to communicate your message and make it more memorable.
You should also think about the tone and style of your writing. Be sure to pause between key points and make eye contact, when possible, to engage the audience. If you are nervous about delivering your speech, practicing in advance and asking for feedback from others who knew the deceased is helpful.
When deciding which photos to include in your program, it is best to pick out a few from different periods of their life. This will allow the audience to see their progression from childhood through adolescence and adulthood and into old age. It is also a good idea to include at least one photo that shows them smiling or laughing.
As you go through your loved one’s memories and accomplishments, it is often easy to find themes. It is important to include the most prominent of these throughout your tribute and to tie each point back to a more powerful idea. For example, if your friend had a great sense of humor and could make everyone laugh, it’s important to showcase this throughout the speech and incorporate a funny anecdote near the end of your talk.
If you plan on inviting guests to contribute to your tribute book, it is important to give them a clear deadline and an outline of what you want them to write about. It is also a good idea to read your tribute book out loud before you send it off for printing. This will ensure that your words are clearly readable and that you haven’t accidentally omitted any important information or details.
3. Keep It Simple
Creating a tribute for a deceased loved one can be a difficult task, especially if you’re still feeling the effects of grief. However, it’s important not to place too much pressure on yourself when it comes to this project. Rather, you should feel comfortable delegating this work if you’re not up to the task. For example, you might ask a close friend or family member to write the text for your funeral program pamphlet.
Whether you’re writing the text for your funeral program or hiring someone else to do it for you, it’s crucial to remember that your tribute's tone should be positive and respectful. This is especially important if you’re going to be mentioning details of the person’s life that may be sensitive for others. For instance, if the deceased was open about their sexual orientation, this should be included in your text. However, if they asked to remain private about this aspect of their life, then it’s best to leave this out of the tribute.
The most important part of a tribute is how it captures the essence of the person. This means including details about their hobbies and passions and describing the qualities that made them special. For example, if they were known for their sense of humor, you might include some funny stories or quotes that best illustrate this. However, be sure to tread lightly when it comes to embarrassing or dark humor, as this may be upsetting for some people.
You might also want to consider asking friends and family for their memories of the deceased. This can help you discover aspects of their personality that you may not have considered before. You can then include these memories in your tribute if you choose to do so.
Once you’ve gathered your text and images, it’s time to start designing the funeral program. Fortunately, there are many templates available on design platforms that make this process easy. Using these templates, you can add your own text and data as well as select photos and illustrations. Afterward, you can save your composition as a PDF and print it or share it digitally.
4. Don’t Forget the Visuals
Crafting a funeral program is more than just arranging words on paper. It is about creating a textual portrait that captures a person’s journey, cherished moments, and lessons learned. This delicate task can be difficult, but enlisting help from friends and family is essential to ensure that the final tribute accurately reflects the deceased’s essence. Incorporating photos and other visuals can also be helpful in capturing the person’s character.
Incorporate photos of your loved one doing their favorite activities or spending time with family and friends into the funeral program to highlight a special aspect of their personality. Similarly, consider including quotes or poems that are meaningful to you and your family. These will remind those in attendance of a special moment that your loved one shared with them and will serve as a lasting memory to cherish forever.
It is important to note that the funeral program is not meant to be a full-fledged biography. It is a highlights reel that captures the most important aspects of your loved one’s life in an eloquent and succinct way. It is okay to leave out some details, as it is better to focus on the things that truly mattered.
For example, it may be appropriate to leave out a detailed explanation of a loved one’s death if the cause was something such as suicide or drug overdose. This can be very sensitive information, and some people may feel uncomfortable or even judged if the cause of death is addressed publicly.
When it comes to funeral programs, there are many different options for the design, layout, and wording. You can choose to use a pre-made template or create your own. You can also decide whether to have the program printed through a full-service funeral home company or at your place of worship. If you are planning on making your own program, be sure to factor in the cost of colored printer ink and paper.
Ultimately, creating a funeral program is an act of love that serves as a last remembrance and reflection of a dearly beloved individual. It is important to take your time, remember your loved ones in a meaningful way, and seek professional guidance if necessary.