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The Order sheet when planning a funeral

As with every other aspect of the modern funeral, the Order of Service sheet (usually known as the Order sheet) has changed and now serves more than the simple function of listing the elements of the service.

It is now often an Order of Ceremony sheet for a non-religious funeral. For some, it has morphed into a Memorial Card.

Although an Order sheet is not necessary as the minister or celebrant will introduce the music, readings, prayers, family/friends giving tributes, most people who attend, and those who can’t, will expect an Order sheet to be available be at the funeral venue or sent as a memorial.

Why have an Order sheet

The benefits and purposes of an Order sheet are:

  • To guide and help those attending to know what is happening;
  • To encourage mourners to participate in the singing and understand better the significance of any readings, poems and tributes;
  • To provide a keepsake of the funeral;
  • To send to those who cannot attend the funeral;
  • To give details of where the reception following the funeral will take place;
  • To give details of the good cause for donations.

Having verses of hymns or secular songs in the order sheet will ensure more rousing and satisfying participation, making the funeral more memorable and positive.

Contents of the Order sheet

The cover normally has the deceased's name, the date of birth and date of death.

The cover also is the place for a photograph, the venue and the date and time of the funeral.

Inside is the order of the service/ceremony. There is not usually room for all the words of readings, so put the title or the biblical reference.

Other information, often on the back cover is the address of the reception and the charity to which donations are requested.

Doing it yourself

Order sheets are usually handled by the funeral director.

However in many cases, their choice is traditional and limited and there is a growing number of families who prepare the Order sheet and organise its printing.

An Order sheet is usually A4 in landscape and folded once to make A5 portrait. If necesssary, a further A4 page folded in the middle can be added.

When calculating the print run, add another ten or 20 copies so you are not short.

Special offer

Visitors to My Last Song can get a 10 per cent discount if they get their Order sheet from Funeral Hymn Sheets.  Mention My Last Song when you make your order.


The Memorial card is a good alternative if you want to have something on the day. It will have less detail, but be faster to produce and less expensive.

A Memorial card is normally A5 portrait and not folded. Some cards are made to A6 size.

A further variation is a memorial bookmark.

Create your own 'funeral programme'

If you are planning  your own funeral and you want it to be a unique event to match your life and personality, your Order sheet is an important way of communicating this.

So it is worth taking the time and effort to plan the contents, the images, the typography...as it is the programme for your funeral.  

Save it in your Lifebox, so that it is secure until you want to improve or amend it.

Ensure that the printing and production - the fulfilment - is one of the instructions you give the second key holder, usually your executor, who will access your Lifebox on your death. (SA)

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