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Creating a Funeral Program January 21, 2021

It is very common to receive a printed program when attending a funeral service. This program, often referred to as an obituary or funeral program, is a small brochure that usually contains a tribute to the deceased and details of what will take place during the funeral or memorial service. A funeral program is not required, but most people like to provide one since it helps those attending the funeral or memorial service follow along and participate more fully. The program also gives those who are paying their respects something to take with them as a memento.

The funeral home or church may offer to compile and print the program for you. If they do this for you, someone close to the deceased should work with them so the program truly reflects the unique life of the person being memorialized. Many families prefer to handle the program on their own since it can be very rewarding. It gives them a chance to look back on and appreciate the life of the deceased and participate in making the arrangements.

What to Include in the Funeral Program

The content of your funeral program will depend on your personal preference and the type of service you are having but most programs generally contain four pages. Think of a page of 8 ½ x 11 paper folded in half. You can make your program longer but for most people, four pages are enough. It can be as simple or as complex as you like but it helps to think of the program as two separate parts: the cover (front and back) and the contents.

The front cover usually includes:

  • A photo of the deceased. (Try to use a recent, professional photo if available or one with a clean background.)
  • The name of the deceased
  • The deceased’s date of birth and death
  • A quotation or inspirational saying (A favorite of the deceased or one that youthink captures the essence of the person being remembered.)
  • A funeral program title (A short phrase or caption that sets the tone for the service. Examples are “A Homecoming Celebration,” “A Celebration of Life,” “A Loving Farewell.”
  • If you are having a religious service, you may want to include a relevant scripture passage. For a secular service, a poem or favorite reading may be appropriate. You may also want to include a quote that the deceased found meaningful.

The back cover typically contains:

  • Poems, Readings, or Scriptures
  • Pictures of the deceased and family (if not included on the inside of the program)
  • A message from the family (a brief thank you for support received)
  • Acknowledgement of the funeral home and other service providers

Items that are commonly included in the inside of the funeral program are:

  • Service Information (Date, Time, Location, Person Officiating)
  • Funeral Outline (Order of Service): The events that will take place during the service.
  • People participating in the service: (Officiant, Persons giving Eulogy and readings, soloists, musicians, Others)
  • Music Selections (Lyrics if appropriate)
  • Poems, Readings, or Scriptures
  • Funeral Prayers
  • Obituary or Biography of the Deceased
  • Interment details
  • Funeral Reception (Repast) Information: Time and Place
  • Pictures reflecting the life of the deceased

You are not limited to the information shown in the lists above. Nor are you required to have all these items. This list is provided to simply serve as a guide and give examples of the type of information many people like to include. You are free to do something different. The real point in having a Funeral Program at all is to honor a loved one and help those who are grieving for them remember them. Exactly how you do that will depend on your culture, traditions, and personal preferences.

Thornton’s Funeral Home is happy to assist you with the design and printing of your funeral program to ensure you have a memento that is befitting of your loved one.


Thornton’s Funeral Home is happy to assist you with the design and printing of your funeral program to ensure you have a memento that is befitting of your loved one.