How to make a beautiful funeral program

Funeral Planning
funeral program

A funeral program outlines the activities that will take place at a funeral or memorial service. As well as serving a practical purpose on the day of the funeral, a beautifully designed and printed funeral program can become a lasting keepsake to honor the life of a loved one.

What is a funeral program?

A funeral program, sometimes called a funeral pamphlet, is a printed document that is provided to those people who attend a funeral service. The funeral program outlines what will be happening so that those gathered for the service can have an idea of what to expect. It contains a list of the key activities of the memorial service, and often also includes other information, such as a photograph of the person who's passed away, or favorite funeral poems or quotes.

Why use a funeral program?

There are many good reasons to prepare and print a funeral program. The program can act as a special way of honoring the loved one who has passed away. The general program becomes a special keepsake for those who have attended the funeral. The program can also be provided in person or by mail to those unable to attend the service. And finally, a funeral program makes it clear what will be happening next as it outlines the schedule of events, which can help people feel comfortable as they know what to expect at the service. 

How to distribute funeral programs

There are two options when it comes to handing out funeral programs. If someone is greeting people as they arrive for the memorial service or funeral, they may pass out the funeral programs as people arrive. If the funeral is being conducted at a funeral home or parlor, a staff member may hand the funeral service programs out for you. Alternatively, you may like to place a funeral program on each seat of the funeral venue so that people can pick up the program as they sit down.

Types of funeral programs

Funeral programs are commonly prepared on one sheet of paper, folded in half to make a booklet. The cover of the booklet will often feature a photograph of the deceased person, while the inside will list the order of activities for the funeral. A less traditional but just as attractive option uses a single sheet of card, half the size of a standard piece of paper. The card can be printed with text and images on one or both sides. 

Parts of a funeral program

There are no set rules about a funeral program: you can create the funeral program your way, to honor and acknowledge the deceased person best. Inside the program, there will usually be a listing of the main parts of the service, such as eulogies, prayers and readings, and the name of the people delivering them. There could also be a list of any music or songs that will be played or sung. The back of a funeral program may have more images, or a favorite quote or poem.

Funeral program design 

If you are working with a funeral home or funeral parlor to organize a funeral, they make take care of the funeral program for you. But you can certainly make your own if that's what you would prefer. To get you started, simply Google “sample funeral program” and you will see many inspiring examples. You will see that some designs are very simple, with contemporary black-and-white text and formatting. Others will be more decorative and may include a full-color background image of a scenic landscape, the sky or the ocean. 

Funeral program samples/templates 

There are plenty of templates for beautiful funeral service programs that you can access online. Adobe Express is one online service that provides easy-to-use and free funeral program templates which are typically single-sided documents that can be printed on card or heavy-weight paper. The templates on this site feature different titles such as “Order of Service” and “In loving memory” that will be suitable for use at different types of funerals. These templates can be personalized and tweaked, enabling you to make something completely unique that perfectly reflects the life and personality of the person you're honoring. Other services like Canva also do the same. Here's an example of a template.

Funeral Program

Funeral program cover design

The funeral program cover will often include a photograph of the person who's passed away. In a more traditional program, it may also include the dates of their birth and death and sometimes a list of nearest relatives. Some funeral programs will list the date, time and location of the funeral or memorial service on the front cover of the program. You can keep the design simple and elegant, or brighten it up with colors and motifs that suit the ceremony.

Funeral program back cover design

The back cover of the funeral program could contain a poem or reading that is shared at the memorial service. Some people also choose to write an acknowledgment or thank you from the family of the deceased and include this statement on the back cover. You may also use photographs on the back of the funeral program. 

How to make a funeral program

You can use online tools to create a beautiful funeral program. Canva is a top-rated design program that has many templates you can use to create your personalized funeral program. Other sites like Template Lab offer free funeral program downloads in various software programs such as Word and Photoshop.

Funeral program formatting 

You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create a beautiful and distinctive funeral program. When you are using an online tool to create a funeral program, you will be able to experiment using different colors, tones, fonts and styles. Flyers, trees, stars, clouds, the ocean and shells are motifs that are often used in funeral program design. Formatting tools such as borders and text boxes can be used to enhance the appearance of the booklet and help key information to stand out.

Share the funeral program in an online memorial

A funeral program will become a significant memory and keepsake for those you have shared a funeral service with. However, printing a funeral program is not the only way to pay tribute to someone who has passed. You can also create an online memorial with Memories and upload a digital version of the funeral program for everyone to see. You can also add other memories in the form of photos, videos, and messages that can be accessed by loved ones worldwide (depending on your privacy settings).

Visit the home page and sign up for the Memories free trial.