We’ve all thought about our eulogies, right? No? Just us? Well, if you have ever wondered what people might say about you after you die, you also might have thought about what you might say about your loved ones. As grim as it is to think about, it definitely doesn’t have to be – a memorial service program that accurately sums up the life of the deceased can be a beautiful and special way to say goodbye.
There’s a lot to wrap your head around after experiencing the death of someone you love. Once you’ve decided on the type of farewell service that is right for your family and the deceased, there will still be a bunch of other things to consider.
What actually is a memorial service?
Although they sound similar, there is a pretty big difference between a memorial service and other types of farewell services. The biggest difference with memorial services is the flexibility – where a funeral requires the casket to be present, a memorial service has no formula or limits. It’s totally up to you; you can have the casket present (or the urn containing the ashes, if you opted for a cremation), host it at a house, at the park, or at your family member’s favourite pub – the options are endless. The memorial service is purely about memorialising the person in a way that feels right for the family.
Where does a memorial service program fit in?
The flexibility of a memorial service extends from what it looks like and where it takes place, right down to how you plan it and who attends. It can be as small and intimate or large and open as you’d like. Typically, memorial services are a little more formal than a celebration of life service – but it’s totally up to you to decide on what your loved one’s will look like.
Before your loved one passed, they might have even expressed how they wanted their memorial service to play out. If that’s the case, it’s definitely worth taking their wishes into account during the planning process, and might even be worth noting their wishes for the service at the event itself.
A memorial service program will generally detail everything the service-goers will need to know about the event; it might prepare the guests so they know what to expect on the day, and could also provide them with a tangible reminder of their loved one they can hold onto.
What should a memorial service program include?
Again, this is up to you to decide! Include what you think is necessary, and exclude what you feel isn’t.
A memorial service program is usually handed out in pamphlet form. However, there are a range of different ways you can present the program (including an online program instead of a physical one).
Here’s a short list of elements you might like to include in your loved one’s memorial service program:
- A photo of the deceased (it can be nice to include this on the front page)
- Their date of birth
- The date of their passing
- You might like to include terms such as, “In loving memory of”.
- Slogans or words they were famous for using
- The date and location of the memorial service
- A table of contents (this could include the order of the service and the memorial program itself)
- Written versions of each eulogy, as well as messages from those who aren’t speaking at the service
- Song lyrics (especially if you’ll be singing songs together at the service)
- Religious prayers or scriptures (if relevant)
But, of course, there really is no rulebook for this! Create a memorial service program that feels true to you and the deceased.
How do I actually make the program?
Making the actual program can be the trickiest part. Once you’ve decided what you want to include, the best way to build the program is to pick a template. Microsoft Word, Google Documents and Canva have a range of templates for different types of printable programs, so you can pick one of those to make things nice and simple.
After choosing your fonts and colour scheme, you’ll just need to write out the contents of the program. If you’ll be printing these off for your guests, it’s best to go with a printing service to ensure a high quality resolution of the images and words.
What’s the best way to distribute the memorial service program?
On the day of the memorial service, you could place the pamphlets on the front table so guests can collect one as they walk in. Or, if you’re doing things digitally, you can create a unique QR code they can scan on their phones to access the program on their personal devices.
Alternatively – if you feel comfortable doing so – you could stand at the entrance of the memorial service and personally hand out a pamphlet to each guest. This can be a lovely way to welcome everyone and help break any ice if things feel awkward, tense, or overly quiet.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, our team would be honoured to help you arrange the perfect farewell. Phone 1300 945 533 to speak with a dedicated funeral arranger today.