When death happens, we cannot do anything to turn back time. The strong emotions it triggers can linger on for a while, and we might never forgive ourselves or come to terms. One good way to honor someone that had died is by according them a respectable funeral that they would have loved. That is where funeral programs come in. Funeral programs are simple documents used to organize a funeral proceeding. They usually feature a timeline breakdown of the order of proceedings plus features such as obituaries and short biographies of the deceased. Funeral programs can be created from scratch, or one can use a free funeral program template.
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Funeral Program Templates
Why you need a funeral program?
Funeral programs are not designed just for luxury or as a must. A memorial service can go on without a funeral program, even though that’s not advised. Funeral programs come with their benefits:
- They keep the memorial service flowing according to plan
Because they break down every aspect of the funeral service, mourners and participants always know what happens next, which keeps the service flowing as planned. Some funeral templates, like the funeral bulletin template sum up every item on a simple to-do list of events.
- They offer necessary info about the deceased and his or her family
A good memorial service program template features information on the deceased and their family, in addition to a short biography that offers information about the deceased.
- They are easy to create, so they save time
Anyone can create a good funeral program using a computer within a few hours. They are easy to create, and even faster to customize if you use a free funeral program template from the internet.
- They are a final nod of love to the deceased
Because they feature his or her favorite poems, thank you notes from family and friends and more, funeral programs are essentially a simple, final show of love for the deceased at a moment when love is all that’s left.
- They’ve got therapeutic benefits
The therapeutic effects of crafting a funeral program for one’s loved ones have been published widely. Many people experience closure when sifting through photos, videos and other items of the deceased.
- They can be used as a memorabilia
The best funeral programs can be used as memorabilia by friends after the funeral is over. Such funeral programs usually have photos of the whole family when it was still intact, or the best photos of the deceased. The best memorial service program templates also feature slots for photos and other such memorabilia.
Free Funeral Programs
Designing your own funeral program
When planning a memorial or funeral service, there are a lot of details to think about. Getting an appropriate funeral program is always one of them. There is more than one way to get around this. If you’re in a hurry or just don’t have the strength or creative abilities to make your own funeral program, you can always employ a free funeral program template from a church or the internet instead. Many people still use these free funeral templates and with effective results.
Alternatively, you can also design your funeral program from scratch. This is a favorite for many people for its therapeutic benefits. Whether you choose to use a free funeral service template or go custom, however, there a few sections that must feature in your final product.
What to include in a funeral program?
A funeral program can be as long or as short as the organizers wish it, but the ideal funeral program features four main sections:
- The Cover Page
- The Order of Service
- Obituary Section
- The Back Page
Each of these sections is then comprised of specific content as shown below.
The Cover Page
The cover page is what mourners see first when they receive the funeral program, so it acts as the forbearer of news and must look appropriate. It must have the following items:
- Title of the Funeral Program
Much like any other title, the title of the program tells what the program is about. And while it’s a funeral program, the title shouldn’t be too depressing or too cheery, but appreciative and thankful. You can’t go wrong with staples like ‘In Memory of,’ ‘In Celebration Of,’ ‘A Celebration of Life’ or ‘A Life Well Lived.’
- Photo of the deceased
The title page also features a good photo of the deceased, sometimes covering the whole page or circled in a prominent section of the page.
- Deceased’s biodata
Also, on the front page, the deceased’s biodata should also be featured in summary. That includes the deceased’s full legal name, their nicknames, their date of birth and their date of death. You may or may not add their age at the time of death.
- Date of ceremony
Like any other program, the funeral program must feature the date of the service. Among other benefits, the date goes on to serve a bigger purpose for those that keep the funeral program as memorabilia.
- Location of service
This can be a church, a synagogue or other religious location. The name should be listed clearly on the cover page for both clarification and future reference purposes.
- Time of service
This is usually the time at which the service is expected to start. Some funeral programs also include an expected time of conclusion.
- Officiant’s name
This is usually a leader in the church or location of choice.
Order of service
The order of service, also known as order of mass, is a timeline of all the events that are expected to happen within a religious service or occasion. A few sections that feature in any order of service include (in no particular order):
- Bible readings
- Choir recitals
- Cards and Condolences
- Obituary Reading
- Final Viewing
The obituary is a final message about the deceased, and usually features a heartfelt composition about the deceased and his or her life. It can also feature information bits such as the date of death, the circumstances of death and the surviving members of the family.
The Back Page
Acting as the back cover to the funeral program, the back page usually features the items below:
- Photo of deceased or deceased’s family.
- Deceased’s date of birth
- Deceased’s date of death
- Names of pallbearers and flower bearers
- A list of the surviving members of his or her main family. This can also include photos.
- Thank you Notes from surviving family members
- Bible quotes
Editable Funeral Templates
Secular funeral programs
Secular (or non-religious) funeral programs tend to have a different formatting altogether, owing to their emission of prayer and church-related items as per the deceased’s wishes and beliefs. One such funeral program can feature the sections below (in no particular order);
- A cover page
- Biography of the deceased
- Poems of favorite quotes
- Names and photos of surviving family members
- Name of soloist and title of music to be played
- How to design a funeral program from scratch
- Names of speakers if any
- Thank you notes
How to design your custom funeral program?
Whether you choose to use a free funeral program template or design your own, there are many ways to get a wonderful funeral program made. The process is simple, as shown below;
- Select appropriate software for the design
Appropriate software, in this case, is any that allows the addition of both text, photos and illustrations. Popular software for this purpose includes MS Publisher, MS Word and MAC Pages. You can also employ photo enhancement applications such as Adobe Photoshop or use an online design platform that features unique, affordable designs like Canva.
- Identify a good memorial service program template from the internet.
This template will guide you as you create your own program, such that you don’t forget a major section or misplace some sections.
Alternatively, and unless it is a free funeral program template, you can purchase the template and fill it in yourself. This will require you to come up with words for each section. If you intend to feature quotes from friends and family, you also have to invite them to send them in.
- Add designs to the text
The final touch to any funeral program is the design. You can always leave it simple and minimal, or you can add a few illustrations, shapes, borders and images from design platforms such as Canva. Remember not to go overboard and to use appropriate illustrations.
Alternatively, you can employ the services of a freelancer to help with the designs.
- Use an appropriate printer
Not every printer can produce your final work as you like it, so make sure to use the ideal printer. The ideal printing process should also feature the kind of paper you prefer. Funeral programs tend to be designed in form of two-folds, three-folds or even booklets, so you have to keep that in mind.
If the printing aspect gets too difficult and time-consuming, or if you just want something very particular, you should consider hiring a printer to do all the work.