Primary Goal of this Step
Important Tasks: Personalize the Funeral or Memorial Service & Reception
Choose an officiant and work with him or her to plan the service
If you’ll be having the service at a religious place of worship, the religious leader there will likely lead the service according to traditional practices. If you're having the service at another location, you can choose whoever you like to officiate the service.
Choose speakers and write eulogies
Identify the people who will speak at the service. Be prepared that some people may decline a request to speak. Also be prepared for requests to speak from people you did not consider. It’s entirely acceptable to decline if you feel there are enough speakers or if it would be inappropriate for other reasons.
If any people whom you would like to have as pallbearers are not physically capable of carrying the weight of a casket, those people can be made “honorary pallbearers” and can walk beside or behind the casket.
Choose readings and/or music
If you would like people to deliver specific readings or prayers, choose those readings. If you will have a singer, choir, or band/ensemble perform at the service, or if you will be playing music, choose the songs or music you would like to have performed.
Funeral programs usually contain the order of the service (including the names of participants and any readings or musical pieces that are performed) as well as an obituary. If you’d like programs, the funeral home can do this for you as a cash advance.
Purchase a guestbook
Guestbooks allow the family to know who attended the funeral, and you may purchase one from the funeral home or from a stationery store. Guestbooks are usually placed at the entrance to the service venue.