9+ Sample Memorial Service Outlines (2022)

Memorial services are growing in popularity as more and more families find themselves turning away from the traditional, standard funeral service. If you find yourself in charge of hosting a memorial service, you’ll find the following information useful when planning a memorial service.

How to plan a memorial service

Planning a memorial service may seem like a huge undertaking if you’ve never planned one before, but it doesn’t have to be. A memorial service is customizable -- it can be rigid and structured like a funeral service or it can be a more casual affair. The memorial service order of service is up to you and your loved ones (or up to the preferences of the person who passed away). There’s no one right way to hold one.

If you’re in charge of planning a memorial service, here are some questions you’ll want to ask before you get started:

  1. How many people do we expect to attend?
  2. Where should the service be held?
  3. Do we want there to be food served?
  4. What should the tone of the service be? (Somber, light, celebratory?)
  5. Who should speak, read, or perform during the service?
  6. Should there be any kind of event or structured activity?
  7. What is the weather going to be like when the event is held? (This is useful if you plan on holding the service outdoors.)What’s the budget?

Answering these questions will give you a better idea of the type of service you plan on holding. Once you’ve answered these questions, you can move on to the nuts and bolts of planning the memorial service and figuring out how to conduct a memorial service. For a full guide on this, check out the article on How to Plan a Memorial Service. You’ll be able to find memorial service templates, simple memorial service ideas, and some more complex memorial service ideas which should provide a solid foundation for you moving forward.

How long is a memorial service?

A memorial service’s length depends on a few factors, especially the types of memorial service events that will take place during the service. Since memorial services are customizable, each one can be different and unique in its own way. You can get a general idea of how long the service might take by looking over the memorial service program outline to see what to expect. In general, most memorial services are under an hour in length.

Memorial service order of service

A memorial service order of service is similar to a funeral or celebration of life order of service. It will usually involve a welcoming of some kind, a reading or two, a eulogy, a memorial activity, and a closing. The memorial service event can be anything from a moment of silence to a release of memorial lanterns and serves as a good way to connect everyone in the shared space.

Sample memorial service outline

Here’s a what a general memorial service template could include:

  1. Greeting. Welcoming attendees to the event is customary. If there’s assigned seating, you can direct them to where they can go to sit. You’ll want to give your attendees a memorial program (if there is one) or have it posted somewhere so that folks know what to expect.
  2. Opening reading. Opening a memorial service with a favorite reading, passage, poem, or prayer is a great way to start the service and get everyone in the right headspace.
  3. Eulogy. Eulogies are common at funeral services and can be included just the same in a memorial service. It’s also worth noting that there can be multiple eulogies read by multiple people. If there isn’t a eulogy, this can also be a great time to invite someone to say a few words about the deceased in lieu of a eulogy.
  4. Memorial activity. A memorial activity can be anything from a memorial slideshow to a lantern release to a general toast -- it’s up to you and your family. If you’d like your memorial service to lean more towards the somber side in terms of mood, a memorial slideshow or memory jar reading may be a better fit. If you’re looking for a more celebratory atmosphere, consider a toast or group song as the memorial activity.
  5. Closing reading and thanks. A final passage, prayer, or reading is a great way to end the memorial service for a loved one. Choosing one that was important to the deceased is also a great way to leave attendees with something that was special to the person who passed away. It is also customary to thank those who came for attending at the end of the services.

One page memorial service outlines

Following are one page memorial service program templates you can use if you’re handing out one page flyers or one page memorial service programs. Try to remember that you can always include this information on a memorial website. Including this information on a memorial page is an easy way to skip the printing fees you’d otherwise incur if you had these programs printed.

Example 1

Order of service

Remembering the life of
[Full name of decedent]

Welcome
[Full name of host]

Reading
[Title of reading]
Read by [Full name]

Poem
[Title of poem]
Read by [Full name]

[Name of memorial activity (e.g. Memorial Slideshow)]

Final reading
[Title of reading]
Read by [Full name]

Please keep in touch at our memorial website: [link]

Example 2

Remembering [Name]’s life

Welcome

Prayer
Led by [Full name]

Hymn
Led by [Full name]

Eulogy
Led by [Full name]

Memorial Slideshow

Final farewell

Closing song
[Title of song]
[Artist name]

Our family thanks you, deeply, for joining us in remembering [Full name]’s life. Please share any favorite memories or moments at the memorial website: [link]

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Example 3

The beautiful life of [Full name of decedent]

Welcoming song
Sung by [Full name]

Opening reading
Led by [Full name]

Eulogy
Read by [Full name]

Closing toast
Given by [Full name]

We thank you for joining us in remembering [Name]’s wonderful, beautiful, and full life. Please consider making a contribution to [charity name] in honor of [name], which you can do on [his/her] memorial website: [link]

Example 4

The amazing life of [Full name of decedent]

Welcoming song
Sung by [Full name]

Opening statement, welcomes
Led by [Full name]

Celebratory event
Led by [Full name]

Lantern release
Led by [Full name]

Closing toast
Given by [Full name]

**We thank you for joining us in remembering [Name]’s life. We would greatly appreciate any photos you can share of [Name] on [his/her/their] memorial website: [link]

Two page memorial service outlines

A two page memorial service program includes a bit more space for additional information or content. Instead of providing just the service outline, you can include a larger photo of the deceased, a full obituary, passage content, and more.

Example 1

Page 1

Obituary
[Full obituary]

[Photo of decedent]

Page 2

Order of service

Welcome

Reading
Read by [Full name]

Poem
Written by [Writer’s full name]
Read by [Full name]

Reflections from family

Eulogy
Ready by [Full name]

Acknowledgments

Closing song
Performed by [Full name]

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Thank you for joining us.

We wanted to thank you for joining us at [Name]’s memorial service. Your kindness and love towards our family during this difficult time has not gone unnoticed and we are eternally grateful to have so many in our community. [Name] was a special person and we’re honored to have you here, remembering [his/her] life.

Example 2

Page 1

[Title of poem or passage]
[Content of poem or passage]
Written by [Author’s full name]

[Photo of decedent]

Page 2

Order of service

Welcome

Reading

Opening song
Performed by [name]

Eulogy
Read by [Full name]

Closing prayer
Led by [Full name]

Thank you so much to all who have helped us during this difficult time.

Example 3

Page 1

[Title of Song] by [Artist name]

[Song Lyrics]

[Photo of decedent]

Page 2

Order of service

Welcome

Poem
Written by [Full name]
Read by [Full name]

Group share
Led by [Full name]

Closing thoughts

Thank you for joining us in remembering and celebrating the life of [Name].

Please consider staying connected with us at the memorial website we’ve set up for [Full name]: [link]

Three page memorial service outlines

A three page memorial service program has the most potential to include as much information as you’d like about the deceased. This is a great opportunity to share the full obituary, one or two photos, favorite passages, full text of songs or poems to be read, or messages from the family to those attending the event.

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Example 1

Page 1

Remembering the life of
[Full name]
[Photo of decedent]
[Date of birth] - [Date of death]

Event information
[Date of event]
[Time]
[Location]
[Attire, if applicable]

Page 2

Obituary
[Full obituary]
[Secondary photo]

Page 3

Order of service

Welcome and introduction

Reading
Read by [Full name]

Opening song
Sung by [name]

Eulogy
Read by [name]

Memorial slideshow

Reflections from family

Farewell

Thank you, all, for being with us as we join in remembering the life of [Full name]. Please continue to share your memories here: [link to memorial website]

Example 2

Page 1

The incredible life of
[Full name]
[Photo of decedent]
[Date of birth] - [Date of death]

Services
[Date of event]
[Time]
[Location]

Page 2

Obituary
[Full obituary]

[Quote] - [Author’s full name]

Page 3

Order of service

Welcome and introduction

Opening song
Sung by [name]

Memorial slideshow

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Open invitation to share memories

Closing reading
Written by [Full name]
Read by [Full name]

Our family thanks you for joining us on this special, but difficult, day. If you haven’t already, please give the memorial site a visit: [link]

Example 3

Page 1

The life of
[Full name]
[Photo of decedent]
[Date of birth] - [Date of death]

Obituary
[Full obituary]

Page 2

[Title of passage] by [Author’s full name]
[Passage content]

Page 3

Order of service

Welcome and seating

Poem
Read by [name]

Eulogy
Read by [name]

Reflections from friends

Closing reading
Read by [name]

[Favorite quote of decedent]

No matter the type of program you decide to go with, setting up a memorial website in addition to your program gives you much more space and flexibility to share important information about the memorial service event. You can inform your community about upcoming changes or additional events, collect memories, raise funds, and much more.

Start a memorial website

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Last updated June 7, 2022

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FAQs

How do you outline a memorial service? ›

The list below shows how an order of service would usually outline the service.
  1. Introduction/Welcoming Words.
  2. Prayers or Opening Readyings.
  3. Music Selection/Hymns.
  4. Formal Readings including the Obituary.
  5. Moment of Silence.
  6. Eulogy or Life Tribute.
  7. Informal Tributes.
  8. Thank you and Acknowledgements.

What should be included in a memorial service program? ›

List out the order of service.
  • Opening song.
  • Prayer/welcome message.
  • Scripture reading.
  • Optional song.
  • Sermon/eulogy.
  • Scripture reading.
  • Song.
  • Closing prayer/remarks.

How do you plan a simple memorial service? ›

How to Plan a Memorial Service
  1. Choose your style. The service can be as informal as a picnic in a park, or as formal as a wedding, with ushers, caterers, flowers and reception line. ...
  2. Decide on a venue. ...
  3. Choose the participants. ...
  4. Finalize the date. ...
  5. Invite the guests. ...
  6. Arrange the details.

What is Agenda for a memorial service? ›

It will usually involve a welcoming of some kind, a reading or two, a eulogy, a memorial activity, and a closing. The memorial service event can be anything from a moment of silence to a release of memorial lanterns and serves as a good way to connect everyone in the shared space.

How long should a memorial service last? ›

How long should a memorial service be? On average, most memorial services last about 30 minutes to an hour. Keep in mind that memorial services can vary in length of time, especially depending on the cultural and religious practices of the family holding the service.

What is the order of service for a celebration of life? ›

In general, a celebration of life order of service is similar to a funeral event or memorial event order of service. It will usually contain a greeting or welcoming of some kind, readings, a eulogy, and a celebratory activity.

What is done at a memorial service? ›

Funeral vs Memorial Service

In both cases, memorial services and funerals include religious elements, a eulogy, readings, prayers, songs, and reflection. They both also follow a similar order of services although there is no wake before a memorial service.

What is the difference between a funeral and a memorial service? ›

Funeral. The biggest difference of a traditional funeral and a memorial service is that the body is not present in a casket at a memorial service. However, an urn with the loved one's ashes may be present at a memorial service.

What makes a good memorial service? ›

A sure bet is asking those closest to the decedent to pay tribute with a speech or performance of some kind - a reading, song or poem are all good places to start. The people who knew us best are so often the ones who will know how to conduct a memorial service that really honors a loved one.

How do you make a memorial service unique? ›

Table of contents
  1. Include live music.
  2. Create a memory board.
  3. Hold a candle-lighting ceremony.
  4. Plant a tree.
  5. Organize a potluck.
  6. Have an open mic.
  7. Hold a fundraiser.
  8. Screen a memorial video.
12 Dec 2021

What is the difference between a memorial service and a celebration of life? ›

A memorial service is typically focused around a recent loss and often has religious underpinnings or overtones. A life celebration is generally centered on the joy of having been blessed by the departed person's presence and is often nonreligious in nature.

What is the normal order of service for a funeral? ›

This funeral order of service contains tradition elements of a funeral service such as musical prelude, scriptures, prayers, an obituary reading, musical selections, acknowledgements and a eulogy.

Do you wear black to a memorial service? ›

Here in the United States, black is still the go-to color for funerals. This does not mean you need to dress in head-to-toe black. You can wear other colors, just select colors that are subdued. Other somber or conservative colors are also acceptable such as gray, brown, or navy.

What is an example of a tribute? ›

The concert was a tribute to the musician. Yellow ribbons were tied on trees as a tribute to the soldiers at war. an event at which artists and musicians paid tribute to the famous composer The country was forced to pay tribute. The ruler paid a tribute every year.

Should ashes be present at a memorial service? ›

The biggest difference of a traditional funeral and a memorial service is that the body is not present in a casket at a memorial service. However, an urn with the loved one's ashes may be present at a memorial service.

How do you make a celebration of life fun? ›

9 Celebration of Life Ideas to Honor Your Loved One
  1. Choose a Meaningful Location.
  2. Invite People to Share Stories. ...
  3. Collect Photos. ...
  4. Play Their Favorite Music. ...
  5. Ask for Letters. ...
  6. Start a Group Prayer or Poem. ...
  7. Establish Your Loved One's Memorial.
  8. Start a Memorial Fundraiser.
30 Apr 2020

Who should attend a memorial service? ›

Attending a funeral or memorial service shows support for the surviving family members, and offers you a chance to remember the person who died. As a general rule, if you feel like you want to attend the service and you've been invited, then you should attend.

What do you say in a memorial service speech? ›

A few ideas for this eulogy include:
  • Share her notable life accomplishments.
  • Retell your favorite stories from growing up together.
  • Highlight the kind of person she was.
  • Summarize your relationship in a few short words.
  • Talk about what she meant to you and how she influenced your life.

What is a memorial statement? ›

If you've lost someone special, you might find yourself preparing a memorial tribute to deliver at their funeral or memorial service. A tribute is a commemorative speech that allows you to share your love, respect, and admiration for your loved one.

How do you display an urn at a memorial service? ›

This can be done by displaying the urn in front of a beloved sports jacket or placing items with team logos and motifs around the urn. Alternatively, if they loved to read, you could display the funeral urn on top of a stack of books they cherished.

Is it OK not to have a memorial service? ›

It's perfectly acceptable to not have a funeral. There's no legal requirement for you to have one — it's up to you how you'd like to be memorialized.

Can you wear jeans to a memorial service? ›

Can you wear jeans to a funeral? The most common answer is that jeans aren't considered appropriate funeral etiquette unless requested by the family. However, dark, unembellished jeans paired with a shirt, tie, and blazer for men or a blouse and a blazer for women can be appropriate for a casual service.

What do you do at a 10 year memorial? ›

Here's how to acknowledge the anniversary of a death.
  1. Visit their final resting place. ...
  2. Release butterflies. ...
  3. Write a letter, poem or blog. ...
  4. Play their favourite song. ...
  5. Hold a special remembrance ceremony. ...
  6. Take time out. ...
  7. Express loving sentiments with flowers. ...
  8. Take a seat.
9 Aug 2017

How do you decorate a memorial service? ›

Common decorations include mason jars, butterfly memory cards, memorial tree, flowers, pictures, a garden, and other ideas that you think would best fit the theme of your service.

How do you write a memorial sample? ›

Guidelines for Writing Funeral Speeches:
  1. Speak from the heart and say how you feel about the person.
  2. Describe the person's qualities.
  3. Talk about their career, jobs, hobbies and passions.
  4. Talk about their relationships with family, friends and colleagues.
  5. Mention things that you inherited or learned from them.

What do you say at a celebration of life? ›

What to Say at a Celebration of Life Service?
  • Share a memory of how the deceased helped you in a time of need or how they made you feel. ...
  • Share a specific sentiment about the person who has died.
  • Briefly explain how you knew their loved ones and how they changed your life.
23 Jul 2021

How do you write an obituary outline? ›

A standard obituary format begins with the following information about the deceased:
  1. Full name, including first, middle, maiden, and last names, and suffixes, such as Jr. or Sr.
  2. Age at the time of death.
  3. City and state of most current residence.
  4. Time and place of death.
  5. Cause of death (optional)

What's the difference between a memorial and a celebration of life? ›

A memorial service is typically focused around a recent loss and often has religious underpinnings or overtones. A life celebration is generally centered on the joy of having been blessed by the departed person's presence and is often nonreligious in nature.

What is the difference between a funeral and a memorial service? ›

Funeral. The biggest difference of a traditional funeral and a memorial service is that the body is not present in a casket at a memorial service. However, an urn with the loved one's ashes may be present at a memorial service.

What happens at a celebration of life service? ›

They share drinks, music, laughter and animated stories about the departed. Depending on the family's personality, this event can be a full-blown party with all the works or a casual, contemplative, feel-good affair. A celebration of life event is unconventional but still beautiful.

What do you say in a memorial service speech? ›

A few ideas for this eulogy include:
  • Share her notable life accomplishments.
  • Retell your favorite stories from growing up together.
  • Highlight the kind of person she was.
  • Summarize your relationship in a few short words.
  • Talk about what she meant to you and how she influenced your life.

What are the three parts of a eulogy? ›

There should be 3 parts to the eulogy - a beginning, middle, and end. You may also want to add a fourth part, either beginning or ending with a quote or poem relating to the deceased.

Who speaks at a memorial service? ›

In some cases, the officiant, who may be a priest, minister, or professional celebrant, will give the eulogy. Many families choose to have more than one speaker to cover different aspects of their loved ones' life.

How long should a memorial speech be? ›

How Long Should a Eulogy Be? A eulogy should be two to 10 minutes in length. This does not sound like much time when you're attempting to recap a lifetime of love and accomplishment. Keep in mind that you must respect the time of those in attendance, particularly if the funeral is during working hours.

What is an example of an obituary example? ›

Example 1. Our dear mother [full name] sadly passed away on [date of death], at the age of [age]. She was a wonderful mother who was always there when we needed her. She also had many friends and was a well-loved member of the community in [place where she lived].

Is there a template for an obituary? ›

There are four templates. Two are quite simple, including the most basic information about the deceased. Two also allow you the freedom to list accomplishments, and interests or hobbies.

Is there a template for writing an obituary? ›

Standard Obituary template

" [Full name] , aged [number] , residing in [residence] passed away on [Date of death] , from [Cause of death] . [First name] , born on [Birthday] , grew up in [Hometown] and studied [Education] at [Institution] .

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