No matter how our families choose to memorialize the life of a recently passed loved one, it’s important to plan a memorial service that accurately represents who they were. The service should honor their impact and recognize their one-of-a-kind spirit. Creating a memorial program is just one way to personalize our loved one’s service.

Memorial service programs can be a uniquely beautiful tribute to our loved one’s life. They not only serve as a helpful tool for outlining the memorial service but can also be saved as a sentimental and personalized keepsake for years to come. When created by loving family members with care, these programs can serve as a lifelong memory of our loved one.

What Is a Memorial Service?

Memorial services are different from traditional funeral services for various reasons. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that a funeral service is conducted with our loved one’s body present. This means that they must go through a process of embalming and being prepared for burial. Funerals also occur in four parts: visitation, funeral, committal, and reception.

Funerals are more formal and structured than memorial services. They require little participation from family and friends, while memorial services often offer more flexibility. Both funeral and memorial services offer room for reflection and reminiscing. Often, a eulogy is shared or stories are told about our loved one’s life.

Memorial services occur without a body present. This typically means that our loved one’s ashes are present in an urn. This type of service may include scattering the ashes or burying the urn somewhere meaningful. The urn may also be given to a family member at the end of the service for memorial purposes, like the creation of a memorial diamond.

The hope of any memorial service is to honor the precious lives of those we have lost. Memorial services are occasions that bring family members together for a common purpose: to support each other through a difficult time and to honor a remarkable life.

Memorial services are also similar in some ways to a celebration of life ceremony. A celebration of life is less formal than a funeral service and focuses on celebrating a life well-lived. Both a celebration of life and a memorial service are less structured than a traditional funeral service.

What Is the Purpose of a Memorial Service Program?

Memorial service programs are almost always a part of service preparation. Memorial service programs are important for various reasons. First, they outline the order of events that service guests can expect to see during the memorial. They also include a section that discusses the life of our loved one and their impact.

These programs are important because they serve as a tribute to the life of our loved one. Memorial service programs are a way we can honor the life they lived and the memory they left behind.

Memorial service programs are typically in pamphlet form, with multiple folds to provide room for necessary information.

What Should We Include in a Memorial Service Program?

When creating a memorial service program, there are a few things to consider including to commemorate your loved one who has passed on.

Front Page

The front page of the memorial service program or pamphlet should visually represent our loved one. Most often, people choose an image as the primary focus of the front page. This is typically a treasured photo of the deceased, whether taken soon before their passing or a photo from their youth. This could also be a picture that represents something unique about them.

The front page will also generally include their date of birth and the date of their passing. It will also include a program title and our loved one’s full name. The program title may say something along the lines of “in loving memory” or “in honor of your memory.” Memorial service details may also be included at the bottom of the front page.


The contents of a memorial service program are unique to each service and family. However, these are a few tips for what to include when creating a memorial service program.

An order of service is an important addition in the funeral brochure or funeral pamphlet. Both memorial services and funeral services include structure and a plan for the service. Funeral service programs and memorial service programs will lay out an ordered schedule for funeral or memorial service guests. 

A eulogy is also generally included in this program. A eulogy is a speech of remembrance and honor for the life of our loved one. They often include stories and memories about our loved one with the intent of bringing comfort to those who hear. Eulogies are often delivered by family members or close friends.

While eulogies are delivered as a speech, memorial programs often include a written copy of the eulogy as well. This may take up an entire page depending on the family’s wishes and how much of the eulogy is included in the program.

Memorial and funeral services often have a time for singing. This may be a religious song or a traditional funeral song. If a song is sung, memorial service programs will often include a page with lyrics provided.

During religious funerals, there is also often a time for scripture reading. Programs may include a place for these scriptures.

Found in a funeral or memorial service program is often a section that lists the deceased’s surviving family members. Immediate family members are often listed first and followed by aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandchildren. 

Some programs may also include the names of previously deceased family members in order to provide a genealogy.

Back Page

The back page of the memorial service program is just as vital as the front. If the front page included a photo of the deceased, the back page could include an image that represents their life or something about their incredible character. The back page may also include a heartfelt quote from them or a favorite song or poem.

The back page of the memorial service program may also list important roles in the memorial or funeral service. It may list the names of pallbearers, people carrying the casket, or the name of the funeral officiant. It may also include names of family members or friends delivering the eulogy.

Families may also choose to include a word of acknowledgement and appreciation to funeral or memorial service guests for making the trip and supporting the family through grief and loss.

How To Create a Memorial Service Program

If your family is hosting your loved one’s memorial or funeral service at a funeral home, you may have noticed that most funeral homes offer the service of creating a program in the overall funeral fee. 

However, you may choose to create your own service program so that it is more personalized to the life of your loved one. This is a special and important task, serving as a memento to be passed down for generations to share your loved one’s remarkable story.

If you are opting for a DIY memorial service program, we are here to walk you through the process of creating one that is unique and beautiful.

Start With a Template

To begin, you can start by selecting a printable memorial service program template or printable funeral program template. These templates can be found anywhere from Microsoft Word to various websites specializing in memorializing incredible loved ones.

Choose Its Contents

Take some time before creating your memorial service program to outline all the desired information that you aim to include in the program. Then, decide which information will go on which page. This will help you determine if you will need a bi-fold or trifold template.

Pick a Font

Once you have all your desired information and have determined where the information will be, you’ll want to give specific attention to the font that you choose before filling out the program template. When choosing a font, you want to make sure that it is something that is easily readable for every guest. Since you will likely have guests of all ages, you’ll want a timeless font that is sure to appeal to every generation.

If you plan to use different fonts throughout the program, you’ll want to consider whether they mesh well together and conform to the overall theme of the program.

Send It To Be Printed

Once you have organized and completed your memorial service program, you’ll send it to be printed to ensure high quality resolution for your images. Since this program serves as a handout for funeral or memorial service guests, you’ll want to print enough for each guest. On the day of the funeral or memorial service, the officiant will often hand out the programs as guests arrive.

If your family has decided on a virtual funeral or memorial service, there are various virtual program templates to choose from. These can be created online and sent to friends and family by way of email.

If the service is online, you’ll want to include a link and password to access the service if necessary. You’ll also want to include the date and time of the virtual service.

Wrapping Up

While it may be easier to have funeral homes create our loved one’s memorial service program, there is something more personal and sentimental about creating it ourselves. Creating a memorial or funeral service program may seem like a weighty task. However, it is meaningful and worth taking the time to do. 

When creating these programs, it is helpful to follow online templates or sample funeral programs and memorial programs as a guide. It is important to ensure that all the necessary information is included and communicated in a way that is personal and unique to our loved ones.


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