How to Officiate a Funeral Service

Officiating funeral services takes the burden from the bereaved.

When someone dies, it’s a very difficult time for family and friends left to grieve. Funeral services need to be planned quickly when not prearranged. A funeral officiant will work closely with the family representative to coordinate the funeral services, write the eulogy, select music, prepare the order of service and possibly secure a venue. It’s important to know exactly what pieces will be the officiant’s responsibility.

1 Officiating a Funeral Service

2 Prepare your guideline according to the type of service

Prepare your guideline according to the type of service you’re officiating. Work closely with the coordinator to determine which parts will be your responsibility, and which will be provided to you.

3 Write a list

Write a list of questions that will help you collect the information you need to complete these parts. Many sources online offer examples of each thing you need to prepare, which will help you develop the questions you need to ask (see Resources). These may prompt you on points you have overlooked.

4 Collect examples of eulogies

Collect examples of eulogies, quotes and orders of service. Eulogies that you’ve written or read and liked are a great resource and guide for writing what you need. You can get examples from churches and non-denominational organizations, or search online (see Resources).

5 Write a eulogy

Write a eulogy based on the information you are given and questions you ask the representative and family. If you know the deceased person well, you may be asked to rely on what you know about the person.

6 Write up the order of service

Write up the order of service, or program, according to what you know should be included, such as the eulogy, entrance and exit music, and speakers. Refer to the information you collected from the family and your examples.

7 Moderate the service

Moderate the service, keeping the events moving forward. If there is no clergy or other person the family chooses, this duty falls to the funeral officiant.

Shari Smothers has more than 10 years experience writing and editing website copy, articles, and poetry. She has been a freelance writer since 2006 and has been blogging since 2008. Smothers holds a certificate in copy editing/proofreading and a bachelor’s degree in social work.