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How to Make Obituary Programs

If you are planning a funeral or memorial for a loved one, you will probably need to make an obituary program. Obituary programs or funeral programs or booklets are printed handouts that are distributed to friends, family and guests at the funeral service. The obituary program is slightly different from other printed programs because it almost always contains a full obituary or biography of the deceased, and often has many family photo collages and pictures. It is not uncommon for obituary programs to have multiple pages to accomodate all the information that will be included.  There are many different ways to make an obituary and several different obituary makers that will explain how to make an obituary including how to make an online obituary.  Let's get started planning and creating obituary programs.

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Obituary Program Basic Information

Before you make your obituary program, you will want to get an idea about the information you want to put in your obituary program. You will need to gather your basic information first. Some basic information includes:

  • Full name of deceased
  • Any Nicknames that you may want to include
  • Birth Date and Death Date (Sunrise -- Sunset)
  • Funeral Service Details (Including locations, date, time)
  • Cover Photo (optional)

Obituary Program Order of Service

Once you have your basic information for your program, you will need to get your obituary program order of service or funeral or homegoing service outline together. If you are having your funeral or memorial service in a church or chapel, your pastor or funeral home director should be able to give you some guidance and even provide you with samples. Here is a example of a standard religious obituary program order of service.

  • Entrance hymn or song
  • Prayer or Invocation 
  • Reading of Bible Verses or Scriptures 
  • Eulogy
  • Words of reflection (personal tributes)
  • Singing of hymn or Song
  • Message or Funeral Sermon
  • Benediction or Closing
  • Closing hymn
  • Exit hymn or song
  • Information about Interment or Burial

Obituary for Prorgram

The obituary or life sketch that goes in the obituary program is a very important part of the program. You may already have a shorter obituary that was submitted to the newspaper or other publications. You can start with that and just expand it. The obituary for the program should have more details, and should have a more personal feel to it. For more information, see our article on writing an obituary for funeral and obituary programs and booklets. Here is some basic information that you should includ in your obituary:

  • Personal details about birth place, placed lived and schools attended
  • Job or career information
  • Church and club affiliations
  • Hobbies and special talents
  • Unique personality traits and characteristics
  • Common sayings and quotes

Obituary Program Pictures and Photo Collages

Obituary programs typically have lots of family photos and photo collages. You will want to gather these photos and make sure they are in electronic versions. You can email family and friends and ask for photos, as well as scan photos that are around the house, and even get photos from social media such as Facebook and Instagram.  For more information, see funeral program pictures and funeral program picture collages.

Other Information

Here is a list of other information that you can include in your program:

  • Pall Bearer and Flower Bearer Information
  • Poems,  Scriptures, Prayers
  • Information about repast and reception

Using an Obituary Template

By far, the fastest and easist way to create your obituary program is to use an obituary template.  Obituary templates are available in many different software types and many different designs.  They also come in many different layouts and paper sizes.  You can shop for obituary templates online, and you can download them to your computer immediately.  Make sure you are using a reputable company like Elegant Memorials, that provides a secure website and customer service.

When selecting an obituary template, make sure you know what software you will need before your purchase.  Most templates are available in Microsoft Word or Publisher format, and Apple Pages.  The templates should work on both MACS and PCs.  View our extensive collection of obituary templates and choose one to help you start making the perfect program and keepsake. 


Create an Obituary Program...It's Easy

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  • Professional Designs formatted using Microsoft Word or Publisher or MAC Pages
  • All wording can be changed, including the program title
  • Flexible Designs and Layout
  • Instant Download and Live customer support


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