Orders of Service
Putting together an order of service can be a lovely keepsake for you and your guests. It is also a way of capturing important information from the service – for example, the lyrics or names to the songs you have chosen, the names of the people who spoke at the service, any poems or readings that were shared.
If you have had some pregnancy or baby photos taken, it is also an opportunity to share some of these with your family and friends by including them in the program.
You could also include a short message from yourselves (the parents) thanking people for their attendance and help, and anything else you would like to say.
Some things to remember when planning an order of service programme:
Keep it simple and within your capability. If you are not good with computers, ask a friend to help you put it together.
Keep in mind that the more pages added to a programme, the greater the printing costs. Also consider whether or not you will print in black and white or colour, as colour printing costs are usually about four times the price of printing in black and white.
Consider when and where you will print them. Having them professionally printed at short notice can be extremely expensive. If you are having the memorial service at a church, consider asking your contact from the church whether you might be able to use their photocopier/printer if they have one. It would be a fair gesture to offer to a financial contribution to cover the costs.
It is almost impossible to gauge the number of people who will attend a funeral. Print as many copies as you can afford to do reasonably; it is better to have far too many than not enough.
pre natal diagnosis
47 hours with a prince
memorial service ideas
pre natal diagnosis
47 hours with a prince
memorial service ideas
A lovely idea is to make some tissue pouches to put on the chairs (even every second chair if you are expecting a lot of people). These are a small “pocket” that you place one or two tissues into, and you can personalise the message you have on the outside.
It is a lovely touch to add to the service, and another keepsake that people can take home. You can find various pouch designs on the internet, although we have found a good design here. This design is made from a special type of paper, but you could use any sort of paper you choose. If you choose printable paper, you could print your own message directly onto the paper or purchase sticky labels that will run through your printer.
Some tasteful balloons can be a way to really help add some colour to the room. There are lots of different options for balloons. For example, you could tie pairs of balloons at the end of each row of seats.
If you use helium balloons, these can also be tied to the ends of rows, just make sure they are on the outside ends so it does not block the view of anyone looking to the front.
Helium balloons could also be released as part of the service; there is a beautiful sense of freedom and peace that comes from watching balloons released and floating up to heaven; it can add a lovely element to the service.
Planning a Service for a Baby or Infant
When planning a service things have to be organised fairly quickly as there is usually only about a week to have everything in order.
The first thing to remember is DON’T OVERLOAD YOURSELF.
The second thing to remember is to find out how much things will cost before you commit to them. Choose to do things that will be enjoyable for you to do (for example, don’t plan to do a whole lot of craft projects if you don’t enjoy doing craft). Also, enlist the help of trusted family and friends. People are usually eager to find a way they can help, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Click on the tag below or simply scroll down for some ideas to help make your memorial service extra-special. We are always looking for ideas we can add to this resource, so feel free to email us with any other ideas to email@example.com
A lot of people choose to have large free-standing arrangements for flowers. Whilst this can be lovely, you could also consider other options with flowers to add some nice touches. For example, at my daughter’s funeral I organised posies of three pink roses to be tied with a ribbon at the end of each row on the centre aisle for the first few rows from the front. They added a really special touch, and I was able to hand out the posies to some special family and friends after the service.
Eulogy or Reflection
It would be easy to wonder how or why you would attempt to give a Eulogy or reflection for someone who has passed away so young. However, the memorial service is as much about sharing the journey of the parents as it is about their child. My husband has given two beautiful reflections at our children’s services. You can view both Michael's Reflection and My Reflection.
From our experience, we see that people grieve the loss of a child in a different way as they would grieve the loss of an adult, especially people who have children of their own. We wanted to find a way for people to have something in their home that reminded them of our precious children, but that was not obtrusive or offensive to varying tastes and décor.
We organised for each family to take home a small teddy bear with a bright ribbon around its neck – blue for our boy and pink for our girl. We called them Stephen and Esther bears.
Our family and friends have just adored this idea and have appreciated having something they could take away from the service to cuddle.
Purchasing a large volume of bears can be quite expensive. If you know somebody with an ABN who is able to order them wholesale for you, it can make a huge difference to the cost. Just make sure that you order them from a place that has them in stock, and that you can pick up the order well in time before the service.
Choosing some music that has special meaning for you is an important thing to do. Long after the service has taken place, your memories will be triggered and shaped by the music that you have associated with on the day. Even if there are not any songs that you particularly want to sing at the service, you could consider having some recorded music playing as guests arrive and as the service ends and people are talking and spending time together.
You may also consider choosing a special piece of music to have played during the service as a time for people to sit and reflect.
One way in which we represented our loss was for Michael, myself and our kids to bring forward an item at the very beginning of the service and place it on a table at the front.
Each item represented something significant for each of us in relation to Stephen and Esther. For example, Michael carried brought the memory box that was given to us at the hospital and the kids placed their special drawings they had made. I placed an outfit that she had worn just after she was born.
We could have also placed things such as blankets, booties, photos, teddy bears etc. that had a special meaning. This is a lovely way to share some of the sense of loss with those who are watching.
Memorial Wall Puzzle
This was an idea that we used at our daughter Esther’s funeral. We put together a collage of images that we had taken by the photographer in the hospital and had it printed on a large card and the chopped up into small pieces.
At a specific point in the service, we invited each family group present to come and collect a piece of the “puzzle” and place it onto the board which we had prepared with Velcro dots. It was a lovely way in which each person at the service could tangibly express their grief and support.
Slideshow or Movie
Putting together a short powerpoint presentation or movie to music is a lovely way to share memories with those at the service, and is a great way to make use of some of your photos – if you had any photos taken whilst your pregnant or of your baby.
If you are not confident to put something like this together yourself, ask a friend who knows.
One of the biggest things to coordinate for a service is refreshments. Ideally it is best if you can ask someone else to manage this totally for you. Many churches will have a group that will be able to assist with coordinating this for you, but this will differ from church to church.
If the church or organisation does not have someone to assist you, see if you can ask a friend or family member to coordinate this for you. It may just mean they have to contact some people and ask them to bring a plate of goodies to share afterwards, and organise some tea, coffee and milk.
As unfashionable as it sounds, you may choose to ask someone to take photos at the service. If you are going to a lot of effort to make the service something really special, some tasteful photos of your decorations and other key parts of the service will provide you with some special memories in future.
Choose someone who will take the sort of photos that you want, who can be trusted to not impose on anyone on the day. Also feel free to give your photographer specific guidelines – for example, please take photos of the decorations but none of the guests directly.