Funeral and Memorial Services Checklist

Its never easy to plan a funeral and can be very stressful.  In most cases, the person responsible for preparing all the funeral arrangements is in a state of grief. It may not be clear to them at this time what their deceased loved one would have wanted.  We’ve compiled a list of several questions that you can use as a checklist or guide to help you through this difficult process.

1. Do you want to have a traditional funeral service, or a more contemporary memorial service?  Maybe you would like to hold a religious Christian Funeral. Take a look at our Funeral or Memorial Service article, it will show you the differences between a Memorial Service and Funeral Service.

2. What will happen with the body of the deceased? Will you use a casket or an urn?  Will the body be present at all?

3. Who will be officiating the service? A family member, a minister, a friend or Celebrant?  If not a Christian funeral, will be a religious service or secular-based?

4. Will you be having a cremation? What will you do with the ashes, keep them in an urn, scatter them at sea, a sea burial, a green burial or will you scatter them in another manner?

5. Is the obituary complete? Has it been published in the local newspapers?  We have an article about How to Write an Obituary.

6. Will you be offering guests memorial cards, funeral programs and the like as a keepsake? Who will create them? The funeral home or church?  We advise taking a look through our funeral program templates. We have something unique for just about everyone. We can do all the customizations for you as well. Give your guests something truly special.

7. The Eulogy and its presentation. Who will be responsible for writing the eulogy or tribute and presenting it?  Is going to be 1 person or more that will speak?  Make sure to meet with each to ensure the same things are not being said.

8. Who will be the Flower Bearers or Pall Bearers? Will they be pre-designated?

9. Do you know where the service will be held? The location is an important choice. Will it be in a church or burial site, a park or at the beach? Please read our article Funeral and Memorial Service Ideas to help.

10. Is there going to be a theme in the service? A theme could be about their career, a hobby, a passion etc.

11. Will you be using any symbolic gestures. Several examples include releasing doves, butterflies or balloons, giving a star a name or even a memorial quilt.

12. Do you want any personal items of the deceased present? This can make the service more personal. Some examples include, Photographs, glasses, sports equipment, childhood belongings and music to name a few.

13. Will you have funeral flowers during the service? What kind of flowers do you want? Will you have Boutonnieres and Corsages? Where will order them? Will the funeral home order them for you?

14. Will you have a poem to be read aloud? Will there be some other funeral reading? Will be be reading these?

15. Will you have a prayer or scripture reading? Who will be reading the prayer or scripture?

16. What kind of music will you be playing? Who will be responsible for choosing the appropriate music? Will you have any live music, an Organist, Soloist, pianist or flutist?  Are there any songs that are special to your loved one that you would like to be played? See our article about Funeral Songs for some help.

17. After the service, where will the gathering or Reception be? Will there be food, who will be bringing it? Who will set it up?


This checklist should help you organize various parts of the service and gain a clearer understanding for a majority of the things that are needed.