Checklists: Preparing for a Memorial Service

In the past, funeral services were held at the church or funeral home with the casket present, while memorial services were held elsewhere without the casket present. Memorial services may include many of the same things as funerals, but are flavored more specifically for the special crowd gathered. Today the lines are not as distinct and the casket may be present.

This Checklist on “Preparing for A Memorial Service” has a corresponding Essential under the same title. The Essential will give you assistance on how to fill out the Checklist. Together, they will guide you through situations that often occur during a time of loss.


Here are some things you may want to include in planning the memorial service.

  • Choose someone to be the conductor or master of the ceremony.
  • If the casket is going to be present, select pallbearers to carry or escort it.
  • Decide what music will be used during the service.
  • Decide what special flavor (religious, fraternal, military, etc.) the service should have. Secure representatives from those groups to give the service the personal touch.
  • Select people to deliver the eulogies.
  • Choose the kind of setting or stage from which the service can be conducted. You may want to include pictures of the deceased, mementos, flowers or chairs for those who will deliver messages.
  • Decide if you want certain kind of readings, poems or scriptures presented during the service. Select the individuals you would like to read them.
  • Decide on an order of events. You may wish to print programs for the service.
  • Purchase a guestbook and pen. Select someone to stand with them and encourage people to sign.