What is a DIY Funeral Program?

custom funeral programs

A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) funeral program is a personalized and cost-effective approach to creating a memorial booklet or pamphlet that commemorates the life and legacy of a deceased loved one. Unlike traditional funeral programs, which are typically designed and printed by funeral homes or professional services, a DIY funeral program allows family members or friends to craft the document themselves, tailoring it to reflect the unique personality, interests, and achievements of the deceased. This process not only provides a meaningful way to honor the departed but also offers a therapeutic activity for those involved in the creation.

The Purpose of a Funeral Program

A funeral program serves multiple purposes during a memorial service. It guides attendees through the service, providing an outline of the order of events, including readings, hymns, eulogies, and other ceremonial acts. It also serves as a keepsake for attendees, offering them a tangible reminder of the person they came to honor. Typically, a funeral program includes the following elements:

Cover Page: Features a photo of the deceased, their full name, birth and death dates, and a title such as "In Loving Memory."

Order of Service: A detailed outline of the funeral or memorial service, listing the sequence of events and the names of those participating.

Obituary: A written tribute that highlights significant life events, accomplishments, and personal qualities of the deceased.

Photos and Memories: Collages or single photos accompanied by captions or short stories, showcasing the deceased's life and relationships.

Scriptures, Poems, and Quotes: Inspirational texts that reflect the deceased’s beliefs, values, and favorite sayings.

Acknowledgments: Expressions of gratitude from the family to those who have offered support and condolences.

Benefits of DIY Funeral Programs

Opting for a DIY funeral program offers several benefits that make it an attractive choice for many families:

Personalization: Creating the program yourself allows for a high degree of personalization. You can choose the design, layout, colors, and content that best represent the personality and preferences of your loved one.

Cost-Effective: Professional funeral programs can be expensive. By doing it yourself, you can significantly reduce costs, especially if you already have access to design software and a printer.

Flexibility and Control: You have complete control over every aspect of the program, from the photos and text to the overall design and presentation. This flexibility ensures that the final product truly reflects the essence of the deceased.

Therapeutic Process: The act of creating a funeral program can be a therapeutic and healing activity. It allows family members to come together, share memories, and collaborate on a project that honors their loved one.

Timeliness: DIY programs can be created and printed quickly, which is particularly useful if there are time constraints before the funeral service.

Steps to Create a DIY Funeral Program or Custom Funeral Programs

Creating a DIY funeral program involves several steps, each requiring attention to detail and a thoughtful approach:

Gather Information and Materials: Collect all the necessary information about the deceased, including biographical details, photos, and any specific readings, poems, or quotes you wish to include. Gather these materials from family members and friends.

Choose a Design Template: Select a design template that suits the style and tone you want to convey. Many online resources offer free or low-cost templates specifically for funeral programs. You can also create your own template using design software like Microsoft Word, Publisher, or Adobe InDesign.

Layout the Content: Organize the content logically, starting with the cover page and moving through the order of service, obituary, photos, and any additional sections. Ensure that the layout is clean and easy to read.

Add Personal Touches: Incorporate personal touches that reflect the deceased’s personality, such as their favorite colors, quotes, or motifs. You might also include special sections like "A Life in Photos" or "Memories from Friends and Family."

Proofread and Edit: Carefully proofread the entire program to catch any errors or omissions. It can be helpful to have multiple people review it to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Print and Assemble: Once you are satisfied with the final design, print the programs on high-quality paper. Depending on the number of attendees, you may need to print several copies. Consider using a local print shop if you require professional printing services.

Tools and Resources for DIY Funeral Programs

There are numerous tools and resources available to assist you in creating a DIY funeral program:

Design Software: Programs like Microsoft Word, Publisher, Adobe InDesign, and Canva offer versatile tools for designing and customizing your funeral program.

Templates: Many websites provide free or affordable funeral program templates that can be easily customized. These templates often come in various styles and formats, including bi-fold, tri-fold, and single-page designs.

Online Tutorials: Video tutorials and step-by-step guides can help you navigate the design process, especially if you are unfamiliar with design software.

Print Services: If you do not have access to a high-quality printer, local print shops or online print services can produce professional-grade copies of your funeral program.


A DIY funeral program is a heartfelt way to commemorate the life of a loved one. It offers a unique opportunity to create a personalized tribute that reflects the individual’s personality, achievements, and legacy. By taking the time to craft this program yourself, you can ensure that it is a meaningful and fitting homage to the person you are honoring. The process of creating a DIY funeral program not only provides a cost-effective solution but also fosters a sense of connection and healing among family members and friends as they come together to celebrate the life of the deceased.

DIY Funeral Program Templates

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