Crafting Funeral and Bereavement Stationery: What you need to know
Firstly, please let us say that we’re sorry for your loss and sorry that you’ve found us under these circumstances. Losing someone gives you so much to deal with; emotions, family and all of the logistics and administration entailed in arranging a funeral. Whether or not the deceased left express wishes for their funeral arrangements, anyone left with this responsibility feels the weight of doing their loved one proud. We’d like to share with you the insight into funeral and bereavement stationery etiquette that we have gathered from helping HoneyTree customers, in the hope that this is one less thing to worry about as you go about this difficult and poignant task.
Types of funeral stationery
It can be difficult to know how best to break the news of a death, and who should be notified. Close family and friends need to hear it face-to-face or by phone, even though this might feel uncomfortable. For more distant relatives and friends, death (or funeral) announcements should be sent as soon as the funeral arrangements are known. Be sure to include when and where the funeral service will be held, whether and where to send flowers and/or donations to charity as well as the name and residence of the deceased and the date of their death. HoneyTree funeral announcements are beautiful white or cream cards that can be personalised with illustrations or photographs to set the tone for the upcoming funeral service.
Don’t forget to place death notices in local newspapers (national, if the deceased was widely known) to inform those who you are no longer in contact with, but who may wish to pay their respects.
Order of service
The Order of Service (often referred to in the Catholic church as the Mass Book) is often the most meaningful item of bereavement stationery. In addition to being a guide through the funeral proceedings, the order of service is also a tribute to your loved one and a memento for guests.
The format is usually relatively formulaic, following the traditional order of the funeral service itself. Of course, these vary depending on the wishes and religious beliefs of the deceased, however the structure remains more or less the same whether the service is religious or civil. The front cover of the booklet will include the name and dates of birth and death of the person being remembered, along with a photograph or illustration. It’s also common to include the date and location of the service.
Inside the order of service booklet, the first task is to outline what is to happen during the service and in what order; what hymns or songs will be played/ sung, who will be speaking and so on. In addition, it can be touching and memorable to include a timeline of the life of your loved one. As the contents of the order of service will vary depending on the length of your service and the information you wish to include, the length and number of pages in the booklet will differ. HoneyTree order of service booklets include formatting of your text and up to 8 printed page inserts, so you have plenty of space to include whatever content fits the deceased and their memorial.
It can be difficult to decide how many order of service booklets to print. As many people like to take home the order of service as a memento, it is important to assume one per person, as well as enough to send to any family and friends that are unable to attend the funeral. There is sadly no rule of thumb here; you are most likely the best placed to guesstimate based on the size of your family, the age of the deceased and the breadth of their social circle.
Bereavement thank you cards
After the funeral, you may wish to thank the people who helped you through it. You don’t need to send thank you cards to everyone who attended the funeral or sent a card, but it is important to acknowledge acts of kindness and support even though it may be difficult to write thank you notes while you are grieving. A thank you card sent within two to three weeks of the funeral or memorial service is appropriate. It’s good practice to send cards to anyone who sent flowers, contributed financially to the funeral, pallbearers and presiding officials/ clergy. It’s also a perfect time to thank anyone who went out of their way to support you and your family in the time before and since the death. Make sure to sign the card by hand and deliver either via first class post, or where possible by hand.
Personalising your bereavement stationery
Typically, bereavement stationery is understated and traditional in design. That said, it’s a very visual opportunity to reflect your loved one’s personality, so don’t be afraid to defy convention if it feels right. Adding vibrant colour and uplifting pictures to your bereavement stationery can transform the atmosphere of a funeral service into a celebration of life. Our HoneyTree templates give you the choice to add illustrations or a photo to your stationery, as well as numerous fonts and colour options that complement the premium-quality white or cream card.