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How To Write A Eulogy For A Funeral

Preparing for Death

If you are due to give a eulogy at a funeral, you may need some help getting started. You may not even be completely sure about what a eulogy is. If you look for the literal meaning of the word eulogy, you will find that it's about giving praise.

However, in more general terms, it's about writing a speech and delivering it at a funeral. The speech should be about celebrating the life of the deceased. Let's take a closer look at how to write a eulogy, starting with what a eulogy is.

What is a eulogy?

If you are asked to give a eulogy at a funeral, it's an opportunity for you to talk about the person who has died. You should speak about what they meant to you and you should talk about their life. Every eulogy is different because it's a personal account of someone's life.

Why are eulogies given at funerals?

When you are thinking about how to write a eulogy, you need to understand why they happen. The eulogy is a way for an individual to remember the person who has died while helping others at the funeral to remember too.

A good eulogy should include personal thoughts and comments. It should also sum up the life of the person who has died and tell mourners stories that they may never have heard before.

Who delivers a eulogy at a funeral?

Normally, someone close to the deceased delivers the eulogy at a funeral. This could be a child, parent or partner. However, it's fine for someone else to deliver a eulogy, such as a close friend.

How to write a eulogy

Once you know what a eulogy is and what it should be about, you need to plan the eulogy you are going to deliver. There are several steps that you should include in your plan.

Step 1 - Talk to family and friends

You need to speak to people who knew the person who has died. While you are speaking to them, make a note of points that you want to include in the eulogy. They may also ask you to include stories or information.

Step 2 - Deciding what to include

You can include whatever details you choose to. Here are some ideas about what you may want to mention about the deceased.

  • Their date and place of birth.
  • The names of people they were close to.
  • How they met their partner.
  • Where they worked and who they worked with.
  • Their favourite music or other entertainment.
  • The sports team they supported.
  • Their work in the community.
  • Clubs and societies they were a member of.

Obviously, you should also include personal thoughts. You may want to look at old photos, videos or emails, to bring back memories that you can use.

Step 3 - Planning the format of a eulogy

You may simply want to make a list of everything that you want to say, then change it to an order that flows the best. You may also decide that using chronological order works best. This means that you talk about events in the deceased's life in the order that they happened.

You do not necessarily have to start this step by making a list. You may prefer to use a different method, such as a mood board. You simply add items, such as photos and post-it notes to the board. Doing this helps you to create a plan of how you should structure the eulogy. You may also want to create a timeline of the deceased's life, so that you know which important dates need to feature.

Step 4 - Deciding what to say

This is often the most difficult aspect of writing a eulogy. What you decide to say may depend on how well you knew the person who has died. There are several things that you can consider during this part of the process.

  • What words best describe the deceased?
  • Do you want to include humour?
  • Should the eulogy be mostly fact-based if you were not especially close to the deceased?
  • What personal stories do you want to relate?

At the end of the day, you should try to make sure that anything you say comes from the heart.

Step 5 Writing the eulogy

Once you know the format of the eulogy and what you want to say, it's time to start writing. Remember that a eulogy should usually be between three and five minutes long. This means that you should aim to write around 500-700 words. This is only a general rule and a eulogy can be longer than this. However, you should check with the funeral venue, to see if there are any restrictions about how long a eulogy should be.

Delivering the eulogy

Once you know how to write a eulogy, you should be able to complete the eulogy that you need to deliver. Then, you should concentrate on the delivery.

It's a good idea to practice delivering the eulogy at home, in advance of the funeral. Doing this helps you to become more confident. It also helps you to decide if the eulogy sounds as you want it to and make sure that the length of the eulogy is right.

On the day of the funeral, when you deliver the eulogy remember to:

  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Pause when appropriate, so that people have time to reflect.
  • Maintain eye contact with people who are attending the service.
  • Stand as still as possible.

The main thing you should always concentrate on, when writing and delivering a eulogy, is remembering the person who has died.

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