Help with a eulogy

A eulogy is a speech or piece of writing praising a person who has recently died.

We recommend that the minister, or the person conducting the service, should deliver the eulogy. However, if a family member or close friend wishes to say a few words then the following may be helpful.

Most funeral services feature one or more friends or relatives giving a speech or saying a few words about the person they have lost. This is a wonderful way of paying tribute to someone you care about, and gives a very personal feel to the service.

The prospect of writing a eulogy can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never written one before. Over the years we’ve heard many different eulogies, and truly find that if the words are spoken from the heart the speech is always very touching and meaningful. Some people prefer to read a favourite poem or extract, whilst others are happier preparing their own speech in it’s entirety.

We’ve written the following guidance, which we hope is helpful for you when writing a eulogy:

  1. Length: Eulogies are generally 5-10 minutes long, so it’s helpful to know you can keep it brief. It may seem impossible to tell your loved ones story in a few short minutes, but if you stick to this time frame it will help you to keep it brief.
  2. Use your memories: If you’re giving a eulogy it’s normally because you have a relationship with the deceased, so it you think back to happy times or fond memories, or consider what you will miss the most about the person, these thoughts can be especially poignant to share.
  3. Tone of voice: This is completely up to you – some people like to deliver a very serious eulogy, whilst others like to keep it a bit more light hearted. A mix of the two always works well, and reflects the solemnity of the death but also brings through some personality and happy thoughts, which can bring your audience together.
  4. Be yourself: So that you’re comfortable when you deliver the speech you should write it how you would naturally say the words. It doesn’t need to be a professionally formal speech, and if your speech sounds like ‘you’ it will be clear you are speaking from the heart.
  5. Organise and rehearse: Rehearse your speech several times so you feel comfortable with it, and when you’re ready you should get a printed or written copy prepared for the day. Even if you have memorised the speech, it’s best to take a copy in case the emotions of the day catch you off guard – then you can read it out.

You may also wish to download our Eulogy template.

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If you have any questions about eulogies at funeral services, call our team on 01476 594422.