How to write a eulogy
This step-by-step guide will explain how to write a eulogy in tribute to the person who has sadly passed away. Eulogies help remind family and friends of the memories and legacy their loved one has left behind.
These simple steps will help you write and deliver a eulogy:
- Decide who is giving the eulogy
- Write down what you would like to say
- Choose a structure that suits you
- Consider how long it will be
- Think about the tone
- Check when it will be read during the service
- Practice reading it out loud
What is a eulogy?
A eulogy is the name given to a speech at a funeral commemorating the life of the deceased. It’s an important way of saying goodbye and can often provide comfort to those who are grieving.
The eulogy is often seen as one of the most important parts of the funeral service, though there is no right or wrong when choosing who should deliver it.
Family closest to the deceased will ultimately have the final say. A eulogy is typically given by a close family member, friend or a minister. There’s no reason why two people cannot deliver the eulogy; in some cases it would be more appropriate to be a joint effort.
Writing a eulogy for a loved one can be difficult, especially during the grieving process. However, it is a great honour and a vital part of the ceremony, offering you the chance to remember the deceased and celebrate their life.
Trying to compress someone’s whole life into a short funeral speech can be a challenge, that’s why preparation is essential. Before you can start writing the eulogy, it’s important to brainstorm some ideas first. Think about what made your loved one so special and what memories you have of them.
The following questions should help you get started when writing a eulogy:
- What words would you use to describe the deceased?
- What is your favourite memory of them?
- What impact did they have on your life?
- Are there any funny stories that come to mind?
- What were their likes and dislikes?
- What are the highlights of their life story?
- How would they like to be remembered?
- If you were able to tell them one last thing, what would it be?
It’s also worth talking to family or close friends about the times they shared with your loved one and what fond memories they have of their own.
Starting a eulogy may be the most challenging part. Many people choose to write a eulogy in chronological order with a small personal note at the end. There’s also the option of dividing it into different sections, beginning with their childhood and working through memorable moments of their life or even writing it as a letter to them.
It’s important to keep in mind that some funeral venues will only allocate a specific amount of time for a funeral service. There’s no set rule for how long a eulogy should be, though five to ten minutes is quite common.
If you’re unsure or worried about timings, please speak to your local Funeral Director about the order of the service.
When it comes to writing a eulogy, you need to think about what tone will be most suitable. You may want to make it light hearted or even quite humorous; on the other hand, a more formal approach may be more appropriate.
Consider the preferences of your loved one and the audience of the funeral when deciding what tone to write in.
The eulogy is typically delivered during the funeral service. Your funeral director will help you create the order of service, so it will be completely up to you when you would like the eulogy to be given.
Practice makes perfect. Make sure you practice reading your eulogy out loud before the funeral, speaking clearly and slowly. Familiarising yourself with the words will help you understand how long it will take and where to pause if necessary.
Try not to fidget when delivering your eulogy as it may distract you from what you are saying. It’s also important to make eye contact with the audience, so the words become more personal for family and close friends.
Don’t worry if you change your mind about delivering the eulogy, it’s normal to ask someone else to deliver it on your behalf.
If you're still unsure about how to write a eulogy, we can help. Should you require any assistance, our caring funeral professionals will be able to help craft a memorable speech to help you commemorate you loved one in the best way possible.