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Funeral invitations: What to say and how to word them

emailing a funeral invitation

Picture: Parker Byrd on Unsplash

When someone dies, it can be important to ensure that everyone who knew and loved them has the opportunity to pay their respects at the funeral. Funeral invitations often serve two purposes; not only informing people of the funeral venue, but also breaking – or confirming – the sad news about somebody’s death.

These days, it’s most common for people to let people close to them know over the phone that someone has died, while other relatives and friends may learn the news via text or through a social media post. At a very difficult time for families, people understand that a funeral invitation may be conveyed via a shared space such as this.

You may wish to convey the news and extend the invitation to your loved one’s colleagues, members of their place of worship, social or sports clubs via a contact there, who will be able to forward the message to those concerned, on your behalf.

Funeral invitation wording

I wanted to let you know the sad news that Joe (Smith) died peacefully in Townchester Hospital on January 1. Many thanks to all of you for the kind thoughts, visits and messages that were such a comfort to him in his final illness.

Joe’s funeral will be held at 11am on Wednesday 17 January at Townchester Crematorium and afterwards at the Townchester Hotel Garden Room.

I’d be grateful if you could pass this message along to anyone who knew Joe and would like to join the family in our celebration of his life.

A funeral notice can often serve as an open invitation for mourners to attend the service. They are often published on the family’s behalf by the funeral director in a local newspaper, while many funeral directors now also post online obituaries, with details about the funeral date, time and venue. Mourners are able to confirm at the press of a button whether or not they are able to attend. Funeral notices like this often include a photo of the person who has died.

Another example of a funeral invitation

In loving memory of Joe Smith, who sadly passed away on January 1, 2018 after a short illness.

Loving husband to Mary, dad to Megan and much-loved grandad and brother.

Funeral to take place at Townchester Crematorium at 11am, Wednesday 17 January, with a reception afterwards at Townchester Hotel Garden Room.

Flowers may be sent to Townchester Funeral Directors, or if you would like to make a donation in lieu in memory of Joe, a collection will be made in aid of Townchester General Hospital.

Sometimes, families may choose to hold a quiet funeral soon after someone’s death and limit attendance to close relatives only. A funeral notice should also advise people if the family chooses for a funeral to be private in this way.

A funeral notice may also include details of charitable donations preferred by the family in lieu of flowers and contact details for a family member or the funeral director taking responsibility for arrangements and enquiries, as the family grieves.

A low-key funeral may be followed in the weeks or months after someone’s death with a memorial service, or event celebrating the person’s life. Friends and relatives may be notified via social media, email, but you may prefer to consider invitations by post, with a little more time to plan ahead.

There are a wealth of funeral and memorial invitation templates online and through traditional stationers and print shops, or to inspire your own home-made design.

A funeral invitation like this may include

  • “In loving memory of…”

  • “Celebrating the life of...”

  • “R.I.P”

  • A photo of the person who has died

  • A floral motif, religious symbol or design that reflects a lifestyle or hobby

  • The person’s name

  • Their date of birth and death

  • The funeral or memorial venue, date and time

  • Contact details for RSPVs or queries

  • A line from a poem or favorite quote.

  • Special family requests or thanks for flowers, donations or kindnesses

  • A celebration of life invitation may include forget-me-not flowers seeds to scatter