Choose additional speakers
An officiant may lead a funeral service, but other close friends and family often speak during the funeral service too.
Typically they speak about the deceased in a fond light, share heartwarming or funny stories, or commemorate them in other ways, like reading a poem or passage from scripture.
Selecting speakers is entirely up to the surviving family, or those in charge of the service. It is entirely acceptable to decline a request to speak if there are already enough speakers, or if it would be inappropriate for other reasons.
Good to Know To provide the richest description of the deceased, it may help to get a variety of people to speak, such as friends, co-workers, and religious or community organizations' members.
In some cases, you may want to offer the opportunity to anyone comfortable speaking, in what's known as an "open mic."
Regardless of who will be speaking, coordinate with them and the officiant so all parties know when they will be called upon.
Important If the funeral service is scheduled in a place of religious worship, ask whether guest speakers are allowed during the service. In some religions, only a member of the clergy may speak during the ceremony.
Tips for coordinating with speakers
If more than one person will speak during the funeral service, it's helpful to plan in advance so the program runs smoothly.
- Introduce all speakers to the officiant so they can discuss the service's program
- Set a speaker order and schedule so speakers are aware of when they will be called upon
- Set a preferred time limit so no one speaks for too long
- Encourage guests to practice their speech in advance