Most people don’t get much advanced warning that they’ll need to write a eulogy, so to help people quickly write their own heartfelt and funny eulogies, I’ve put together a basic template to use as a guide.
The template is split into 6 sections that flow from a natural beginning, all the way to a final goodbye.
A good length for a eulogy is about 5-7 minutes. If each section of your eulogy takes a minute or so, you’ll be at a perfect length.
BASIC TEMPLATE FOR A FUNNY EULOGY
Thank everyone for coming and tell us who you are to the person being honored. It never hurts to be gracious and it won’t hurt to remind people who you are, since there will likely be a lot of people you don’t see often or haven’t met before.
What would the person being honored say if they could see everyone gathered to remember them? Think about who they were and how they spoke.
TIP - Did they have a sense of humor? Would they have asked, “Why is everyone crying?” Or told you to speed it up so they could get to the bar for the wake? Checked with Aunt Joan to make sure she got the deli tray “from the good deli, not the other one.” Channel their voice and their sense of humor.
What kind of person was the person you’re honoring? What was their profession? Background? Personality? Life of the party? Quiet but with a wicked sense of humor? What were they passionate about?
Share some favorite stories and memories that get to the core of who the person was and illustrate what you’ve told us about them in step 3. Be specific!
If you loved going out to lunch with your grandmother, where did you go? What did you order? What did she order? Did you go to movies together? What kind of movies did she like?
TIP - Especially if a few people will be speaking, try to be mindful of what other stories might be told. You don’t want to be the fifth person in a row to tell the story of how Grandpa crashed his boat into the dock while he was lecturing Grandma about safety.
If you’re worried you might repeat a story someone else is planning on telling, ask around in advance and adjust accordingly.
Trust me on this. In the chaos of planning my mother’s funeral while caring for my 94 year-old dad, I forgot to check in with him about the content of his speech.
I spoke first, and amid lots of other content, I briefly mentioned how my mother first met my dad. (A legendary family story.)
Later on, my dad briefly refused to come up and speak because “I’d already told his story.”
He was half-kidding (which gives you insight into my family,) and ultimately went up and made a beautiful speech, but for a few minutes, I felt like a monster.
- Tell us how the loss of this person will touch your everyday life. Again, be specific! Tell us the big and the small stuff.
- Finally, thank the person you’re honoring for what they’ve taught you, tell them what you’ll do to honor their legacy and if you want, say a literal goodbye.
To help you get started, grab these FREE Eulogy Brainstorming Questions