A eulogy is, simply put, a funeral speech to honour the person who has died. Most eulogies are touching stories designed to inspire fond memories about the person. A eulogy can include a funny story or memories about a loved one, a kind of biographical history of their life, or even a collection of cherished time spent together. It can describe what the person was like and the things they loved to do. It can acknowledge individuals and even organizations that meant most to them.
How Long Should a Eulogy Be?
When writing the eulogy, it’s important to know how much time you have to speak. Most chapel services will run for 45 minutes in total. For this reason it’s important that the eulogy is a snapshot of your loved one’s most memorable and unique moments, rather than a general ‘list’ of their whole life. Honestly, if you go over the ten-minute mark you run the risk of people not paying attention. Try to keep it under 8-10 minutes. A eulogy of between 500 and 1,000 words will take 3.5 to 7.5 minutes to speak.
How to Start a Eulogy
In sitting down to write a eulogy, it’s helpful to just brainstorm a list of ideas of what you might want to say. Jot down traits of the person you want to highlight, lists of their accomplishments, or stories about their life. This will help to get you started. Next, you’ll want to move on to a more formal eulogy outline of what you want to say. The outline for how to write a eulogy will look something like this…
• Personal story/biography/mention special people
• An inspirational quote or poem
• A heartfelt ending
Sometimes people want to inject a bit levity or humour into a eulogy, and that’s fine. Just make sure it’s appropriate for the audience and circumstances. A little laughter through tears is a wonderful way to remember someone you love.
How to End a Eulogy
The ending of your eulogy should be simple. Addressing the person who has passed with a phrase such as, “We will miss you” or “Rest well on your journey, my friend” can be a good way to wrap up. It’s a good idea to write your closing line and practice it, but you might also feel moved in the moment to say something at the end that comes directly from your heart. That’s fine too. When you speak from a place of sincerity, everyone attending the service will feel it. Don’t be surprised if just the right ending occurs to you as you wrap up the eulogy.
Do’s and Don'ts of Writing a Eulogy
DO be honest and positive.
DO include heartwarming stories of the person’s life.
DO consult with friends or family to get ideas when writing.
DO try to keep it to under eight to ten minutes so you’ll have people’s full attention.
DON’T overuse humour. Some is fine, but too much can feel wrong in the moment.
DON’T worry about being emotional. It’s expected.
DON’T overthink it and remember, it doesn’t have to be flawless. It just needs to be from the heart.
Farewelling is all about celebrating a beautiful life, beautifully. Knowing how to write a eulogy is a part of keeping that person’s legacy alive and well. Write it with gusto. Deliver it with love and respect. And above all, know that whatever you write doesn’t have to be perfect. To craft a truly great eulogy, just follow the guidelines above, with some help from the attached Content page. Combine a bit of structure with a dash of personal style, and you’ll have a fitting tribute to share with friends and family.
Contact us a Solace Family Funerals for your free Eulogy checklist, and remember - we are here to help at every step of the way.