A guide to planning virtual funeral services

Celebrating the life of a loved one shouldn’t be restricted to those who can attend the funeral in person. Virtual funeral services, something which became increasingly more common in the pandemic, are a good alternative for those who cannot attend an in-person funeral, allowing family members and friends around the world to join the memorial service.

Why have a virtual funeral?

Hosting a virtual funeral means that family and friends are able to join the celebration of life, without the need to attend physically. During the pandemic, this allowed for social distancing and restrictions in numbers to be abided by, but the benefits of a virtual event go way beyond this.

Guests from around the world

If you have family or friends who live around the world, an online service means that they are able to pay their respects if they are unable to travel to the ceremony. Although most would prefer to be there in person, a virtual ceremony means that so long as they have internet connections, loved ones around the world are able to watch, listen and take part in the memorial service.

Minimise the risk for sick or elderly guests

Naturally, the majority of funerals have a large attendance of elderly people who knew the deceased. This age group, or others who are sick, may be worried for their health when attending a funeral, or might even be unable to if they are in hospital. A virtual ceremony gives everyone the opportunity to attend whilst keeping themselves safe.

Memories for years to come

Another benefit of live streaming a funeral is that you can revisit the footage for years to come. On the day, emotions are very high, and you may want to rewatch the event, listen back to speeches or show family members who were unable to watch live, or were children at the time of the ceremony.

If you wish, it can even be shared or streamed on social media, giving a wider group of people the opportunity to watch, rather than holding an open invite for the in-person event.

The recording itself can be incredibly valuable to close family and friends, and may be something you wish to do at a traditional funeral, even if the event is not streamed.

How planning a virtual funeral differs from a traditional funeral

If you would like to stream a funeral online, there is a small amount of additional planning needed. We recommend the below steps to ensure the memorial runs smoothly.

Finding the right platform

Thanks to free platforms, such as a Zoom account, live streaming a virtual memorial is simpler than ever. If budget is tight, this could be as simple as setting up a Zoom or WhatsApp group call on your phone and propping the phone up at the back of the event space. If you want to have the event recorded and streamed by a professional videographer, asking your funeral director in advance to arrange this means it can be planned in from the beginning.

Testing the technology

It is a good idea to test the streaming set up beforehand in the venue itself, to ensure that online guests are able to see and hear everything they need to, and so that the technology required will not get in the way of those in physical attendance.

Making a test call and checking the internet connection at the venue will allow you to decide if the connection is good enough to support a video call. Connecting the device to someone’s mobile hotspot is a simple solution for a poor Wi-Fi connection.

Informing online guests

Make sure each online guest knows how to access the stream beforehand, to avoid any confusion or lateness on the day.

Those attending a virtual funeral should be informed of the dress code in the same way as those attending physically. They may be seen on the screen by other guests or simply want to respect the wishes of the family, even if remotely. During the ceremony itself, make sure to put the device on mute, so that no unexpected interruptions occur during the service.

A virtual funeral service is a wonderful way to ensure everyone who wishes to is able to pay their respects. It is now easier than ever to stream a service live online and most funeral directors now have experience in organising this with families.

If you are currently organising a funeral and are looking for a local funeral home to support you, click here to use our free search tool

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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