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.
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