Under normal conditions, planning a funeral is already a big responsibility that entails a lot of work. But what if you have to plan a virtual funeral for whatever reason like illness or military service? Of course, you want as many loved ones to be there and commemorate the deceased, even if only in spirit. It may seem like an impossible task to coordinate a virtual service, but it’s doable.
Ever since the country braved through a global pandemic, online funerals are now more common. Typically, a portion of the guests could “experience” the funeral services via a live stream or video call like Zoom. This digital platform makes it easy to host a virtual funeral that’s meaningful and supportive. Here are some tips to help you plan a memorable Zoom funeral that honors the memory of the deceased.
Speak with a Funeral Home
Planning a virtual funeral is somewhat similar to a live one but there are just a few extra steps needed to keep the flow smooth. For starters, speak with a reputable funeral home director since most funeral homes now have a service that offers full virtual ceremonies or hybrid ones (with both real and virtual components). They could even have tech tools to help you execute what you have in mind. Some offer full-scale services and coordination to help you with more than tech support. They can print or email invitations, record the proceedings, post online obituaries, and more.
Think About the Location
You may be wondering why you think about the location when it’s done through Zoom. It’s important to think about where you will be streaming from because you need the following:
- Access to a good wifi signal
- Assure venue has excellent natural light or artificial light
- Technical specifications like outlets, extension wires, mics, etc.
Whether you’re hosting it via the church, funeral home, park, someone’s house, or another venue, checking these details ahead will help with the flow. The venue must have the tech abilities to accommodate your Zoom funeral or memorial service.
Plan a Meaningful Service
Just like a live funeral, you must plan the funeral program and order of events. Even though things will happen online, they must still have a structure. It would help to create a schedule in advance and think of the elements you want to incorporate. You must note down if you wish to have the following:
- Welcoming remarks
- Scripture readings
- Special prayer intentions
- Eulogies and tributes
- Musical repertoire
- Private one-on-one sessions
If you’re working with special guests, make sure they have the tech means that are compatible with Zoom. For instance, guests giving tributes must have a working microphone and webcam. Any visual presentations and music must also be prepped in advance and tested through the Zoom platform to avoid mistakes and glitches. It would help to have a master of ceremonies to facilitate the event and keep things in order.
Select the Zoom Plan
You will notice that Zoom offers free and paid plans. If you’re on a budget, the free plan may work but it comes with certain caveats. You can only host a funeral for up to 40 minutes with a limited set of participants. The pro version allows you to host more people using unlimited time. Think of these details so your virtual funeral can proceed smoothly.
Invite the Guests
Since you’re hosting a virtual funeral via a digital platform, it would also help to send out digital invites. Fortunately, you can easily create a meeting in Zoom for your event. This gives you a specific link that’s unique for your meeting. From there, you can use the same link and send it to guests using a customized electronic invite that aligns with your funeral theme.
For example, you can find different types of digital funeral invitations in Evites. Alternatively, you can create a webpage or social media post with the Zoom link. You can even send these out via PM, Viber, or text if you’re pressed for time.
Curate with Visuals
One of the primary perks of hosting a virtual funeral is the freedom to use enticing visuals and meaningful embellishments to make the proceedings more engaging for the guests. Even though it is an online funeral, you can still make it very interactive for the participants.
You have tons of options since you can play slide shows, share videos, and play funeral songs. These extras can also help you prepare a more meaningful funeral that encapsulates the life of the deceased. To make a truly meaningful Zoom funeral, it would help to think of the deceased’s personality and incorporate that into your service.
Take Time to Practice
With helpful platforms and the guidance of an expert funeral director, it’s easy to conquer these technical elements you need to finalize the service. Just be sure to practice beforehand so your virtual funeral can proceed smoothly. Running through everything at least once can help you avoid tech issues.
With proper preparation and practice, you can honor your deceased loved one with family and friends who can’t make it to the real-life event. And even though it’s online, it could be just as meaningful because you’re in the company of loved ones as you come together to honor your beloved’s memory.