Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 09.08.2022

Simple and Easy to Implement Virtual Funeral Ideas for Online or Hybrid Services

Simple and Easy to Implement Virtual Funeral Ideas for Online or Hybrid Services

Reviewed By: Elizabeth Siegel

Cross Checked By: Joshua Siegel


Mourning together at a virtual funeral

Losing someone you care for is hard enough but it’s even harder if you can’t bring all your friends and family together for the funeral. Online or hybrid services organize virtual funerals so everyone who can’t be physically present at one place may still gather on an online platform. 

Online or hybrid funeral

An online funeral is a private affair where the service provider organizes the event and all family members and guests view the program online. The event is streamed live on a website or via video conferencing apps. A hybrid funeral involves some guests and family attending the event while others join online. In the case of hybrid funerals, guests could chat with other guests present at the event, read a eulogy or even sing. A hybrid funeral is a mix of offline and online services.

Online funeral planning ideas

Funeral planning involves carefully curating ideas and ensuring that they are meaningful for the bereaved family as well as guests. It is important to be sensitive to the feelings of everyone involved and conduct the program in a dignified manner. Virtual funerals need a lot of planning and ideating and below are some simple funeral ideas for online /hybrid services.

1. Invitations online
An important part of funeral planning is sending out invitations to attendees so they know when to log in or join a live stream. Create a URL of the event and send out invites to join via email or post on social media.

2. Online obituary
Sign up for an online obituary which has links to the guest book where everyone can sign. An online obituary allows everyone access to the obituary announcement, the funeral service and other details. 

3. Digitized pictures
How about a slideshow of photographs and clips of the loved one? You could collate photos from all family members and put together a slideshow that helps all of you remember and celebrate your loved one. This could turn out to be one of the best funeral ideas because people instinctively take to old photographs.

4. Digitized anecdotes
An in-person funeral service involves guests sharing anecdotes of the departed person with the family. It involves a lot of sharing and exchange of insights into the life of the departed. You can now recreate this in the virtual space. Ask attendees to share their anecdotes online either through speeches or collect them beforehand and make a slideshow. 

5. That one question
One of the funeral ideas that allow loved ones and guests to interact is for you to ask “that one question.” Pick a question such as “When was the first time you met Mom?” and get attendees to answer. This gives everyone a sense of participation and also allows them to honor their memory of the departed. You could ask this question in the chat window or live and collect the answers.

6. Lighting a candle
An idea that brings people together is to light a candle from wherever they are. This creates a sense of togetherness; people united in grief and mourning for the departed. 

7. Recording a song and playing it
A favorite number of the departed or a piece of music that the person loved to perform – get the family to sing and edit it. Then, play the song at the online funeral service. This gets the whole family involved and is also a meaningful way to mourn the person you all loved. 

8. Live music performance
If you can’t record a song beforehand, never mind. You can always ask your favorite cousin who loves to sing to perform live. This is a nice way to remember the departed person. A live music performance also brings out a lot of suppressed emotions and allows you to unburden yourself, briefly. 

9. Dress code
Funeral planning can involve deciding on a dress code, especially if it’s an online funeral and you want attendees to feel a sense of togetherness. You could ask guests to dress up for the service in a specific color or wear the departed’s favorite team colors. This brings up memories and helps family bonding. 

10. Flowers
If it’s a hybrid funeral and some guests can’t make it, suggest sending flowers to the service. Then ensure that the flowers are shown on screen as a mark of appreciation. Tell the guests how grateful you are for the flowers. 

11. Raising a toast
Let the attendees know that you plan to organize a toast to the departed. This helps them join the online funeral with a beverage ready so they can toast to the loved person at the same time.

12. Themed event
If the person who has passed on had a specific interest, like a favorite actor, movie or poet, create a theme around that interest, For example, ask attendees to read the departed’s favorite poetry. This is a meaningful way to offer tributes to the person. This is also celebrating the things that sparked joy in the person’s life. 

13. Fundraiser event
Was the departed person passionate about a cause, say climate change, for example? This is your chance to organize a fundraiser and hand over the funds raised at the online funeral service to a foundation or charity. This is one of the most fitting funeral ideas for someone who lived for a cause.

14. Talking with all attendees
At an in-person funeral, you get a chance to talk to most attendees as they invariably walk up to you to offer condolences. This can still happen at virtual funerals; make sure to talk to every virtual guest so that you can acknowledge their support and thank them for attending. 

15. Display of collectibles
If your loved one had a collection of movie posters, stamps, baseball caps or cards, pebbles or coins, it may be a good idea to display them at the online funeral. You could also post pictures of their collectibles on a web page set up for your loved one or on their social media pages. 

16. Planting saplings
One way to make the online funeral memorable is to get everyone to plant saplings at the same time in real time and share the moments on screen. This creates a sense of belonging and gives you the feeling that you are not alone. 

17. Menu planning
Deciding on the menu is an important part of funeral planning. Virtual funerals should not stop you from sharing your loved one’s favorite recipes or cooking them. The close family or friends can all eat a meal and stay online as they savor their loved one’s favorite food. 

18. Printable keepsakes
You can round off the funeral program by sending out printable quotes or favorite lines of the deceased. You can choose different quotes/lines from books/poems for different family members. They could print the lines out, frame them and use them as a keepsake. 

Sharing is caring

Losing a loved one is hard and grief can hit you anytime anywhere. One of the ways in which you can share your grief is by organizing a funeral service where everyone who loved the person comes together. The sharing of memories and life events, likes and dislikes of the departed help you heal.