How technology enhances life celebrations

I’m a geek at heart and enamored with technology. Gimme the latest apps, gadgets & gizmos! I welcome Cutting Edge Technology at Life Celebrations and offer suggestions to families on how high tech wonders may be used to enhance the Ceremony.

It’s fairly common to have multiple mobile phones sitting on the podium for those not able to be there in person to listen live from around the globe. The people listening are asked to mute their phones so they can listen and we won’t hear talking, coughing or background noise from them. Guests may video the service in real time (live streaming) with their tablets or phones via FaceTime, Facebook Live, Skype or other applications.

There are professional companies who also offer video services at funerals. Some will record the service and make CDs or Flash Drives for the family to distribute at a later date. Others will livestream the service and then have a recording available for families to view later.

Relatives and friends may create tributes on their phones or tablets to read at the service. I’ve had people tell me they wrote their thoughts during a flight or train ride on the way to the funeral. In the event that someone becomes too emotional to continue reading, they will hand me their phone to finish reading the tribute on their behalf.

I remember a fabulous family who surprised me by really “Thinking Outside the Coffin” and asking me if it would be appropriate to hire a Photo Booth company. I said, “Of course! That’s a unique and interactive idea!” Everyone at this Life Celebration was asked to dress in costume in honor of a teenage girl who died suddenly. The retro Photo Booth machine produced instant images on a paper strip as keepsakes for the guests. The pictures were also automatically uploaded to Instagram, Twitter & Facebook.

Slideshows with music are often a wonderful part of the Life Celebration. Usually a family member or friend creates the video tribute from gathered photographs. Thirty images are optimal (50 maximum) starting in chronological order.  Music selections are often downloaded from the decedent’s playlist on iTunes, iPod or Amazon Music. Some funeral homes may create the slideshow and there are also professional companies who will do this for you. I recommend playing the slideshow before the service as guests enter, at the beginning of the Ceremony or at the end to close the service. It can be distracting to have it play continuously during the Ceremony.

Selfies with the deceased? I’ve seen this happen at several services and it was readily accepted by the families. No one thought it was disrespectful or inappropriate. It’s just one more way to deal with grief and remember your dear friend or loved one. Sometimes there may be a line of people waiting to hug their loved one, tuck a note in the casket or whisper their last goodbyes in their ear. So, taking a picture with your brother, sister, friend, dad, mom, aunt or uncle; why not?

The downside of writing this blog post is that by the time it’s posted – it will be outdated because something new will emerge. Stay tuned for Technology at Funerals Part Two, Three, Four & More!

Closing Thoughts

A local Colorado Video Recording Company will capture your loved one’s stories. They also offer a unique service for Funerals, Memorials & Life Celebrations. They setup a side area where family and friends can share stories of the deceased. Visit Trish Tolentino’s website at Stories Not Forgotten to see some video examples and learn more about her inspiration to provide this heartfelt service to families.

Anita Larson is a Ceremony Leader and Officiant who blogs about her experiences with Celebrations of Life. Providing uncommon ideas and encouraging her readers to “Think Outside the Coffin®” when planning a Fabulous Farewell.
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