Photo and video montages have become a hallmark of contemporary funerals, They bring a special element to the service, and provide a moment for reflection on the life that’s passed on. Photos and video bring to life to some of the stories that have or will soon be told, and take us on a journey through the history of someones life.
Creating a photo reel can be stressful, both in tackling the technical requirements, and the anxiety it brings to go through old photos. The best thing to do is delegate the job to someone who has both the skills to do the job and is close enough to the deceased to capture their life well in pictures. Tap the nearest millennial on the shoulder.
Not sure if you have enough photos to capture all the moments of their life? Or perhaps you’re holding the service somewhere that a big screen just doesn’t seem right . . . . One option is to ask guests to bring a photo and create somewhere special to hang or pin them. Think about the trunk of an old tree in the garden. Or the stairwell in the club or hall. Simply pin up a sturdy string and supply a basket of tiny wooden pegs or clips and tell everyone can hang their photos. It is a beautiful way to get people involved.
We come across some unique ideas in our Great Goodbyes travels. There was Alex, who fancying that his beloved should join one final trip around favourite haunts with all their friends, arranged a life sized cardboard cutout of his husband that was then carried throughout the epic wake that followed the exquisite service. Disconcerting? Perhaps a little. But knowing his guests well, Alex judged it perfectly for a truly epic Great Goodbye. They made many more great memories that night.
Another stunning idea involved the simple exchange of photos amongst guests. Taking the “bring a photo” idea one step further, this Great Goodbye set up a swap meet so people could take home a photo brought along by another guest. It’s hard to imagine in this Instagram selfie taking world that there might not be enough photos, but when the life that’s gone is a long one, photos of the early years might be few and far between. Think that people might want a copy of that old black and white photo of Grandad as a suave young man? The one with the fedora tilted nonchalantly on his head and the cigarette dangling from his lips . . . Give some thought to how people might get a copy. You could reproduce it as a postcard and send it out as a thank you to guests. Or create a file sharing space online.
Don’t forget about recording the service if you think this is appropriate. It’s a great way to enable those who can’t be there to share in the event. Live streaming is an additional service offered by some funeral directors. Alternatively, you can arrange this yourself using something like Facebook Live.