There are two main options for preparing an AV tribute for a leave-taking service, funeral or memorial service… do it yourself (or get a buddy to do it for you) or rely on a professional. In this post, read about how to prepare for the compilation of an AV tribute. Next week I’ll post some thoughts on the pros and cons of using a professional or a DIY option to prepare an AV tribute.
When it comes to and AV Tribute, consider how many photos you have and the music you think would be fitting. Then think about how long you want the service to be and what an appropriate length of time would be for the AV Tribute given the length of the service. This decision can go a number of ways and be influenced by a number of factors.
Timing and Public Crematorium Cemetery Chapels
If you are commemorating a loved one’s life in a crematorium chapel (in Melbourne, Victoria) you are likely to have a restricted amount of time. The standard time limit is one hour between start and everyone having left the service space. From a celebrant’s perspective, I would always plan for a service no longer than 45 minutes. Firstly, 45 minutes is a suitable time for most services and it is generally around 45 minutes when most people start to get a little fidgety. Secondly, planning for 45 minute time frame allows for the more-than-likely scenario that a service starts late or runs overtime. It’s important to respect the family that is using the space after you, as hopefully the family before you will work with their celebrant to ensure they are out on time.
Timing in Alternate Venues, Churches or Funeral Home Chapels
Generally, there is not a specific restriction on time in these circumstance, although I invite you to check. Restrictions are more likely to be dependent on how many other bookings a venue has on any given day. Although, usually alternate venues (not a church or funeral home chapel) are booked on a 3-hour or half day basis. Always check first!
Remember the ’45-minute fidget window’. Just because you have the time available doesn’t mean you should use it. For the majority of people – with simple yet fulfilling lives – the 45 minute time frame is an appropriate length for a service. When someone has led an extraordinary, interesting and particularly long life it might be a different kettle of fish! Having more than half a dozen speakers starts to really push the envelope on a service remaining an appropriate length. As does additional elements in a service; like a guided meditation or a coffin adornment ceremony. Sometimes these additions can have a service remembered for all the right reasons as often as they can mean a service is remembered for all the wrong reasons.
How many photos is the ‘right’ number?
Some people have very few photos and others have so many it’s hard to know where to start! So, service duration and song length become influencing factors. With very few photos then choosing a shorter song of significance is ideal and a longer length of display for each photo, say 9 seconds, helps make a memorable AV tribute.
If you have a lot of photos and an otherwise short service choosing a longer song of significance (or two shorter ones together) and a shorter display length for each photo, say 4-6 seconds.
With an unrestricted service duration and lots of photos, a longer song or songs with photos each being displayed for around 6 seconds can work well! However, beware the temptation of thinking the longer the better. Remember the old adage that ‘less is more’. Long or short service restraint is always a fine guide. Four to six minutes is a nice middle ground.
Duration of photo display matters. Too quickly (4 seconds or less) can leave people’s heads spinning or wiping your eyes or blowing your nose can mean you miss particular photos. When there are a lot of photos that have group shots it is better to err on the side of longer duration as it can be hard to register everyone in the photo, especially your loved one. When there are lots of group photos 6-9 seconds is a better length.
Choosing your Music
In a previous post I have written about choosing music for a funeral. With respect to an AV Commemorative Tribute many of the same guides apply for selecting a song or piece of music. Things to consider when choosing this music have been listed above; the influence of the venue and length of service being just two.
Once you have chosen the photos and music, you might want to review your music choice to ensure there is a good fit with your photographic choices.
If you are still unsure about using a professional or doing it yourself you can read about the pros and cons of professional service or DIY in a future post (May 20).
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Jacqui Chaplin is a Lifetime & End-of-Life Commemoration Specialist (a funeral celebrant among other things) based in Melbourne, Australia. She loves capturing stories about the nature of life and being human, as well as, celebrating and commemorating well lived lives and lives that have ended. Jacqui has a passion for bringing the conversations that many of us find difficult to think about, let alone speak about, out in the open so we can see how our stories, values and beliefs influence our attitudes.
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