Virtual Memorial Gatherings & Wakes: Instructions for Guests

What is a Viewneral®

A Viewneral® is an interactive and collaborative funeral service that virtually allows families and friends to memorialize, eulogize, and celebrate loved ones. Using a desktop, tablet or mobile device, this online virtual service can be used to view funerals, burials, and other forms of gatherings, such as wakes, celebrations of life and memorials.Memorial gatherings and wakes provide mourners an opportunity to offer their condolences and share their grief in a home, funeral home, social hall or other location a day or even several days before the funeral. This article provides the basic information on what a virtual wake or memorial gathering is and how to attend it.

What is a Virtual Wake or Memorial Gathering?

A virtual wake or virtual memorial gathering is very similar to traditional ones, in which family, friends, and the community come together to honor and memorialize a loved one. However, instead of guests congregating at a families’ home, funeral home, social hall or other location, attendees and participants interact through the use of technology. Guests are able to attend from the comfort of their own home or any other remote location by using their computer, tablet, mobile phone, or other device. A real time online video and audio of the wake or memorial gathering, with sound, provides for interaction and participation for people that are not physically in attendance.

Who are Guests and Attendees?

Guests or attendees are anyone who is attending, joining or clicking the link to join watch and/or listen to a virtual wake or memorial gathering. These individuals are family members, clergy, friends, co-workers and colleagues, and other community members that want to pay their respects to the family.

Who are Speakers?

Speakers are individuals that actively participate and are fully engaged in the virtual wake or memorial service. Speakers may include family members, friends and clergy. Similar to a traditional wake or memorial gathering, the family may ask you in advance to speak. A speaker will receive an invitation by email prior to the wake or memorial gathering and will have audio and video available to ensure that you can be seen and heard. This invitation includes information about the wake or memorial gathering, including the time. This link is unique to the speaker and should not be shared with the general public. For more information and guidance on how to participate as a speaker in virtual wake or memorial gathering, please click here for detailed instructions.

How to Attend Virtual Wake or Memorial Gathering

  1. The wake or memorial gathering information can be found can be found on the funeral home website.
  2. Each funeral home partner maintains a list of all upcoming wakes and memorial gatherings on its website. On the service page for the individual, there is a link to a FuneralPlan™ that contains the wake or memorial gathering information and virtual link.
  3. Click on the link to the Virtual Wake or Memorial Gathering (link will be active during the wake/memorial gathering times).
  4. You will be asked to launch or install the Zoom application.
  5. If this is your first-time using Zoom on your device, please see the basic installation instructions below:
    • Step 1: Download the installation package
    • Step 2: Once download is complete, open the downloaded installation package
    • Step 3: Click install
    • Step 4: After installation is complete, click to open or launch the program
  6. Once launched, you will be asked to type in your name and email address. The complete guest list, including this information will be provided to the family following the wake or memorial gathering.
  7. Prior to the wake or memorial gathering you will see a box with a message stating the “Wake/Memorial Gathering will begin shortly”.
  8. You will automatically join the wake or memorial gathering when it begins.
  9. Out of respect for the family, your video and microphone are automatically disabled and muted.
  10. When connected to the virtual wake or memorial gathering, you may interact with the family by leaving them a message using the “Chat” function in the program.
  11. Simply press the “Chat” button. This is similar to writing a condolence message or signing a guestbook virtually. Your messages will be provided to the family following the wake or memorial gathering. Please use this button only for personal messages directed to mourners.
  12. If you would like to speak with the family:
    • Step 1: To notify the family that you would like speak, click on “Raise Hand”
    • Step 2: At this time the family may instruct for you to speak (make sure that your microphone is unmuted)
    • Step 3: After you are finished speaking, click on "Lower Hand" (make sure that your microphone is muted)
  13. When you are ready to leave the virtual wake/memorial gathering, just close the browser screen.

Virtual Wake and Memorial Gathering Etiquette


  • If you are able, join the virtual wake or memorial gathering five-minutes early to make sure your technology is running properly. This way you will not be late if there is a connection issue or something on your device is not working.
  • Remember to keep your hands off the keyboard and close your email and other programs so you can give the wake/memorial gathering your complete attention.
  • Dress properly and comb your hair. Although you are remote, it is still a wake/memorial gathering so you want to be respectful. Remember people may be able to see you.
  • If you would like to speak with the family, keep your device muted until it is time to talk. There is usually a two-to-three second delay after someone talks, so it is best to speak clearly and concisely.
  • Choose an appropriate background and find a quiet space that appears professional and is free from distractions.

    For more information about having a Viewneral®, please contact your funeral director or at 877.362.3266.

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