Celebratory Funeral Ceremonies & Memorial Slideshows

The honoree deserves their funeral to focus on their unique personality, the impact they left on those they loved, and the memories you’ll always cherish.

I am deeply sorry that you have had to face the loss of someone dear to you. Now you are tasked with ensuring their life is honored and celebrated. 

Grief Pictured, LLC offers two main services you are likely to need – funeral celebrant services, and memorial slideshow editing services. I, Emily Karp, am the experienced video editor and certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® who is committed to telling your loved one’s life story with respect and authenticity. 

As the Funeral Celebrant, I will:

  1. Interview the honoree’s closest family members and friends.
  2. Write a comprehensive eulogy that authentically captures your loved one’s personality
  3. Select readings, music, rituals, and symbolism which are linked to specific memories.
  4. Officiate a comforting ceremony that celebrates the life that was lived.


I begin with a family interview to get to know your loved one and who they were as a person, and then I am able to use what I learned during the interview to shape the entire ceremony.

The eulogies I’ve been trained to write are not dry biographies. These “soul sketch” style eulogies are focused on anecdotes which illustrate who this person was and how they lived. I weave together multiple stories from the honoree’s life with a literary or philosophical theme to make it flow and sound cohesive.

My Celebration of Life events include:

  • a personalized “soul sketch” style eulogy
  • remarks from friends and family
  • poetry and prose readings
  • secular rituals
  • optionally: a burial or disposition of ashes ceremony
  • a memorial slideshow, if desired

I do the organizing and executing of the ceremony, which is typically one hour in length for a full length Celebration of Life event. I also direct others who wish to speak so they know when it is their time to come to the microphone. The ceremony will be infused with creative, meaningful personalization throughout. Your loved one deserves a farewell ceremony that captures what you loved about them. My utmost priority is to properly pay tribute to this person’s life.

I provide a keepsake printed copy of the entire ceremony script, and if you need my video editing services I also provide the memorial slideshow, which your entire family, including future generations, can cherish and look back on over future years. 

Often, you will end up with the powerful gift of new memories of your loved one thanks to other friends and family members sharing stories about the honoree that you had not heard before. 

I also offer an optional burial or disposition of ashes ceremony, which may occur either the same day as your memorial gathering or at a later date. These additional brief ceremonies provide much needed comfort during the deeply emotional final goodbye to their physical remains. 

There is so much that is powerful, comforting, healing, and hopeful about the Celebration of Life events that I have the privilege of designing. I’ve been trained in writing a satisfying emotional arc that gives mourners a sense of solace. You will leave feeling some sense of closure and feeling more equipped to move forward after this loss. 

My Memorial Slideshow process:

  1. You provide me (physical and/or digital) photographs of your loved one, as well as any captions you would like to see included.
     
  2. You select the licensed music from a list of choices I provide.
     
  3. I create the entire slideshow using video editing software and carefully selected visual effects, transitions, and text.
     
  4. I email the slideshow download link to you.
     
  5. You provide feedback if you have any requested changes before the slideshow is finalized for the funeral.
     

When a family member edits a memorial slideshow on their own, it can often be a longer and more difficult process than the person expects it to be. You are experiencing the fresh and raw grief of losing someone you love, and then handling each and every photograph you can find of this beloved person. Each photograph hits you with the painful impact of each new memory or realization about their life story. It’s hard enough to look at the photos just enough to hand them off to a professional video editor like myself, and many people underestimate how time-consuming it will be when they decide to do the entire slideshow themselves. I know when I experienced a death in my family, my former workplace’s allotted bereavement leave was not enough time off for me to handle all the other logistics and make the slideshow. 

There are also definite technical skills and expertise required to put together a memorial slideshow, especially if you were to choose to use a professional video editing software program like the one with which I edit all of my life tribute videos for clients. These are days when you’re emotionally overwhelmed with the new loss of someone dear to you. This is not the best time to be trying to learn (or re-learn) how to use video editing software programs. (Please click here to check out my portfolio for some past examples of slideshows I’ve edited using professional video editing software.) 

I have an easy system set up through my website so that you can provide (upload) any digital photos, videos, or audio directly to me. This system also makes it possible for multiple family members and friends to all have the chance to upload the photographs in their own possession. With an entirely internet-based way to transmit photographs, it is no problem at all to edit slideshow videos for individuals who are not located geographically near me. Feel free to reach out, even if you are not local to Maryland, near DC, where I am located.

I am also happy to scan physical photos for you, if you do happen to live within a couple hours’ drive from my location. After I scan physical photographs, I always provide all the digital files to the client and, of course, return the physical photographs to them. This means that at the end of this process, you’ll have new digital copies of each photograph as image files, in addition to receiving the video slideshow as a video file.

Additionally, I make it seamless for you to share custom caption explanations for some (or all) of the photographs if you desire to, captions which I then incorporate into the final slideshow. It is an optional piece of the slideshow. I acknowledge it is indeed more effort on your part to provide captions, and requires more time looking at the photographs, which is very painful in the early days of grief. But in my opinion, it’s usually worthwhile to have captions explaining the context of what is happening in the photos. 

Captions can really elevate a slideshow, as most mourners tend to have questions regarding the names of friends or family standing beside them in particular images, how old the person was, or even the setting where the photograph was taken. 

Professional video editing software allows me to:

  • add targeted slow zooms
  • straighten crooked photos
  • add color correction when needed (such as on yellowed old photographs)
  • crop off the distracting edges of improperly scanned photos
  • incorporate audio or video of the honoree in addition to photographs (if desired)
  • adjust the pacing and flow to align with your music choice
  • add captions on screen for photographs (if desired)


All of these video editing and effects choices are subtle but important for maximum impact and optimizing the viewing experience. Memorial slideshows tend to be viscerally impactful for all mourners. Many people I’ve talked to have mentioned that the memorial video tends to be one of the most memorable elements at the funerals they attend.

Testimonials

I welcome you to read through these testimonials from satisfied clients to see how my work has been received.

-Laurie Brooks
    -Laurie Brooks

    Manassas, VA

    I want to offer my deepest thanks to Celebrant Emily Karp of Grief Pictured for her assistance with the interment of my loved one's ashes. At an emotionally trying time, Emily served as the calm, compassionate, and knowledgeable center our family needed to find peace. Emily took the time to learn about our loved one, working collaboratively with us and demonstrating deep respect for his final wishes. She proved to be extremely responsive, flexible, dependable, and detail-oriented. I cannot recommend Emily highly enough to anyone looking for an empathetic and creative Celebrant.

      -Tammy R.

      Alexandria, VA

      “Emily did a lovely job developing a slideshow for my husband’s memorial service. She was extremely responsive and accommodating, ensuring that the slideshow was exactly what I wanted. It’s a beautiful pictorial depiction of my husband’s amazing life and was an extremely emotional and moving part of his service. When I decided to retain Emily’s services, she sent an agreement that clearly set forth the responsibilities of each party and the dates by which certain things would be accomplished (which she honored). She traveled to my home to get the non-digital photos I had selected for scanning and returned the originals promptly. Because I had given Emily far more photos than she could include in the 5-minute slideshow, she selected certain photos she thought would be good and then emailed a draft to me. I viewed the draft and contacted Emily about photos that had not been included but were important to me. She was able to include those photos in the slideshow, tweaking the length and accompanying music. She also included photo captions I had provided and made all requested edits. Working with Emily was extremely easy. She’s conscientious, hard-working, and kind. I highly recommend Emily and Grief Pictured if you’re looking to present a slideshow at your loved one’s service.”

        -Robyn A.

        Chicago, IL

        “Grief Pictured provided a valuable service when time and energy are limited. Emily created a beautiful slideshow of my loved one that I will always treasure! She was highly communicative, sensitive, provided flexible solutions, reasonable fees and kept things moving when I was pulled in dozens of directions. Having created a slideshow of my own years before, I knew that the time and stress saved could be redirected in other ways. I highly recommend Grief Pictured for any memorial or celebratory slideshow needs!”

        Service Packages Offered

        My package’s pricing ranges from $250 to $949, depending on the offering. Each package includes a set of often-grouped-together elements, but I will personalize the content to your specific requests. I will create a custom package just for you if none of the packages you see below are quite what you were seeking. We can discuss details and determine a plan that works to implement what you’re looking for.

        I’ll ensure that your loved one’s ceremony and/or memorial video will be unique and include every element you desire, while omitting any element that is not a part of your vision. I am here to design a thoughtful ceremony and/or memorial video that captures the best of your loved one, so I want to include elements that make it special to you and your family.

        Deluxe Package: Celebration of Life with Memorial Tribute Video $949

        *RECOMMENDED PACKAGE* 

        A one hour Celebration of Life Ceremony officiated by Celebrant Emily Karp at the location of your choice, plus the creation of a five-minute memorial slideshow video including 50 to 60 photographs.

        The two packages below would add up to $1020 if you’d purchased them separately, but Grief Pictured offers this as a good deal with $71 discounted if you purchase them together. 

        This is a cohesive package that includes a full, personalized ceremony with an expertly edited slideshow. You will receive all features of the individual packages in one deal. If you’re looking for assistance in both the slideshow and in designing, writing, and officiating the entire ceremony, this is the package for you.

        Please note that the date of the Celebration of Life event must be at least seven days away when you contact me in order for me to have enough time to complete both the slideshow and the ceremony. 

        Included in this package:

        Everything in both the Celebrant Package and the Memorial Tribute Video packages below! 

        Celebrant Package: Personalized Celebration of Life Ceremony $603

        A one hour personalized Celebration of Life Ceremony officiated by Celebrant Emily Karp at the location of your choice.

        Please note that the date of the Celebration of Life event must be at least four days away when you contact me. This is the minimum time required to craft a full hour-long Celebration of Life ceremony. 

        I arrange the timing of the family interview as soon as possible after being hired. I will send you the completed ceremony script at least 24 hours prior to the event. You will have the opportunity to suggest changes and edits, and I’ll provide one guaranteed revision. 

        Please contact me if you have further questions or inquiries regarding this Celebrant Package.

        If you’re planning on making your own video or leaving it out completely, this package is a good choice.

        Memorial Video Package: Expertly Edited Life Tribute Video $417

        Please note that I cannot begin my work on this slideshow until I receive all the photographs from the family. The date of your funeral event where this slideshow is needed must be at least three days away from the date when I receive all photographs, so usually at least four days away from when you first contact me (assuming you can provide all the photographs to me within one day after I’m hired).

        This is the minimum time required to receive all the photos and instructions from you and then have enough time to still edit your five minute video. I may require additional time if the slideshow is longer than five minutes.

        I’ll send you the first draft of your video slideshow at least 24 hours prior to the event. You will have the opportunity to suggest changes and edits, and I’ll provide one guaranteed revision.

        Please contact me if you have further questions or inquiries about this Memorial Video Package.

        Short-Notice Personalized Package:
        Ceremony Script & Officiating $449

        I’m also commonly contacted by people who simply need a secular or non-religious funeral officiant and are not expecting an elaborate Celebration of Life ceremony. There also may not be time for the creation of a slideshow.

        While I do have a more affordable final package below for the simplest of officiant services, I highly recommend you do hire someone skilled at writing a eulogy that will not be obiturary-style dry facts about their life, but rather knows how to paint a picture of the person infused with emotion and capturing their personality, their values, and their impact on the world. My training at the Celebration Foundation and Institute has provided me with the skills needed to properly celebrate your loved one’s life, even if I only have about two days in which to prepare.

        I also recommend incorporating at least one personally resonant poetry or prose reading as well, and if you do have friends or family who would like to speak, to arrange that they prepare some remarks ahead of time – but is not required. 

        I would be glad to assist you and your family during this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or requests.

        Simple Officiant Services: $250

        I do very much understand the desire for simple officiant services, especially when cost is an issue or the turnaround time needs to be extremely fast. You may have come onto my website hoping to hire me to simply say a few words at a podium, or by a graveside, to mark the passing away of this beloved person. You may not want all of the personalized Celebration of Life elements I’ve been trained to provide, and I still want to be there for you in your time of need.

         

        I would be glad to assist you and your family during this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or requests.