How to Have a Virtual Wedding You and Your Guests will Love
Have you thought about having a virtual wedding? With travel bans, social distancing guidelines and restrictions on large gatherings, many couples are turning to this alternative wedding ceremony.
Having a traditional wedding may be harder than usual right now, so getting married virtually can help you navigate these restrictions and keep your wedding on schedule.
Here’s what you need to know about planning and having a virtual wedding.
How to Plan Virtual Wedding
While planning a virtual wedding ceremony may be simpler than a traditional one, there are still many things you need to consider.
Where Will You and Your Partner Be?
One of the first things you and your partner should decide is where you will physically get married. Will it be in a church? Your backyard? A local park?
Many couples are using their virtual wedding as an opportunity to get married in their backyard. Since you, your partner and maybe a few vendors will be the only people physically at your ceremony, you don’t need a big space to say, “I do”. Any size backyard will do, and you can use this as an opportunity to decorate your yard with some fun, unique decor!
When choosing your location, you’ll also want to consider the lighting and surrounding area. Your guests will be viewing your wedding from a screen, so choosing a location that is conducive to your technology setup and provides your guests with a great viewing experience is an important aspect to consider.
What Platform Will You Use?
This year has seen the rise of remote work and video conferencing software, many of which can be used for your virtual ceremony. Zoom has become a go-to video software for couples, and there are many other platforms you can use too. Other options include Facebook Live weddings, Skype or deciding to livestream a wedding on YouTube.
No matter which platform you choose, make sure you consider these common aspects when it comes to the technology setup for your big day.
First, you’ll want to use a device with a high-quality camera to provide the best possible streaming experience. Your guests are tuning-in to see you and your partner, and you want them to be able to see you clearly. Picking a location with good lighting will help with this too.
The same goes for the device’s audio quality. Streaming your wedding with a device that has high-quality audio will make sure your guests have a great viewing experience. The last thing you want is for your guests to not be able to see or hear you during your ceremony.
When deciding on a platform, choosing one that is easy-to-use for your guests will help ensure technology doesn’t hold them back from viewing your wedding.
Finally, like a traditional wedding, do a test run before the actual ceremony to make sure all the technology is working properly and looks and sounds great.
Do Your Virtual Wedding Right by Hiring Professionals
Wedding vendors will still be a part of your big day, and it’s up to you to decide who you want there.
One essential vendor is your officiant. They can marry you virtually or in-person at a distance. If your officiant won’t physically be in your presence, you will need to confirm that there isn’t anything additional you need to do to make your wedding legal. And don’t forget to get your marriage license! Both the officiant and marriage license requirements vary by state and county, so double check these first before you say, “I do!”.
Even though the in-person guest count will be low, a photographer can still capture your wedding memories and make your ceremony special. Interview a few to see if they have experience with virtual weddings and ask if you can see some samples of their work. Capturing your virtual wedding day moments will give you some positive memories to look back on and remember this year as the time you were married during a global pandemic.
You might also want music at your wedding, but maybe you don’t need a band or DJ. Make your own Spotify playlist and have it playing in the background, or if you do want live music, you could hire a virtual musician.
Additionally, even though you won’t need to cater food for your guests, you may still want to get a special dessert or food item for you and your partner. Food vendors are adapting to the pandemic and can work with you to make your food requests happen.
Finally, with the advent of virtual weddings, companies have been created to help you have a seamless experience. One such company is Wedfuly. They help you with every aspect of your big day. Using Zoom, they provide everything from tech setup to organizing your breakout rooms and first dances. Their base package starts at $1,200, and as part of this package, they provide tech support for your wedding including things like switching camera angles, muting guests, MCing your event and playing selected media. They also have a ton of add-on services you can take advantage of.
Anyone can set up an iPad and stream their wedding, but if you want someone to help you make your virtual ceremony engaging, memorable and less stressful, hiring a company like Wedfuly could be a great option for you.
And don’t forget to post a link to your Honeyfund during your livestream!
A big perk of a livestreaming wedding is you can expand your guest list. You won’t be limited by your venue’s space or cost, and you don’t need to pay for their meals, so you can essentially invite as many people as you want!
Expanding your guest list is a great way to celebrate with more people, but keep in mind that guests may be in different time zones when deciding on the time of day for your event.
Another part of this alternative wedding experience is determining how your guests will interact with each other and you. Make it fun for them! One of the cool features on Zoom is its breakout room feature. You can divide your guests into groups and have them “eat” together like they would at a traditional wedding. This allows for people to interact as if they were sitting next to each other for dinner.
Also, communicating clearly with your guests will help your wedding day happen without a hitch. Making sure they all have the proper link and login information, and providing etiquette guidelines for muting and speaking, will help your guests know how you want them to act during your ceremony.
Caroline Creidenberg, CEO & Founder of Wedfuly, says guests may start out a bit confused and skeptical about a virtual wedding, but they always end up loving it.
“Every single time they are blown away. Guests keep commenting about how real it felt. A lot of them even comment on how they had an even better vantage point than if they had been there in person!”
So if your guests are a bit skeptical about your virtual wedding, you can highlight the positives and assure them that they will love it. Your guests will follow your lead, and if you approach your virtual ceremony with a positive attitude, your guests will too.
Are Virtual Weddings Coronavirus Friendly?
Absolutely! One of the major perks of a virtual setup is the safety it provides against coronavirus. Your guests can be a part of your ceremony from the comfort of their home, and if you decide to have vendors who need to be at your wedding in person, they can socially distance and wear facemasks to keep you, your partner and themselves safe.
Save Thousands of Dollars with a Virtual Wedding
According to Creidenberg, the main benefit they are seeing for virtual weddings is the cost savings it creates for couples.
“By not feeding hundreds of guests, couples are saving thousands of dollars and are able to quadruple the number of guests [they invite]. Removing that cost, but keeping the sentimental and emotional aspect is a win-win.”
Many couples have been hit hard financially this year, so a live-streamed wedding could make for a great alternative to help you save money.
When you get married virtually, you don’t need to book a large venue, cater food or provide transportation to and from your venue, so the main costs involved are going to be your technology setup, any vendors you use, your wedding attire and a venue if you decide on one.
Here is a breakdown of what the cost of planning a Zoom wedding might look like:
- For $14.99 you can get Zoom’s Pro Plan and have up to 100 attendees
- According to The Knot, an officiant can cost between $500 to $800
- Photographers vary in price, but can be as little as $1,000 and up to $3,000
- If you get married in your home, then your venue is free!
- Most people have a phone, tablet or laptop they can use to record their wedding. If you need to get an upgraded one, then this will be a cost you need to consider.
All-in, depending on the vendors you use and the location, you could have a virtual wedding for as little as $1,500 and start going up from there. This does not include items such as your rings or wedding attire, as that will vary based on your personal preference.
One final thing to note is that this alternative wedding option not only saves you money, but it is going to save your guests money too since they won’t need to book travel accommodations for your wedding. It also keeps them safe from having to travel during the pandemic.
How are Couples Feeling about Their Virtual Wedding
A virtual ceremony will likely cost less, let you keep your original wedding date and allow you to expand your guest list. Additionally, it will decrease the risk of exposure to coronavirus because of the lack of in-person interaction.
Creidenberg says they are hearing amazing feedback from couples regarding their virtual wedding experience including reduced stress and blown away expectations.
“Virtual weddings are way less stressful, require less planning, and are still just as emotional and memorable. A lot of couples go through an immense amount of stress leading up to their wedding day because of all the tiny details and stressful things that go into the planning process. Virtual removes a lot of those decisions and eases the stress! I think a lot of people saw this as Plan B, but now they are realizing it’s even better than plan A!”
If you still want to get your friends and family together in person, consider having a virtual ceremony and then hosting an in-person reception when the time is right. You can have the best of both worlds by saving thousands of dollars on your wedding, getting married on your original date and still celebrating in-person with your loved ones when the pandemic subsides.
A New Possibility for Weddings
This year has been anything but normal, and a virtual wedding is a great alternative to a traditional wedding. They are less expensive, and while your guests won’t be there in person, you might be able to invite more people to celebrate with you.
Virtual weddings are becoming more and more popular, so if you are thinking about saying, “I do” virtually, you should feel comforted knowing that many others have come before you and have had great experiences.