This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
As we all know, the coronavirus has had a major impact on the wedding plans of tens of thousands of couples. We ran polls in over 20 Facebook wedding groups to understand how couples are adjusting to this new world. After getting over 1000 responses, the results were quite surprising.
- 40% are postponing until large gatherings are allowed
- 12% are having a small ceremony only or eloping
- 48% are having a small ceremony on their original date and a reception later
Over 60% are making a huge change to their plans. With that many couples making the radical decision to split up their ceremony and reception we decided to offer some tips on using technology to pull it off.
Tips for a Ceremony Now, Reception Later Wedding
The first thing to do is to send out a digital announcement with your new plans. There are a lot of options available, from free to paid. Paperless Post, Evite and Creativethings Studio are just a few. Here’s what you should include:
- Tell them what you are doing. We’re having the ceremony on X date with only Y guests (so don’t show up to the original location). The reception is being moved to Z location on the new date and time
- Include details of any new technology like live streaming or video sharing. Include the password and room link.
- Give guests a way to RSVP for the new reception
There are many live streaming services available. Zoom has skyrocketed to fame during the pandemic, but there are many other alternatives. Facebook live is always an option that most people will be able to use without needing a special login. Whichever service you use, be sure to consider the ability to save and download your live stream videos (you and of guests) so you have that content available forever.
Jenny Ross and her husband were supposed to be married at the Hudson Garden in Denver. After the coronavirus hit (and both were laid-off) they changed their plans to have a ceremony with 9 total people in Portland. At its height, 150-200 people on 75 computers were logged into Zoom! They wanted more than just a ceremony, so, “we did our first dance that we had choreographed and been learning for almost a year, we cut the cake and we sat down and did our toasts over Zoom.”
Also, be sure to follow these tips when setting up your equipment for the live stream so the quality is the best possible:
- Have your iPad or phone horizontal for best video viewing
- Practice the night before to be sure you can be heard and that the camera accurately frames you in the video
- Login to the live stream at least 10 minutes before the agreed ceremony time
- Mute family and friends who have joined the wedding via Zoom / livestream.
- Plan to film on a separate camera in addition to the livestream, so you can use those files later in your wedding video
- Bring lights into the room from elsewhere in your home, to help give you the best light for the ceremony. Make sure the lights are in front, not behind you, or you’ll be silhouettes.
Jenny also has tips for making the live-stream go well. “For the zoom wedding, we had our phone as a microphone zoomed in closer to us and the speaker for music to use for sound while we used the laptop for video. We rehearsed the night before to make sure we had locations so that they could see well. We had my aunt in charge of muting and unmuting guests and making our screen the primary screen and explaining what would happen.”
Get a wedding video from both events
Just because you are having a small ceremony now doesn’t mean you can’t include that in your wedding video. You are getting a wedding video, right? Even more so during these historic times, not getting a video is the number one regret cited by brides after the wedding.
Make sure you have one of the guests available to record your ceremony on their phone, GoPro, or camera. If that’s not possible, get a tripod and set it up yourself and start recording right before the ceremony begins.
With the ceremony filmed, you’ll be able to now include that into your overall video with footage of your reception and honeymoon. If you are hiring a traditional videographer, simply send them the files via Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other file sharing service.
Another amazing option is to use WeddingMix, which is perfect for a ceremony now / reception later wedding. WeddingMix has an app and upload link to easily capture all of the photos and videos taken at the ceremony, rehearsal, reception, and honeymoon.
This is really convenient for guests not able to come to the ceremony to send in well-wishes, stories, and marriage advice through the app. It goes live right after ordering all the way through your honeymoon so their professional editors can take the best moments and create a one-of-a-kind video.
Everything gets put into a beautiful gallery for you to share (or not) so everyone can see and download every moment. And as an added bonus, it starts at only $199. You can decide whether to have the highlight from just the ceremony created and shown at the later reception like bride Jenny, or have all the content combined from both events.
It is Possible
Technology can make it really possible to not only pull off a ceremony now / reception later wedding. In fact, wedding couple Andrew and Morgan had many of their guests who were unable to be there in person film greetings from home, to include in their wedding video. What a touching and personal memento!
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Bio: Since 2011, 8000+ couples have used WeddingMix to capture, enjoy forever, and have more fun at their wedding. The WeddingMix capture app, edited videos, and photo booth allow couples all over the world to get a better wedding experience.
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Thanks for the update and quick reply. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on this thread. Looking for the same issue. Bumped into your thread. Thanks for creating it. Looking forward for solution.