Planning virtual weddings have increased in popularity with the practice of social distancing (I prefer the term physical distancing) quickly becoming the new normal, it may seem like hosting a wedding for a large group of your family and friends is impossible – but it’s not!
Virtual weddings are an option for couples who don’t want to let a global pandemic put a damper on their wedding day. Here are a few of my favorite tips on how to plan a virtual wedding.
5 Tips You Need to Know for Planning a Virtual Wedding
Outline the Moments You Want to Share
While hosting a virtual wedding won’t be the same as an IRL wedding you can still share a ton of special moments with those near and far. While maybe as not as experiential an in-person wedding think about what the moments are you want your guests to share and witness. Besides the ceremony special moments could include:
- Toasts by family and friends
- First Dance
- Cake Cutting
- Dance Party
Once you know what the moments are you want to share you’ll be able to choose which platform is most appropriate for your wedding.
Choose Your Platform
Facebook Live – There are two ways to do this, either via your FB profile, which is a great option if you want everyone on your friends list seeing you say “I do” or create a private group that you invite your closest family and friends to share in. The benefit of a group is that it can act as a virtual guest book if you set it up ahead of time. Guests can introduce themselves and get to know one another. Plus they can comment in real-time.
Zoom – Video conference software Zoom offers free and paid subscriptions. With the paid subscription you can host 100 attendees, record your nuptials either to the cloud or your personal computer and can “meet” for up to 24 hours. With Zoom, guests can set up Speaker View (ideal for your guests to view your ceremony) or Gallery View (you, as the couple, could have this displayed so you can see all of your guests’ reactions).
Ceremony readings can still be made by your guests of honor, and your officiant could even be virtual (or you could maintain the 6-foot social distancing rule).
With Zoom, you could even continue the ceremony into the reception, allowing family and friends to give speeches. Pretty cool!
Having the right tech gear is essential in planning your virtual wedding. At the minimum, you need a device with a camera and a microphone. If you decide to use a phone or tablet, you may also want to consider using a tripod to mount the device for steady, even viewing. Just like you would with an in-person wedding make sure you have a rehearsal with the platform and gear you intend to use so you can ensure you and others know how everything works and what to do.
Tell Your Guests
If you’ve decided to switch gears and host a virtual wedding you need to let your guests know. Why not continue your virtual theme by sending out virtual invitations?
Just like a paper invite make sure you include important details such as:
- Date & Time
- Link to your Zoom or Facebook group, or whatever platform you’re using
- Meeting Password if you’ve opted to password protect your meeting
- Directions – Instead of a map with directions to the venue include instructions for your guests on how to turn on their device’s video and ask them to remain muted during the ceremony (if you want)
- Attire – If you’re going to be screenshotting your guests let them know that you’d love to see them get a little dolled up — they’d probably love the excuse to get out of their daytime PJs!
- Timeline – If you’re planning to share speeches/toasts with your guests, or the cake cutting let them know ahead of time so that they can prepare their beverage and snack of choice with you. You might even ask them to share their favorite song with you so that you can create a playlist – epic virtual dance party anyone?
- RSVP – Ask your guests to RSVP, as they normally would, so that once you log-in to your virtual ceremony you know when you should start, or if you need to contact someone to see if they’re having technical issues.
Coordinate with Your Vendors
While you may not be utilizing a venue, caterer, or DJ a few of your vendors may still come into play. You might consider keeping the following services:
- Photographer – Social distancing can still be adhered to while they capture all your wedding day glory. Be sure to let them know you’re live streaming your wedding so that they don’t stand in front of your device’s camera.
- Baker – Your cake or special dessert is another piece that doesn’t need to fall by the wayside, though you may want to downsize it. You can still do the ceremonial cake-cutting / desert sharing, just be sure to let your baker know that instead of feeding 50+ people, you’ll need one for the two of you.
- Officiant – They can either join the two of you in-person (at a distance) or they can lead the ceremony online! Just make sure to get that marriage license signed and mailed in!
And if this all sounds overwhelming or too technical but you still want to get married in the time of social distancing you might consider keeping or hiring a wedding coordinator. They’ll be able to assist you with all of the details and tech aspects of a virtual wedding.
So, in this age of global pandemics when it seems like everything around us is slowly coming to a halt we don’t have to; I’ll turn to my theatre mantra “The show (or wedding) must go on.” And it will!
Want assistance coordinating your virtual wedding? Then drop me a line, I’d love to help!