How to Have a Virtual Wedding During COVID-19
Getting married is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life together, but now that we can no longer gather together physically, thousands of couples have been forced to postpone their weddings. There’s another option, though.
In times like these, technology and a little bit of resourceful planning can mean that you don’t have to postpone your big day and can move forward with your wedding and new spouse — just as many couples around the world have chosen to do.
Want to learn how to have a virtual wedding during these tough times? Keep reading!
Discover how to have a virtual wedding in a few simple steps:
1. Choose a platform provider.
One of the first things you’re going to need to decide on is what meeting platform your wedding guests will use to watch you and your soon-to-be spouse tie the knot. Think of your platform as your wedding venue (more on that later). Like a venue, there will likely be costs associated with the number of guests you want to have in attendance. There are a lot of options out there to choose from, so we’ve compiled a list of the most popular and highlighted their features.
This industry-leading platform enables users to have a live video feed and host a large numbers of guests. Zoom also has security features limiting who can attend your virtual event. Aside from just watching, guests are able to interact with the host and with each other on Zoom, enabling your wedding to have a social element without people physically being present.
It’s free to sign up for Zoom, but you’ll want to chat with a sales representative to find out about costs for hosting. The price of utilizing the service rises as the number of guests increases.
Zoom also offers virtual backgrounds for couples who want to get married in a remote location, which is a big plus. Another option would be to reach out to your venue to see if you’re able hold a social-distancing version of your big day – use their space for you and your partner to tie the knot and have everyone else join via video conference. It’d be a win-win for everyone, as you’d be giving the venue your business during times of need while also saying your “I Dos” in the space you originally imagined.
Another great option for hosting a virtual wedding is WebEx. Similar to other platforms, WebEx also allows users to have a live video feed and host a large number of guests. It boasts excellent security features, allowing hosts to limit who can join. Guests are able to talk and interact with the host and with each other as well.
It’s free to sign up for WebEx, but like Zoom, you’ll want to speak with a representative to find out about costs for hosting. Similar to other platforms, the price of utilizing the service rises as your guest count increases.
GoToMeeting will be able to host video and interactivity to ensure that the social aspect of your wedding is still present, even though the people may not be. This platform is much more geared towards companies, but if you’re planning on having a larger number of guests, GoToMeeting is a good option. They have competitive pricing and also provide excellent security to make sure all of your wedding guests are guests you actually invited. As with the other options, the service can be downloaded for free, so there is no cost to your guests.
2. Inform your guests.
Once you’ve chosen your platform, you’ll want to let your guests know of the change in plans. As with an in-person event, you’ll want to confirm their attendance, provide them with access to the meeting you’re hosting, and give them directives on attire and any other expectations you have during the wedding itself. If you plan on muting everyone during certain portions of the wedding, you’ll want to let them know so they aren’t trying to “fix” something that isn’t broken.
Managing your guests’ expectations will decrease your own stress as you go through the actual event and ensure that they’re cooperating with your wishes.
3. See if you can make your virtual wedding “legal.”
The legality surrounding online marriages is murky, so you should see what the laws are in your area and if anything has been changed in recent weeks — like in New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing residents to “obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference.”
Parade consulted with experts, who “suggested that you call your county clerk to confirm whether you need to secure an in-person marriage license.
“While you’re at it, try to have a close family member apply to become a registered officiant since no one will go on the record about whether your marriage will be legal if the officiant isn’t in the room with you,” the article states. “Consider having a romantic commitment ceremony or even handfasting and then head to the courthouse once we all have the all-clear.”
4. Work with your vendors.
Your wedding is going virtual but you don’t have to cancel your vendors. Invite your DJ or wedding band to the virtual event and have them provide the music for the ceremony and reception (you can live-stream it on your favorite social media platform as well!). Have the baker you’re working with make a smaller portion of your wedding cake for you and your spouse and have them deliver pieces to your guests at their homes. Food and beverage can be handled this way as well if your caterer is able to deliver.
There are still plenty of ways to include your local vendors and support them while hosting your virtual wedding — you just have to think outside the box.
5. Take inspiration from those who walked down the virtual aisle before you.
We know this may not be what you had in mind, and that everybody is in a different situation during these tough times, but we hope you can look to these recently-wed couples for inspiration.
Lisa Kabouridis, whose recent virtual wedding was profiled in a The Verge article, said, “We thought it would be anticlimactic, but it really wasn’t. There were loads of people crying on screen. It was really beautiful.”
Scott Westergren, whose separate Zoom wedding was also profiled by The Verge, expressed similar sentiments.
“The first couple minutes were awkward and weird trying to figure out what we were doing. Honestly, once the officiant started going, we were both locked in and the emotion of the wedding definitely came through.”
In addition to Kabouridis and Westergren, a simple Twitter or Instagram search for #ZoomWedding has tons of examples of virtual wedding inspiration. These are uncharted waters for everyone — why not lean on those in similar situations for assistance?
6. Do a test run.
As with any in-person wedding, your virtual wedding still has to have a rehearsal! Don’t skip out on this just because your wedding is now in cyberspace. Test everything before your big day and make sure to do a complete run through with your platform service. Make sure you have a solid internet connection and that your guests are aware that they’ll need uninterrupted internet time during the wedding itself.
Make sure your DJ or wedding band is able to connect with the platform and that the sound is working perfectly for a seamless transition from ceremony to reception. Make sure your officiant is also able to connect to the meeting and that they know of any time constraints, as well as any other vendors. Also, make sure all of the hardware needed to make the event run smoothly has been ordered, is in working condition, and is plugged in. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
7. Enjoy your big day!
The last step, of course, is to get married! You’ve worked hard to make sure your day is as special as can be, and you haven’t let anything stand in your way. Enjoy your virtual wedding with your guests as you all come together to celebrate the next chapter in your lives. Pro tip: Make sure everything is recorded so you and your new spouse can relive the joy anytime you want.