Virtual weddings have been around for a while now, and they’re becoming more popular as people are realizing how much easier it is. There are many reasons why someone may want to plan their wedding virtually: time constraints, not wanting the stress of planning an in-person event, protect family and friends from Covid, or even being able to get married no matter where you live. In this post we will discuss some tips on how to plan your virtual wedding!
Know your budget and what you want
Just like a normal wedding ceremony, you need to have a realistic idea of how much you can spend, and you also need to be clear on what you want.
The same is true for virtual weddings. Do you want to have flowers, cake cutting, signature cocktails, and many of the things you would have at a normal wedding or do you want something small and simple? Then, do you have the budget to handle your wants.
Creating a realistic budget can be difficult no matter the circumstances, so I’ve put together some budget tips or budget calculator to help.
Understand the different types of virtual weddings
Not all virtual weddings are the same. Some are completely virtual, which it’s just the couple and no guests are there. Other virtual weddings will have many virtual guests with a few people in attendance.
There’s not a huge difference as far as the streaming goes. The only thing is that some programs limit how many virtual guests you can have. For example, a zoom wedding is limited on time with the free plan if you have a lot of people watching.
Consider the time commitment involved in planning a virtual wedding
Wedding planning is overwhelming no matter what type of wedding you are having. For most, a virtual ceremony is easier than planning a big wedding, especially if you don’t have any guests. Many couples will just have to figure out the location, outfits, and that’s about it.
If you choose to do a ceremony and reception, your wedding planning will be more involved. In these situations, give yourself at least 8 months to plan.
Finding Wedding Vendors
Wedding vendors for virtual weddings might be a bit different than a normal wedding. First, do you need or want all of the vendors? As I mentioned before, you need to decide what all you want to do. If there’s no reception, you probably won’t need a DJ, decorations, or maybe even a cake.
I would suggest you still do a few things. One, hire a wedding photographer. These memories need to be recorded, even if it is just the two of you. Get photos of the wedding ceremony and portraits of the two of you. Two, look good. Find a beautiful wedding dress and a suit. Go ahead and do hair/makeup for your big day. It will probably only be you so it won’t be that expensive.
The process of finding them will be similar to any other wedding. Just make sure they are in the same area or willing to travel. Here’s more help on the process of hiring wedding vendors.
Creating an Invitation List
One thing you’ll find as you plan a virtual wedding is that you are free to invite more people. With a traditional wedding, each guest costs you anywhere from $25 to $100, but with a live stream, you can invite as many people as you want, and it will pretty much cost you nothing.
You’ll still want to make an invitation list. You’ll need to send out invitations and give people the important information and possibly a link.
If you are having guests and virtual guests, make sure to send out different invitations. Make it very clear which type of guest they are.
If you are making a sudden change to a virtual wedding, a wedding website is a good way to notify or share the link to the live stream with guests when an invitation would take too long.
Is it Legal?
Before you start, you’ll want to make sure that you know if your virtual wedding is legal. Each state and country does things differently, so it’s important to get the correct information.
Reach out to your county clerk’s office to get all of the details. Tell them your plan and they will either give you a marriage license or not.
If you are getting married where you normally live, things might be easier than if you plan on traveling to a different state.
In some cases, people might choose to still proceed with the ceremony even if they aren’t being “legally” married. It’s still a time to get share your love in front of friends and family. You can always do another ceremony later or just go to the court house.
Choose Your Streaming Platform
Streaming and meeting services have really taken off since everyone was stuck at home. There are several options for hosting your virtual wedding. The most popular are Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, YouTube Live and Facebook Live.
Before you choose a streaming platform for your virtual wedding, you’ll want to consider your viewers and your wedding. For your viewers, what platform will be the most convinient and easy to use?
Most people have Facebook these days, and you don’t need a special link to watch. The only problem is that it’s harder to keep it private from all of your Facebook friends. Platforms like Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom all require installing an app or software. That can be very difficult for people that aren’t good with technology. YouTube is easy in most situations because you just have to share a link. One problem we’ve run into though is that if the stream stops, the link no longer works.
Multiple angles and Great Audio
The last thing you want is to live stream your wedding and everyone be bored out of their mind or not be able to hear anything.
The best way to fix this is to have more than one camera and use good audio. It’s too complicated to get into all of it here, but if you have an old camcorder or old Canon camera, you probably can use them to get different angles.
Audio doesn’t have to be complicated either. Yes, a wireless mic system that goes directly to the computer would be nice, but you can get away with speakers or just being close enough to the couple.
Assign a Tech Expert
If all of this technology stuff is making your head hurt, that’s normal! For your virtual wedding ceremony, find someone that loves technology that can run it all for you.
This person can help set things up on the wedding day and will be monitoring the live stream as it happens and solving problems.
Have a Tech Rehearsal
It’s common for a bride and groom to have a dress rehearsal the night before the wedding. This lets everyone practice and to fix any problems.
Do this with your virtual wedding as well! Set up everything and go live. You can have a few guests online to watch and see how it goes. This way, you know your loved ones won’t miss out.
Send Gifts before you Celebrate
Want to make all your guests feel special? Send them a wedding gift a few days before the virtual ceremony or virtual reception. You can even have them all open it at the same time!
Make a Music Playlist
Depending on how things go, it might be hard for everyone to hear the music. If you are wanting to create a certain experience, make a music playlist and share it with your guests.
Break down when certain songs should be played, so that the music and emotions fit with what is happening. With Spotify, you can create this playlist and then share it with all the guests.
Make your Virtual Wedding fun with Game and Activities
Just because you aren’t in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Come up with different games and activities that will keep everyone happy and laughing.
It could be something as simple as people playing games on their phone against each other. Another option is to create breakout rooms for people that want to play something similar. One room could play hangman, another room could play Fortnite, and another room could be coloring. The possibilities are endless!
Have a Drive by Parade
When Covid hit, poor kids missed out on birthday parties. To help make up for that, people started doing drive by parades. They’d make signs, honk horns, and still get to see each other. If your guests are in the same town, this would be a great thing to do after the ceremony. You could even do your first dance while they watched.
Throw a virtual after party
The wedding reception is my favorite part of the wedding day. I love how there is so much energy and people have loosened up. There’s music, drinking, and dancing. You can do all of that with your virtual wedding.
Your virtual after party can still be a bunch of fun. Try to get a few people together in each house, so people aren’t partying alone, and then keep streaming it all. People can chat with each other, drink, and even dance in their living room.
Create breakout rooms based on family or friend groupings
As I mentioned with the games, some streaming options let you put viewers into breakout rooms. This would be a great way for people to chat and interact. One giant room would be overwhelming for a virtual guest, but rooms with 3 or 4 people is manageable.
Also the bride and groom can jump into each breakout room to have personal conversations just like a table at a wedding.
Cake Cutting and Other Traditions
When you’re making your wedding plans, try to include a few of the traditions. You’re trying to make your virtual wedding feel like a real wedding, so add in something like cake cutting, the first dance, and speeches by the wedding party.
Starting Your Marriage with a Virtual Wedding Ceremony
This unforeseeable situation has thrown the entire wedding industry for a loop and halted so many momentous plans in the process. Not only is the wedding date you chose, as well as the season in which to marry, no longer possible, but you may not be able to have the large-scale event full of all of the friends and family you’d always dreamed of having.
That stinks, but the good news is you are still getting married, so start off your marriage on the right foot. Do the best you can with the pandemic situation, make it a celebration, and share it virtually with all your loved ones!