By Rebecca Padgett
Here’s the thing about love: It finds its way, even if that means via a computer screen. This year has challenged couples in countless ways, but it has also encouraged us to get creative and be adaptable. One of the most prevalent additions to 2020 is the virtual wedding.
A virtual wedding is a great option in the face of postponing or cancelling. A virtual wedding can become your new wedding plan or it can allow you to get married while saving the larger-scale reception for when it’s safe to gather.
With virtual weddings being a relatively new concept, we’ve compiled some ways to ensure the day goes without a hitch or technical glitch.
- Check Legalities
Before assuming that your virtual ceremony is legal, you will need to check with your state. Each state varies in what they consider to be a legal ceremony and what the process for obtaining a marriage license is. You will need to call your county clerk’s office to confirm and will need an in-person marriage license.
- Pick Your Platform
Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Google Hangout and Skype have all become new additions to our everyday conversations. Any of these platforms would work well for a virtual wedding, but the most widely used is Zoom. You can create a link to be shared out with guests; they simply click it to watch.
- Create Your Invite
Since you’re going virtual anyways, an e-vite might be the most suitable option. Just because it’s an e-vite doesn’t mean it has to be corporate or any less creative. Design one yourself or check out e-vite design sites. You can also send out traditional invitations that guests receive via mail. This way they have a keepsake to remember the day even from far away. Whether snail mail or email, be sure to include the date, time, meeting link and meeting ID.
- Guest Experience
Encourage your guests to truly treat it like attending a wedding. Get guests to pull out their party dresses and best suits and get dolled up. It may seem silly to do in your living room, but once guests are all dressed, they will truly feel like they are attending the event. Have some champagne ready to raise in a virtual toast.
- Tech Support
It would be wise to invite a tech savvy friend. That could be the officiant, your maid of honor, your parents or anyone in your small physical attendance that can handle any technical difficulties. This person will ensure that your Wi-Fi connection is strong, that guests are muted and unmuted when appropriate, that the device is angled to best capture the wedding and to field any other questions or concerns. You may want to advise that guests arrive to the virtual meeting 10 minutes early to solve any technical issues. The techie can set up a tripod with a phone or iPad or secure a laptop on a pedestal or table to give the best view of the ceremony.
- In-Person Guests
Who you have present is completely up to you and your level of comfort. You may select only you, your fiancé and the officiant — or you can include a few special family members and friends. If you decide to invite more than a handful, you should space the chairs in accordance to social distancing guidelines and wear masks.
If you are able to, you can have your wedding at your original venue. With the pandemic, it is possible that your venue is not open or won’t allow a virtual wedding. If this is the case, consider alternative options, including the backyard of a family member or friend, a public park, an outdoor space special to you, or your own home. Decorate it accordingly to fit your theme.
Just like any wedding, it would be wise to write out a timeline for the event. Encourage guests to log in early and leave them unmuted so they can greet one another and chat. Have your tech support mute all guests at least one minute before the bride walks down the aisle. Continue the ceremony in any way you wish, including all of the special moments and traditions you had originally planned. An optional way to engage with your audience is to unmute them for the first kiss and your walk down the aisle as a new couple, so they can cheer you on. The celebration doesn’t have to stop here; keep it going by letting your guests witness your first dance, a cake cutting, playing music to have a virtual dance party and anything else you want to broadcast.
There are still so many ways to include your vendors in your virtual wedding. Your florist can provide a beautiful bouquet. Wear your wedding dress or suit, even if you do a repeat wear at a later date. Have your caterer prepare the same planned out meal on a smaller scale. Ask your baker about a smaller version of your cake. Contact your videographer about filming the ceremony. And, of course, have your photographer there to safely capture it all. There are an abundance of ways to make this day special and uniquely you.