How to Throw a Virtual Wedding

Hand washing, mask-wearing, homeschooling, remote working. To say that the coronavirus has drastically changed our lives is the understatement of the year. These clever adaptations to the pandemic raise an important question for couples, though. Why not add virtual wedding planning to the mix?

One thing we can all agree on is the fact that we're lucky to live in the Digital Age. It lets us stay in touch with family and friends and helps break up the isolation of social distancing. No wonder so many couples are going ahead with wedding plans despite the dictates of the "new normal." After all, love always triumphs. These couples are finding creative, meaningful ways to tie the knot online, whether it's via Skype or Zoom. 

Here's what you need to know about tech-savvy nuptials and how to virtually plan every aspect of your big day.

Virtual Wedding Planning

You may not know this, but virtual venue tours are nothing new. They've been around for quite some time. These pre-taped videos let you get a panoramic view of potential event spaces. As a result of the pandemic, however, many wedding venus are going much further by offering personalized site tours via Skype and FaceTime Live. These tours let you "virtually" check out wedding locations in real-time and ask the same questions you would in person. An online one-on-one site tour will help you lock down the perfect venue for your big day. Just remember to treat the experience like an actual walkthrough. Capitalize on your appointment by asking all of your burning questions.

Just as you'd rely on tech to tour wedding event spaces, you can also interview vendors virtually. You'd be hardpressed to have an online cake tasting or makeup and hair trial. But you can vet photographers, videographers, coordinators, and florists.

During the online process, ask each vendor to show samples of their best work. They should also send links to past wedding galleries as well as answer any questions you have about contracts and various packages. 

Virtual Bridal Showers and More

Whether or not you decide to live stream your wedding, you can still get much of the planning legwork out of the way online. The same goes for pre-wedding events, although you'll need to think outside-of-the-box. Right now, we're seeing three major trends when it comes to wedding planning:

1. Postponing the big day
2. Live streaming a wedding ceremony
3. Livestreaming a micro wedding now and planning a large, in-person one later

Of course, you want to choose the right option for you as a couple. But that doesn't mean that you have to put off the fun if you decide to postpone the festivities for a later date. Instead, consider throwing an online bridal shower, happy hour, or some other type of virtual event for those nearest and dearest to you. It'll lift everyone's mood and help you stay excited about the upcoming festivities, no matter your choice of options above. 

What if guests want to provide gifts at your virtual event? Instead of sending you items, ask them to share a cherished family recipe, favorite memory of you as a couple, or a fantastic marriage tip. It'll be interactive, fun, and free.

Weddings 2020: In-Person Versus Zoom

Some couples are opting to take the plunge with live stream wedding platforms such as Zoom. If you're a forward-thinking couple that's ready to get hitched despite the pandemic, then more power to you! Zoom weddings can be both meaningful and unique. They allow as many participants as you'd like, from all over the world, to get involved. Best of all, you only need a speedy internet connection and some basic tech to make one happen. What should you know before you stream live video or your ceremony? First, you'll need to choose a reliable free streaming service. Besides FaceTime and Zoom, YouTubeLive represents another option.  For those concerned about privacy, check out WebWed Mobile. This app provides live stream event options. You can even lock down your officiant and marriage license with the app. There's also Wedfuly. This app facilitates Zoom wedding ceremonies, and, best of all, it's free of charge. 

Tech-staged weddings will never replace in-person ceremonies. Depending on your couple personality, you might be okay with that. Of course, you don't have to have an either-or attitude. Many couples are opting for a virtual ceremony now and a traditional gathering later. It's the perfect way to have your cake and eat it, too!

How to Make Your Digital Day Special

Should you go the digital route? If you decide it's right for you, here are some simple planning tips to keep in mind. Coordinate with vendors such as your photographer and videographer to ensure you have professional digital documentation of the ceremony. Make sure your guests are aware of what you're doing. One of the best ways to do this is by sending updated wedding invitations with the latest information on your plans. Learn more about wedding invitation tips during COVID-19. In terms of setup, make sure you have a tripod handy to set your tablet or phone on. You'll also want to opt for natural light, which is the most attractive. Consider adding music and potted plants for a romantic ambiance. Have some bubbly ready to pop following the ceremony to toast your union. (You may want to include this instruction in your invitations so your guests can toast you, too.) You should also plan on dressing up. Yes, this event may not be quite like what you've been dreaming about, but that doesn't mean you can't still look amazing. If you're feeling it, wear your wedding ceremony clothes. Or, if you'd like to reserve those items for a later in-person ceremony, grab the clothes you planned to wear for the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. Get glammed out and make the most of this eclectic, electronic event. Don't forget to tell your guests to do the same.

Virtual Weddings: Tech Tips to Keep in Mind

Before you go "live" with a small wedding, rehearse to make sure that your chosen device and platform are working correctly. Also, pay attention to lighting, sound, and camera angle issues. Some platforms, such as Zoom, have a "switch camera" setting. This setting allows for multiple views of your ceremony from different devices. Your platform should also allow you to record the service so that you can cherish it for many years to come. For the best results, we suggest putting a wedding vendor or a tech-savvy member of the wedding party in charge of the live streaming so you can focus on the joys of your wedding. Ask your guests to mute their audio until your ceremony is sealed with a kiss.

Don't Forget About the Reception!

Use a platform such as Google Hangouts for the after-ceremony party. Despite the limitations of a virtual event, you can still celebrate many essentials, including toasts and the first dance. You can cut a homemade cake and even share a signature cocktail. Remember to include the recipe with your invitation so that virtual guests can whip up their own version. With a little planning, you'll enjoy the most epic online bash of the year.  Check out these fun wedding reception ideas that you can incorporate into a virtual gathering. 

Virtual Wedding Tips

As you can see, getting hitched and celebrating online is easier than you think. It also comes with many advantages. You can rest assured your family and friends adhere to social distancing and stay safe. Yet, you can still enjoy a spirited celebration. And if you choose to have a large, in-person ceremony later, consider this. When the live event rolls around, you'll feel less pressured (since you're already married) and can better savor the occasion. You'll also get to marry the person you love twice. And you'll have two excuses to uncork the champagne and celebrate your love each year. How many couples get to do that!