Tips On Keeping Virtual Wedding Ceremonies SpecialJun 11, 2021
Covid-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives, including how we conduct and attend wedding ceremonies.
With rules frequently changing and risks fluctuating, many couples are opting to take their weddings online, rather than postponing them or cancelling. This inevitably proves challenging for wedding celebrants who have never gone digital before - but thankfully, there are still ways of making the event special.
In 2020, an estimated two thirds of engaged couples postponed their wedding, likely with the hope that 2021 would be a better year. And who could blame them? A wedding day is one of the most important occasions of a person’s life - so for many, holding out a little longer was a small price to pay.
Unfortunately, 2021 and 2022 looks set to be ambiguous in terms of how ceremonies are conducted, how many people can attend and what the criteria for attending will be. While vaccines and treatments are advancing, new variants, travel restrictions and social distancing rules are still very much part of our lives.
With this level of uncertainty, going fully or partly virtual can be a tempting option. But how does that work, and how can a wedding celebrant help facilitate that unique process?
Planning A Virtual Wedding Effectively
Wedding celebrants are faced with increasing challenges due to Covid-19, with customer cancellations being one of the most prevalent. It is crucial therefore that any celebrant is equipped with the latest advice and information on conducting beautiful virtual weddings.
The most important aspect of this is in the planning.
Firstly, your customers must decide who (if anyone) should be physically at the ceremony in person. The bride, groom and celebrant should all try to be in the same location to retain the intimacy of the ceremony. Guests, bridesmaids, groomsmen and other family members may then attend virtually so they can see and hear everything that’s happening - as though they were there in person. So, step 1 is to decide who would benefit from attending in person, and who might be safer attending virtually.
The rest of the planning can be almost identical to your normal ceremony preparations - deciding what the ceremony should include, how long it should last and where it should be held.
Then, it’s critical to plan the technical aspects of the virtual wedding ceremony, which will be covered below.
Technical requirements for a virtual wedding ceremony
During the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming a wedding celebrant means becoming comfortable with technology suites and softwares that best facilitate a ceremony.
Here are some options to explore:
Zoom: One of the most popular and affordable event hosting platforms, and certainly one of the best known. Zoom allows you to host a high quality event with live interactions, clear and easy tools and allows up to 100 people to join at once.
SpotMe: A popular choice amongst technically-minded folk, SpotMe is a one-stop-shop for all event management and hosting needs. While in session, participants can receive personalised content, interact with other guests, take part in games and polls and receive individualised updates.
MegaMeeting: For far bigger ceremonies, MegaMeeting offers an unlimited number of participants with all the features of Zoom and SpotMe. It also allows for more extravagant customisation so that your creative juices can really flow as you plan a fancy virtual wedding for your customers.
(There are many more to choose from, however, what’s particularly good about these platforms is you can use them for other aspects of your business promotion and lead conversion too. We can discuss the specifics of that another time).
Once you have decided on a platform, you need to become comfortable using it. Nobody will appreciate the embarrassment of Great Aunt Ros being kicked out of the ceremony right before the ‘I do’.
Which raises another point - older guests will also need to know how to join a wedding virtually. According to AgeUK (2016), 4.2 million people over the age of 65 do not use the internet at all, and around three fifths of adults over 75 occasionally use the internet but not frequently. It’s important to keep this information in mind when planning a virtual wedding. All participants will need clear instructions on how to access the virtual event, what is expected of them during the ceremony and how to then exit the ceremony at the appropriate time.
Proper wedding invitations with these details inside is a crucial step to virtual wedding success. The invitation should clearly state the date, time, website link, any relevant passwords, and (for the less tech savvy) clear instructions on how to join via webcam, how to switch on or off the audio, and an explanation of what they can expect to see on their screens.
A safe way of ensuring everything goes smoothly on the day is to have a test run in advance. Any guests with technical worries may benefit from being accompanied by another person who can help.
Send Guests a Bundle Of Goodies
Depending on how much interaction you’d like the guests to have during the event, it might be wise for the couple to send out gift bundles in advance. These bundles might include many of the items guests would have enjoyed if they had attended in person. For example:
- An individual small bottle of prosecco or champagne and pop-up champagne glass
- A written copy of the vows and speeches in case anyone is having problems hearing
- An agenda
- A wedding favour
- Games or activities that’ll be played during the ceremony
Set Realistic Expectations
Weddings are emotional events and not having particular loved-ones present can be hard on any couple. It’s important that couples know what to expect from their virtual wedding including how they might feel not having their nearest and dearest present.
Also, as with any technology, hiccups can happen. Sometimes this is unavoidable. Prepare your customers for the realities of having a virtual wedding but also create a backup plan in case disaster strikes.
For example, if the wifi cuts out, you can hotspot from someone’s smart phone to get internet on your laptop again. Little contingency plans like this can help avert disaster and keep a smoothly run ceremony.
We love to help our celebrants and couples understand the best ways to host virtual ceremonies - so if you have any questions or even want to share ideas, get in touch with us today.