One of the highlights of most weddings is getting to celebrate with your nearest and dearest. However, it’s not always possible to have everyone together physically, whether that’s due to health, finances or a global pandemic.

Luckily, thanks to modern technology, that doesn’t mean your friends and family have to miss it entirely.

“It might seem like having a virtual ceremony feels less intimate than a traditional wedding, but it's actually a very personal experience,” says Karen Norian, editor at Simply Eloped. “Stripping away any of the frills of a traditional wedding day really allows the couple and their guests to focus on the incredible moments leading up to becoming husband and wife.”

While a virtual wedding may not be the event you’ve always dreamed of, it does have its advantages.

“We’ve heard from many couples that they were able to have more family and friends join their virtual ceremony than would have been able to attend their physical wedding, as they didn’t have budget restrictions or headcount limitations,” says Vishal Joshi, co-founder and CEO of Joy, a wedding technology company.

If you’re considering live streaming your event, here are some expert tips and tricks for ensuring it’s just as special and memorable as a traditional wedding.

1. Double-check your state’s laws

Unless you want your wedding to be strictly ceremonial, you’ll need to account for your state’s specific requirements for marriages.

“Most states will require an in-person officiant and some will also require witnesses to be present, however amid COVID-19, some states have made virtual marriage license appointments and weddings legal,” says Caroline Creidenberg, founder and CEO of Wedfuly, a wedding planner.

2. Set up the equipment

There are only two things you need to live stream your wedding: a device with a camera, like a phone or laptop, and video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Google Meet.

There are a few pieces of equipment that can enhance the experience, though. As a best practice, Wedfuly recommends two tripods, two devices (laptops, phones, tablets) and a speaker with microphone capabilities.

“You definitely want to capture both the processional as well as the ceremony, so two separate devices connected is great,” adds Creidenberg. “Some people even get as fancy as adding ‘vow cameras,’ which are separate devices set up to capture the faces of each person getting married.”

3. Make your space special

If you’re holding your virtual ceremony in an informal setting, like your own home, take the time to make it a little extra special for your big day.

“Whether that's arranging an array of lit candles behind you, hanging twinkle lights in the background, or having some fresh flowers sent for decorating your space, making your ceremony backdrop unique and special only enhances the experience,” says Norian.

4. Keep the traditions

Just because all your guests aren’t there in person doesn’t mean you have to skip all the important wedding customs.

“Couples can still incorporate almost every non-virtual wedding tradition into their day: having a first dance, cutting the cake, and having loved ones make toasts or speeches are all elements that easily transfer into a virtual ceremony,” says Norian.

So, feel free to get dressed up, light a unity candle, hire musicians – or none of the above. It’s your wedding, so get creative and enjoy it!

5. Do a trial run

Just like a traditional wedding has a rehearsal dinner, be sure to do a test run of the ceremony to eliminate any technical or logistical issues before the event begins.

Also, along with your invitations, be sure to send out “step-by-step directions for your guests can help those who aren't tech-savvy better understand how to attend your ceremony without issue,” advises Norian.

6. Hire technical assistance

Of course, the best way to ensure everything goes off without a hitch is to have support on standby in the form of a professional specialist or a tech-adept friend. That way, someone else can handle all the technical details, like troubleshooting, muting/unmuting guests and emceeing, and you can focus on enjoying the event.

“Along with that, we recommend having someone onsite to ensure things are set up and running smoothly. Heaven forbid the wind knocks a tripod over or the audio cuts out, Wedfuly can then talk directly with the onsite contact to get those issues sorted out quickly and painlessly,” adds Creidenberg.

7. Capture the moments

Another tradition you don’t have to skip – wedding photos. If possible, consider hiring a professional photographer to document the day from multiple angles. Or, you can go the DIY route by using a self-timer and tripod set up.

©CTW Features