Gone are the days of “traditional” wedding venues being your only option to host a killer bash. Now that virtual weddings are an option almost anything and anywhere can become your virtual wedding venue. While this isn’t necessarily great news for wedding venues, this IS great news for you, Why, You ask? Because you can save tons and tons of money this way. According to Wedding Forward, most couples spend 40-50% of their whole budget on just the venue alone. Meaning if you opt for a free wedding venue (aka a friend’s beautiful backyard) you could have 40-50% more money to delegate elsewhere or simply not spend! *Cue happy tears*
Number One Requirement for Your Virtual Wedding Venue
The first thing to ask when considering if a space could serve as a virtual wedding venue: does it have strong WiFi? While it is possible to boost your WiFi with a mobile hotspot or a WiFi extender…the best practice for virtual weddings is to start with a strong connection. Your WiFi upload speed needs to be at least 5 megabytes upload to have a successful virtual wedding. The WiFi strength ensures that your guests will be able to see the wedding and reception clearly and will not be looking at pixelated blobs. (Because no one wants that!)
Different Virtual Wedding Venue Options
At Home Venues
Most couples don’t imagine themselves getting married in their living room or backyard. That’s fair–we get it! However, some of the most beautiful and intimate weddings we’ve seen at Wedfuly have taken place at home. Consider if there is a space in your house that could serve as a backdrop for your I-DOs. Think: fireplace with candle-covered mantle or a beautiful patio with a flower arch on it. Or maybe you live in NYC and have a balcony with an incredible view of the city. It doesn’t have to be fancy or extravagant–it just has to represent you and feel like a special place that you would like to tie the knot in. If you don’t have a space that would work, consider asking a close friend or family member if they would consider allowing you to use their space or their backyard. Chances are they would be flattered to lend you their space for such a special day!
If getting married at home isn’t quite your style, fear not. Another great option that many Wedfuly couples opt for is an AirBnB or VRBO. If you plan on having just you and your honey stay there–consider finding a quaint space with a beautiful view for the ceremony and reception. Imagine waking up in a beautiful home or apartment and having a leisurely breakfast while you prep for your big day! Another option if you are planning on having more people there is to consider a larger space that can house more guests. This way your close group of friends + family can stay there and you can host dinner there afterwards. *Wedfuly pro tip: with all of the money you will be saving on the venue, consider splurging on a private chef to cook the meals for you all weekend long.
If you are the sentimental type, think of a place that holds significance to you. Maybe you love the outdoors….consider a park, a national park or even a weekend of glamping! Maybe you spent your summers as a kid at the lake….host an intimate ceremony on the dock. (*Wedfuly pro tip: try to be as cool as one of our couples that had the groom come in for the ceremony on a boat!) Or maybe there is a bar or restaurant where you shared your first date. See if it is possible to rent out the patio or part of the space to host your event! You name it–we’ve seen it done. And we are here for it!
Styling tips for your Virtual Wedding Venue
When thinking through how to set up your space for your virtual wedding, consider the following:
- Lighting: Use natural light if possible and don’t stand in front of a window, as this will show up on camera the clearest. However, if natural light is not a possibility and the sun has gone down, consider purchasing “ring lighting” from Amazon. This is an expensive way to cast light on anybody that is speaking on the Zoom.
- Decor: When it comes to decor for your virtual wedding, the old saying “less is more” rings true. Consider a “framing piece” that will frame you as you exchange your vows. Think: floral arch, wooden structure, chuppah or even wooden whiskey barrels on either side. If you are indoors, consider a fireplace, mantel or doorway to be your anchor. Then add simple decor such as rugs, flowers, candles, vases or drapery. Last but not least, define your “aisle” with rugs, flower petals or candles.
Let’s say you’ve already booked a venue for your wedding date…that can work too! The beauty of this is that you might be able to still save some money! If you are considering having a smaller or micro-wedding, see if there is a smaller room that can accommodate your party, while still maintaining the vibe that you are going for with the venue. If you are struggling to picture how this could work, imagine this. Your processional down the hotel’s beautiful winding staircase, have the ceremony in the elegant hotel lobby and then have the reception in a smaller room afterwards. Trust us; we’ve seen it done and it is every bit as amazing as it sounds! If you do decide to opt for a traditional wedding venue, there are a few things to keep in mind that your venue should provide.
A Good Venue Will Provide:
- Tables and chairs. Renting a venue that also provides tables and chairs will not only make your life easier, but also save you from spending extra money. If you absolutely can’t live with the tables and chairs they already have, make sure you have the budget to rent other ones.
- Getting-ready space. While not necessary by any means, it’ll give you a nice place to put everything during the night. If you do have a wedding party, they will have lots of stuff that they’ve brought along for the day. If there isn’t a separate room for you all to crash, make sure there is a small closet or some space to put things. It’s also a perk if you want to have hair and makeup done onsite. While it may be more expensive to have the hair and makeup people come to you, this can save you some time in your day.
- A venue manager. Having a venue manager onsite is almost always a must! While we’ve worked at a lot of different venues throughout our time, we still don’t know the intricate ins and outs of a space. We won’t have keys to unlock power boxes for DJs to plug into or know which light switch to dim during the first dance. Having someone onsite who is 100% familiar with every aspect of the venue is immensely helpful for a smooth event. A venue manager is separate and holds a different role than a day-of coordinator, as they are the one that are employed through the actual venue.
Some limitations of an official venue:
- Required caterers and bartenders. While some might view this as a big time saver, others might feel limited by their options. Some venues will require you to use their specific caterers and bartenders to host the event. This is also where it can get more expensive, than if you were opting for more “casual” food such as a barbeque buffet. Some venues may allow you to choose from an open list of caterers, but won’t allow food trucks or “fast casual” food vendors.
- Required beverage group. Some venues will require you to work with a specific beverage provider group. They’ll either require purchasing and bartending from a specific, insured and certified group or they’ll allow you to bring in outside alcohol, but still require a certified and insured bartender to serve. They might also require you to pay an alcohol minimum….meaning that you will have to pay a certain amount upfront, knowing that your guests might not drink that many drinks. This is where it becomes much more expensive than if you were to host an event on private property and provide the alcohol/bartending yourself.
No matter where you end up having your wedding–whether it’s in your backyard or a 5 star hotel, it’s going to be great. That’s the beauty of virtual weddings–there is no one “right” way to do it. So be true to you and know that Wedfuly is here to help you with the rest!