If you’re reading this, you might be the couple that has been engaged for over a year now. (Or maybe more–thank you very little COVID 19). The thought of having to postpone your wedding date yet another time sounds like dying a slow and painful death. We hear you! This doesn’t have to be your fate though. With the rise in virtual weddings, many couples are choosing to honor their original wedding date through a virtual wedding ceremony. They plan on having a larger celebration at a later date, when things slow down in the world.
In our humble opinion, this is the BEST of both worlds. You get to honor your original date with a beautiful virtual wedding ceremony and then have a bumpin’ party down the road. The most amazing part? You won’t be half as stressed at the sequel party because it’s less of a ‘reception’ and more of a full out celebration. Given the fact that virtual weddings are a new thing, many couples are wondering how this all works. In the post, we will look at how to successfully pull off a virtual wedding ceremony and make it a memorable occasion for all!
Step #1: Decide on a Location for Your Virtual Wedding Ceremony
This is really the first thing to nail down, when you begin planning for your virtual wedding. Begin brainstorming ideas of where you want to say “I Do!” Keep in mind that the most important thing is strong Wifi connection. So while that beautiful secluded spot on the beach would make for an amazing backdrop, it might not lend itself to a seamless Zoom stream. If strong Wifi is not an option, then a backup is to ensure that you have strong cell reception in that area. You can test this by doing a test Zoom meeting in the exact location while running off of cellular data. Listed below are some amazing locations we’ve seen for virtual weddings:
- Beautiful backyards/patios (this is a great option, as you are most likely close to the Wifi connection in the house)
- In front of a fireplace or mantel
- Rooftops of city buildings (hello STUNNING views!)
- A specific room in a wedding venue or restaurant
- National parks or local neighborhood parks (you must have strong cellular data here)
If you want to read more about selecting an amazing virtual wedding venue, check out this blog post for more in depth information.
Things to Consider When Picking a Spot for Your Virtual Wedding Ceremony
- An “anchor” for your ceremony. The set up for a virtual wedding ceremony can be very simple. However, the most important thing to consider is that you need something to serve as the “focal point” or anchor behind. This could be a floral arch, fireplace, mantle, front door or chuppah. You want your space to look artfully created and be visually appealing during the ceremony.
- Spice up your backdrop. If you plan on exchanging vows in front of a blank wall, consider how you can add visual appeal to it. Move a beautiful piece of art to that wall or purchase a piece of fabric to drape behind you. Add a few candles and flowers and you are ready to go!
- Consider natural light. The best lighting is always natural light. So consider having your virtual wedding ceremony during daylight hours. If this is not a possibility, make sure you add in other sources of light so that your guests can clearly see your faces.
Step #2: Decide on an Officiant for Your Wedding
Deciding on an officiant should fall early on in your planning process. You want to ensure that your officiant doesn’t have any conflicting events happening on your wedding date. Additionally, we urge you to be creative when selecting your officiant! Gone are the days of your options being limited to just judges and members of clergy. Check out this blog post for more information on how to select your virtual wedding officiant. Keep in mind that some states are allowing for officiants to legally marry couples via Zoom and some states are requiring that they must be present with you. If you live in a state this is requiring the officiant to be present with you, you can always handle the legal ceremony beforehand. Then on the Zoom it will be more of a formality…but your virtual guests will never know!
Some Things to Consider When Working with Your Officiant
- Let them know the time commitment. Many people have never attended a virtual wedding, let alone officiated one. Given the fact this is new territory for most people, you will want to have a conversation with them beforehand. Let your officiant know that they will want to join the AV call (approx 1 hour Zoom call), the rehearsal call (approx 1 hour Zoom call) and join the virtual ceremony before the start time.
- Touch base about their script. Make sure to have a conversation with your officiant about what is going to be said in your ceremony. Ask them if they have a pre-written script (mostly applies to faith-based officiants) or if you will need to provide them with what they will be saying. Additionally, if you don’t know your officiant well, consider setting up some time to chat with them & share some anecdotes about yourselves and your story as a couple. This will help to bring the ceremony to life!
- Give them ample time. For most people, officiating a wedding is a big deal. They will want to do it right and make you feel celebrated on the most important day of your life. Make sure to ask your officiant far in advance, so they have time to prepare and feel confident in what they are going to be saying.
- Advise them for the call. Let your officiant know whether they will be joining you in person or virtually. If they are joining virtually, encourage them to join the Zoom meeting from a quiet, well lit spot in their house. Lastly, make sure that they have a strong WiFi connection!
Step #3: Decide on Your Virtual Ceremony Script
Time and time again, we have heard the following feedback from virtual guests of Wedfuly weddings. “The ceremony and vows were SO MUCH better than in person!” “I could hear and see everything!” “It was like I got a front row seat to everything happening!” And that folks, is the magic of a virtual wedding ceremony. Your guests will be able to see and hear every little detail…down to the sniffle that comes from the groom as he sees you walk down the aisle for the first time.
That being said, you might be thinking “how do I know how to structure a ceremony in the first place??” Fear not, beautiful people. We have you covered. Check out this blog post for an in-depth look at the flow of a traditional American wedding ceremony. Keep in mind that you can be as creative as you want with your ceremony. The only necessary pieces that you must include are the declaration of intent and the pronouncement of marriage.
Need Some Help with Your Virtual Wedding Ceremony Script?
Unlike most of life, wedding ceremonies are a great time to copy, copy, copy. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of coming up with a script for your wedding, you are not alone. However, don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel in order for your virtual wedding ceremony to be special. Consider pulling from any of these pre-written scripts and tweaking them to fit your needs. Throw in a special reading or poem and you will have a completely unique and tailored wedding script that will leave your guests teary eyed. Additionally, listed below are some tips to ensure that your virtual wedding ceremony is a success:
Tips For Success
- Consider peoples’ attention spans. In general, guests’ attention spans are a bit shorter in the virtual world than in real life. Consider how you can keep your ceremony meaningful, while also not going so long that you might lose people.
- Include virtual participants. The wedding ceremony is a great time to include any virtual guests as a part of it all. Choose a close friend or family member to do a reading or recite a special passage of a book. This way they feel included in all parts of your day!
- Think about the music. We have seen Wedfuly couples opt for many different options when it comes to music. Some choose to have all of their music played via Spotify. While others opt for live musicians on site or live musicians via Zoom. All of these are wonderful options and will bring life and joy to your ceremony!
- Provide guests with a program of events. Many times when you attend weddings in person, you are often handed a program of events. This helps guests know what to anticipate is coming. Consider creating a program of events to give to your virtual guests. You can either have your Wedfuly host broadcast this via the Zoom or you can send a printed copy along with their invitations. This is especially helpful so that guests know how long the virtual event will go and don’t log off early.
Step #4: Work with Your Wedfuly Coordinator to Nail Down More Logistics
When working with your Wedfuly coordinator, your first two meetings will be fully dedicated to nailing down logistics and planning for your virtual wedding. It’s i