Up until this point in our world, there have been many written and unwritten “rules” of etiquette for traditional weddings. Save the dates should go out six to eight months before the wedding. Invitations should go out six to eight weeks before the wedding. Don’t bring a plus one unless they were invited. Don’t wear white to a wedding. Don’t be that bridesmaid that drinks 8 glasses of Chardonnay 😉 But now with the rise in virtual weddings, this begs the question: what is the etiquette for virtual weddings? While this area is still rapidly evolving and changing, there are definitely some best practices to ensure a successful wedding! Let’s dive into the best Zoom wedding etiquette for hosts and guests.
Zoom Wedding Etiquette + tips for the couple
- Nail down the date + venue + major vendors. While there is significantly less planning involved in a virtual wedding, there are certain things that you need to secure early on. The first step is to decide on the date + time of your wedding. The ideal time for a wedding is during daylight hours or sunset, as natural light provides the best quality lighting. However, if you decide on a later time, make sure that you have plenty of candles/other lighting to make sure your guests can see you clearly. The next step is to lock in your venue and any major vendors. This could be as simple as securing your parent’s backyard or deciding on the ideal place in your own home. Lastly, decide if any vendors (ie: florist, photographer, cake maker) are important to you and book those early on.
- Decide if you are going to DIY or hire professionals. This ultimately comes down to whether you want to elevate your Zoom to the next level, or feel comfortable with the bare bones. While every single wedding is beautiful, at Wedfuly we are biased when it comes to this decision 🙂
Communication is Key
- Send out Save the Dates + Invitations in a timely manner. When it comes to zoom wedding etiquette, the turnaround time can be much shorter than traditional weddings. Guests don’t need to book hotels or flights way far in advance, they simply need to have access to a device + good WiFi. (Amazing right??) However, it is still important to communicate your wedding details to your guests in advance, so they can block their calendars. Here is a typical timeline of what we follow at Wedfuly.
- Save the Date: 1+ month out
- RSVP: 3-4 weeks prior to the wedding
- Reminder Email: 2 days prior to the wedding
- Communicate your expectations to your guests. When guests receive their invitations to your Zoom wedding, they may be wondering what the dress code is for the event. While pajamas and sweats may be our M.O. currently, encourage your guests to dress up a bit for your special day! You may be shocked with how much people are actually looking forward to an excuse to pull out their party clothes! This also communicates to your guests that they are not “second class attendees” but rather vital parts of your big day. Additionally, communicate to your guests the time that you would like for them to log into the Zoom wedding. We recommend at least 15 minutes prior to the start time. That way there won’t be any stragglers who miss important parts of the wedding!
- Follow this guide as to what to include on your wedding invitations.
- Lose hope. For many people, a Zoom wedding is not what they imagined when they pictured themselves saying “I-Do”. However, our experience at Wedfuly is that brides and grooms alike are BLOWN AWAY by the whole experience! We firmly believe that virtual weddings are here to stay!
- Post your Zoom link publicly. And all of the Wedfuly virtual coordinators said AMEN! Please only put your Zoom link + password on your invitations that you will be sending to your guests privately. Do not post your Zoom link on your wedding website, unless your wedding website is also password protected. Lastly, don’t post your link on Facebook + Instagram….trust us on that one 🙂
- Wait until the very last minute to plan things. At the very minimum, we require 2 weeks to plan + execute a successful virtual wedding. However, the very best virtual weddings are the ones that have thought + care invested into them. Couples typically book their date with Wedfuly as soon as they feel comfortable to begin planning. They then have their first planning call 4-6 weeks before their actual start date.
- Stress about the guest list. The beauty of a virtual wedding, UNLIMITED invites. (Well, technically the meeting will cap at 1,000 devices–but close enough). Gone are the days where you can only invite your closest friends/family due to cost. With a virtual wedding, you can include anyone + everyone that your lil heart desires.
Zoom Wedding Etiquette + tips for the attendees:
- Dress up. No matter how tempting it is to keep the same pair of leggings that you’ve worn for the past 8858599 days….just don’t 🙂 View this as an opportunity to bust out that suit you haven’t worn in months. The Zoom wedding will be recorded and therefore your friends will thank you for not wearing your high school soccer T shirt! **Wedfuly pro tip: while it is tempting to opt for “business on top, party on bottom” beware that you might get busted during the group dance. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya!
- Be mindful of attendees. Although this area is definitely more lax than when attending an in-person wedding, it is still important to be mindful of your invitation. If your invitation is addressed to you + your significant other, then it should be the two of you. If your invitation is addressed to just the adults, and not the children–this is something to keep in mind too.
- Consider giving a gift, if possible. Given the current state of our world, everyone is in a different place financially. If you feel that you are in a good place to give a gift to the newlyweds, then go for it! Most newlyweds will still have registries, even though they aren’t hosting an in-person event. If you aren’t in a place to give a gift currently, opt for a thoughtful handwritten note. In the days of texts + emails, the power of a handwritten letter goes a long way.
- RSVP on time + show up on time. Even though the wedding is virtual, your prompt RSVP still matters. The couple will want to have an idea of who is going to be attending–just as they would with an in person wedding. Additionally, pay close attention to the time that the invitation says to log on. The couple might want you to log on 10-15 minutes before the processional begins, to make sure that everyone is situated and ready to go.
- Keep speeches short and sweet. We’ve ALL been there–the cringey speech from the best man that should have ended 15 minutes ago. The same logic applies to Zoom. Given the fact that participants will be staring at a screen and not in person, keep it short! If you are asked beforehand to speak, thoughtfully craft a speech that shows your love for the couple, while being mindful of the time. The same goes for an open mic toasting situation–be mindful of the time and of other guests who might be wanting to speak.
- Join the meeting from a chaotic or messy location. Pick a space in your house that will be a calm + quiet place to attend the meeting, free from distractions. (Dogs + kids are exceptions obviously 🙂 This will allow you to be present and really get to savor the moment. If this isn’t feasible, consider utilizing a Zoom background. However, make sure to test this beforehand, as you don’t want to be that person whose head keeps disappearing into the background.
- Multitask + eat during the wedding. We get it–it’s SUPER tempting to fold that pile of laundry next to you or clean the kitchen while watching the wedding, but resist the urge to multitask. If you were at a wedding in person, you would give the couple your undivided attention–so please do the same for a virtual one. And lastly, UNLESS specified–please wait to chow down on your favorite snack until after the wedding. The wedding will be recorded in speaker view and gallery view, and unless you want the couple to remember what you ate for dinner that night–save it until afterwards.
Tech mistakes to avoid
- Share the Zoom link with other people. The same way that you wouldn’t share a wedding invitation with other friends, please don’t share the couple’s Zoom link with others. They have carefully chosen who they would like to be a part of their special day and would like their guests to do the same.
- Wait until the day of to test out your technology. This especially applies if you are new to using Zoom. The last thing you want to happen is to find out that your technology isn’t working on the day of the wedding and miss out on the festivities! We suggest that you download the Zoom app to whatever device you will be viewing the wedding on and do a practice round sometime before the wedding. And if you find that you are still feeling frustrated by the technology–we suggest you see if there is another group of guests that you can (safely) join to watch the wedding with!
There you have it–the tips and tricks to successfully host and attend a virtual wedding! With our rapidly changing world–we are most surely going to have to add to this list in the near future Until then–you can rest easy knowing that you won’t have committed any major Zoom wedding etiquette faux-pas. 🙂