When it comes to love, coronavirus had better watch out. Despite all hurdles and obstacles, love somehow always finds a way to come out on top. During this difficult season, we’ve seen many couples having to cancel or postpone their weddings, and it’s been absolutely heart-breaking for us to witness. In response, Simply Eloped is now officially offering Virtual Ceremonies, performed through Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or other preferred video conferencing tools. While we’re unable at this time to make these ceremonies legal, we’re able to perform symbolic ceremonies or vow renewals for you and your honey to profess your love to one another. In many of these platforms, guests and/or recording of the event are available. Here are our 10 tips on how to make your virtual ceremony as special as any other ceremony.
Choose a Video Platform to Perform your Virtual Wedding
Start by choosing which platform you’d like to host your ceremony, whether you choose to invite guests or not. If you’re seeking something more private, we definitely recommend Zoom. Only those with a specific link and password will be able to access the room. If you’re seeking to go big platforms like Facebook Live or Instagram Stories can be a fun way to broadcast the ceremony. Skype is another option, though if you’re inviting guests to your virtual ceremony, this may be difficult to access if they don’t have an exiting account.
Choose Time & Date
Work with your honey and your guests to determine what date and time will be the best for your ceremony. Take into consideration days of the week that may be special to your relationship, or preferred time. For example, if you’re a night owl why not embody and perform your ceremony in the late evening. Let the day of week and time highlight specific elements of your relationship that are special or unique to the both of you, but that also work for your guests, should you be inviting any.
Create Guest List and Send Invites
Discuss with your partner whether or not you would like to remotely invite any guests to your virtual wedding. If it brings either of you anxiety to invite family or friends into the live ceremony, consider recording the event and then sending out the video at a later date or time. If you do choose to invite guests, determine who you would like to be present. Ensure your date and time is something your intended guests can swing and then send out official invites so they know to block out that time. You can invite through evites, Facebook event, Facebook group or group texts.
Whether your online ceremony is legal or not, you’ll need someone to administer the ceremony. If you do intend to have a legal online ceremony, your officiant will need to be registered with the state you live in. If you’re performing a symbolic or committal ceremony, anyone – brother, father, friend, cousin – can officiate your ceremony for you. Be sure it’s a person you’re comfortable with who will respect the solemnity of your wedding. This is about your love – not about their ability to crack a great joke! Whomever you choose, ensure that they have your ceremony on their schedule and are prepared to perform a ceremony on your chosen date and time. Some professional officiants may require a deposit.
Work with Officiant to Create Ceremony Script
It’s always a good idea to work with your officiant to create a script prior to your ceremony. There are many components to personalizing a script, including regular traditions, vow exchanges or methods of including your guests. You can choose which traditions get included such as mentioning of a passed loved one, community vow, ring exchange and many others. It’s always nice for the officiant to have a bit of back-story to incorporate into the ceremony script. It’s helpful for the officiant to know if you intend to do a vow exchange or not. There are also religious elements you can choose to include like reading a piece of scripture or telling a biblical story. Whatever you envision for your big day, be sure to give your officiant a heads up so she or he can properly prepare.
Create Your Filming Atmosphere
We definitely don’t recommend just point and shoot for your big day, especially if you’re inviting guests. Here are a few filming elements to pre-plan prior to saying “I do” on camera:
- Lighting – indoor will generally be pretty dark. See if you’re able to position lamps, open shades/curtains and position yourself in the brightest area of the house. If your house is naturally dark everywhere, performing your ceremony outdoors may be your best bet.
- Sound – many phones and laptops have built-in mics but depending on how far you position yourself, if may not pick up both you and your honey. If you have a stand-alone mic, you may want to utilize it for your ceremony to enhance and project your sound.
- Positioning – If you and your partner will be in the same space during your ceremony, you’ll want to ensure that as you face one another that the screen or phone captures the both of you. This may take some testing and playing around with to perfect.
- Background – Take into consideration that your guests will be seeing an intimate part of your lives – your home and space! Be cognizant of what is in your background.
- Test, test, test – It’s always a good idea to test the audio, video and technology prior to inviting your guests into the platform.
Perform a Tech Dry Run
After working out these filming elements on your own time prior to your virtual ceremony, it’s great to connect with your officiant on whichever video platform you’re utilizing to ensure the video, audio and technology are all working properly. For instance, Zoom auto-mutes everyone when you enter a room if you’re not the host. Getting Facebook Live to broadcast from your phone takes setting up the platform. There may be steps included you’re unaware of and the last thing you want to be stressing about on your wedding day is technology. We recommend performing your tech dry run the day prior to your ceremony or at least a couple of hours before-hand to ensure all aspects are a ‘go’!
Speak Loudly & Clearly During Ceremony
It may be counter-intuitive to speak at a high volume when your partner is standing a foot from you but if you’re quiet or speaking intimately, your guests and officiant may be not be able to hear what’s happening between the two of you. You want everyone attending your virtual wedding to feel as if they’re there with you, so be sure to speak with enunciation and projection during your very special ceremony so everyone can hear and participate.
Find Creative Ways to Incorporate Guests
Virtual ceremonies are new so there are no rules! Use this opportunity to make your guests feel even more immersed than they would’ve expected. Send them party favors or a bottle of champagne (split of course) they can pop as soon as you both say ‘I Do’. Let all your guests know what the theme or dress attire is so they can arrange and come appropriately prepared. Perhaps even throw a digital bachelor, bachelorette or reception so your guests can really get down with you both in a celebratory way! Come up with your own ideas on how to make your guests feel fully involved in this very special moment.
Don’t Forget to Capture the Moment
It’s always a good idea to put someone in charge of capturing screen shots or ensuring a recording is captured of the ceremony so you can keep that memory forever. It may be a virtual wedding, but it’s still a wedding! Once parks open back up, book a photographer to photograph the two of you to better help you remember this special time of your lives. Your love survived the coronavirus which means it can survive anything else!
You can read more about hiring Simply Eloped for your virtual ceremony here.