Top 10 Tips: How To Plan A Virtual Elopement Wedding (aka Zoom Wedding)
Brides and grooms were already finding unique ways to incorporate technical elements into their wedding day, but COVID-19 has accelerated the use of technology during planning. Not only are couples having virtual meetings with vendors, they are hosting virtual events ahead of the wedding day and streaming the wedding itself in order to keep friends and family safe and healthy.
This trend is likely here to stay! Not only are virtual weddings safer during the pandemic, they are a great way to celebrate with friends and family members who are unable to attend your wedding, especially if you want to get married at some far-flung destination.
A virtual elopement is a lot different than a traditional wedding. It’s different than a traditional elopement too! Here’s what you need to know about planning one that is just as meaningful and memorable as a traditional ceremony and reception.
Plan Your Ceremony at the Right Time
Do you dream of a wedding ceremony at dusk on a Hawaiian beach? Or maybe you want to get married in Australia? Make sure you consider the time zones of family members before you commit to a time. That way, everyone can be in attendance without having to get up at 2:00 AM to be there virtually.
Consider Length Very Carefully
Not only do you have to consider ceremony start time, you also have to consider the length of both your ceremony and reception. Although a virtual event can be a lot of fun, there’s no denying that it’s never going to be as exciting as being there in real life. Attention spans can be much shorter for people sitting at home in front of a computer, so make sure you keep things short and sweet, or you come up with ways to keep a lively pace.
Make Sure Guests Can Participate
One way to fight short attention spans and boredom for guests who are attending your event virtually is to find ways for them to participate.
For example, some platforms offer virtual waiting rooms where your guests can talk to and hang out with each other before your ceremony. You can also consider asking them to participate in a virtual experience. Guests can do readings, or you can ask them to record a short message that can be turned into a video montage and sent out to guests after the event. Send bubbles and they can have fun celebrating your I do’s from home!
Don’t Give up on Style!
Just because your elopement is virtual doesn’t mean you have to give up on style! You can still create the theme of your dreams. Record your ceremony in front of a dramatic flower wall, decorate the space with dozens of tealight candles, and order the fancy cake you’ve always wanted.
Attire matters too! You still deserve to wear the wedding dress or the suit of your dreams, even if all of your guests are attending virtually.
Capture the Moment
When virtual elopements started catching on at the beginning of the pandemic, brides and grooms were understandably sad because a virtual ceremony seems a lot less meaningful and important than a traditional ceremony. It’s easy to forgo special details, like décor, attire, and services, like photography. You shouldn’t!
A virtual elopement is just as meaningful as a traditional ceremony, so make sure you capture the moment. Hire a photographer and videographer to document the day, whether anyone is in attendance or not.
Tripod Streaming an In-Home Wedding Ceremony: http://tannerburgephoto.com/blog/virtual-wedding, Homemade Strawberry Jam Wedding Favor: F Dellit Designs, Man Signing a Marriage License: Anna and Spencer Photography
Make Things Easier With a Wedding Website
It’s important to keep everyone informed, no matter what kind of wedding you’re having, but it is especially important with a virtual wedding. It's important for guests to know how to sign into the event, if there are any changes to times, and other details, like if virtual guests should abide by a dress code. Having a wedding website gives all your guests one place to find this information.
Invest in the Latest Technology
If the majority of your guests will be attending your wedding virtually, you want to make sure the quality of the technology you use is up-to-par. You don’t want to rely on an old cell phone’s camera or microphone!
A few pieces of tech you may want to rent or buy include:
- AV screen
- Video recorder or high-tech phone
Consider Hiring Virtual Wedding Support
If the idea of trying to assemble all the right equipment, figuring out how the streaming or conferencing platform you’re using works, and getting the angles right stresses you out, you may want to consider hiring virtual wedding support.
Finding a pro who offers this kind of service will get easier as the popularity of virtual weddings persist. If you’re having a hard time hiring someone to provide you with virtual wedding support, enlist the help of a tech-savvy friend or family member to be in charge of the virtual aspect of your wedding.
Send Favors in the Mail
Show guests you care about their virtual attendance by sending them a favor in the mail to be opened on your big day. Send a little favor box full of goodies for them to snack on during your reception, or send them something homemade they can enjoy days after they attend your virtual elopement.
If you really want to take your virtual elopement to another level, have dinner, specialty cocktails, or cupcakes delivered to guests ahead of your reception.
Make Sure Your Marriage Is Legal
Make sure you know the marriage requirements where you live. This will include obtaining a marriage license ahead of your nuptials and finding someone who is legally able to perform your ceremony.
Fortunately, executive orders have enabled municipal offices to allow virtual marriage ceremonies, so you can still be legally married. However, if you just want to honor a special date, you can always have a small, meaningful ceremony and wait to make it legal later on down the road.