I’ve been using Zoom for my meetings for a long time. For so long in fact, that I used to have to put in brackets in my emails (it’s like Skype) when I suggested it to my couples because it wasn’t very mainstream. Oh, how times have changed!
No matter how big or small your wedding is, there are bound to be some relatives or friends that can’t make your wedding. Hosting your wedding ceremony online is the simplest and cheapest option to include guests who can’t be there for whatever reason.
Zoom is now one of the go-to streaming platforms for work around the world, and it has also pulled ahead of the pack for weddings because it’s user-friendly and most people know how it works which makes it pretty low-stress for the guests.
It’s a little more stressful on the wedding side, so if you are thinking about live streaming your wedding, make sure you plan it properly and then delegate this very important task to one or two tech-savvy guests, because if it doesn’t work, it’ll be a bit devastating for you and your online guests.
I’m far from an expert but this is what I’ve learned from the last 18 months of live streaming:
Guest Participation is 🔑
💚 Give your at-home guests a formal invitation with the streaming address well in advance like Rachel & Matt did. Let them know how to prepare: how to dress, whether they should bring food or drinks, and approximately how long the live-stream will last.
💚 Start the video ahead of time so that the virtual guests can have a chance to chat unmuted with each other.
💚 Ask in-person attendees to say hello and introduce themselves to everyone online.
💚 Occasionally look directly at the camera or even wave at them during the ceremony.
💚 During the signing, I encourage them to top up their drinks so we can all finish off the ceremony with a toast.
💚 It is also possible to unmute a guest for them to do a reading or give some marriage advice.
💚 Keep them online after the ceremony so the couple can receive congratulations and all the online guests can have a chat with the newlyweds.
💛 Other platforms to consider- Vimeo, Google Meet, Facebook Live, Skype, Apple’s Group FaceTime and YouTube Live, Twitter Periscope, Amazon Twitch, Dacast, Instagram TV, EventLive and LoveStream.
❤️ Liaise with your photographer on camera positioning- you don’t want to hinder them from doing their job. Often the person setting it up, places the camera in the middle of aisle until I politely point out that the person getting married needs to walk that way! Consider having it just to the right or the left of the aisle in the second row or moving the tripod back into the aisle after the walking in is complete. Your ideal Point of View may depend on how many actual guests are attending the wedding in person, and how close you want your online guests to be.
❤️ Press the record option so you can watch the live stream back after the event and see what the virtual guests experienced. Be ready with a back up plan in case the live stream cuts out. Worst case scenario you can record the ceremony on another device and upload the recording for the guests later.
❤️ Make sure you have a Zoom Pro account as the free service cuts out after 40 mins and only allows for 100 participants.
❤️ You’ll need a strong and well-tested WIFI connection. If you are using the venue’s WIFI, you might be sharing the bandwidth. If you are using your phone, make sure you have a strong signal and enough data. Some of those Hunter vineyards are a bit dicey!
❤️ The camera (phone, tablet, laptop, GoPro) should be mounted on a tripod not held in a guest’s hand. The in-built stabilisation feature mitigates the wibble-wobble but your friend’s arm will probably want to drop off by the end of the ceremony. Oh and clean the lens before you start!
❤️ Standard wide view will be more enjoyable than portrait for anyone not watching on a phone.
❤️ Charge your device to the max so you don’t loose power for the all-important kiss.
❤️ Audio is likely to be the biggest problem. Phones need to be very close to pick up what is being said. Ask your celebrant to use a PA even if there are only a few guests. Consider investing in some upgraded equipment to ensure optimal sound quality. If the ceremony is outside, then buying an external microphone with a sound baffle aka a windshield is a no-brainer. There are some low cost versions that plug directly into smartphones. You might want to go all out and pin a wireless mic onto you or your partner.
❤️ Consider the time of day of the ceremony and find the best spot lighting-wise by avoiding direct sunlight and harsh shadows.
❤️ Get your dedicated tech-person to arrive early to set up and check everything. Considering
going live about 30 mins before the ceremony for a 5 min test with somebody watching online who can give feedback so that problems can be troubleshooted without delaying the start of the ceremony.
If the thought of streaming your wedding on your own, stresses you, don’t discount using a professional streaming service like Event Pix who offer a multi-camera service using professional video cameras, microphones and mixing equipment or Natural Lights Photography who are a local photography and videography company who have become experts in live streaming since the pandemic.
I am a top tier public speaker, own a label maker (and love it!), prefer emails to texts, normally show up in a thrifted high-end dress, am a paper and pen girl, love New Year's resolutions and am single-handedly bringing sequins back into fashion. .