The COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives. But you don’t have to cancel, or even postpone, your wedding! With some careful planning, you can still celebrate your special day with your family and friends. And, best of all, they can still see you and your spouse-to-be exchange vows and rings.
A livestreamed wedding can be just as beautiful and memorable as a large in-person gathering. While some companies like Wedfuly and WebWedMobile offer all-inclusive virtual wedding packages, many couples are organizing livestreamed weddings on their own. These great ideas can help you get started on making your Zoom wedding plans.
- Get creative with your location.
Most traditional venues are closed because of COVID-19. But you can have a beautiful ceremony in a non-traditional space. You and your spouse-to-be can set up a ceremony in a backyard, by a body of water, or in a public park (if this is allowed where you live). Some couples have held Zoom weddings at places like aquariums or botanical gardens that are currently closed to large groups. And one New York couple’s wedding went viral when they stood on a sidewalk while their officiant conducted the ceremony from an apartment balcony.
As long as your ceremony can take place while observing public safety guidelines, you can make meaningful memories anywhere. Just make sure you rehearse a time or two at the location before the day of your ceremony. You don’t want to find out that it’s garbage pickup day in the area or that planes fly over your location during the time the cameras are turned on!
- Make sure you’re well-lit.
In order for your guests to see you, you’ll need lighting. You don’t need a professional lighting setup. But you will want to practice setting up your camera(s) at your location during the same time of day to see how the lighting looks. If you’re outside, you might want to consider having your ceremony in the late afternoon or around sunset. There’s a reason that filmmakers call this time of day “golden hour”—lighting is warm and even and will make your location look lovely. Natural light will look the best on camera, so keep that in mind as you plan.
- Add a little music.
Weddings usually have music and Zoom weddings can too. You can use a phone playlist. Or, if your location and budget will allow it, hire a musician who can remain socially distanced while providing some live music. You’ll be supporting a local businessperson while making your special day even more unique!
- Splurge on a fancy cake or dinner.
Since you won’t have to worry about anyone’s meal preferences (or guest count), you and your spouse-to-be may want to upgrade what you have to eat after your ceremony. Instead of a big, multi-layered wedding cake, you might choose a few beautifully decorated French pastries or a mini cake. Or you can order a selection of chocolates from a local candy maker. And since you won’t have to provide a buffet or catered dinner, you might choose a delivered gourmet meal from a local restaurant. Especially if it’s not the sort of thing you usually do, this is a great way to mark the beginning of your life together.
- Have a (virtual) reception.
You may not be able to gather all of your friends and family in one place to eat and dance, but you can all still see each other after the ceremony! Since you won’t be expected to seat or feed your guests, you can invite as many people as you want. Just make sure the platform you’re using (whether it’s Zoom, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, etc.) can handle the number of guests who will be calling in.
You’ll need a count on how many guests you’ll have calling in to your ceremony and/or reception. Send out a quick email invitation first asking recipients to RSVP. Once you have a count of those who will attend, you’ll have a better idea of which platform can handle your wedding. Then you can send out a more detailed email invitation with a link that guests can click to attend. You can send email wedding invitations through companies like Paperless Post, eVite, or WithJoy. The invitations can be customized to be as formal or casual as you and your spouse-to-be want.
The reception is a great time to have selected friends and family give speeches or make toasts. If you want, you can even mail out celebration kits in advance. This way, your guests can have the favors you would have given out at a physical wedding or props like confetti poppers that they can use at pre-arranged times.
- Start your life together with savings, not debt.
Whatever location and food you choose, you will probably be saving a lot of money by holding a Zoom wedding. This is your chance to use the money you’re saving to help build a more secure financial life together. Why not take the money you set aside for a large venue, a banquet, and a reception hall and put it into a savings or certificate account? Once you’ve saved up enough for an emergency fund, you may want to start saving up for a new car or for a down payment on a house.
One final tip: Most importantly, check with your local county clerk to make sure your wedding will be legal. Some states and counties will specify that your officiant must be present in person. Others will allow the officiant to perform the ceremony virtually. And make sure you follow all instructions about signing and mailing the paperwork for your marriage certificate.
Your wedding day may not end up being the one you dreamed of. But it can still be a wonderful and meaningful occasion for you, your spouse-to-be, and your friends and family. By taking precautions and making some changes in your expectations, you can make your wedding day a blessed and beautiful start to your long, happy life together!
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.