We recently used Facetime and Zoom to include the bride and groom’s grandparents, aunts, and uncles in my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding ceremony. Livestreaming weddings will likely continue to trend since many couples want to share their day with family and friends that are far away or can’t travel. With iPhones, ipads, other technology, and the new familiarity with applications like Zoom, broadcasting wedding ceremonies has become popular and more accessible.
If you are thinking about livestreaming your wedding, you’ll need to determine if you want to livestream just the wedding ceremony or do you want to include the cake cutting, toasts, and first dance. Are you considering livestreaming your wedding?
How to Livestream Your Wedding?
1. Choose A Video Conferencing Platform
Decide if you are going to use Facetime, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom to broadcast and record your wedding.
Depending on the streaming platform you chose, your guests may be observers or they can be invited to a “conference call” which means that they can interact in real-time, applaud and cheer! Of course, you will want everyone on mute during the ceremony but before and afterward it’s fun to chat with everyone.
2. Select Your Hardware for Livestreaming your Wedding
Next, choose the technology you’ll need – some couples stream from a laptop or an iPad, while others might need lights, microphones and camera stands. If you’re streaming from a phone or a tablet, it may be worth investing in an adjustable stand so the device stays stable and is hands-free. You can also experiment with different table heights or create a makeshift stand using items you already have in your house—remember not to block the camera and the speakers!
3. Chose someone to manage the equipment
Pick someone to be in charge of the technology on your big day. Maybe the father of the groom or a relative can set up the equipment, start the zoom call and push record. They will also want to make sure the camera is centered and has a good view of the ceremony. Record a practice video to test the sound quality, so you’ll know exactly how close your device needs to be so your guests can hear you on camera. Last but not least, make sure the battery is fully charged before your ceremony!
4. Pick Your Location
Decide where you’ll hold your ceremony – at home, in your backyard, in a park, in a church, or in a registry office – and let your guests know about your updated wedding plans.
- Visit the ceremony site, at the same time of day as your wedding ceremony so you can look at the lighting. Check on the sounds like traffic, trains, waterfalls, etc. These may interrupt the sound quality during your ceremony.
- Clean up the space. It’s important to see exactly how the space will look on camera before the big day. Remember, some of your guests may be planning to watch your wedding on their high-definition televisions and projection screens so make sure the background is clean and inviting.
- You can stage the area with decor for the occasion. This can be as simple as using plants, candles, string lights, or other items you already have on hand at home. You may want to create an altar area from a table with a table cloth.
- Host your virtual wedding in a well-lit space. Natural light is more flattering than fluorescent and incandescent light.
- For a daytime ceremony, stand against a wall that’s directly across from a window to maximize sunlight without creating shadows.
- If you don’t have a window or you’re having your ceremony at night, you can use floor lamps and other light sources from around your home for lighting.
After you’ve decided which location and device you’re using to livestream your wedding, take turns doing video run-throughs with your partner.
5. Invite your wedding guests
Let your guests know how they can connect. Online invitations work great! You’ll want to include the connection information with a zoom link or skype link. Your wedding website is another great place to post the link and connection details for easy reference. You can send it out over email or group text, too!
- Any instructions—like “please mute yourself!”
- A reminder about multiple time zones so there’s no confusion. For example: “The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. EST, 1 p.m. PST! Can’t wait to see you!”
- Provide your guests with clear, detailed instructions explaining how to join a video call, mute their microphone, or turn the camera on/off—screenshots are also a huge help!
- Arrange for a relative, caregiver, or family friend to help your elderly relatives connect to your wedding.
- Do a practice call (or virtual cocktail party) with your technologically-challenged guests before your actual wedding so they’ll feel more confident connecting on your wedding day.
6. Test Your Livestream
Test that the internet connection at your ceremony location is strong because, without it, there will be no wedding livestream. You may need to get guest network passwords so you can have the strongest internet connection. Test the connection on the actual device you’re planning to use for livestreaming your wedding. When possible, use a newer device with an updated camera for the best video quality and make sure the device software is up-to-date.
7. Get Married
On the day of the wedding, your equipment manager (i.e. father of the groom or relative) just needs to set up your devices, connect to the internet and streaming service, check the camera view and sound, and enjoy your ceremony!
Don’t forget to save the recording of your wedding. It’s a keepsake that you and your partner can watch and relive your memories. Also, the recording can be made available to your guests. Especially, if they were unable to make the original viewing or if they had technical difficulties.
Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom Tip!
Working through the details of livestreaming a wedding is a great task for the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, or fathers to help out with. Especially, assisting relatives with the process and practicing connecting before the wedding day! Make it fun by hosting a virtual cocktail party or informal get-together.
While we all wish we could attend weddings in person to convey our love and excitement for the bride and groom, it may not be possible. If you have plans to marry in the coming weeks or months and your wedding has been impacted by travel restrictions, you can choose to tie the knot on camera! Your guests can watch you get married from the comfort of their own home, wherever they are in the world.
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