With no clear indication of when we’ll be able to have large gatherings again, many brave couples are choosing not to wait and pushing ahead with virtual weddings.
In most cases, it’s not a replacement for a traditional offline wedding—but a temporary placeholder for the real thing. It’s certainly better than indefinitely postponing or even cancelling the whole affair!
Why the rush, you might ask?
Some couples have older relatives who want to witness their marriage; or they want to start planning for the rest of their lives together, like registering a house; or they just don’t want to wait!
The good news is you don’t have to break your bank to have a memorable and special virtual wedding. And just like an offline wedding, you can seek professional help.
We speak to Leong Pei Yen from The Wedding Entourage, one of the top wedding planners in Singapore, to get tips and ideas on how to have the perfect virtual wedding.
Tip #1: Choose Your Platform
Fortunately, there are several free and reliable live streaming platforms available today. We recommend YouTube and Facebook, simply because they are already used by everyone. You don’t want your guests to have to install a new app—make it as simple as possible.
If you’re not comfortable with letting all your friends on Facebook know about your virtual wedding, opt for YouTube instead.
Pro tip: embed your live stream in a website that you create just for your wedding, to make it look more professional. There are services that can help you create a website in minutes, like Wix or Squarespace.
Alternatively, if you’d like to be able to see your guests, use a video conferencing service like Zoom or Google Meet—so it doesn’t feel like just a one-way stream.
If you work with The Wedding Entourage, you can have it both ways!
They’ll help you host your wedding on Zoom, then stream the feed from Zoom onto YouTube. That way, your guests can decide if they want to hop on Zoom, or simply watch your live stream.
That also allows you to have a live band or virtual wedding officiant join in from other venues—which we’ll talk about later.
Finally, always remember to test your connection before your virtual wedding! Nothing is worse than a buffering stream.
Tip #2: Style Your Venue
The next question you’d naturally ask is—where should you have your virtual wedding?
Many traditional wedding venues (like hotels) are providing spaces for you to host your virtual wedding—with restrictions on the number of people allowed.
Alternatively, you can just do it at home and save money!
Of course, you’d have to think about styling your home, so that it provides a suitable backdrop for your special day.
That’s where a virtual wedding planner comes in. They’ll arrange for a virtual call to check out your place and recommend suitable spaces, plus give recommendations on how you can style them.
If you’re doing it yourself, they’ll mail over the items for decorating your place and walk you through the process, step-by-step. If you’re feeling lazy (or have too much to do), they can send a stylist down to do it for you.
Pro-tip: pay attention to the lighting—you want a space with beautiful natural light. Avoid backlighting (where you’re in shadow), which can happen if you’re right in front of a window.
Tip #3: Engage Your Guests With a Virtual Photo Booth
One of the biggest challenges for any virtual wedding is keeping your audience engaged. Virtual events can be very passive if you’re just watching a live stream. You need to find a way to get some two-way interaction going.
That’s how a virtual photo booth can help.
During your program, announce that it’s the photo-taking segment and get everyone to click on the link. It will start up the virtual photo booth right within their browsers, on any device.
Your guests can have fun with borders, filters and stickers—which you can customise too!
You can live stream the online gallery, so that everyone can see the shots that are being taken in real-time. It’s guaranteed to get plenty of laughs.
Turn it into a photo contest by awarding titles like best-dressed couple, to motivate your guests to dress up.
You can even create physical prints from the photos! Mail them out to your guests as wedding favours or keep them for your own photo album.
When it comes to virtual weddings, you won’t be able to hire a photographer to take photos of your beloved guests. The virtual photo booth can help you fill that gap, because you’ll receive a folder of all of the shots after your wedding.
Tip #4: Keep the Show Going With an Emcee
An emcee is crucial to maintaining the momentum of your virtual wedding, and smoothing the transitions from one activity to the next. You can bring in a professional emcee or get an eloquent friend or family member to fill the role.
A good emcee can take a load off your mind, because you’re no longer constantly worrying about what’s happening next. That lets you focus on enjoying the experience.
Expect to run at least a couple of rehearsals, especially if you’re coordinating with several parties at different locations—such as a live band and virtual wedding officiant. The emcee’s job is to cue the different activities, just like the conductor of an orchestra.
As long as everyone’s on the same page, you’re golden.
Tip #5: Entertain Everyone With a Live Band
Just like a physical wedding, you’d want to have romantic music to set the mood.
While it’s possible to stream music from Spotify, it lacks the personal touch. Not to mention that you’d need to put someone else (not you) in charge of playing the songs, and fading it in and out at the right times.
A live band is way more versatile.
You can request for an acoustic band or have specific instruments. You can customise your songs according to your wedding program, such as a slow ballad for your wedding dance. Your guests can send in song dedications; many bands are fantastic at entertaining and interacting with a crowd.
After all, a virtual wedding is just like putting on a show—and a live band can help you make it a memorable one.
Tip #6: Rent a Wedding Dress
A virtual wedding isn’t any less special than a physical wedding.
Most brides dream of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put on a wedding dress. You don’t have to put that dream on hold.
The Wedding Entourage will help you pick out your wedding dress, right from the comfort of your home. They’ll ask for your preferences, such as a formal or casual dress. Their designer will then create a catalogue of dresses for you to choose from.
Based on the measurements that you provide, they’ll alter the dress for a perfect fit.
Tip #7: Hire a Makeup Artist
Now that you’ve picked out your wedding dress, you may be wondering about your makeup. There’s always the option of doing it yourself (just like many items on this list); but if you’re feeling uncertain or overwhelmed, you can bring in professional help.
Just like styling your venue, you can get the makeup artist to guide you through the process via a video call. While this still means that you’ve to do the makeup yourself, a makeup artist’s experience and knowledge can help you pull through with stunning results.
The alternative is to get the makeup artist to show up at your door, and just sit back and relax!
Tip #8: Bring in a Virtual Wedding Officiant
Most virtual weddings will include a solemnisation ceremony, where you take your vows. In fact, it’s usually the highlight of the program.
You can bring in a wedding officiant, either to your physical location or via video call. If you’re doing it virtually, you can still make it official by signing the legal documents.
Every solemniser has a different style of officiating a ceremony—some will go straight to the point, while others will inject some humour into the occasion. Have a discussion about it before your virtual wedding, to see if it matches the style you want.
Tip #9: Hire a Photographer
Many photographers are offering attractive packages for virtual weddings, because they tend to be much quicker than a traditional wedding, with fewer attendees.
While you won’t be able to capture your guests, you can still get photos of wonderful moments; like doing your vows and having your wedding dance. It’s an intimate experience with its own unique moments—not everyone gets to have a wedding in their living room!
Many couples are doing a virtual wedding in addition to an offline wedding (once the situation clears up). If you’ve already selected a photographer for your offline wedding, start a conversation on how you can add your virtual wedding to the photography package.
A virtual wedding can be just as special as an offline wedding—you might even look back on it with special fondness, because of the uniqueness of the experience!
Just as this article suggests, you have plenty of ideas and services to make it perfect.