Livestreaming for weddings has been around for years, but found itself in the limelight during 2020/21 throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Wedding capacities were decreased by law, leaving couples to cut their guest lists down to 30, 15 and later 6, so for many, the only way of having their guests see their weddings was to livestream the day.
That said, it’s always been a useful option for those having destination weddings, with unwell family members or loved ones who are unable to attend for whatever reason. All your guests really need is a Wi-Fi connection, which allows visibility for those in different circumstances – we’ve seen soldiers on deployment access some of their family member’s weddings via live links! Plus, we’ve got more than enough technology nowadays to pull it off in top quality. So, how do you do it?
It should really be a back-up
First things first, there’s kind of an etiquette. It’s not a good idea to invite a ‘B-list’ to log in to your wedding because your venue doesn’t have capacity for your guest list (this is sure to offend) and it’s not a good idea to publicise it on your invitations, either.
A livestream option is usually offered to people who RSVP with a no – if you’ve got a friend who happens to be abroad on a holiday they booked before your invitations went out, they might really appreciate the option to see your ceremony remotely. This is quite different to a ‘sorry, babes – I’ve only got capacity for a 100 and you didn’t cut it, but we can Zoom’.
Do you livestream the reception?
In short, it’s entirely up to you. It may be a little more difficult for your remote guests to join in with this part of the day without physically being there, whereas in the ceremony they’re much the same as any other guest who sits and watches you tie the knot. However, that’s not to say that your non-attending guests won’t appreciate the option to get a few drinks in to wherever they are, see your first dance and watch you dance the night away and sing along a bit with you. It kind of depends on who they are.
Wedding livestreaming options
When it comes to choosing how you’ll distribute the live footage, there are a few options.
- Videographer: if you’re hiring a videographer, you could ask them to livestream on the day and record it. This isn’t likely to accrue any additional cost for your videographer’s time and you’ll be able to get their advice
- Social media: the main social media platforms have live streaming options so that your guests could tune in via Facebook or Instagram – this is free to do, but remember it won’t be private
- Use a dedicated streaming service: most of these will involve payment so be sure to do your research on any limits on numbers and what the packages are
- Use a built-in video service like FaceTime, Zoom or Skype: these will be free to use up to a point (usually a length of time or numbers cap)
Test it first (please)
The last thing you want is your guests patiently waiting at their screens which remain blank throughout the nuptials or buffer and freeze because of a poor internet connection.
Lots of churches have built-in streaming facilities now which usually means somebody will be on-hand to help you with the technical side of things and run a rehearsal with you. Do remember to check if there are any additional fees for this.
Also, depending on the device you’re using, you’ll need to think about bandwidth and data – it might seem most straightforward and cost-effective for you to use an iPhone but think about any data caps on your contract in case Wi-Fi is lost, and whether you’ll still be able to stream if your connection dips in and out from Wi-Fi to 4G.
eve tip: bring the wedding to virtual guests with gift boxes
Within the Coronavirus pandemic came the birth of the virtual party. We’ve seen quizzes (lots of quizzes), virtual hen parties, birthday dos, all sorts. People got used to attending events in this way and having their favours or gift bags sent to them in preparation.
For those who are attending virtually, you could send them wedding boxes including a few items that will help them celebrate with you: a mini champagne bottle for the toast, a slice of cake, a polaroid camera.
If you DIY, get trusted hands to help
If you decide to go down the DIY livestream route, make sure you have somebody – ideally one of the bridal party or groomsmen – manage it for you on the day so that you don’t need to think about it. You don’t want to be standing at the alter (or wherever you are) distracted by whether your livestream is working! Plus, you might find that there are some people within your family who would like a job but you don’t quite know what to give them – this could be one for a tech-savvy loved one.