How to Create an Engaging Virtual Wedding Guest Experience
It has been so inspiring to witness couples abandon and alter months of wedding planning in the midst of COVID-19, getting creative with their families to create at-home, intimate celebrations as larger gatherings are at a halt. We’ve been working with couples to adjust their plans, may it be postponing a wedding altogether or virtually helping re-plan a smaller wedding.
Some questions which have consistently come up are “Should we virtually include all our wedding guests?” and “How can we still make the virtual wedding experience celebratory and special for our guests?”
We are sharing tips for how to create engaging virtual wedding experiences so that the celebration lives on in your guests’ homes.
Virtual Wedding Timeline
Rather than leaving a camera on throughout the entire ceremony and reception, create a timeline specific to virtual guests and task one family member with managing live camera check-ins: from ceremony to dinner speeches, dances, and cake cutting, to an end-of-night send-off. Share the virtual timeline in advance, so guests can choose which segments to tune in for.
For example, you will likely want to livestream the entire wedding ceremony, but perhaps you go offline for family photos and the switchover segment to the reception. This in-between time allows guests to prepare drinks and snacks, rest their eyes, or cook dinner before tuning back in for reception family speeches, virtual dinner time, and dances. Creating a digital wedding timeline provides structure for your virtual guests and makes them feel like you have especially considered their experience.
Pending the number of guests and lead time to your virtual wedding, delivering experience boxes filled with goodies such as ingredients and instructions for a signature cocktail, sweets and treats, and party favors (i.e. kazoos, streamers, etc.) will add sweet, personal touches to your guests’ at-home wedding experience. Consider hiring a wedding planner to handle curating the experience boxes, to include designing, sourcing products, and shipping the packages.
Address Your Virtual Guests
Ask all your guests to tune in at a set time where you and your spouse speak to all virtual wedding guests. Many of your original wedding guests probably haven’t seen you in awhile or have never met your spouse before. A 3-5 minute speech directed to the camera is a perfect way to personalize the virtual wedding experience for your guests.
Suggest Virtual Attire
Rather than having guests join digitally wearing house sweats or leisurewear, ask guests to tune in wearing the original wedding attire. Dressing up (even just at home) will help make at-home environments feel special and encourage a spirit of celebration.
Post-Wedding Highlight Reel
If you do not want to livestream and prefer to keep your wedding digital-free, we suggest hiring a videographer who can capture your special wedding moments from a distance and create a highlight reel to be shared with your wedding guests in the weeks after your wedding. For you and your family’s comfort, ask your videographer to wear a face mask or take a COVID-19 test prior to wedding day. Not only does a highlight reel eliminate potential digital challenges, it is also a great wedding souvenir for everyone!