More than likely, when you dreamed of your wedding day, you did not envision it being a virtual event. However, if you are one of the thousands of couples that have had to postpone or cancel wedding events during the global coronavirus pandemic, you are probably searching for ways to celebrate your love with family and friends in a way that is both enjoyable and safe.
Believe it or not, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. Enter virtual events and digital technology! With these tools, you don’t have to cancel your wedding or skip mimosas at your bridal shower. Want to have that bachelorette or bachelor party? You still can!
Just because you can’t celebrate in person doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate!
For now, the wedding industry and event planners have found creative ways to help with virtual wedding events.
We have compiled this handy guide to the best virtual wedding events. Read on to find out what wedding events can be hosted virtually and how you can make the most of your experience.
Types of Virtual Wedding Events
Under normal circumstances, you may have hosted a party with friends and family to celebrate or announce your engagement to the world. With new restrictions and social distancing rules, a party, even just a small gathering of friends, is pretty much out of the question. This does not mean, however, that you can’t still celebrate an engagement with a party.
Hosting a virtual engagement party allows you to interact with your guests, and you may even have attendees that normally wouldn’t be able to participate due to distance. You can still choose a theme, decorate accordingly, and play games. Your party may lack hugs and personal conversations, but the bright side is that you will be able to do what is most important: celebrate with your closest friends and family.
Bridal or Wedding Shower
In these uncertain times, online platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, Houseparty, and Google Hangouts make it possible to gather together without having to meet in person, making it entirely possible to enjoy a virtual wedding shower.
A virtual wedding shower just takes a few different avenues in the planning process. For example, in order to open gifts in front of your guests, you will need to establish a clear deadline for purchasing the gifts and indicate where they should be dropped off or delivered before the date of the shower. This information should be included in your shower invitations.
If you are worried that this will look tacky, remember that it is often the maid of honor or a family member that hosts the shower. So, if this invitation comes from them, it will be less awkward.
We are all living under these strange circumstances and in most cases, your guests will appreciate the clarity this deadline gives them.
Bachelor or Bachelorette Party
Don’t worry about cancelling your bachelor and bachelorette parties, like a shower, these events can happen on a virtual platform!
You can always have a post-wedding night out with friends, but for now, plan to celebrate with a themed party. Send your planned guests something fun to wear and your favorite cocktail mix (with the appropriate spirit), set a playlist of your favorite tunes, and have a virtual party.
You may even want to have someone host an event for you- a yoga or painting class, dance lessons, or something else that is interesting to you. As more and more businesses adapt to an online format, the number of activities you could access will only increase. While doing an online escape room isn’t the same as hitting a crowded club, it can be just as much fun!
Brides across the country are worried that not walking down the aisle in a physical venue, means they won’t be able to show off their couture wedding gowns but with some states allowing virtual licensing and marriages, there may be more options for a wedding than previously thought.
Having a virtual wedding ceremony may take some additional preparation and planning. You may choose to wear your chosen wedding gown, or you can choose another dress and save your wedding gown for a later date, one where you can host a second ceremony in person. For your decor, get in touch with your creative side, and design a backdrop for your wedding ceremony, choose some flowers from your garden (or order some through contactless delivery or pickup) and say ‘I do’ in front of the people you cherish most.
Cap the ceremony off with a toast, cake cutting, and dance, then open the floor to well-wishes from your guests.
Helpful tips for a smooth virtual event
The realities created by COVID-19 may have shifted your plans. Sure, you might not be able to visit the best bridal shops in Los Angeles or New York with your full entourage, but a virtual format means you can still fully host and participate in all the events you’ve had planned!
Most of us are new to virtual events and so the following tips should help you avoid any headaches and run your virtual wedding event like a real pro:
Choose a good hosting platform:
Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams provide good platforms for hosting your wedding event, but you may prefer one over the other. Test the platforms prior to your event, so that you can get a feel for how it works, and how you can use it to create a fun and interactive experience for both you and your guests. You may want to test the different features of the platforms, as well. For instance, you may want to have your guests muted during particular points of your event, so learning to do this prior-to can help things go smoothly.
Keep an eye on your guest list: hosting a virtual event may allow you to invite more people than you might have under normal circumstances, but virtual events can quickly become overwhelming with too many people speaking over each other. Also, there can be a delay or lag in dialogue, which is easier to manage with a smaller number of guests. Also, wedding etiquette still exists during virtual events: when inviting guests to pre-wedding events, you will need to keep your list limited to those who will later attend your wedding.
Ask for help with themes:
You and your spouse-to-be may have chosen a specific theme for your wedding, a special dish, a song, or drink to help celebrate your nuptials. Send the songs or recipes to your guest in advance so they can join in on your theme. Perhaps you can all prepare the drinks or dishes together.
If it is in your budget, you may even choose to send your guests some type of themed item. Think about sending cupcakes, decoration kits, or small bottles of bubbly for a toast. Another idea to consider is having guests dress for the event. Use your theme to make suggestions, or provide a color choice and suggest guests wear clothing that fits.
Create a schedule:
Having a schedule or agenda can help your event stay on track. Even during in-person events, guests love to know what is coming. Preparing a schedule that outlines the steps or parts of the virtual event will help make the guests feel as though they are part of the whole thing, and can give them an idea of what they will need to do (if anything). As part of your event, you may want to have one-on-one time with your guests or introduce them to the other members of the party. Having a schedule will let people know when this is coming and prevent you from going way off track.
As much as your family and friends will love being a part of your wedding, and any pre-wedding events you may wish to have, it is not so easy to create a fun, engaging environment.
To help, choose some interactive games for your guests. Designate a host for the game and have that person establish the rules and facilitate play. Competition is one of the best ways to get emotional investment from your guests!
Everyone will feel like they are a part of the fun—and for winners, buy some electronic gift cards as prizes!
Even mail is delayed during this time, so choosing local vendors can ensure that there will be no delays for anything you may need at your event.
Choosing local vendors also means you are supporting small businesses that may be struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting them can help give a needed boost to their business.
Decor, food, drinks, and more can all be found locally. Ask for recommendations from friends, or on social media platforms. You may discover a local gem that you would have overlooked if not for the shutdown.
Virtual wedding events can be fun!
We know how disappointing it is to cancel or postpone your wedding or any of the events you had planned around it. Having virtual events won’t take the place of being in the presence of your loved ones but they can go a long way to helping you celebrate together.
By following this guide, your wedding events will be exciting, fun, and unique. While it feels like a struggle now, think of how unique your experience really is. How many people get to say they got married during a global pandemic that more or less shuttered the entire world? This is a story you will be able to tell for your entire lives! It is a story of ingenuity and creativity that will never, ever, get old!