Everything you need to know about planning a Virtual Wedding in COVID-19 Times

Covid Wedding Samuel White Photography

Why cancel or postpone when you can tie the knot online! Who says you can’t still throw a big bash? Instead you can host your event online, without worrying about social distancing at all! Virtual weddings, hens parties, bridal parties, engagement parties and all sorts of pre-wedding events can be equally exciting as the real thing and probably save you a huge amount of money. From streaming apps to styling tips, here is all you need to know before you start planning your virtual wedding event.

With social distancing measures slowly easing, Australian couples can start thinking about small-scale weddings. As of 15 May, in NSW you are allowed to host a small gathering of up to 10 guests, excluding the person/s conducting the service, the couple, photographer and/or videographer. While in the NT since 1 May, restrictions have been lifted on the number of people attending weddings, while adhering to social distancing rules. 

In the third phase, COVID Safe ways of living will allow parties of up to 100 people. But even then, travel restrictions will still be in place and some of your guests might not be able to attend. However, thanks to technology, we can host online events and invite guests from anywhere on earth. Since virtual weddings are cost-effective and more inclusive, we are hoping to see this trend continue even after COVID-19!

5 KEY WEDDING EVENTS YOU CAN STREAM ONLINE AMID COVID-19


Engagement Party Ideas

Did you have a COVID-19 quarantine proposal? Then it is time for a bash at home with all your friends joining in via a streaming app! Party outfits – check, champagne – check, snacks – check, Spotify playlist – check. It is as simple as that! Of course, you need to inform your guests via a virtual invitation and tell them to dress up, perhaps in theme and prepare festive food and drinks.

Bridal Shower Ideas

While it is challenging to gather in person, you can still host a bridal shower at home. Imagine the thrill of opening gifts in front of your friends on a video call! It can be just as unique as an outdoor garden tea party, especially if you dress accordingly and wear hats or fascinators and colourful dresses. You can mail your guests party favours, party games and fun accessories and little gift bags.

Bucks / Hens Party Ideas

We know this is one of the most anticipated events in the lead up to the wedding! If you can’t gather at a party venue, you can still have a fantastic evening at home. With tons of drinks and your favourite foods, you can spend hours socialising online. You can play online games or think of activities which don’t require being present at the same place. How about a cocktail mixing lesson, art class or a Tik Tok challenge? With hens party decorations, balloons, props for the bride (think novelty tiaras), the bridesmaid ("I’m the bridesmaid / matron of honour sash") and groom. Co-ordinating matching outfits for the bride tribe and groom crew, it is bound to be a blast. Don’t forget to snap those selfies and screenshots to document the event.

Pre-Wedding Happy Hour

Replace your rehearsal dinner with a cheerful online gathering with drinks and nibbles! While we are all obsessing over COVID-19 and social distancing, it is an excuse to do something else. Get dressed up, play the music and socialise with your nearest and dearest. If it doesn’t exceed your wedding budget, why not send each of the attendees a personalised gift. We are sure the gesture will be much appreciated!

Virtual Wedding Ceremony


It is easier to tie the knot online than you can possibly imagine. Send out digital wedding invitations to your guests, choose a live video streaming platform, buy your wedding attire and write your vows. Anything else? Of course, you need to obtain a marriage licence and book a marriage celebrant who will officiate your wedding. No. pro tip for online ceremonies during COVID-19? Make sure the formal part is short & sweet because you don’t want people to start losing patients. It is an online event, after all. With platforms such as Zoom, it will be easy to organise post-wedding toasts and cake cutting. To make things easier, you can hire a coordinator who will be the virtual host of the event and in control of recording, managing participants sharing screens as well as starting and ending the event. This can be one of your friends or relatives who has experience of hosting online events.

zoom-weddings-covid

Illustration by Grayson Blackmore

 

5 BEST APPS FOR LIVE STREAMING VIRTUAL WEDDINGS & EVENTS


Zoom

With the option to include up to 500 participants in a video conference, Zoom is a No. 1 choice for virtual weddings and events in times of COVID-19. Who needs to even think about social distancing, when you can perform the ceremony online? Australian couples love this app because it allows both small and large gatherings. Plus there are so many great options, including choosing your own backdrop, be it a tropical island or a picturesque European city.

FaceTime

Did you know you can include up to 32 people in a Facebook FaceTime call? It is a convenient tool for smaller events, consultations with your wedding vendors or virtual house parties. Best of all, it is so easy to use (all you need to do is swipe to accept the call) provided that all of the members of the group have an iOS device.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is another easy-to-use tool for small gatherings allowing up to 25 people to join a video call. Ideal for small gatherings, it is an app you can use in a variety of ways, including wedding dress/suit shopping. With social distancing measures easing, we are seeing many Australian brides/couples hurrying to stores to shop for attire. And even if you can’t bring your entourage because there are just too many of you per square meter, you can always use an app.

Facebook

All of your guests have a Facebook account? Well, this is potentially the best app for virtual weddings amid the COVID-19 crisis. Why? Because you can invite an unlimited number of guests and stream for 8 hours non-stop. No, you don’t have to broadcast your event to the entire list of friends. Instead, you can just create a private group and go live!

Houseparty

This fun new Houseparty app features awesome games you can play with your friends, which makes it the perfect tool for hens and bucks night parties. Just get drinks & snacks, dress up in matching outfits and enjoy an evening of fun with the girls or boys. The only downside is that the app currently only allows a maximum of eight people to join.

John Kransinski reunites the cast of the office for Virtual Wedding


WEDDING MUST-HAVES FOR AUSTRALIAN COUPLES


Opting for virtual weddings doesn’t mean you have to ditch all the fun of wedding planning. Au contraire, there are plenty of reasons to re-hire your vendors even after cancelling or postponing the traditional ceremony and reception. While you should definitely cross out some of the services such as transport, venues and videographers, you’ll still need professionals to help you perfect your online celebration. Depending on the size of your budget, try to involve as many wedding specialists as possible. The idea is to support the local industry during COVID-19 crisis. The must-have vendors include celebrants, photographers, florists and cake makers. You can also arrange wedding music, invite a stylist and order catering for you and your guests (if you have a small number of attendants located reasonably close).

How to Set the Scene?

At virtual weddings the ambience is crucial! You need a great backdrop and decent lighting. Think about ways to enrich your living space to make it more photographable. You can invite a local florist to create a beautiful arrangement or rent a prop such as a neon light sign, a chalkboard, a canvas photo backdrop or a wooden board. Some apps allow you to set a virtual backdrop, and there are no limits to what you can do with the photos in post-production. One of the unexpected benefits of COVID-19 is that it stimulates your imagination. If you don’t have enough natural lighting in your home, you can try to make the most of artificial lighting you already have or purchase a ring light online.

How to Dress for Virtual Weddings?

Virtual weddings don’t have a specific dress code, which means you can wear anything from casual attire to a formal ballgown & tuxedo. Hit by the COVID-19 crisis, many Australian couples opted for cool ready-to-wear pieces shipped to their addresses. Remember that it is easier to dress for the camera because minor flaws and mishaps won’t be visible. But if you already purchased an expensive frock or suit, then preen up and make drop-dead gorgeous wedding photos!

How to do Your Hair & Makeup in COVID-19 Times?

As of June 1st, Australians couples can visit hair and beauty salons to get ready for their virtual weddings. But due to the fear and uncertainty caused by COVID-19, this might change in the future. Moreover, it is impossible to respect the social distancing rule while doing your hair & makeup, which is why you are perfectly entitled to choose to DIY. But this doesn’t mean that you have to do it all by yourself. Many salons offer video call consultations as well as tips and guidance that can help you achieve better results. Again, let us remind you that it is much easier to style for an online event. You can go for simpler solutions, and you don’t have to worry about every detail or every angle.

Wedding Photography and Social Distancing

While it is easy to record virtual weddings, Australian couples prefer to invest in professional photographers in times of COVID-19. Without a doubt, it is an event worth capturing, so why not organise a photoshoot at home while practising social distancing! Before the online event starts, you can pose for portraits in your living room, garden or at a nearby outdoor location. Wherever you do, it is essential always to have those two meters between you and the photographer. And during the event, focus on capturing those special moments such as toasts, cake cutting, vows and the first kiss.

Legal Requirements for Virtual Weddings

Perhaps you are wondering if virtual weddings during COVID-19 are authorised? Can you perform a legal ceremony online? Are there any specific rules for Australian couples? Firstly, you need to meet all the legal requirements for getting married in Australia. You need to prove that you are:

Not married

Not marrying a parent, grandparent child, grandchild, brother or sister
At least 18 years old (a court can approve a marriage where one person is between 16 and 18 years old)

You should also be able to:

  • Understand what marriage means and freely agree to marry
  • Use specific words during the ceremony
  • Give notice of intended marriage form to an authorised marriage celebrant (at least one month before your wedding)
  • Be married by an authorised marriage celebrant
  • Before you get married, you need to complete a notice of intended marriage form, and on your wedding day, three marriage certificates must be signed by you and your spouse, marriage celebrant and two witnesses. So, can you do all of this online? Yes! According to Authorised celebrant obligations in an online environment, you can use the electronic signature to sign all of these documents! And if you decide to pop to the registry office or get hitched at a venue, make sure you limit your wedding party to 10 people (for now) and practice social distancing at all times.

 

WEDDING ETIQUETTE DURING COVID-19 

When hosting virtual weddings or pre-wedding parties, you need to follow the same etiquette rules Australian couples commonly applied before COVID-19 and social distancing measures. While you can host a huge online engagement bash via Zoom, you should still invite only the people who will be on your wedding guest list. And even though it is a more casual event, you still need to send out invitations. Yes, they can be in electronic form, and yes, the wording can be a little more relaxed. Here is an example:

“Guess what! We are still tying the knot on Saturday, 12th of July! Join us for an online ceremony at 5 PM (AEST). Dress up for the occasion and celebrate with a bottle of bubbly after we say our vows! Here is the link to our Zoom event: ___________. Please stay muted during the ceremony and use the chat function afterwards for toasts and cake cutting. Bree & Nathan”


As you can see, it is really not all that complicated. Let’s not postpone life because of COVID-19 and social distancing measures that are here to stay for us for a while. Virtual weddings are loads of fun, and you don’t even have to cut your guest list because everyone can join the online party! Australian couples already love them, and we are sure they are here to stay…

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