So you have taken the next big step in your relationship and are finally getting married!! Unfortunately taking the first step into this exciting chapter of your life and getting down to organising the wedding is not all sunshine and rainbows as you would expect. From finding your dream wedding venue that suits you and your guests, to buying the perfect suits and dresses that will not cost your entire retirement fund, it quickly dawns on you that it is nothing like those romantic movies. However, before you give up and return the ring there is another option you may not have considered…a remote wedding! Remote weddings are a modern phenomenon that allows you to tie the knot online, all you need is a computer and an internet connection. Although it may sound like it, taking this route does not mean that you cannot have the wedding of your dreams with friends and family. That is all still available to you, but this way you get to mute your chatty aunt when she starts talking too much.
Online Wedding Legalities
However before you organise an online wedding and file for married couples tax benefits, you must be aware of the legalities of online marriages. According to the law, couples cannot legally marry online as the internet is not a place nor a legal entity in itself, this virtual wedding is just a fun way to celebrate your wedding when guests cannot attend or perhaps the traditional celebratory route does not appeal to you. This law applies all around the world…except for the state of New York. If you are lucky enough to live in The Big Apple you will be pleased to know that the state governor Andrew Cuomo has legalised weddings via Zoom in the state of New York and has authorised clerks to perform wedding ceremonies over video.
As you would imagine online weddings require the use of technology, if technology is not your forté here is a handy guide to get your big day up and running.
If the only available computer in your house is that 2012 dell laptop that takes forever to turn on, unless you want your wedding to last a week, it is time for an upgrade. When it comes to online streaming the 2018 Dell Inspiron 15, 7000 7507 is a perfect choice, with its 15.6 inches display size and 1920 x 1080 pixels display resolution it will feel like you and your guests are in the same room. Prices of this computer range from a modest €550.00 for a second-hand laptop on amazon to €1,249.00 for a brand new one from the official Dell website.
Alternatively, if MacBooks are more your style the Apple MacBook Pro-Touch Bar is the computer for you. Although it has a smaller display size of 13.3 inches and may hurt your wallet a bit more with a price point of around €1,650.00 on the official Apple website, this MacBook boasts a 2560 x 1600 Retina Display producing a vivid high-resolution experience that the Dell Inspiron cannot offer.
Before you jump right into your wedding online it is essential to check your equipment first to see if everything runs smoothly. A problem that can often occur is that the computers’ inbuilt camera quality is not up to standard creating a grainy effect, and when you have spent a months’ wages on a beautiful dress you want people to see it. Fortunately, webcams are an easy solution to this problem, webcams are small cameras that you attach to the top of your computer screen or place on your desk and function to stream videos in real-time with exponentially better quality than your computer camera. A great option is the Logitech C930e webcam, this not only offers 1080p camera quality but has a wide-angle lens perfect for an online wedding, this wide field of view ensures that your guests feel immersed in the experience with you, rather than like they are watching a video. However, if the €120.00 price tag for a webcam you may not use again does not sound appealing to you the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 is the one for you. Although it has a much lower price of around €36.00 this webcam has a lot to offer, from a wideband mic that delivers sharp and clear audio to a TrueColor system that shifts the exposure automatically to keep you beautifully lit. Whichever you choose, webcams create a vivid experience that conveys celebrations and its many emotions as effectively as real life.
With the estimated maximum price of your virtual venue totaling to a modest €1770.00 as opposed to the average €13,000 couples spend on wedding venues, you begin to think that you should host every big celebration online.
Taking Your Photos
Eternalising memories of such a special event through photos is always important, even if it is not possible for your guests to do so in person you can make sure that they have these valuable memories with them forever. This can be done by taking the photos yourself using your camera timer and sending them to your guests, but if you want to go a step further you can utilise online services such as Shutterfly.com or myphotobook.ie. These websites take your precious photos of your choice and put them in an album for you, which you can then send to whomever you please. The best thing about taking all your wedding photos yourself is that you choose what your guests keep, meaning you do not endure seeing any terrible photos your father always manages to take of you on Facebook the next day.
Let The Wedding Commence!!
As you would imagine when recording your ceremony, it does not magically appear on the computer screens of your guests, here is where utilising applications such as skype or zoom will help. Zoom is an online video chatting software that allows you to host meetings, or in this case weddings, in real-time with groups of up to 500 people. It is accessible and easy to use no matter how familiar you are with technology, you simply download it onto your computer, sign up, and invite your guests. If you are looking for a quick, small affair Zoom is available for free with the basic 100 guest and 40-minute limit, on the other hand, if would prefer a big extravaganza for the ages you can choose the Enterprise package, priced at €18.99 a month this plan allows you to host 500 guests without a time limit. Although when the last few guests refuse to sign off at night, you might wish there was a time limit.
Food From Afar
Providing you execute the ceremony without forgetting to turn the camera on it will be time to share jokes and stories over a meal. Incorporating meals into your online wedding is not necessary, you can always stream the ceremony and then sign off to enjoy the remainder of your day to yourselves. However, if you cannot imagine a wedding without sharing a small portioned meal with friends and family, here are a few ideas for you.
One option is to order meals online and have them delivered to your guest's homes, this can be a bit tedious and expensive therefore it is most appropriate for when you have a small group of guests. As most restaurants provide a delivery service you can choose any kind of food that your heart desires, from basic chicken nuggets to classy smoked salmon. If only you could deliver the bill to one of your guests too.
If delivering is too pricey for you or perhaps you have too many guests for it to be logistically possible, another option is for your guests to provide their own food. This may sound quite unorthodox but they were presumably going to eat dinner anyway, so it is not even an extra cost for them. If cooking is a passion of yours you could even pick a fun meal and prepare it with your guests, this is especially fun as you can watch your friend that cannot cook struggle.
If you were hoping that your wedding day would be the one day where you did not have to cook, you and your guests can always order from your favorite takeaways or restaurants, this way you do not have to worry about your aunts’ many alleged food allergies.
Whether you decide to deliver or cook your own food, distance is no barrier to the joy and laughter that we feel as we break bread and reminisce on good times with family and friends.
It’s Party Time
With the plates clean and the bouts of dead air becoming more frequent it is time for some post meal entertainment. While living it up on the dancefloor with all your guests is not possible for an online wedding here are some equally fun alternatives to keep your guests occupied.
Although drinking games may be a distant memory of the past for most newly-weds, you cannot deny the shameless fun they guarantee. Relive your college glory days by going head to head with your guests in a game of beer pong, you can do this by setting up cups of beer on a table and taking turns throwing a ping pong ball into the cups from a distance, it functions exactly like the classic beer pong game except when you get the ball into a cup you remove this cup from your table and instruct your opponent to drink. If you have a smaller group why not make your own personalised board game, this could be a game of snakes and ladders but at every step, you set challenges you have always wanted to see your friends do or demand some embarrassing truths if they decline they must drink. You can only hope to not be too mature for these kinds of games as they never fail to liven up a night, and create unforgettable memories, although there are some memories you wish you could forget.
A more family-friendly option is to bless your guests with your vocals with some online karaoke. Fortunately, there are plenty of websites available on the internet such as Karafun.com that provide free karaoke services, all you need to do is choose from the extensive range of songs and the lyrics appear on your screen accompanied with music.
However, if listening to your uncle's singing gets too painful you can burn off some of your dinners with a spot of dancing. If you already have the music streaming application called Spotify on your phone you will be pleased to know that it has integrated with Facebook, allowing many users to listen to your music at the same time. To use this feature your guests must log into Facebook and check their chat bar on the right side of their screen to see if the owner of the playlist is listening to music. This is indicated by a music icon beside the “available to chat” green circle. When you click “start listening” Spotify opens allowing guests to listen to your music in real-time, a chat also opens so that guests can make some requests. There is no limit to the number of listeners you can have making this is a perfect way to make everyone feel immersed in the experience. However, if you do not have Spotify not to worry as you can send your guests your wedding playlist and try your best to play it at the same time. When you are dancing together listening to the same music it feels like there is no distance between you at all.
Weddings are all about bringing people together, be it a couple for the rest of their lives or friends and family for a day, wedding traditions and the way we celebrate them are so deep-rooted in us all that it is hard to imagine changing them. But as the world itself changes and becomes more interconnected with technology, our traditions should change with it. With all the technology that is available to us in the modern world you can still spend your wedding day with the people you love but from the comfort of your home.