If you and your partner were planning to get married in the spring or summer of 2020, it is likely that things probably haven’t panned out as you hoped. With COVID-19 impacting people who work in weddings in various ways, you might be turning your attention towards holding your special day virtually.

Of course, as the pandemic erupted in the spring, many wedding planners and photographers were thrust into uncertainty. As far back as April, there were reports of a huge downturn in inquiries for wedding-related services and mass wedding postponements throughout spring and summer. Couples had to contend with cancellation fees, disappointed guests and last-minute changes.

Many couples are still holding out hope that they will be able to have their special day surrounded by friends and family in the not-too-distant future. However, there are others who would simply like the knot to be tied, no matter the circumstances. 

For these couples unafraid to celebrate their wedding in unusual circumstances, virtual ceremonies have become a somewhat popular solution. 

On April 18th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced via Twitter that he would be legalizing virtual wedding ceremonies held over video conferences. In other words, a Zoom wedding would be just as legally binding as a regular ceremony! This did lead to a surge in participants, with some other states joining Cuomo with similar announcements.

How to plan a virtual wedding

Understandably, you might have some doubts about exactly how your virtual wedding could go ahead.

You might be asking yourself: “but I’ve always dreamed of a huge celebration with friends and family! I’m not sure if a virtual wedding is for me.” Fortunately, having a virtual ceremony doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice your large party. It is perfectly reasonable to hold a virtual ceremony in 2020 and wait until the global circumstances allow you to throw the party you have always wanted at a later date.

Here are some steps you should take with your partner if you do decide that a virtual wedding is what you would like:

  • Double check with your local clerk. Before engaging in a virtual ceremony, be sure that your state will recognize your marriage legally. Some states may still be yet to approve virtual marriages, so make sure you check before you begin planning. 
  • Send invites and pick your platform! Make sure you choose a reliable video platform to host your virtual ceremony. Zoom is a popular choice here, since it allows up to 100 participants on a regular plan. Zoom also makes it easy for people to see each other as well as the married couple, while keeping their microphones muted during the important parts! If your entire ceremony is digital, be sure to create some stunning email invitations for your guests. Make the most of this strange time by creating fun, digital invites that people will not have seen before. You can also choose to host a hybrid ceremony where you have a small group of friends and family members attend, while the rest of your guests view virtually.
  • Give everything a personal touch. Whether you are going to be holding your virtual ceremony in your backyard or elsewhere, you want to be sure the area looks and feels great. Consider hiring a florist to set the scene, as well as an MC to control the background music. You can even go all-in and bake your own wedding cake!
  • Hire a professional wedding planner. Don’t go it alone! There are many advantages to having a wedding planner who has the experience with virtual weddings. Not to mention, all the discounts you’ll receive from the relationships they have with their vendors. Contact Naif Productions for a free consultation at events@naifproductions.com.

Pros and cons of a virtual wedding

Now that you know what a virtual ceremony might entail, you can make a more informed decision about whether it is truly for you or not. 

  • If you are getting married just to get married, it could be for you. Perhaps yourself and your partner are not the type to get involved with huge parties anyway – doing things virtually could keep the stress levels down for everyone involved.
  • Your friends and family will not need to travel anywhere. All they will need to do is get dressed up nicely and attend the virtual wedding from their own home! This is definitely something to consider if you have family who live far away, or who might struggle to afford the expense of travelling for a wedding.
  • Did you meet your partner online? Holding a virtual wedding ceremony could be a lovely way to bring things full circle! 
  • Have you considered whether all of your guests are comfortable enough with technology to be able to attend your virtual event without any hiccups? This could be a family member’s first time using a video conferencing app, and you wouldn’t want them to miss out on your ceremony due to technical issues!
  • Consider how you will feel after you have said your vows and there is no applause from friends and family. Similarly, how do you feel about the fact that there will be no reception after the ceremony? If you do believe that you will feel accepting of these unconventional circumstances, a virtual wedding could be for you.

We advise you to think long and hard before committing to a virtual ceremony. The last thing you would want is for you to wish your special day had been done differently, surrounded by friends and family. 

If you are certain that just getting married to your partner is the only thing you need from the day, continue your research into virtual ceremonies!

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This article was written in collaboration with Jack Vale, a writer for AdvanceOnline, an online health and safety training provider.

WE’D LOVE FOR YOU TO SHARE THIS IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE BUT PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING COMPLETE INFORMATION: Event Producer Strategist, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Coach, Annette Naif, CEO & Creative Director of Naif Productions

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About Naif Productions:

Naif Productions is a strategic event planning, design and production firm specializing in corporate, live coaching sales events, social, non-profit, and weddings. Based in New York City, we produce events worldwide from Fortune 500 clients and coaches to families and charities. Naif Productions specializes in helping clients attain their goals, realize return on investment, and achieve the most unique, creative experiences.

About Annette Naif:

Since 1986 Annette Naif has been designing and producing custom events, helping clients create their unique style that translates into a memorable and profitable experience. Annette spent 17 years producing events in the motion picture industry where she helped coordinate numerous productions for film and episodic television programs. Since then Annette’s been running her own event production company, coaching other event planners, teaching an event operations and production course at NYU, and now is the CEO & Creative Director of Naif Productions.

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