With numbers limited thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, weddings have gone digital in 2020. Guests can’t congregate in real life, but they can still watch from the comfort of their sofa. Here’s what you need to know about live-streaming your wedding ceremony
Do get the professionals in
I know what you’re thinking: at this point, we’re practically Zoom pros; could you not just get a guest to agree to record the day and be done with it?
“In 2020, streaming is essential, so if you’re going to do it, do it right,” urges photographer Ashley-liv Jamieson, who now offers a streaming service along with her day job. “Using a guest holding a phone is a risk. With a professional, you can be certain it will be done to the highest standard.”
Don’t leave it to chance
Employing a pro also means that the logistics of streaming aren’t going to be an added headache in an already stressful situation, for you or whoever you might task with filming your day. “Straightforward things such as which platform you’ll stream to, who will hold the camera, the signal in the venue, what equipment you’ll use and even where everyone will stand to get the best view will all need to be thought through,” says Laurie Withers, co-founder of We Stream It.
Do check with the venue
“Most venues now familiar with streaming services, but it’s sensible to talk to your co-ordinator about it in advance,” suggests celebrant George McLean of Fuze Ceremonies. “We work together with We Stream It, who always visit venues ahead of the ceremony to introduce themselves, check room sizes for camera set-up and generally get friendly with the environment. This is crucial, as it will help you decide whether you need one or multiple camera angles in your streaming package.”
Don’t think it’s the same as a traditional wedding film
Streaming is a specialist skill, as Laurie at We Stream It highlights: “Most streamers are not filmmakers, who would make an outstanding movie of your whole day and spend lots of time editing it, which you’ll usually receive after a few weeks or months. A streamer, in contrast, has to be in the right place at the right time, with the right equipment. We only get one go at nailing a stream. And once it’s finished, it’s available to watch straight away.”
Do ask about cost
“We have three packages,” says George of Fuze’s partnership with We Stream It. “These range from £450 for the Silver package, which includes one camera angle, a dedicated and secure website to view the service and a digital keepsake copy, up to Diamond, which costs £650 and covers three angles, personalised digital invites and a live capture of guests’ comments.”
“Our service includes an invite, live streaming of the ceremony and the recording, for £250,” says Ashley-liv. “Extra footage is charged at £75. We work with the equipment that I use professionally anyway, so you get a quality final product.”
Don’t forget the invites
The experts all agree that you’ll still need to organise some kind of formal invite. “We offer personalised digital invitations that can be sent to guests via email, text or Messenger,” says Laurie. “It’s nice to continue the tradition, albeit with a digital version.”
Ashley-liv has a similar approach: “We create a special invite, which you send out to your loved ones,” she says. “It will contain all the info needed to log on to the live stream, plus the time and location (i.e. their home!). We tend to write, ‘Get dressed up, chill the bubbles, sit back and watch it happen!’”
Don’t worry about the technology
Laurie is reassuring about how easy it is to access a live-streamed ceremony: “Guests will be sent a link to the page and then all they need to do is open the link and the wedding will be ready to watch live on the day. All the information is on the page and it stays live for 28 days afterwards, so you and your loved ones can come back at any time.”
Do think of your virtual guests’ experience
Putting a little extra thought into your guests’ experience will ensure they feel as involved as the lucky few there in person. You could consider building a virtual ‘venue’, perhaps with a dedicated website, Facebook page or group, bespoke hashtag and Spotify playlist (try its new Squad function). No effort will go unnoticed.
“We arrange for a pre-recorded message from the couple or an introduction from the celebrant to be sent through to guests,” George says. “It’s a lovely touch, and starts the stream off perfectly. I’d also suggest you send the streaming link to your nearest and dearest in advance and ask them to take part in any way they can – taking a selfie in front of the webcast, say, or joining in with songs.”