First up, my heart goes out to everyone planning a wedding in this Covid world. No-one could have foreseen this coming: a pandemic that’s affecting the entire world. It is (touch wood) a once-in-a-lifetime experience, just like your wedding. I wish I could give each of you a big hug right now.
So far, we have been lucky in Western Australia and even though we can still have weddings, many couples are faced with the possibility of not having all their guests attend due to lock downs and closed borders. No matter how big or small your wedding is, there is bound to be relatives and friends who cannot attend your big day.
Thanks to video-streaming apps and services, couples who choose to get married while self-isolating can share their special moments with family and friends.
Your photographer or videographer will be able to organise this for you, however live streaming your wedding is essentially free and easier than you think to do well.
If you can get Wi-Fi at your wedding venue, you can go live on your big day.
Live streaming your wedding is also a great way to record, save, and backup your wedding. In fact, more and more couples are live streaming in light of the Coronavirus. The good news is that we are all becoming more accustomed to virtually attending events and hanging out with one another, so having your wedding online is becoming more and more normal.
I have spent many years running online webinars and events, as well as technical training in all sorts of venues and so would like to share my top tips for live streaming your wedding,
1. Create Facebook Group for online guests
Facebook Live as the easiest way to broadcast your wedding. Facebook has done a great job of making it easy to live stream from your phone, and most everyone is already on Facebook. For privacy and to control who can see your wedding online, I recommend creating a Private Group and inviting your online guests to the group.
You can then select to only go live for your wedding group.
2. Create a schedule of events of what you will broadcast
Double check the event time and make the time zone really clear for your international e-guests and send out a message out 10-15 minutes before you plan to go live so that everyone is ready to go when you are.
The World Meeting Planner is a useful website if you need to line up the times in multiple locations.
While your at it, don't just stream your ceremony. Consider going live for the toasts, your first dance, cake cutting, etc! If you do, create and share schedule of when you are going to go live. If you fall behind, you can have your designated person update the group on when the next event will be.
3. Designate someone to manage the live stream
You are going to want someone who can setup, manage, and run your live stream for you, so you don’t have to think about it all yourself. Preferably a tech-savvy guest who doesn’t mind being in charge of filming and interacting with your e-guests.
They can test the system, troubleshoot for anyone watching, and update online guests of any changes as well as oversee tasks such as muting guests while you exchange vows.
4. Bring the event to your guests
If you want your closest friends and family to be part of the day, why not ask them to be in your virtual wedding party? Designate a ‘Virtual MC’ who can be in charge of encouraging interaction, chats, photo sharing and cracking jokes.
Think about sending out everything your guests will need by good old snail mail such as a personalised ‘wedding box’ to each of your virtual wedding guests to arrive the morning of the wedding and, once opened, your guests have everything that they need to live the day with you.
You could include a mini bottle of Champagne for the toast, a piece of wedding cake, a cocktail shaker and ingredients, photo booth props and even the ingredients for a delicious wedding breakfast meal (think luxury Hello Fresh).
5. Pick a discreet location for tripod close to ceremony
Two things to consider for location:
First, you want to be close to the action for the ceremony, like in the first or second rows and nearer the aisle. Phone cameras on phones typically have a wide view by default, and you only lose quality as you zoom in.
Second, you’re probably going to want to avoid having a tripod and phone in all of your wedding photos and in view of guests, so picking a discreet location is important.
6. Setup tripod and camera mount
Make sure the spot has a solid ground below it to avoid it tipping over. If you can’t find solid ground, consider putting something flat below each leg of the tripod.
7. Test your Internet connection
You are going to want to shoot for around 5-7mb’s or more upload speed and consider doing this during the rehearsal or when you tour the venue, so you have time to come up with a backup plan if the connection is spotty. To test your internet speed. There are a number of free apps you can use to test your Internet speed. If you do not get great mobile reception, consider purchasing a mobile hotspot for a month to use.
8. Test the video and audio for your Live Stream
Do a practice Facebook Live to make sure everything is working properly and clearly. You should also consider doing this at the rehearsal or when you walk through your venue.
9. Start your live stream 10 minutes early
Going Live 10 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony or the toasts will allow your virtual guests to log in and get connected before you walk down the aisle!
It will also give a few minutes for your guests or attendant to troubleshoot any issues that may come up.
Remember that your technophobe guests might need a little extra help, or a practice run before the main event just to make sure they don’t accidentally miss out on the day.
10. Go back and enjoy the post and read through and reply to any comments
This might be the most fun part. Facebook Live will save your video to the group so you can go back and relive it! You can also see and reply to any comments your guests make.