Planning A Wedding During A Pandemic: Every wedding planning journey has its twists and turns. To make sure your path is as smooth as possible and to help you keep an eye out for tiny potholes and giant roadblocks, always follow the advice of your local health guidelines and the recommendations set forth by the CDC. The state of the pandemic can change quickly, but by staying informed, you can make it to your destination—wedded bliss—without a hitch.
If you’ve decided to have a virtual wedding due to safety or travel restrictions, there’s a good chance you’re trying to figure out how to make it feel more like a celebration and less like a meeting for your guests. Luckily, there are tons of ways to up the “wow” factor on your streamed event and make it feel just as special as an in-person one. If you’re searching for tips to make your Zoom wedding more interactive with guests, look no further. With a few tweaks and a bit of creativity, you’ll have a virtual wedding your loved ones will want to relive again and again.
Most modern couples opt to have a signature cocktail or two at their celebrations. Just because you’re having a virtual wedding doesn’t mean you need to forego the fun touch. Create signature cocktail cards and send them to each guest a week or so before the wedding. Make sure they include things like ingredients needed and instructions. If you want to make it even easier, add a section to your website with the recipe and include links to where friends and family can purchase the ingredients.
If you’d like to kick things up a notch and your budget permits, send your guests a care package with some snacks to enjoy during the virtual wedding ceremony or at a specified time afterward, just like a sit-down dinner. Include things like wine, cheese, and crackers, sparkling water, or a dessert. You could even send along the ingredients for a home-cooked meal, like pasta or pizza, if you’re missing the dinner portion of the event. There are no rules, so have fun with it and make it your own.
Once your guests have their drinks and/or snacks, don’t forget to include time to mingle. Lots of couples live to stream their actual marriage ceremony, but part of the fun of a wedding is chatting and relaxing with other guests as well as the newlyweds. After the “I dos,” set aside some time for everyone to chit chat and exchange well wishes. If you’re not sure which virtual platform to use or how, exactly, to coordinate the virtual celebration, chat with your wedding planner about details like distributing links, planned talking points, and/or creating different “rooms” for different things (such as a room to chat with the bride and groom and a room to hang out with other wedding guests).
If you love to dance or just can’t imagine a celebration without a perfectly curated playlist, be sure to include some music in your virtual event. Think of the vibe you want—whether it’s for your guests to relax with a glass of wine or get up and boogie in their living rooms—and add songs you love. Consider things like your favorite music to listen to at home or meaningful music that has played a part in each of your lives. You can send along with information about the music or have a dance teacher give a virtual lesson so your guests get that dance floor feel from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Even if people are hanging out at home, it’s always fun to have a reason to get dressed up. When sending your invitation or virtual event information, be sure to add a line about the dress code. If you want to give guests even more reason to don their best looks, include your wedding hashtag so they can tag your event and consider reposting their photos.
The scent is one of the most powerful ways to transform an experience, and it’s a great way to help your guests feel like they’re with you on the big day. Before the celebration, send your guests a specially chosen scented candle. Consider your venue, your wedding vibe, and your style when selecting the scent—think pine for a forest wedding, coconut for a beach wedding, or a spiced apple scent for an autumn event. Ask your guests to refrain from lighting it until the start of your ceremony when the officiant asks the guests to light their candles. Not only will the scent elevate their at-home experience, but the ritual act of lighting it at the same time will help them feel included.
If you’re looking for more ways to help your guests feel included, consider making your ceremony more interactive. In addition to lighting a candle, this can be anything from sending faux rose petals for them to toss after the “I dos,” bubbles to blow as the bride walks down the aisle, or noisemakers to ring during the first kiss. Make sure to send along a note including the “cues,” so the guests can be on the lookout and be ready for what comes next.
Finally, while guests enjoy watching a ceremony, it’s usually the moments after they want to be a part of it. From the first dance to the speeches, watching the newly married couple interact and soak up well wishes is usually a big highlight for attendees. While it’s important to stream the ceremony, make sure to keep the feed going into the dances, the speeches, the wedding party, the cake cutting, and even the send-off. While not everyone will want to stick around, those who do will appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the big day and see some of the classic wedding moments unfold in real-time.
Making your Zoom wedding feel more interactive for guests might seem foreign, but with a little extra planning and creativity, you can create a virtual event guest will be talking about for years to come.