Expert Advice/Planning 101/CeremonyArrowCeremony

What to Know About Live Streaming Your Wedding

With plenty of platforms to live stream a wedding, Zola is here to help you find the best digital partner for your “I dos.”

By The Zola Team

Illustrated couple on couch with laptop
Photo by Zola

Living in the future offers some pretty incredible advantages. Aside from being able to get anything we want with the press of a button, we can also be in multiple places at once. The digital age allows us to be present at events without actually being there physically. This opportunity can be extremely advantageous, especially for your wedding ceremony.

Your wedding day is an event that you will want people present for, but it’s also a life event you will want your guests to participate in. While the preference for most couples is to have their invited guests physically present, it isn't always feasible. The option to live stream your wedding is a modern marvel that allows those guests who can't be present an alternative method of participation.

The Basics of Streaming

Live streaming a wedding is a relatively new concept and has really only become an option with the emergence of high-fidelity wifi. As mobile technology has improved over the past five years, the ability to stream live events seamlessly has opened up a whole new world of digital interaction.

Couples have been recording their wedding as long as there has been a means to do so. What used to be done with bulky video recorders can now be done with the phone. While professional videographers are still the preferred personnel for such an important task, any one of your guests could get the job done. The standard smartphone, which almost every guest at your wedding will have on their person, is capable of recording your ceremony. Additionally, because of the modern cellular 5G platform, a live video is possible even without an internet connection.

What to Know About Live Streaming Your Wedding Photo Credit // Marissa Hyland

Weighing Your Options

While having a plan in place is much preferred, live streaming your wedding is something you could do at the drop of a hat. If you decided an hour before your wedding that you wanted to live stream the ceremony, you could figure out a means to do so. However, as with everything that goes into a wedding, the less planning you do, the higher the chances are that something goes awry.

When it comes to live streaming your wedding, preparation is key. If live streaming is something you know you'll want to do, then it must be done correctly. Moreover, if you are planning on doing a live stream of your wedding, you’ll need to have a contingency plan to protect from the uncertainty of technical difficulties. Here is what you need to know about live streaming your wedding, plus the actions you must take to ensure that your wedding is live and online.

Talk to Your Venue

One of the first things you need to do when planning for a wedding live stream is to discuss the situation with your venue. There may be restrictions or obstacles you are unaware of, so asking about things like wifi, recording policies, etc. is an important discussion that you need to have.

Additionally, your venue may be able to assist you with your video needs. You are going to need all the assistance you can get for live streaming your wedding, especially if you plan on going the DIY route. Many modern churches live stream their services, which means you may be in luck if you’re holding a more traditional church ceremony. Similarly, alternative wedding venues have gotten wind of the live stream craze, and many of them now have a dedicated camera system.

While the streaming services these venues use to broadcast their events vary, your venue should be able to supply you with a dedicated wifi connection. While many venues have the means to assist you in your pursuit of a live stream, it could be costly.

Hiring a dedicated vendor to assist with live streaming your wedding may end up being the best choice for your needs. However, you won't know what kind of help you will need, or what it will cost, until you figure out what type of assistance your venue can provide.

Whether your venue can provide assistance free of charge, requires a fee, or points you in the direction of a preferred vendor, you need to be direct about your needs. How much assistance you receive will depend on your relationship with your venue, but how much your venue is capable of providing will rely on you being as specific as possible. One thing is certain, it never hurts to ask for help. At the very least, your venue should be able to provide you with wifi, which means you can always go the cell phone route, if you choose.

Hire a Videographer

There is really no point in committing to a live stream of your wedding if you’re not going to commit to its success. The best method for ensuring a successful live stream is to hire a service that specializes in it. While the DIY approach may be the most cost-effective, the DIY approach carries the risk of being downright ineffective. Do not allow technical difficulties to get in the way of sharing this special occasion with those who cannot be present.

Most couples hire a videographer to record their wedding anyway, so finding one that can assist with live streaming shouldn't be too difficult. Even if your videographer doesn't have the programs necessary to live stream your wedding, many web-based platforms can be used with ease. Social platforms, such as Facebook and Youtube, are both popular choices as they offer a professional, quality stream that can be designated as public or private. Instagram is also a popular streaming choice, but it’s a better DIY option than a professional one.

For more information on wedding videographers, see our guides to the different types of wedding videographers and questions to ask a wedding videographer to set yourself up for success.

What to Know About Live Streaming Your Wedding Photo Credit // Max Mcqueen

Zola's Top Streaming Tips

1) Don't Publicize It - When sending out your invitations, do not include the fact that the wedding will be available on a live stream. Proper wedding etiquette encourages those you invite to be in attendance. As such, the live stream should be used as a last resort for those who cannot attend due to extenuating circumstances.

2) Designate and Delegate - Whether you’re hiring a professional or asking a close friend, make sure that you have someone dedicated to the role of shooting and streaming your wedding.

3) Test the Connection - Whatever program you intend to use to share the stream, test it ahead of time. If you’re using a streaming service, you must test it by sharing the link with someone who is not present in the building. Sharing the feed with someone who is connected to the same wifi signal or network may result in a false positive. It’s best to test the stream by sharing it with someone who is at home to get the best idea of how the stream will look the day of.

4) Send Out the Link - It will be crucial to remember to send out the link to the stream before the event takes place. Don’t wait until the day of to share the link to the stream. Links to live streams can be shared ahead of time and can even be programmed to send reminders to those who will be watching the feed. Ensure that your efforts aren't wasted and send the link with plenty of time to spare.

5) Don't Forget Sound - Place a microphone next to where the ceremony is taking place. Part of participating in a wedding, even remotely, is experiencing the events through sight and sound. There are many options for high-quality sound, including Bluetooth microphones that connect right to your phone. The closer you can get a mic to the action, the better the experience for everyone watching.

Full Stream Ahead

With every wedding, there are extenuating circumstances that will prevent some of your loved ones from being physically present. However, the general expectation is that the people in your life who love and care for you will make this day a priority. With that said, the miracle of the modern age offers a solution to what was once a devastating problem.

The beauty of the live stream is that it offers instantaneous inclusion and forges a connection that bridges the gap of time and space. The emergence of this technology has radically changed how we are able to share our lives with others, and your wedding guests stand to benefit.

Live video is the answer to the dreaded words, "I wish I could have been there." Through the magic of telecommunications, we can both watch what is happening live and be an active participant in the event. The prevailing trend toward live streams across social media, be it Youtube, Facebook, or Instagram, demonstrates that we, as a collective culture, have a desire to be involved.

For those guests who cannot physically attend your wedding, watching it live from wherever they are in the world on your wedding website, allows them to share in the joy of your special day. For couples dedicated to being inclusive, a live stream of your wedding is the perfect way to reach out and share the life-changing joy of this incredible occasion.

For more wedding expert tips from Zola on capturing the big day, see our informational guides below:

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola

Even more answers