If you and your lover were hoping to get married this year, 2020 had other plans for ya. Whether it’s wildfires raging in the west, COVID running rampant across the country, or political unrest taking hold of major American cities, there’s a lot to feel uncertain about.
But just because 2020 hasn’t gone to plan, it doesn’t mean you have to throw away those awesome wedding plans! Chances are, your engagement to your fiancée has only been strengthened—all thanks to the two of you understanding just how much time you can (and can’t) handle with the other person because of the lack of space quarantining and social distancing has brought on.
Rather than wallowing in the misery of 2020, why not end the year on a high note? Stop putting off your marriage plans and begin planning the coolest virtual fall wedding anyone has ever experienced. With a pumpkin spiced latte in hand (you know you love them), you and the love of your life can trade gold wedding bands and make this year memorable for a good reason.
There are a few things you’ll need to do ahead of time to guarantee that your marriage is on the books and legitimate. First of all, you’ll need to get your marriage license. States have differing rules on when you need to get your marriage license and more, so it’s best to research the topic before you dive any deeper into the planning phase.
Also, you’ll need an officiant to make your wedding … well … official. The officiant is a person who is legally allowed to conduct your wedding ceremony; the one who will incorporate readings, help you state your vows, and generally maintain structure from beginning to end. If you need to truly maintain stay-at-home orders, you can schedule to have an officiant be a part of your virtual wedding, rather than being with you in person. Find what works best for you and your soon-to-be spouse, all while remaining safe.
You and your fiancée might need some assistance when it comes to creating the perfect virtual fall wedding. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can assemble your own dream team—consider them your Wedding Avengers. This team can be a wedding planner, a stylist, vendors, and more.
A wedding planner is always a smart addition from the start, as they can ensure you have all your bases covered before the big day, from finding an officiant to helping you pick the right virtual hosting app, to getting invitations ready for family and friends. A stylist will be a bigger help when working in collaboration with your planner, as they’ll help curate the atmosphere you and your partner want to achieve for your wedding. This can include helping you find your outfits, pick autumnal accessories for your space, and set a general color scheme across invitations, clothing, tapestries, decorations, and more.
In some cases, they can even help guide you toward a set of wedding rings you otherwise might not have thought of. Maybe something dark and mysterious or a ring that’s just completely out of this world. For instance, you might not know Manly Bands carries a line of meteorite rings—wedding bands with a one-of-a-kind meteorite inlay. Now that you know this, there’s no way you can wear just any ordinary wedding ring. Don’t be boring, be fun!
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You’ll need a reliable platform if you want to truly host a successful virtual wedding. Available options run the gamut from video conferencing apps like Zoom Conferencing, Skype, and Google Hangouts to live streaming apps like Twitch, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Vimeo Livestream.
The benefits to video conferencing are that others within the group will be able to commune together so reactions can be had and conversation can take place. For instance, in Zoom, you can use Speaker View throughout the ceremony—which allows just the host’s video feed to be shown to those in attendance—and Gallery View for the afterparty, where guests can see each other’s faces and communicate altogether.
Live Streaming services are the better avenue if you’re just planning on hosting your ceremony and nothing more. This allows guests to join the stream and watch your ceremony with ease, joining at a specific time and watching through to the end. Better yet, this won’t allow for your friend Chad to make a scene by drunkenly whipping his junk out on camera when in the Gallery View.
Even if you’re using the right video hosting platform and your home is decked out in autumnal attire, it won’t matter unless you have technology that supports your needs. Streaming off of a $20 webcam can work, sure, but your family will see nothing but lagging footage and grain. If you have the gear or money to commit, consider purchasing a new camera that can stream high-quality footage.
And if you’re relying on your smartphone or tablet, buy a tripod to ensure the device remains stable throughout your ceremony. The last thing you want is for it to be knocked off-center, leaving your friends and family watching your dishwasher throughout your ceremony rather than the two of you.
Along with being mindful of the hosting service and equipment you’re using, you also need to be aware of your surroundings. Once again, you want people to see you and your soon-to-be bride or groom—that’s why they’re there, after all. So don’t just set up your camera and roll with whatever you get from the first try.
If you want a professional service, consider hiring a photographer for the event—if you can find a local photographer who feels safe doing so. The benefit of having a photographer in tow is that they will help you find the best part of your home to stream from. If you already have an established backdrop adorned with fallen leaves, pumpkins, apples, and more, they can help you identify some ways to improve lighting in the area. For instance, they can advise you against recording with natural light behind. Instead, have it facing toward you to improve visuals.
They can capture memories that can be saved by you and your wife and shared with family and friends. While you can record the livestream to save it for future use, it’s a good idea to have professional photos taken that capture the event as it happens. Not only will it look better than a livestream, but it will provide you with more physical tokens to commemorate the event.
Whoever you hire can even spend the day with you, too, taking photos of you and your spouse as you prepare for the ceremony. These intimate photos will help save the memory beyond just the ceremony, catching the two of you in intimate moments before and after your marriage becomes official.
If you’ve already designed your place to be festive and crunchy with (possibly already wilted) leaves, your planned wedding is off to a good start. But let’s take that a step further. Clean up your space around everything that will be going on. That includes clearing up space for the ceremony to take place, room for you to dance after the fact, and more. There shouldn’t be a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit magazine discarded in the corner for Grandma Helena to see.
You’ll need to guarantee that everyone you want to be invited to your virtual wedding receives an invitation, especially your older relatives. This includes sending out detailed invitations that help invitees remain aware of what to expect and where they should be at what time. For instance, you’ll need to make sure that time zones are kept in mind when writing invitations.
If you’re holding your wedding at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Boston, MA, you’ll have to address invitations as follows to guarantee that relatives and friends know the time they should be logging on:
You’ll also want to include clear directions about how they can access your virtual wedding prior to the day. Beyond sending physical invitations, it’s a good idea to also send out a few invitations by email that feature necessary directions and the URL to join your streamed ceremony.
Most of all, consider who you’re inviting, depending on the type of virtual ceremony you’re holding. The last thing you want is for one of your groomsmen to make a scene out of your wedding, pulling a stupid joke to put themselves as the center of attention. Put lightly: If someone is going to make an ass of themselves at your expense, don’t invite them. Your soon-to-be spouse will thank you, trust us. UNLESS that’s the vibe you’re going for, then by all means, turn up!
Once everything is in order, you’ll need to make sure that you’re prepared for the big day once it comes. The best way of doing this is to set a schedule you can follow throughout the day. This includes:
Rather than flying by the seat of your pants on the day of, we recommend performing a dry run the day or week before. This will help you identify any issues in advance. This is especially important when working with streaming gear, as technical problems always seem to happen when you least expect them. So, take the time to prepare in advance and avoid any basic pitfalls before they bite you.
Okay, wipe the sweat from your brow and tears from your eyes. The ceremony is over and it’s time to bust some moves on the (pretend) dance floor! While this can be treated as a simple cocktail gathering between you and your family and friends, think about bringing some structure to it—giving it the feeling of a true wedding reception.
This can include having time for people to collect themselves following the ceremony, having time to take bathroom breaks, get food, and make some stiff drinks. You can then move to putting on a playlist where those in virtual attendance can hold a dance party together. This can eventually culminate with you and your new wife having your first dance together, followed then by signing off to have intimate time alone with one another.
If you’ve planned your virtual wedding, all there is left to do is to make it official! But, in the meantime, you might still need to get wedding rings for you and your lover to be. Looking for something badass to cherish the memory? Manly Bands has the most unique assortment of wedding bands that are sure to make your marriage ceremony even better than you ever could have imagined.
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