One of the biggest challenges with planning a virtual wedding is involving your loved ones from afar. Chances are, your virtual guests would much rather share the day with you in person – so, it’s worth going the extra mile to include them in your digital event.
Sending out your live stream link is easy enough, but how can you create an engaging atmosphere for your long-distance guests? From gift hampers to games and speeches, we’ve rounded up 16 thoughtful ways to involve your guests in a virtual wedding below.
Send Them a Gift Hamper
Transport your guests (virtually!) to your wedding day by sending them a thoughtful gift hamper they can enjoy during your live stream. Be inspired by the vibe of your wedding (eg: rustic, formal, coastal) and choose some personalised treats to help your virtual guests feel like they’re celebrating right there with you.
Some of our favourite gift ideas for a virtual wedding gift hamper include:
- Champagne flutes and a bottle of bubbles
- Cake pops or cupcakes with your wedding cake flavour
- Photo props and a disposable camera
- Monogrammed handkerchiefs
- A copy of your ceremony program
- A handwritten thank you note
Sending out some thoughtful goodies is the perfect way to thank your virtual guests and let them know how much their involvement is appreciated.
Include Them In Your Wedding Traditions
If you’re following the “Something old, new, borrowed and blue” tradition, why not collect these items from your virtual guests? Reach out to your loved ones and ask them to contribute a small treasure you can use for your special day. This could include family heirlooms, preloved jewellery, a favourite perfume or a lucky token.
Get Ready Together
If you have close friends and family members who are unable to join you on the day, invite them to “get ready with you” virtually instead! Simply FaceTime any VIP guests and allow them to tune in to your wedding preparations from home. They can do their hair and makeup with you, witness the dress reveal, and share a glass of bubbles before your ceremony begins.
Create a Pre-Wedding Slideshow
Welcome your virtual guests by opening your live stream with a slideshow of your favourite photos. This will give your virtual guests some time to settle in and interact with each other while taking a trip down memory lane. Tip: try to include some photos of you and your spouse with each of your virtual guests to make them feel extra special!
Assign Toasts or Readings
Don’t let distance hold you back from giving your loved ones some special wedding privileges. Why not ask one of your virtual guests to give a reading at your ceremony, or even share a toast at your reception? There may be some extra work involved with setting up a projector screen and linking it to your live stream, but your virtual guests will feel honoured to play such an important role on the day.
Address Them Directly
Before your ceremony kicks off, ask your MC or celebrant to welcome your virtual guests to the live stream. You can personalise this further by having them give each of your guests a special mention (for example: “A warm welcome to Jodie and Mick! Where are you guys tuning in from today?). Small details like this can really help your virtual guests feel more connected to the experience.
Plan a Virtual Reception
Remember, your virtual wedding doesn’t need to stop at the ceremony. Why not plan a virtual reception to keep the party going for your guests at home?
Using the “breakout rooms” feature on Zoom is a great way to replicate a traditional wedding reception. Simply group your guests into different breakout rooms – just like you would with your reception tables – and allow them to interact for the duration of your dinner. Then, bring everyone back together as you live stream your first dance, speeches and cake cutting.
Tip: to make this run smoothly (without any awkwardness), choose someone from each breakout room to facilitate the group ahead of time. You can suggest ice-breaker games and activities, or include some interesting conversation prompts to help your guests converse.
Organise Virtual Games
Take your virtual reception to the next level by planning some virtual games and activities to entertain your guests! You can organise screen-sharing games using an online party service like JackBox, or send out printable activities such as newlywed bingo, trivia or wedding Mad Libs.
Create a Signature Cocktail
If you’ve organised a signature cocktail for your wedding reception, send the recipe card to your virtual guests in advance (or, better yet, include the ingredients in a gift hamper!). Your guests will love sipping on your signature drink and sharing the experience with you in real-time.
Create a Custom Wedding Playlist
Send your virtual guests a custom playlist of your wedding songs so they can enjoy all of the tunes from the day! Include your ceremony music and reception jams so your virtual guests can have their very own dance party at home. You can even involve them personally by asking them to send in a song request before the day via your wedding website and online RSVPs.
Send Them a Keepsake
Consider holding on to some keepsakes from your wedding reception and sending them to your virtual guests after the day. We love the idea of preserving your table flowers and sending a small dried bunch to each guest!
Print Life-Size Cutouts
If you only have one or two virtual guests who can’t attend your wedding in person, surprise them by printing some life-size cutouts to join you instead! Your guests will get a thrill (and a giggle) seeing their doppelgangers standing by your side on the day. Be sure to include them as photo booth props on the night, so they can get snap happy with your guests.
Create a Virtual Wedding Guestbook
A virtual guestbook is another great way to involve your long-distance loved ones. You can create a virtual guestbook easily via your wedding website to collect well wishes and marriage advice from your virtual guests. Go a step further by creating a custom wedding hashtag so they can upload some photos from the day, too!
Throw a Virtual Bridal Shower
If you’re throwing a bridal shower before the big day, why not take this online? A virtual bridal shower is the perfect opportunity to involve any friends or family members who can’t celebrate with you in person. You can host your entire bridal shower online, or simply open up a live stream component for any guests to tune in from afar. Read our guide on throwing a virtual bridal shower here!
Schedule Time to Interact
Your wedding day will go by in an absolute whirlwind, so be sure to schedule some time for you and your spouse to interact with the live stream throughout your event. Being able to personally congratulate you and your spouse – albeit via a Zoom screen – will mean the world to your virtual guests.
Throw an After Party
If the pandemic is responsible for hampering your original wedding plans, consider throwing an “after party” to celebrate with your virtual guests at a later date. You can plan this around a meaningful date like your wedding anniversary, share stories and photos from your wedding, and relive every special moment together.
Virtual Wedding Logistics
Along with these creative ideas for making sure your virtual guests feel included, don’t forget to consider the logistics, too! From audio quality to lighting and communication, the practical stuff is just as important when it comes to creating a memorable experience for your guests.
Check out our expert tips below to help you plan and host the perfect live stream!