Live streaming has always been a useful tool for destination weddings and elopements – but in COVID times, these virtual broadcasts have become more popular than ever!
Whether you’re hosting an intimate celebration or have loved ones living abroad, live streaming your wedding is the perfect opportunity to ensure nobody misses out on your nuptials – even during a global pandemic.
So, where do you begin when it comes to live streaming your special day? From the best video streaming platforms to the etiquette involved, read on as we share everything you need to know about live streaming your wedding below.
What Does It Mean To Live Stream Your Wedding?
Simply put, a live stream is a video recording that is simultaneously filmed and broadcast in real-time via the internet. Live streaming your wedding means your loved ones will essentially be virtual wedding guests, and can watch your special day from home using their digital devices.
Most couples choose to live stream just their wedding ceremony, but you can also live stream other elements of your day such as your speeches or first dance. You can even live stream other wedding-related events like your engagement party or bridal shower!
Why Do Couples Live Stream Their Wedding?
There are several different reasons why couples might choose to live stream their wedding, especially during the current pandemic. Thanks to COVID-19, live streaming has almost become our new normal!
You might want to consider live streaming your wedding if:
- You’re hosting a minimony or elopement. If you’ve decided to host an intimate wedding but still want to involve a wider group of friends and family, live streaming will allow you to do just this. Read our ultimate guide to planning the perfect micro-wedding here!
- Your loved ones are unable to attend in person. Even if you’re planning a traditional wedding, you may have certain family members who can’t attend due to travel restrictions or personal safety precautions. Live streaming allows you to share the most memorable moments of your day with all of your loved ones, so they can still watch the action from afar.
- You’ve had to downsize your guest list. If COVID-19 has forced you to downsize your original guest list, providing a live stream is a thoughtful way to involve those loved ones who can no longer attend in person.
- You want to recap your wedding after the day. Live streaming means you and your guests can replay and rewatch your wedding time and time again! If you’re unable to hire a videographer due to budget constraints, a live stream recording can be an alternative option to help you capture your essential wedding highlights.
How To Live Stream Your Wedding
Okay, now let’s talk logistics! What’s the best way to live stream your wedding in 2021?
From having the right equipment to making it easily accessible for your guests, there are a few key requirements for a successful live stream. Some wedding vendors (such as venues and videographers) offer live streaming services, but it’s also completely achievable to plan a DIY wedding live stream with the right knowledge!
Here are the 4 steps you’ll need to follow to get your live stream up and running:
1. Consider your live streaming equipment
While live streaming may seem high-tech, the equipment required is actually pretty minimal. You’ll need:
- A smartphone with great video recording quality (a modern iPhone or Android will be your best bet)
- A tripod or smartphone mount to keep your recording steady
- A strong internet connection to high-speed Wi-Fi
It’s not essential, but an external microphone can also be a good idea for outdoor weddings to ensure your recording isn’t impacted by wind or other background noises.
2. Choose your live streaming platform
Next, you’ll need to choose a video streaming platform to “host” your live stream and broadcast it out to your guests. There are a few different options available, including Zoom, Facebook Live, Vimeo, Google Hangouts, Instagram Live and Youtube Live.
To help you choose the right live streaming platform to meet your needs, consider these practical details:
- Guest numbers. How many participants can join the live stream? Will you need to upgrade to add more participants for an additional fee?
- Time limits. Does the platform offer unlimited hours, or will your recording be capped at a specific time?
- Guest accessibility. Will your guests need to sign up and create an account to access the live stream, or can they jump in using just the link?
3. Delegate the job
Who will be responsible for setting up your live stream on the day? We’d recommend nominating a trusted friend or family member, and doing a practice run before the real thing. Your wedding planner or venue coordinator may also be able to do this on your behalf – be sure to check this with them in advance.
4. Give your guests access
Finally, you’ll need to invite guests to your live stream and ensure they can access it on the day. The best way to share your live stream details is via your wedding website. This will give your guests a central “hub” where they can find everything they need to know about your live stream in one easily accessible place.
You can either embed the live stream directly on your wedding website, or share the relevant link and instructions with your guests.
Your wedding website should include all of the essential details your guests will need to know about accessing the live stream, such as:
- What time the stream will start and finish
- Specific instructions for accessing the live stream (such as downloading an app, creating an account, or any relevant passwords)
- How guests can interact – for example, can they leave comments during the stream, sign your virtual guestbook, or upload selfies using your wedding hashtag?
- How guests can replay the live stream after the day
Ps – here at WedSites we support all of your favourite live streaming platforms, and can also help you track RSVPs online and make group announcements for your virtual event! Learn more about our virtual wedding features here.
Live Streaming Invitation Wording
Next, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to invite guests to attend your wedding virtually. You definitely don’t want anyone to feel snubbed, so it’s important to consider your wording.
Depending on the situation, you might choose to mention the live stream on your wedding invitations, or touch base with certain guests individually. Not sure how to best approach this? Here are some live stream invitation wording examples for some of the most common guest list scenarios:
If you’ve decided to elope or host a minimony
If you’re inviting the majority of your guests to attend your wedding virtually, your wedding invitations should reflect this. You’ll want to include all of the traditional invitation details (such as date, time and RSVP instructions), but let your guests know the wedding will be taking place virtually, instead. Don’t forget to include the relevant time zone, so that any loved ones living abroad can plan accordingly.
We’re going virtual!
You’re invited to
Steph and Sam’s
Saturday, October 5th at 3.30pm (AEST)
For live stream and RSVP details, please head to (insert wedding website link).
If you’ve had to downsize your wedding
If you’ve had to cut certain guests from your list due to venue restrictions, it’s best to reach out personally rather than sending a group announcement. Be sincere and apologetic about the situation, while sharing how much you’d love them to still be involved on the day.
Due to circumstances out of our control, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions for our upcoming wedding. To abide by our venue’s restrictions and to ensure everyone’s personal safety, we will be limiting our guest list to immediate family only.
Please accept our sincerest apologies for having to cancel your invitation to our wedding. We will be live streaming our ceremony, and would absolutely love you to join us virtually on the day instead. You can find all of the details about this on our wedding website here: (insert wedding website link)
We appreciate your understanding, and look forward to celebrating with you in person as soon as we are able to!
Love, (Name and Name)
If your loved ones are unable to attend
If you’re going ahead with a traditional wedding but know there are certain guests who may be unable to travel or simply not comfortable attending, we’d suggest including a sentence at the bottom of your wedding invitations offering your live stream as an alternative option.
You can say something like:
We completely understand that some of you may be unable to attend in person due to the current pandemic. We have decided to live stream our ceremony, so that all of our loved ones can be involved in our special day. Find more details via our wedding website here: (insert wedding website link)
Wedding Live Streaming Etiquette
Finally, keep these etiquette tips in mind to ensure your live stream runs smoothly from start to finish!
- Be upfront with your venue. If you’re planning to live stream your wedding, it’s important to have this discussion with your venue before the day. Not only will you need to confirm practical details such as accessing the Wi-Fi, but some venues may have specific policies around recording that you’ll need to adhere to. It’s best to have an upfront chat with your venue coordinator to chat through the logistics.
- Get the angle right. Think carefully about where you position the camera to ensure your virtual guests have an uninterrupted view of the proceedings. You’ll want the camera to be close enough to capture sound clearly, but not in the way of other guests. Ask your celebrant or MC to address the live stream at the beginning of the ceremony, so your guests won’t be standing in the way.
- Protect your privacy. Lock your live stream (and wedding website) with a password to protect the privacy of both you and your wedding guests. The last thing you want is any uninvited users crashing your nuptials!
- Consider your start time. Be sure to give your virtual guests enough time to join the live stream before the ceremony commences, so they don’t miss any important details. We’d suggest opening the live stream at the same time you’d expect your guests to arrive in person – so, 20-30 minutes prior to the ceremony start time.
- Involve your virtual guests. Chances are, your virtual guests would much prefer to be celebrating with you in person. Think about how you can involve them from afar and make them feel special – for example, sending a bottle of champagne to their home, or asking your celebrant to give them a shout-out.
Nailing Your Live Stream
When done successfully, live streaming is a thoughtful way to involve all of your favourite people in this milestone event. Simply keep these tips in mind for a stress-free virtual wedding that your loved ones will appreciate, even if they can’t be with you in the flesh!
Planning your wedding during the pandemic? Read these 5 RSVP questions to ask your wedding guests during COVID-19 here.