Hands up who’s getting married in 2021 and feels like their wedding hasn’t been affected by COVID? Oh, no hands? No surprise.
We all know planning a wedding during a pandemic comes with a dose of uncertainty. But one thing that you can unfortunately count on is that there’s a possibility that not all of your guests may be able to attend your big day. Couples have been forced to reduce their numbers due to either government restrictions on the number of wedding attendees, a venues limited capacity adhering to social distancing guidelines, or because of interstate or international borders being closed.
We know it’s heartbreaking not to have all your nearest and dearest present. However, just because they can’t be there in person, it doesn’t mean they can’t still celebrate with you. The wonderful thing about live streaming is that guests are with you, watching in real time, which makes them feel part of the moment, present and very much included.
We chatted with our Wedshed faves, Melbourne based Hey Jack – a team of talented musicians and wedding film makers – that have invested in some fancy hardware to enable couples to broadcast their wedding live.
Why live stream your day?
It’s quite simple: to give loved ones that can’t be there in person the opportunity to watch you guys get married. It could be that local and international border restrictions are to blame. But the reasons for live streaming a wedding transcend the current climate – think illness, distance, financial circumstances or new babies, for example.
“Thanks to COVID-19, we have had a lot of interest from couples keen to live stream their wedding day. Which would have previously never been given a second thought. We were thrilled to be able to add this offering to our services as we think it’s so important to have your loved ones present and included in your wedding day in these difficult times, even if it is virtually”, said Jordyn of Hey Jack.
The etiquette of live streaming
“If you do decide to live stream your wedding, it’s crucial to remember that this should be treated as a fallback just for those who regrettably can’t attend the wedding. Do not offer it as an option on the invitation – it should be a backup” advised Jordyn.
“We would recommend providing guests who RSVP ‘no’ to the wedding an opportunity to tune in to the live stream via a personalised email with the link and a note. Avoid posting this link publicly to protect your privacy, and make sure only those you’ve actually invited have access to it”.
What part of the wedding should you live stream?
Keep it just for the ceremony. “It’s best to ditch the live streaming at the reception. Guests may not be happy being on camera if their inhibitions are lowered while they’re drinking and dancing the night away”, said Jordyn. As entertaining as boozed friends and relatives might be, this seems like a good call to us.
“Once you’ve settled on live streaming, one essential thing to consider is a (good) internet connection. You’ll want to make sure that you test the internet connection at the venue beforehand. A weak signal may hinder the quality of the live stream”, suggested Jordyn.
When testing the connection, we’d add that it makes sense to try and test at the same time that you’ll be hosting the wedding ceremony so that you have as accurate as possible a feel for the demands on the internet connection at that point in time.
How a professional live stream set-up works
“We set up a 4K camera at the back of the ceremony to avoid getting in the way of your guests and photos. A zoom lens is usually used to get right up close and personal. We spend a lot of time getting audio right and feel it’s just as important, if not more so than video. A wireless microphone will be attached to the celebrant and/or mic, which will transmit crystal clear audio signal to the camera. The camera is linked with a broadcast coupled to a laptop, and your wedding can be live-streamed to a private link to a Facebook Group”, explained Jordyn.
She continued: “You can then go back and enjoy the post and read through and reply to any comments. All of the live stream ceremony footage will also be recorded to the hard drive which you will receive as part of our live streaming package post-event”.
How you could DIY your live stream
It goes without saying that nothing will top the quality of outsourcing a live stream to professionals. On top of the audiovisual element, it’s just reassuring to know that it’s in good hands (because there’s no re-do).
That said, we understand this might not be something that’s within budget for you, or you may just have a couple of people that want to watch from their homes and so are looking for a free option.
If you’ve been working from home during the pandemic, you’ll be familiar with virtual meeting platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts. Facebook Groups work well too, as does Skype or Facetime if it’s just a one-to-one stream.
The key thing here is to delegate the job to someone who is reasonably tech-savvy, who will have a good visual position at the wedding (i.e. they need to have a clear view and be in the first couple of rows so that they can pick up the audio on their phone. Preferably, the person in charge of the live stream is personally connected to the people/person you’re streaming to (they’ll probably want to say hello first as they get the connection stabilised on their device).
Up the ante: how to make a live stream extra special for guests
Couples have also been innovative when it comes to getting their guests excited about tuning into their day virtually. We’ve seen thoughtful gestures such as sending a bottle of bubbly to guests with instructions to pop either pre or post ceremony, party packs with streamers, sweet treats and personalised note. Some even went so far as providing the same meal that was being served at the reception – ingredients and a recipe card for some and for others literally the pre-cooked meal that just needed to be reheated and served!
If you’re VIC based and interested in live streaming your wedding? Got more questions? Get in touch with Hey Jack here.
Photo credit: With Heart.
For more advice and ideas from real couples and other vendors around weddings and coronavirus join our private Facebook group, Wedchat by Wedshed.