How to Plan a Zoom Wedding
When we entered into the upside down that is 2020, a new phenomena swept the nation, entering our daily lexicon and becoming the bane of distance workers everywhere. We call it “Zoom”. You may have heard of it!
All jokes aside, the concept of Zoom proposals, Zoom weddings, Zoom game nights and Zoom happy hours were at the very least rare before we drunkenly stumbled into this strange decade. Now it is almost a necessity. For those of you who sadly had to cancel or postpone your wedding, here is a step by step guide of how to plan a Zoom wedding like a pro.
(not sponsored, we promise!)
What is a Zoom Wedding?
If you have managed to come out of this pandemic unscathed by Zoom meetings then let us give you a quick lowdown. Zoom is an online meeting platform that was originally made for teams to have conference calls from wherever they are in the world. Nowadays, we use it for almost everything.
A Zoom wedding is simply a wedding hosted as a “meeting” on the platform. For most, it has enabled the heartbroken couples who still wanted to get married this year but could not be with their families to still tie the knot in the presence of their loved ones via the wonders of the internet. If you are stuck on whether to cancel, postpone or Zoom your wedding, we wrote a great article on this here.
And why Zoom? Well at this present moment in history, it has been the go-to for gathering people virtually. It also has the added factor of familiarity, as many of your guests will now have used Zoom at least once.
The logistics of a Zoom wedding
For this tutorial you will need:
- Excellent internet connection
- An officiant or celebrant (depending on if you are having a legally binding wedding during this ceremony or just a blessing)
- A location for your wedding to take place
- Witnesses (depending on local laws)
- Online RSVPing platform
- Tons of imagination
Step 1. Finding a location
Though your wedding is taking place in the virtual realm, you still need a real life place for you, your officiant and your witnesses to be together. In terms of witness laws, these were not written with “virtual witnesses” in mind, so do check with your local authority as to who you need to be present for your marriage to be binding. Having 3-5 people at your real life wedding means that you can be creative with your chosen location. Think of it as a live streamed elopement. You can choose natural locations or wedding venues alike. Get creative as you have more flexibility than ever before to get married pretty much wherever you want (again, bear local laws in mind if you want this ceremony to be legally binding). Be careful not to exceed any gathering laws in your State either.
Step. 2 Setting a date
This can be tricky. Though many of the world are now working from home and seemingly have more flexibility, this isn’t always the case for all of your wedding party. A Saturday wedding is still likely to be the most convenient for your wedding guests but the best thing to do is to reach out to your close friends and family for the best days of the week for them. As long as the absolute VIPs are able to attend and your officiant is available, the date is good enough to roll out to the rest of your wedding party. We recommend at least one month’s notice to enable your guests to plan ahead.
Once you have set a date and time, you’ll need to create a Zoom meeting in your account and this will give you the link to share with your guests.
Step 3. Sending out invitations to your Zoom wedding
As much as we love pretty paper, it’s not always possible to send out perfectly themed wedding stationery for your Zoom wedding. In the spirit of keeping things virtual, there are plenty of online options to help you send out invitations and RSVPs. Now Zoom does have an invitation feature so to speak, but it sends out a very dull, overly wordy and nigh on spam-looking email invite which your friends and family would probably groan at the sight of. Many of us see it multiple times a day now after all! Your Zoom wedding is not a corporate meeting where we disappointingly review last quarter’s sales, it’s your wedding. So your invites should still reflect the joy and light you want this day to bring.
If you fancy being creative, you can design virtual invites yourself and send them out via email. Alternatively, you can make a wedding website with online apps like AppyCouple, Minted, The Knot and Zola, and direct your guests there to RSVP.
After you have your RSVPs together, you can send out the scheduled link you created for your virtual wedding.
Step 4. Getting the right equipment for your Zoom wedding
Now for the techy part. You’ll need to set up your laptop(s) in convenient places for your guests to be able to see you when you say I do. We recommend bringing two to capture you at two angles. Simply use one laptop as the “host” of the Zoom meeting and the other one as a guest with the camera on. This way you can capture the reactions of both of you however you decide to stand. If you decide to still have a procession for your ceremony (walking down the aisle) then make sure that your cameras are able to capture this moment.
Webcams can also help with this if you are tech savvy enough to calibrate the webcams to your laptops beforehand, but this can give you more flexibility with your setup.
You’ll need truly excellent WiFi connection so if you decide to host your wedding outside, you may want to invest in portable WiFi means from a mobile phone provider.
Microphones do help in your guests being able to hear you more clearly but check for interference well before the call starts.
As for Zoom itself, you’ll need to pay for an upgraded account. Though normal Zoom accounts are free, it cuts you off after 40mins and we’re sure that no one would love a 40 minute wedding! The Pro plan has a 24hour limit and up to 100 guests. The plan above that allows you to have up to 300 guests, so upgrade appropriately. You can always cancel your upgraded account afterwards!
Step 5. How to plan your wedding day schedule for Zoom
As you can see, there is quite a lot of setup when it comes to virtual weddings, so you’ll need to schedule your wedding day a little differently. Of course, with an online wedding day the flow is very different, but also completely unique to you. You can make the day as long or as short as you would like!
It is good practice to have at least 30mins before the ceremony to test that the tech is all working before you get on your live call. If you have a trusted friend or if your officiant can help with this, then you may not need to do this yourselves, and instead can use this time for photos or prolong your session getting ready.
Once you are all setup and ready to go, enter the Zoom call and start letting your guests in. Have a little chat with them as you would as they enter your church or ceremony space. Make sure all cameras are on and they can clearly see and hear you.
Wedding ceremonies, yes even online ones, are relatively short nowadays, ranging from 30 - 40mins. What you do after the ceremony is completely up to you! Perhaps you have a virtual cocktail hour where you play music and encourage your guests to have a beverage of choice. Of course, it’s tough to have individual conversations on a group call so either take this opportunity to dance together or have a group conversation in the messaging app or aloud. The more people you have in the call the more complex this is.
As with all weddings, a Zoom wedding is what you make of it. You can play games. You can dance. You can cut a cake on the live-stream. This is your special day to craft and we hope this article is helpful!
Do let us know if you decided to have a Zoom wedding and how it went. We love to hear your stories and submissions.
Olivia de Santos
Olivia is a British wedding planner, writer and founder of the destination wedding planning company Nulyweds in Portugal. She is passionate about travel, weddings, beauty, cinema, horse riding and BIPOC issues. She lives in Portugal, and is in her element exploring the country to create unique, colorful weddings.