If you are one of the many couples who planned to get married this year, you may be feeling disheartened about having to cancel or postpone your wedding. However, more and more couples are turning to virtual ceremonies as a safer alternative. In fact, since March, more than 127,000 guests have been invited to virtual weddings, according to our 2020 Trend Report.
Virtual weddings are a relatively new phenomenon, so you might have questions about how to host this kind of event and how to communicate this to your guests. To help you navigate this new terrain, we have teamed up with Blue Nile, the world’s leading online retailer of diamond engagement rings, to create the ultimate guide to virtual wedding etiquette.
Why should you consider a virtual wedding?
Virtual weddings are a wonderful way to celebrate together with all of your family and friends, wherever they are, without compromising anyone’s health or cutting your guest list.
This option allows the happy couple to broadcast their wedding ceremony and share the big day with friends and family, and gives everyone more peace of mind that safety is a priority.
Virtual weddings also make it possible for everyone to attend without the couple feeling like they’re leaving anyone out.
How should you invite guests to your virtual wedding?
One of the easiest ways is to send out digital wedding invitations. There are many to choose from with a variety of styles to fit every theme. The best part about these invitations? Virtual capability is built-in, so guests can join the virtual event directly from the invitation. For larger parties, hosts can easily add Skype or Zoom links as well, making it really easy for guests to attend the big day!
With Evite Premium, couples can further personalize their wedding invitation by uploading a custom design, or adding meaningful photos.
Ensure your guests understand the virtual format
It’s important to be clear in the invitation that this will be a virtual wedding. For example, “We’re requesting the pleasure of your company at our virtual wedding” or “You’re invited to witness our wedding day… virtually!”
If you were planning on an in-person celebration but decided to pivot to a virtual wedding, make sure to send an updated invitation with the new details, and be clear on how guests can join in on the fun.
You may also want to consider calling grandparents or other guests who may need some digital guidance to explain how the virtual format works and be sure they understand how to attend.
Use the invitation to explain what guests should expect and prepare for on the wedding day, including dress code, whether there will be dancing, time commitment, etc., but most of all, be sure to convey how much your guests’ virtual presence means to you.
Should you incorporate classic traditions into your virtual wedding?
Don’t compromise on key traditional elements that are important to you. Would you still like for attendees to dress formally or join in to dance? Include all those details in the invitation so you set expectations with your guests, but stay flexible on participation given the circumstances. The biggest piece they will want to be part of is the ceremony and watching your first dance.
You should also feel comfortable including a registry in the invitation link since many guests will want to give a gift—we also give couples the option to fund a honeymoon through Evite Donations.
How can you help your guests feel special?
Depending on the size of the virtual wedding, couples can send guests into breakout rooms or areas after the ceremony to celebrate—and make a point to join each room to say hello and thank you to everyone for attending.
If it’s in the budget, the couple may also want to consider a delivery of wine or bubbly—or even an appetizer or piece of cake to the local guests. If delivery isn’t an option, consider sending a custom cocktail or mocktail recipe that guests can prepare for a group toast after the ceremony!
Add some personal touches
Couples have been getting creative by making the wedding a household affair. We’ve seen pets integrated into the ceremony, and one couple’s wedding had a 4-year-old child as the official host.
If the wedding was originally set to be a destination event, guests have been encouraged to bring the spirit of that destination to the wedding—incorporating it into their attire, backgrounds, props, food, and drinks.
Virtual wedding etiquette for guests
If you’ve been invited to a virtual wedding and aren’t sure of the etiquette—here are some tips.
Set the scene
Pick an area in the home that is comfortable with nice lighting and minimal distractions. Guests may also want to light candles or have flowers in the background, whatever will make the occasion feel more special. The couple may also appreciate a fun, customized video background—the guest should use his or her discretion here!
Check the invitation for guidance on the dress code, but if it’s not listed, a good rule of thumb is to default to cocktail attire.
In terms of gifts, the same rules still apply. Since the couple may be quarantining for a while, one idea is to get them something that they can enjoy in the safety of their home like a favorite cookbook. Oftentimes couples also ask for donations for their honeymoon—even if they won’t be able to go on it for a while—so guests should also keep that in mind as an option.
Don’t forget to RSVP
Although this is not a traditional in-person wedding, the same etiquette rules still apply. Before the wedding, make sure you RSVP. And just as the couple getting married wouldn’t want wedding crashers in person, they also won’t appreciate it if you share the link to their wedding with acquaintances or strangers.
Don’t forget to mute your mic!
Leading up to the ceremony, be sure to show up on time and try to minimize all distractions. Also, as we’ve all learned over the past several months, be sure mute your microphone!
Raise a toast
Most of all, the couple will simply be grateful to have their guests with them on their wedding day—so be sure to raise a toast and send your well wishes.
A virtual wedding might not be the big day you had envisioned, but it can still be an incredibly special and memorable occasion. Use this opportunity to bring your friends and family together and feel the love from a safe distance.
To learn even more about how to organize the engaged couple’s big day virtually, visit Blue Nile’s ultimate guide to virtual weddings.