With no sign of the pandemic going anywhere, brides and grooms who planned to be married in 2020 are forced to opt for plan B — if not plan C or D. While some are downsizing their in-person weddings to meet coronavirus guidelines and state restrictions, others are choosing to cancel theirs until further notice and some, well, they're embracing the virtual "I do."
A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Zoom wedding for my friend and fellow editor and writer, Kristin Magaldi, and the short-but-sweet ceremony left me in happy tears (surprise surprise). In order to get the scoop on what exactly went into planning a virtual wedding, I asked Kristin to share her best tips so other couples know exactly how to have a Zoom wedding in case they're looking to lean into the video chat vows, too.
Here are the top 10 tips for making your Zoom wedding special, from a bride who had one herself.
1. Make sure your state is allowing online ceremonies.
"For example, my state of New York discontinued online ceremonies past August 6th, meaning we had to move our wedding up. You can likely still have an online ceremony, but you're going to have to wait to go to a city clerk's office to officially sign a marriage license."
2. Find an officiant who is willing to conduct your ceremony online.
"If you don't know anyone who can do it for you in person who is also certified to officiate weddings in your state, you can find someone easily on The Knot or Wedding Wire. We used Mirelle from Honeybreak Officiants and she was amazing!"
3. Talk to your officiant about customizing your ceremony.
"They typically will give you the option to personalize it to whatever extent you want. For us, we didn't decide to write our own vows but instead selected vows from a list given to us by our officiant."
4. Send guests invites to your video chat meeting ahead of time.
"And make sure you provide detailed instructions on how to download and access the stream for the ceremony. Even after telling multiple relatives to mute REPEATEDLY in an email, there were still a lot of people who just didn't do it."
5. Customize the space you decided to have the ceremony in with personal touches.
"Since we had the ceremony in my apartment, we created a flower arch with some twinkle lights, and I bought a bouquet of flowers off Urban Stems that I tied with white ribbon. I also got some additional matching orange roses from my local florist and added some thistles from a bodega nearby to create a small floral arrangement that matched my bouquet."
6. Add events to your Zoom ceremony that you would have wanted to have at an in-person wedding.
"For us, we got a small wedding cake that we cut together and also did a virtual champagne toast with our guests."
7. Make sure to tell your guests whether or not you're expecting gifts.
"I didn't think about this until multiple people asked if I had a registry. If you do have a registry, send it out alongside your video link."
8. Establish a dress code if you want to.
"I didn't care if guests showed up in their pajamas since we had people Zooming in from all over the world, but if you want to have your guests in wedding attire, make sure you tell them!"
9. Plan the day out how you want it.
"We knew we weren't going to be able to have a ton of guests or go on a full-fledged honeymoon so we did everything we wanted to on a smaller scale. My parents, brother, aunt, and uncle attended the ceremony in person in addition to our Zoom guests. After the ceremony, we went out to lunch at a restaurant we absolutely loved and treated ourselves to some amazing cocktails and an incredible meal."
10. If you can't travel, go on a mini-moon.
"It wasn't possible for us to go abroad like we wanted to, so instead we splurged on a hotel in Williamsburg, a neighborhood we both loved. The hotel had a rooftop pool so it felt like we were actually getting away. Though it was only one night, it was such a change from what we've been doing in quarantine."
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