How to Have a Virtual Marriage (Ceremony & Certificate)

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virtual wedding

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced individuals and organizations all over the world to figure out ways of conducting everyday tasks remotely, via the Internet. Workplaces, schools, and other groups have discovered just how powerful and useful this form of streaming video-based interaction can be — and so have couples who wish to tie the knot.

Virtual weddings allow people to get married from the safety and comfort of their own homes. This great benefit helps to preserve the health and wellness of wedding participants and guests, pandemic or no pandemic.

Even in the absence of health risks, however, you might choose a virtual wedding to enable well-wishers from all over the city, state, region, or planet to join the festivities without having to make expensive, arduous trips to the ceremony site.

Several states definitely support virtual weddings, while in others the situation may change over time. If your family attorney gives you the go-ahead for a virtual wedding, here’s how to put one together as easily and effectively as possible.

1. Decide on a Date and Time

Just as you would with an in-person wedding, you and your spouse-to-be must decide on a date and time for your virtual ceremony before you can invite your online guests.

One factor that makes work in your favor involves the fact that virtual meetings and events tend to be shorter than their offline equivalents. A 30-minute wedding ceremony makes it that much easier for your guests to accept your invitation.

Keep in mind that the time you select should work reasonably well across the various time zones in which your guests live. You may not find an ideal time for everyone, but do your best to find a compromise. If you have the ability to record your Zoom meeting, any guests that can’t join the live stream can still watch an encore performance of the wedding.

2. Choose a Streaming Video Platform

These days we’re spoiled for streaming video platform options. However, you’re most likely to get optimal results with tried-and-true Zoom.

Since so many people and organizations jumped onto the Zoom bandwagon in 2020, this platform offers a familiar environment less likely to pose technological puzzles for your guests. Video conferencing in general beats live streaming as an option because it allows for more interactivity among all participants.

3. Hire a Virtual Marriage Officiant

Any marriage, whether performed online or in person, requires a qualified officiant to actually do the marrying. If your state permits these officiants to do their job online, then you can make use of any ordained minister or otherwise-authorized officiant anywhere in the world. If your state requires your officiant to marry the two of you in person, you can still stream their participation out to all your virtual guests.

4. Select Your Wardrobe

Just because you’re getting married online instead of in the presence of a roomful of people, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up for this most special of occasions. Whatever wedding garb you would normally wear to an in-person ceremony can make an equally stunning effect over streaming video. so you’re perfectly justified in splurging on the wedding apparel of your dreams. It should go without saying that you’ll also want to show off your rings!

5. Prepare Your Lighting and Background

You’ll want your virtual wedding to look and sound as beautiful and memorable as possible. If you choose to stream your wedding from a traditional venue such as a church, you may already have an elegant environment that only needs some traditional wedding decor to create the desired effect.

If you stream your wedding from home, simply set up a few decorations in keeping with your preferred wedding theme, or choose a virtual background that suits that theme. Consider renting a small photographic light kit so that you can create the ideal combination of direct and indirect lighting to avoid unwanted shadows or blinding glare.

6. Test Your Audio and Video

The last thing your virtual wedding needs is glitchy audio or video that renders some or all of your ceremony incoherent. Hire an experienced videographer or at least invest in a high-quality camera and microphone gear, testing the equipment thoroughly to ensure that you’ll have the right audio and video levels for your ceremony.

At the same time, you must make certain that you have a robust online connection at your venue of choice, whether you’re conducting your wedding from a public place or in the privacy of your own home. Test the gear and the streaming connection at the same time until you’re completely happy with what you’re seeing and hearing.

7. Consider Hosting a Virtual Wedding Shower

If a virtual wedding works perfectly well and makes excellent sense for your needs, then why not throw a virtual wedding shower as well?

Your guests probably won’t hold you to such an additional option, but imagine their surprise and delight at the opportunity to enjoy this traditional but of pre-wedding fun. Just remember that a virtual wedding shower requires similar planning and attention to the technical details that make streaming events a success.

8. Get a Legal Marriage License

As noted above, some states recognize the legality of completely virtual weddings, while others require the in-person presence of a qualified officiant. Either way, you’ll want to obtain a legal marriage license if you want your marriage to be recognized officially.

While you can certainly perform a meaningful ceremony (known as a minimony) even without a legal marriage license, that license will prove invaluable to both of you down the road for tax, immigration, and other legal purposes. Don’t forget to have two witnesses (an essential legal element of any wedding) present on the Zoom stream.

9. Hold Your Virtual Wedding Ceremony

The scale of your virtual wedding ceremony is entirely up to you. You can experience a “simple and humble ceremony” that focuses on the wedding itself, or you can preface your ceremony with a virtual streaming reception that gives your guests every chance to interact and express their best wishes (you may want to remind the guests to look nice for their on-camera participation).

You’ll rest a lot easier throughout the wedding if you have an emcee and/or technical advisor on hand to watch over the technology and keep the event moving as planned. 

10. Obtain a Marriage Certificate

A marriage certificate serves as legal proof of your wedded bliss. In some jurisdictions, they actually take the place of marriage licenses. As soon as your officiant declares you married, you can receive your marriage certificate. (It’s best to get both a digital copy and a hard copy for your records.) If you and your spouse plan on traveling outside the U.S., you may also want to have an additional certification called an apostille stamp added to your marriage license.

If these steps seem like a lot of work, consider how much effort a traditional in-person wedding takes, from the catering of the food to the logistics of seating the guests and renting transportation. You also have the option of streamlining your virtual wedding further by enlisting a full-service provider.

MarryFromHome offers package deals that handle all the organization and Zoom event management for you, right down to sending out the Zoom link to your guests. This all-in-one solution makes it easier for you and your loved one to focus on your special day. Contact us to learn more and get started on your streaming wedding!

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We help couples say ‘I do’ in an official virtual US wedding ceremony, so you can enjoy married life together.

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