Couples today are finding new and creative ways to celebrate their love and commitment, and virtual weddings are becoming increasingly popular. With the ability to connect with loved ones from anywhere in the world, Zoom weddings offer a unique and intimate way to exchange vows. In this article, we'll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to plan and host a Zoom wedding that is as meaningful and memorable as a traditional ceremony.

Tips on how to plan and host a fun online wedding

Whether you're looking to save money, simplify logistics, or simply prefer a virtual celebration, we've got you covered. So, let's explore the ins and outs of hosting a virtual wedding with Zoom.

1. Set the date

While you don't need to set a date and time as far in advance for a virtual wedding, you will still want to think about what works best for your guests.

Remember that it is not just about the two of you. Your guests may have certain preferences for when they would be able to attend your wedding, so try to choose a time that works well for them and the most important people in your life who are attending.

For example, if you know that several of your friends enjoy going out on Friday nights and probably won't be able to make it if you choose then, pick another day or time! It also helps if there are no major holidays near when you choose, such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. You can use free tools like When Is Good or Doodle to gauge availability of those attending your wedding (and even non-attending family members). These sites let users create polls where invited guests can check off boxes for days/times they are available. That way, once most people check off boxes, those times with the least number of checked boxes can be used as potential options for when the ceremony should occur!

2. Plan ahead

Before your wedding day, make a to-do list with everything you'll need for the event. Some of the things you'll want to consider are:

  • The number of people on your guest list (there are Zoom limits to how many people can attend)
  • What equipment you need (microphone, good lighting, camera)
  • If any guests will have trouble joining or staying on the call after they've joined (have a plan for handling this)
  • Who will be in charge of technical assistance or other duties during your wedding ceremony and reception
  • Potentially doing a practice run

If at all possible, try out conducting a Zoom call that mirrors what your wedding day would look like before actually hosting it. This will give you some practice as well as show you if there are any issues which need addressing before the big day. You may even discover that there is an easier way to organize or control certain aspects of your event!

3. Prepare your guests

Create a cool invitation.

Invitations are important. They introduce the event to your guests and can set a theme or mood for how the day will play out. The six elements that should be included on your invitation are: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

  • WHO? Who is the host of the event? Who is invited to attend? Is there a dress code?
  • WHAT? What type of event is it? What's the agenda? Do you have any special activities planned?
  • WHEN? When is the date of the event and what time should guests log on? How long will it last?
  • WHERE? Where will it take place (include Zoom meeting ID)? Is there a location-specific theme to keep in mind when decorating one's home office or living room (i.e., beach party)? Should guests prepare food beforehand or plan meals according to specific times throughout the day (i.e., cocktail hour)?
  • WHY? Why are you hosting this event now instead of later or at all? Why should people care about participating (i.e., charitable cause)? Do you have any special announcements planned throughout (i.e., baby reveal parties)?
  • HOW? How can guests join/join from their phone/desktop/tablet, etc.? Are there links for them to follow for more information about your cause/announcement/agenda/party favors, etc.? Once you've decided on your invitation style and filled out all relevant details about your wedding—namely the Zoom meeting link—you can choose whether to send them digitally through social media channels like Instagram or Facebook or physically by printing them out at home with an envelope and postage stamp attached. Digital invitations may be more immediate in terms of sending out quickly while physical invitations could provide something tangible as a nice keepsake for those who attend virtually.
Create a wedding website for your guests to visit so that they can get all of the details in one spot.

The first thing you'll want to include on your wedding website is the schedule of events. This will let guests know when and where to log on. Be sure to include any time zones and links they'll need in order to access the Zoom room.

Next, share some details about yourself and your partner so that people who might not know you very well can get a sense of your personalities. Add some photos of you, your wedding party, and any other key players, as well as details about where you're getting married (if this is different than where you live), what the dress code is, and how far in advance guests should arrive before the ceremony starts.

Make it clear whether or not there's a specific color theme for the event. If there is one, be sure to mention it! Guests may want to coordinate their outfits or even decorate their homes with flowers or decorations that match your chosen theme.

Finally, provide information on how guests can give gifts if they'd like—whether it's through a wedding registry or making a donation in lieu of sending gifts.

4. Prepare the setting

Tip: Set up your device on a stable surface in a well-lit area without anything too distracting behind you, and let your guests know to do the same.

If you and your guests want to be able to see the whole room and everyone in it, you'll need to position your device so that it can fit everything inside its frame. This may mean putting it on a tripod or something similar, so that it's mounted at a higher level than if you had it placed on a table. And of course, you'll want to make sure the lighting is good, while also positioning the camera away from any harsh glares or windows.

Wherever your camera ends up being positioned, take note of what shows up behind you in its field of view. If there's anything too distracting (like an open closet full of clothes), adjust accordingly by closing doors or moving items out of view. You should also make sure nobody else is sharing the same space as your Zoom device unless they're part of the wedding—guests don't want to see other people wandering around in the background!

Once you've got your Zoom space arranged just right, tell everyone else about your setup so that they can place their devices somewhere appropriate for showing off their best side(s).

Have multiple devices ready to go.

You'll want to have a couple of devices ready for your Zoom wedding. Zooming in from multiple devices allows everyone to see what's going on, and it creates a sense of intimacy for your guests. Also, if one device fails you, there are backups ready to go! In addition to the guest devices, plan out how many additional monitors/devices you will need.

  • One device for the main event — this is where most of the action will take place
  • A second device for the officiant — this way they can communicate with their guests during the ceremony
  • A third device for the virtual background — use this one to add some personality to your wedding without overwhelming everyone by having multiple screens with different images going on at once
  • A fourth device for best man or maid of honor so they can help keep things running smoothly during cocktail hour (this also goes well with number five!)
  • Fifth through seventh screens could be dedicated entirely towards streaming music videos as entertainment while you wait between events

5. Host the ceremony

Guests should mute their microphones.

In order for your guests to hear clearly during the ceremony, you should instruct them to keep their mics muted.

If you have a wedding planner or tech support, they will be able to mute people for you and check in with your guests if there are any technical difficulties.

If you're hosting on your own, it's best to mute all your guests once the ceremony starts so that their microphones don’t pick up background noise or interruptions. You can also ask all of your guests to mute themselves before they join the meeting so that they don’t accidentally make a noise when everyone is unmuted at once.

Have someone monitor the chat to make sure all questions are answered, especially if you're using a service other than Zoom.

Appoint someone to monitor the chat. This person should be tech savvy, and they should know the answers to all frequently asked questions. They need to make sure that everyone is enjoying themselves, which involves monitoring the chat for submissions of questions and comments from your guests.

If you're using a platform other than Zoom for your wedding, you may want to provide your friend or family member with a list of FAQs and their answers ahead of time.

Have someone lead your guests in a toast before the couple cuts their virtual cake together and then enjoys it with their own slices at home.

Everyone loves a good toast! Ask one of your friends or family members to lead the crowd in a toast before you and your partner cut your virtual cake together. You can stick with the traditional champagne flutes, but it’s fun to mix things up and have guests use whatever they have on hand—from coffee mugs to plastic cups.

Then, you’re going to want to get everyone involved in some more audience participation activities! Pass out party hats and streamers so that everyone can join in the celebration as you cut your cake. If you are getting married virtually, use a Zoom background as an easy way for all of your guests to be together.

For any couple who wants to help their guests feel like they are all partying together, we highly recommend hosting a virtual dance party at the end of your ceremony! Invite guests onto “the dance floor” by having them mute themselves on Zoom and play music from Spotify or YouTube. If you aren’t using Zoom, ask guests to share their screens while they listen along. No one will be able to hear their favorite tunes over video chat but that won’t stop anyone from dancing with what feels like the entire wedding party right beside them (even if they aren’t)!

6. After the ceremony

Encourage guests to share photos.

You could facilitate this by having a slideshow of pictures playing during the wedding, or you could make a photo album after the fact. If your guests are feeling creative, they could even send you photos they’ve taken that you can have turned into a memory book.

Of course, there's always the more modern route of sharing photos on social media or a website dedicated to your wedding. You can create an album on Facebook and send out the link to all your guests so everyone can see what everyone else got up to at their own celebrations. Alternatively, you can set up a free website through services like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, etc., which allows you to create galleries and access code that makes it easy for people to submit their own photos directly through the site.

No matter how you choose to do it though, allowing folks to share pictures will make them feel connected and help build excitement for the party once this weird time is over.

A Zoom wedding can be memorable and beautiful.

Let Courtly help you plan yours today!

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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