The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on every area of our lives and weddings are no exception. Hybrid weddings, where some guests attend in person and others virtually, became popular during lockdown. But wedding industry experts expect that hybrid weddings are a trend that is here to stay.
Why Have a Hybrid Wedding?
Like many innovations, the hybrid wedding was born out of necessity. During lockdown, technology that could connect us with colleagues, friends and family came into its own. From Zoom calls to Facetime, the use of video technology surged.
Couples planning to marry or due to get married during lockdown had limited options. Some couples chose to postpone their weddings until COVID-19 restrictions allow larger gatherings, while others went ahead with smaller numbers to comply with the latest regulations.
However, for other couples, opting for a hybrid wedding has given them the chance to share their special day with friends and family online, as well as in person.
Although hybrid weddings have become more common by necessity, we expect them to play an important role in the future, even once COVID-19 social distancing rules have been lifted.
There are many reasons why some of your guests may not be able to attend in person. They may live too far away or may not be able to attend a wedding for health reasons. Hybrid weddings also allow you to involve more guests than the maximum capacity for your venue.
If you are planning a hybrid wedding, here are some tips to help you.
Work Closely with Your Venue
When you are selecting your venue, discuss your plans fully and ensure that they have a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Some venues may offer you a dedicated Wi-Fi network for your event, and may even offer packages which include AV equipment hire.
Videographer or DIY?
A good videographer will be able to help plan the live-streaming element of your hybrid wedding. It is advisable to spend some time with them at your venue in advance to discuss how the live-stream will work and where they will set up their equipment. An advantage of using a professional videographer is that it will take away a lot of the stress for you, allowing you to relax and enjoy your special day.
However, if you’d like to keep costs down you may wish to arrange the live-streaming yourself. If you go down this route, ensure you have basic audio visual equipment including a camera, tripod and microphones. You may also wish to use extra lighting, particularly for indoor weddings. It is not necessary to buy this equipment as there are many suppliers that hire AV equipment.
Look After Your Virtual Guests
A challenge for hybrid weddings is ensuring guests who are attending virtually feel as included and entertained as your guests who are there in person.
Ensure your celebrant and MC include your virtual guests. It is also a good idea to identify someone to act as an MC specifically for your remote guests. This could be a friend or family member, who can welcome them when they dial in and help answer any questions they may have.
It is a good idea to put thought into the structure of the day and the elements that will be live-streamed. To give your remote guests a flavour of the whole day, you could include elements of the build-up. The MC who is hosting your virtual guests can give a tour of the venue and chat to some of the guests, and stream the ceremony, wedding speeches and reception.
Send information to your remote guests in good time before the day with all the details and timings. Remember that some of your guests may be uncertain about technology, so keep your instructions simple and easy to understand.
Hybrid weddings offer a fantastic opportunity to involve people who are unable to attend a wedding, for whatever reason. Although they became popular during lockdown, hybrid weddings look like a trend that’s set to stay.
Guest post by Hazel Parsons
About the Author
Hazel Parsons is an award-winning wedding venue consultant.