For various reasons, our family won't be able to attend our wedding. Do you have any tips on how to go about live-streaming our ceremony and some of the reception?Help, please!
Couples have been live-streaming their weddings for years, but love in the time of Coronavirus takes this concept to whole new realms. Some couples have postponed their 2020 weddings while others are embracing a digital ceremony. And after we're back in the world again, there will still be a need for someone to tune into a wedding over the internet.
Let's look at some options for virtually streaming your wedding — whether it's just Grandma using Skype or dozens (hundreds? thousands?!) of viewers on a live-streaming website. Then we'll run through some tips for making sure your wedding stream runs seamlessly.
Platforms for live-streaming your wedding
YouTube is a free platform that allows live streaming with unlimited viewers and nobody will need a login to view your live-streamed wedding. This method is a little less private, but a lot more accessible. Bonus: YouTube will archive your wedding live stream automatically if it's less than 12 hours long, meaning you can re-watch it without having to manually upload it to an account. Don't worry, you can also change the privacy settings as you prefer.
Ok, LoveStream definitely wins for the cutest name. When you sign up with LoveStream, you're assigned your own live stream producer! This is who helps you get connected to the live stream, checks camera angles and audio and helps your wedding live stream go off without a hitch.
LoveStream is THE easiest way to live stream your wedding. And there are SO many reasons to live stream your wedding. If you:
- Are worried about canceled flights, freak storms or pandemics preventing guests from making it
- Feel like you have to invite everybody and their mom (but really don’t want to)
- Want to simplify your wedding, save money or make your wedding more memorable
Their streaming tool is designed for every guest — Not just tech-savvy ones. Guests watch your wedding from the ease of a personalized website, live or later (like DVR). No downloading an app or logging in. That means grandma and grandpa can help you celebrate, even if they don’t know how to use Zoom or Facebook. LoveStream makes it super easy. Use coupon code OFFBEAT10 for 10% off!
Vimeo (formerly Livestream)
Like YouTube, Vimeo offers a live stream platform for unlimited viewers with feature-rich tools and a premium price. You can even integrate your wedding from Vimeo into platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook Live, which can be super useful if you already pay for a Vimeo Livestream account.
Both Vimeo and YouTube have integrations with apps like Joy, which add a level of control to your stream and integrate it with any of their invitation and guest list features.
It's a good bet that you've heard of or been invited to a Zoom sesh for work or socializing. It's gone bananas and therefore might be popular enough for the general public to use it for a wedding ceremony. Zoom broadcasts onto a private cloud, but the free version limits your stream to 40 minutes and up to 100 guests. You can, however, pay a monthly fee (currently $14.99) for the Pro version that allows for a longer stream, and an additional fee for more guests. When you're tabulating your guest count, note that some families might be watching one screen, saving you some of those seats.
The best part is that your guests don't need to create an account to watch your live stream, they just need to grab the app on their phone or computer.
Facebook is a platform with which most of your guests will be familiar, and anyone can watch regardless of whether they have an account or not, a feature recently added on mobile, too. It's free, allows for up to eight hours of streaming, and doesn't have a participant limit.
Skype is a free platform but only allows for up to 50 guests and was once so popular for live-streamed weddings that we created a tag archive for it. Skype is still a great platform for smaller groups and weddings where only a few guests want to watch online.
Wedfuly is one of a few apps that uses an existing platform (in this case, Zoom) to live stream your wedding while acting as tech support and concierge to your guests. They'll mute as needed, change music, and more including a virtual rehearsal. If you want to utilize Zoom as your platform but would rather not deal with all the nitty-gritty details and setup, Wedfuly will do it for you starting at $1200. PROTIP: use the coupon code OFFBEAT to get $100 off from Wedfuly!
Other social platforms for a wedding live stream
Many more social platforms offer a way to live stream a wedding including Instagram Live, Twitter Periscope, and Twitch, though you'll need to make the call on whether your guest list is savvy enough for your selection. Some even require a specific device, like FaceTime which requires everyone to have an Apple device.
Tools for your live-streamed wedding
Here are the tools you'll need to live stream your wedding:
- A good camera or webcam: most smartphones have cameras capable of providing a high-quality experience, so don't feel like you have to buy an expensive camera. Just pick the device that has the best one, whether its a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or an actual camera.
- Microphone: while not required, especially if your ceremony is indoors, a mic will help your guests hear everything you're saying without wind or background noise getting in the way. Wireless lavalier mics work well in this setup.
- Tripod: A camera tripod or standing tripod will give your viewers much less nausea than having someone hold it the whole time.
- Internet connection: whether it's good wifi, ethernet, or your phone's data (make sure you have enough!), a stable connection is required.
Live streaming wedding tips
- Video quality is contingent on the camera, your internet connection, and the service you're using. Some of the services only let you stream at a certain quality on their free plan. Play around with some different options to see what works best for you.
- Make sure your virtual attendees know how to get to the page where you'll be streaming the wedding. Decide how you'll share the link with them: email, Facebook update, via a guest list app, etc.
- Have someone monitoring the chat, muting when needed, and answering tech questions, so you don't have to play IT helpdesk at your ceremony. Plan to backup the video to a site like YouTube just in case someone gets disconnected or there are technical issues.
- If you're doing a public stream on social media, watch out for copyrighted music that could get your stream blocked. Consider having someone mute the mic on the device during the music.
- Password protect your stream if you're concerned about privacy or security issues (which have been a problem with some video conferencing sites).
- Give all of your guests time to test the setup prior to the event starting. Remember that some of these options necessitate an account ahead of time. Make sure your virtual attendees have this set up before the day-of.
- Have everyone grab a drink to share a toast if you want some guest involvement. If there's time before your wedding, consider sending a care package to your guests beforehand.
- Charge the device you'll be using and make sure the internet works and that you have enough data, if not using wifi or a direct connection.
- Disable any sleep mode or screensaver functions on the device.
- If you're using a laptop at an in-person ceremony, you could save a seat for it.
- Obvious advice is obvious: test your setup multiple times to make sure it works, and to learn to troubleshoot any mishaps that could occur.
For those of you livestreaming your weddings, which streaming services are you using and why?