With COVID stubbornly hanging around like the asshole cousin no one likes, we need new ways of connecting the people who mean the most to us, with us, on our most special days.
Loads of lovers planning their weddings have their family, and very best friends overseas. Many of them haven’t been able to see each other in person for the last year and a half.
With lockdowns and state based restrictions becoming an increasingly normal part of our daily lives, you may also have people who unexpectedly, can’t make your wedding at the very last minute.
But never fear, there are ways of creating a connected celebration for your loved ones joining us virtually.
TOP 5 TIPS FOR CREATING A CONNECTED CELEBRATION FOR YOUR VIRTUAL GUESTS:
1. Video the hell out of your celebration.
Zoom, skype, facebook live, fancy livestream options – the works!
Your overseas and interstate guests who can’t be there in person are just as important as the people in the room with you. For some couples, they may even be the most important wedding guests on their wedding day.
Your celebrant can talk to all the remote guests before the ceremony starts and welcome them to the wedding. They can thank them for coming, and for making the effort to dress up at whatever ungodly time of day they are virtually joining us.
Your celebrant can let them know what is going to happen, make sure they can hear and see the action okay and make them feel extra special, even though they are so far away.
2. Send your family a written copy of your ceremony ahead of time.
Virtual meets and technology fails can often go hand in hand. Especially when you are trying to dial in a number of people from all over the world, with different levels of computer and application literacy.
But if your distanced family and friends have a copy of your wedding ceremony ahead of time, even if the sound fails on your live stream, or Aunty Joan can’t work out how to increase the volume on her computer, they can still follow along and feel connected to your celebration.
If you want your ceremony to be a surprise for you, you can ask your celebrant to send your ceremony and vows to your family before the big day.
3. Morning mimosas anyone?
We are connected by sound and what we see, but other senses also work to enhance the ambience of an extra special event.
Having pre ceremony cocktails at your wedding? Why not send your extra special loved ones a home delivery of all the ingredients and instructions on how to make their own breakfast mimosa too? While you’re add it follow up with a grazing plate with some proscuitto and blue cheese. I don’t care who you are, and what time zone you’re in, blue cheese and proscuitto are ALWAYS welcome.
This will make them feel included in the most special way and will certainly hit that celebratory vibe you’re after.
4. Words of love and encouragement
In early 2020, just as we were about to enter lockdown for the very first time in Melbourne, I was due to marry a couple who had had to rejig their plans so much, that they ended up marrying in the backyard of the Maid of Honour’s parent’s place the night before lockdown. And as the borders shut around the world, a number of their guests were prevented from coming at the last minute.
With the Groom’s assistance, I reached out to one of the Bride’s best friends who was stranded in the States, and he sent me this most delightful message;
‘We wish we could be there to celebrate with you. You are both wonderful people, and we wish you an extraordinary life together. Not extraordinary the way your wedding will be—only once a century do people get a pandemic wedding. Much better: extraordinarily strong & lasting as you support & love one another for many years to come. All our love to you!‘
We read this out during the ceremony as a surprise, and honestly, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
So why not give your celebrant the contact details of the most important people who can’t make it and see whether they can work some magic for your partner who may be missing their friend, their parent or another loved one?
5. Acknowledging your loved ones
Just because your people can’t be there in person does not mean that they are not there with you with all their heart.
When I write a ceremony, I often ask my couple why they have chosen to invite these guests. Why are these people important to you? Why do you want them present with you on your wedding day? Together we weave this into an acknowledgement of your guests and family that makes them feel full with all the love you have for them, and just how important they are in your lives.
Just because your loved one is a long way away, doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge them in the same way we would if they were sitting in the front row. Let them know you love them. Thank them for their support, their encouragement and their kindness throughout your lives. Give them a massive round of applause or a toast.
Make sure your celebrant acknowledges them during the ceremony, just as they would if they were in the room.
This too shall pass
Lastly, remember in your heart that this pandemic will not last forever.
There will be a time where you can hold your family close again, and you can acknowledge what has passed, and celebrate your shared future in the ways we are used to.
In the meantime, if the last year has taught us anything, it is that we need to hold onto the people who we love, tighter than ever before.
We need to celebrate our love. And if getting married is important to you, we can make that happen AND include your distanced family in the most beautiful, connected and positive of ways.
Photo Chris Montgomery from Unsplashed