Virtual Weddings Are The Latest Trendy Social Distancing Workaround
Hannah Warren // Senior Writer & Editor
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How To Plan Your Virtual Wedding
Many people are considering getting married online – but is a virtual wedding right for you?
With current travel restrictions and last-minute updates to laws concerning social distancing, brides and grooms-to-be all over the world are having to make tough decisions about their wedding day.
We know it is absolutely heartbreaking to postpone the wedding you’ve been planning for months and years, even if it is for the safety of your friends and family, but just because the physical ceremony can’t take place as planned doesn’t mean you can’t take things online.
But is a virtual wedding right for you?
What is a Virtual Wedding?
A virtual wedding can be one where an engaged couple is in completely different places, or the couple invites guests to a virtual space, or both!
A virtual wedding can be the answer if you’re in a part of the world where you can still gather in small numbers, but your family and friends on a large scale cannot attend due to crowd or travel restrictions.
“Just because the physical ceremony can’t take place as planned doesn’t mean you can’t take things online.”
It’s also a great option for couples who want to get married together, but don’t want the expense of flying in their family from all over the world, or who wish to save the expense of the venue and party, but want to share the special event with family in different time zones.
How Can I Legally Get Married Online?
To get legally married online, the bridal couple, officiator, and two witnesses must be in the same room, which means that it’s not really possible. However, you can get married by proxy.
Because the internet isn’t a physical place or a legal entity in itself, people can’t get legally married online. However, it is possible for the ceremony to take place through the internet.
In that instance, there would need to be legal aspects fulfilled in a real location, including at least two witnesses signing their relevant documents, as well as both parties of the couple signing the marriage certificate.
Again, the legal aspects of this get a little blurry as the semantics of nuptial law can vary from county to county, state to state, and country to country.
Is it OK to Get Married Without a Wedding?
Yes, of course – while many couples choose to celebrate their marriage with a large wedding ceremony, the legal marriage is what is most important. Many couples now get their legal marriage certificate days before their “real” wedding.
If you want to be legally married but aren’t a fan of traditional weddings, or want to postpone your traditional wedding, you can. Equally, if you want to hold the small necessary legal ceremony and stream it online, and forego the “traditional” wedding, you can.
Can You Get Married Remotely?
If you’re in a position where you need to get married remotely, the legal technicalities become a little tricky when it comes to where the marriage will be valid.
Four states in the US (California, Colorado, Montana and Texas) allow proxy marriages in some form, though most of these proxy marriage laws are only applicable to members of the armed forces who are deployed.
Some states will recognize a proxy marriage that was officiated in another state, whereas other states only recognize them as a common-law marriage.
In other words, it really depends on where you and your partner are living, and why you require an online marriage.
Proxy marriages are not cheap, and the legal grey area about the marriage’s validity seems to deter a lot of people unless they’re in a sticky situation and need to get married ASAP.
Can You Get Married in 2 Different Countries?
If each member of the bridal couple is in a different country, you’ll struggle to find a state who will validate your virtual marriage.
If you or your fiancé is in the armed forces, you may be able to do so, but generally, to be married you both need to be in the same room.
If you and your fiancé are from different countries, you’ll need to decide in which country your marriage is registered.
If you want to hold a wedding ceremony in both, you can, but you shouldn’t be legally married in both, though anecdotally people have done so.
Stick To The Plan
Once you’ve decided how you will legally record your marriage (before, after, or during the virtual ceremony), you need to arrange your virtual wedding as you would a normal wedding, though at significantly less cost!
Choose A Video Conferencing Platform
Choose a streaming platform, such as Skype or Zoom to broadcast and record your wedding.
Select Your Hardware To Record
Next, choose the necessary tech you’ll need – some couples simply stream from their laptop, while other’s like lights and cameras, so this is entirely up to you.
Pick Your Virtual Location
Then decide where you’ll hold it – at home or in a church or registry office – and let your guests know about your updated nuptial plans.
Online invitations work great, but feel free to mail physical invitations if you want to (we’ve got some great eco-friendly wedding invite recommendations)!
Test Your Stream & Get Married!
On the day of the wedding, all you need to do is get ready, set up your streaming service, and enjoy your ceremony!
Depending on the streaming platform you chose, your guests may simply be observers or they can be invited to a “conference call” which means that they can interact in real-time, sharing applause and cheering when you share your first kiss as a married couple!
If you had plans to marry in the coming weeks or months and your wedding day has been affected by travel restrictions, you can choose to tie the knot on camera!
Your guests can watch you get married from the comfort of their own home, wherever they are in the world.
And, if you had your heart set on a big wedding, you can set that date for the future and celebrate your wedding all over again!
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