Over the past couple of years, a request we have gotten more and more frequently is for a wedding to be livestreamed for loved ones who can’t be there in person. This has been popular for locals keeping the numbers attending their wedding low during the pandemic, but it is also something that I think visiting couples will find appealing.
We can arrange for a videographer to come along to the ceremony and film it, then create an edited video of the ceremony for the couple and their nearest and dearest with a short highlight reel for sharing with your wider social circle. A livestream is different in that those who are watching it might almost feel as though they are official guests at the wedding.
There are various reasons why someone might not be able to attend a wedding in person but would love to watch the ceremony on a screen from home. Doing this will help those people feel much more involved in your wedding, even if they can’t actually be there with you for your wedding in Central Park.
Livestreaming your wedding yourself is the easiest and of course cheapest way to do it. Setting up a Zoom meeting and sending out a link in advance seems like the least confusing way of involving less tech-savvy relatives, but you could use Facebook, Skype, Google Hangouts or one of the many other online meeting software that we’ve all become more familiar with during the pandemic. Whatever device you use for the livestream, ensure that it is fully charged before you get to Central Park – there will be no power points in the park!
There are lots of ways you can use virtual wedding invites, social media or even boxes with fun wedding bits and bobs such as small bottles of champagne and cake to make people feel included. You can ask guests at home to record short message for you on their phones, and to send you photos of them celebrating at home. Take care not to complicate things too much for elderly relatives and keep things simple if you think sorting out everyone at home on top of sorting out a destination wedding will be too much!
The are two choices for holding the device being used for the livestream – one is a tripod, and our videographer will be happy to bring a spare one along for a phone, which is of course the most steady option, and the other is a designated guest. We did have a couple have a device to clip their phone to the roof of Wagner Cove once for livestream, but this may not work for every location in Central Park.
The signal outdoors in Central Park is not as reliable as it would be inside a building, so if you have a guest holding the phone, ask them to check that it is connected every now and again. The beauty of designating a task like this to a guest is that it is one less thing for you to deal with!
When set up where the livestream device should be, keep in mind that the people watching it will appreciate it being kept still. So, if it’s on a tripod, it needs to be central, and in a position where both of your faces can be seen. If it’s central, keep in mind where the photographer needs to be, and also where the in-person guests will be. It’s a tricky line to walk to be aware of everyone that will want to see you say “I do” when there is a livestream device, a professional photographer and guests who all need to have a good view!
Our photographers are often reminding me about shade, positioning and the glare of the sun when planning our weddings. So, consider where your ceremony location will be and what the brightness will be like, and adjust locations or possibly timings accordingly so that those at home will be able to see you. Our videographers will usually bring a small microphone to clip to the groom and/or to the officiant. If you don’t have this at your wedding, check if you know anyone with a microphone that you can use. Some of the locations in Central Park will have background noise so a microphone will help those at home to hear you as you say your vows.
Ask for help! I’ve done this before; in fact I’ve planned well over three hundred weddings, so please ask me for input on how to do it and where everyone would stand, even if you’re having a guest deal with the whole thing on the day. As we write the ceremony, we can mention those watching at home, and we can have a part in the ceremony where everyone there in person gives them a wave, just to make them feel more included.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. Lots of couples choose to have an intimate wedding in Central Park because that is what appeals to them – they want to say their vows either alone or with just a small group. Then others can make them feel as if they ought to do a livestream to include their wider social circle, who might be those who cannot make it, or just those who the couple didn’t want to invite! Your wedding is your day and you should only be doing the things that you want to do. Consider how you will feel saying your vows with the people who will be there, and how you will feel knowing that there are others watching at home. Don’t feel pressured to add in a livestream just to keep others happy.