How to Include Guests from Afar: 7 Virtual Wedding Ideas
by Jennifer Mathis May 25
2020 and 2021 certainly changed the way we think about celebrating weddings and made virtual celebrations a totally normal practice. Even as the pandemic dissipates, you may have important guests that can’t make it to your actual wedding, but still want to celebrate with you from afar, and it’s so important to include these folks and make them feel just as important and appreciated as you do your in-person guest list! Read on for our best virtual wedding ideas to celebrate your wedding with guests both near and far!
Photo // Mary Keen Photography
1. Live Stream
The most important component of celebrating with guests from afar! Whether you choose Google Hangout, Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Zoom, you’ve got plenty of free options to let guests watch your ceremony and reception no matter where in the world they are. Make sure your guests are on mute so there aren’t any background noise issues. If you’re using a streaming service with a code or meeting ID, you’ll definitely want to include that on the invitation as well. A unique, eye-catching backdrop is another way to jazz up what guests see on the screen of your live stream.
Start streaming before the processional so guests don’t miss a single moment, and ask your officiant to specifically welcome guests celebrating from afar so they feel included! Don’t forget to live stream major reception events, as well, like first dances, cake cutting and toasts! It’s helpful to say goodbye to virtual guests and thank them before “dismissing” them, so they don’t feel like they have to linger. Including a live stream itinerary with your invitation suite is also a helpful way to set virtual guests’ expectations and help them follow along.
Pro tip: add a QR code on your invitation to send guests straight to your live stream!
2. Video Messages
Invite guests celebrating from afar to pre-record video messages and send them to someone (maybe a task for your tech-savvy maid of honor or best man) to compile into one big video with well-wishes from all of your virtual guests. This would be so cute to play during cocktail hour or during dinner!
Help set the mood on your wedding day with a link to your wedding day playlist (another great place to utilize a QR code or Spotify code). Include a mix of upbeat songs, slower songs and songs that represent your own love story! Guests celebrating with you from afar can jam out the day of your wedding and keep the mood going even after the big day! Take it one step further and make things interactive – keep your virtual wedding guests engaged throughout the wedding with a Bingo card that has them listening for certain songs or watching for certain fun occurrences.
4. Virtual Guest Book
Send out a separate card with your invitation suite (along with an addressed, prepaid envelope) asking for guests to write their advice and well-wishes down before signing the card. Many companies offer services where they’ll digitally compile these notes into a printed keepsake, as if each guest actually signed a physical guest book!
5. Custom Recipe Cards
Another wonderful idea to include with your printed invitation suite (definitely still send printed, mailed invitations to all guests, regardless of whether they’ll be celebrating virtually or not – it helps to set the tone for your day!), a custom recipe card could include the instructions to make your signature cocktail or even your dessert! That way, guests can prep ahead of time and partake in elements of your wedding that engage all the senses, in addition to having a cute keepsake to remember your day. So fun!
6. Care Packages
Show guests celebrating from afar that you care with a thoughtful package mailed to them the week of your wedding. Include non-perishable snacks, individually wrapped desserts similar to what you’re serving in person, favors that carry on your wedding theme, handwritten notes thanking them for celebrating with you, props for a virtual photo booth and even mini champagne bottles to toast from afar!
7. Virtual Photo Booths
Speaking of virtual photo booths, this is one of those virtual wedding ideas we just LOVE! Some photo booth companies offer a virtual photo booth where friends and family can access a link and take photos with the wedding frame design that will be added to the wedding photo booth gallery. They’ll be able to feel as if they’re right there at the reception with you!
Bonus Tip: Hire a professional emcee with the technical experience to keep your virtual wedding celebrations running smoothly. This person should have a lively personality to keep virtual guests engaged and feeling included throughout your whole event, but also the know-how to set up cameras and computers correctly as well as handle any live stream technical issues that come up. This will be an investment you and your virtual guests will be glad you made!
Virtual celebrations help ensure your guests can stay safe while celebrating from afar – needing some ideas to help make sure your guests stay safe while they’re celebrating alongside you? Check out our ideas to keep guest safety top of mind plus see our full Corona wedding archive!