Live-streaming your wedding: Six things to think about
Advancements in technology sometimes throw up inventions that seem to make zero sense. This list, for example, includes an incredibly useless ‘smart toaster’. But every now and then technology throws up a wonderfully elegant solution to a real life problem. And with this blog, we’re hear-by declaring weddings and live-streaming a perfect match.
The problem: Some of your friends and family can’t make it to your wedding because they’re out of the country, unwell or have some other perfectly legitimate reason.
The solution: You set up a live-stream. And absentee guests can watch the ceremony in real-time from the comfort of their own home. Sorted.
But just because it’s such a neat solution, doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan it all out. If you’re thinking of live-streaming your wedding, here are a few things to think about:
How much of it will you stream?
You could have your sister start the stream as soon as the organ starts playing, and then close it just before she gets up to throw some confetti. Or you could hire a videographer to stream the entire day from dawn to well beyond dusk.
A lot of this will depend on your relationship with the viewers. If they’re just obscure relatives or work friends, then maybe just the ceremony will do. But if it’s your mother or father, stuck in bed with a serious ailment, maybe you’ll want them to see as much behind-the-scenes footage as possible.
How interactive will it be?
We’ve seen cases where laptops have served as ‘virtual guests’ at weddings, with their own seat at the church and the reception. You hook up a Skype call and then allow people to come up and speak to the smartly-dressed person on the screen.
The opposite end of the interactivity scale is where you just put out a live-stream from your phone to muted viewers and that’s it. But there are options in-between. The person in charge of streaming can, for example, act as a host – talking to the viewers and taking questions from the chat box. So fear not, you have lots of options here.
Who will be in charge?
If you’re already planning to use a wedding videographer, ask them if they can offer a live-streaming service.
If that’s not an option, there are companies who do a dedicated live-streaming service. We can’t claim to have any experience with them though, so we can’t recommend anyone. So just Google ‘wedding live-streaming service’ and have a browse. You’ll soon know if it’s something you fancy.
Otherwise, simply get a guest to do it. But think carefully about who you choose. If they’re going to act as ‘host’ for the stream viewers, you’ll want someone with the right type of personality for it. Most wedding parties have one or two outsiders (usually in-laws) who feel a bit redundant, so they might seem like a good choice. If they’re just pointing a phone at the ceremony, then fine. But if they themselves feel like outsiders, they probably won’t feel right poking a phone into people’s faces.
What tech will you use?
You have lots of choices: Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter, Etc.
Software is all about personal preferences. If you’ve live-streamed before, you probably know what apps you like best. If you haven’t ever live-streamed, then try streaming something trivial and just see what you prefer.
As for hardware though, your choice will make a big difference. Laptop? Camera? Mic? Tablet? Phone?
In short, the bigger you go, the more effort it is for the person in charge, but the higher quality your feed will be. Lugging around a laptop, camera and external mic will be quite a job, but it’ll get you the best video and audio. Using just a phone is quick and easy, but if you’ve ever watched a concert filmed on a phone, you’ll know it somehow makes you feel like you’re standing even further back than the person doing the recording.
Have you considered what problems could arise?
A lot of Brits get married in a church – buildings not renowned for having outstanding wi-fi connections (although this may be changing). A good data connection will work instead if need be. But how much will that cost?
If you’re filming on a phone, it’s going to run down the battery very quickly. And if you haven’t got a portable charger or a spare battery, it’s going to be the end of your stream.
Little problems like these are easily solved, if you’ve anticipated them and planned accordingly. But if they suddenly crop up on the big day, once all the wedding wheels are in motion, they could ruin everything.
And finally, get involved yourself
The worst thing about missing a wedding is feeling like you’re not involved in something special. Live-streaming is a cool idea, but it only guarantees you that the guests on the other end will see and hear what’s happening – not that they’ll feel involved. So if you’re the bride or groom, be sure to engage.
Find moments during the event to talk to the camera and say hellos and thank yous. That’s what makes it feel like a real connection. If there are only one or a couple of people on your stream, have a proper conversation – it only takes a few minutes out of the day.
Technology’s great for sharing information, but it needs that human touch to make it a real experience.
Have you ever watched a wedding on live-stream? Or streamed one yourself? Tell us all about it in the comments.