A Detailed Guide to Having a Beautiful Virtual Celebration
After 7 and a half years of knowing each other, Akshaya and Aswath were all excited to tie the knot in December 2020. Finally, everything seemed to have fallen in place and they enthusiastically began the wedding preparations. But the world seemed to have other plans and little did they know what lay in store. The COVID-19 pandemic did not spare any industry, and just like our lifestyles, weddings have been forced to evolve too. With friends and family spread across the globe, the couple’s dream of having guests grace their big day seemed a distant possibility. Well, at least only until they came to know about virtual celebration!
What is a virtual celebration?
Quite simply, as the name suggests, a virtual celebration is a celebration where one or more of the guests join online (virtually) rather than attending your function in person. It is not only relevant at the time of the pandemic but can be ideal for other times too. We have all faced situations when our loved ones couldn’t travel but still wanted to join in the festivities, even during the pre-covid era. Now with social distancing becoming a priority and celebrations becoming leaner, more people are actively embracing virtual celebrations. Thanks to technology, canceling your function is not the only solution you have – simply move the celebration online!
Why should you go for a virtual celebration?
A virtual function can be just as real as any other regular function and is sometimes even better. Here’s why:
- Guests can attend from any corner of the world. Distance no longer matters.
- It is cost-effective and costs a fraction of the cost of an offline celebration.
- There is no limit to the number of guests you can invite – the more the merrier!
- It’s a smart and safe way to celebrate in times of uncertainty.
- You can record your virtual ceremony – so you’ll have a memory that lasts forever.
How do you set up a virtual celebration?
Akshaya & Aswath found Wedding Wishlist to help them out with their big day, and fortunately for them, every virtual service they needed was in one place. Just a few simple steps before they were off to celebrate online.
#1. Set up a website:
First things, first set up a lovely website so you have a platform that functions as a good base for all your virtual services. With free templates available in various themes, all you have to do is just select one and customize the contents. Add a story, your function details, a picture gallery, and an upbeat background tune if you wish.
#2. Choose your gifts
Make the gifting process easier for your guests by creating a gift registry and choosing the gifts you need. Add things for yourself, gift cards, cash gifts, or a charity organization. Guests don’t have to break their heads over what to buy – they simply buy or contribute towards something that is meaningful to you, right from their homes.
#3. Activate Live Stream:
By enabling the Live Stream section, you can stream your ceremony live on your website itself, rather than having guests open multiple links. If your videographer is capturing the footage, simply get the live stream link from them and update it on your website. Alternatively, you can use a streaming app available on your phone, where you can connect to YouTube and get the streaming link.
#4. Enable Virtual Guest Party
Passively watching the live stream can get boring. Get a virtual guest party so your loved ones can socialize as they watch your ceremony live. With the right video chat platform, you can even create separate “virtual rooms” for different guest groups. This way your guests won’t have to interact with random guests they may not know. Wedding Wishlist also offers online ushers to assist guests who may not be very tech-savvy and makes them feel part of the virtual celebration. Again, with the guest party integrated on your website, your guests don’t have to be directed elsewhere.
#5. Craft your guest list
Now that you have your virtual function platform all set up, it’s time to work on your guest list. Split your guests into two main groups- guests attending your function in person and virtual guests. This makes it easier to work on the rest of the logistics. Add the RSVP manager to your website to stay on top of your guest list. Customize your RSVP form with the questions you would like to ask your guests. It can be RSVPs, stay requirements, arrival dates, or food preferences. Include a guestbook so your guests can share their text, audio, or video messages on your special day.
#6. Invite guests and share the website
Create a customized digital invitation – static, animated, or video and send it out instantly with the touch of a button. With affordable templates available online, you can make it more fun by getting a theme that matches that of your website. Consider having two versions of the invite – one for your virtual guests and one for guests attending in person. Don’t forget to add your website URL on the version that you will be sending out to virtual guests. You could also skip the invite altogether and share the URL directly with friends and family via WhatsApp.
#7. Send meals to your guests
Well, food is definitely the way to anyone’s heart. As icing on the cake, take your virtual celebration up a notch by sending gifts or delicious food & beverage to your virtual guests. There Is nothing better than enjoying a freshly prepared meal or dessert while they watch your live stream – this makes their virtual experience one step closer to the real deal.
#8. Collect RSVPs
Track RSVPs as they come in. Manage guest communication, send reminders, assign stay, and coordinate. You can also download the guestbook with all their messages.
Mr. M V Subbiah, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, shares, “We used the RSVP Manager app to streamline guest communication for my 80thbirthday celebrations. Custom emails & forms made it easy to track responses and assign transport & accommodation.”
#9. Just keep calm and celebrate
It’s your big day! Just enjoy yourself and celebrate and let Wedding Wishlist take care of the virtual celebration for you.
#10. Capture memories of your virtual ceremony
What good is a celebration if you don’t have any memories of it to cherish later? Get a digital album – it takes the best footage from your live stream and guest party and compiles key ceremony moments and toasts from guests into a short unforgettable video that you can watch again and again.
#11. Thank your guests
Keep your website active for longer by enabling the post-event website feature. It’s a great way to share event snippets with your guests and thank them!
How to dress for your virtual celebration?
Have your virtual guests dress up in festive attire, just like regular guests. Just because they join in from behind a screen doesn’t mean they should join in sweatpants and shorts. Remember, the proceeding of your virtual guest party can be recorded, and you want everyone looking their best. You can go one step further and get creative with some fun background decor as well. Let the celebratory spirit reflect in every element.
When can you have a virtual celebration?
All you need is a special occasion, as it is perfect for weddings, birthdays, baby showers, anniversary, housewarming…well, just about any occasion really. New parents Tanvi and Raghav share “Our virtual shower helped us introduce our daughter to family & friends. The baby gift registry was brilliant – we could choose anything under the sun. Our daughter uses & loves every gift we received.” So, next time you or your loved one has a special occasion to celebrate, you know what to do.
Celebrate your day, your way. Virtual celebrations don’t cut short your celebration in any way – they can be just as fun as any offline event. Bring the party to your guests if your guests can’t come to the party and celebrate in style.
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