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Bride and Groom With Face MasksUnusual problems call for unorthodox solutions. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many nearlyweds to postpone their weddings until later in 2020. Couples who can’t or don’t wish to reschedule have adopted unique approaches to getting married in the age of coronavirus. Technology plus creative thinking can allow you to exchange vows while practicing safe social distancing.

Four Couples’ Creative Wedding Solutions

NBC News shared the stories of four couples who tied the knot while social distancing in a March 22 video segment. One pair tied the knot on a New York City street while their officiant performed the ceremony from the window of his fourth-floor apartment. Another livestreamed their wedding to guests, while a central Ohio couple exchanged vows in a public park with a ceremony officiated by a local city mayor. A fourth couple pared down their large celebration to a small indoor event, but their friends and neighbors surprised them with a decorated backyard and the bride’s uncle officiated the ceremony.

Livestreaming Your No-Guest Wedding

Livestreaming is the most popular option for couples who don’t want to completely cancel their nuptials. With the technology inexpensive and easy to set up, you can ready your equipment and start streaming in less than an hour. You don’t need guests to say “I do,” although several states require witnesses. The Universal Life Church and Wedding Wire offer more information on state-specific marriage laws.

Writing for Brides, Kelsey Butler offers some excellent livestreaming tips. Whether you’re exchanging vows at home or another location, it’s wise to test your internet connection for reliability, video quality, and sound before you start streaming. A laptop with a webcam is an ideal setup, but you can also set your phone on a tripod mount or in another secure location where it won’t fall or slide. If you prefer limiting access to friends and family, look for platforms that allow private invite-only streaming.

Streaming a Small Ceremony With Guests

While some couples stream their weddings with no guests physically present, others take a slightly different approach. A March 20 Star Tribune article profiled Jamie White and Ross Buchanan, a couple who fast-tracked their April 4 nuptials. The couple exchanged vows in their living room in mid-March in front of their children and parents. They also used a laptop to stream the ceremony on Zoom, allowing 30 of their closest friends and family to watch from afar.

White and Buchanan limited their home ceremony to less than 15 people, well below the CDC’s recommended limit of 50. If you adopt their approach, make sure that you and your guests still keep more than 6 feet away from each other. Couples who prefer an interactive element in streaming their weddings should pick a video chat or conferencing platform instead of a livestreaming service. Tools like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and Google Duo allow two-way transmission so you and long-distance guests can connect.

Technology Has Its Limits

Can your officiant conduct the ceremony via Skype, FaceTime, or another video chat app? Probably not. Only a few states allow proxy marriages in which one or both parties are represented by others in person. They’re usually permitted in cases where one party is ill or on military deployment, but the person solemnizing the marriage must still be physically present. Your best bet is to follow the recommended social distancing guidelines to keep you and your officiant as safe as possible. The Red Cross and NPR provide more information on effective social distancing practices.

Engaged couples are finding ways to exchange vows while taking responsible actions to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. They exhibit three enduring qualities: creativity, a problem-solving mindset, and an indomitable spirit. Whatever option you choose for your 2020 wedding, be sure it best fits your situation while keeping both you and your guests healthy.

Category: Technology

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