While your wedding plans may be on hold, it’s never been easier for us to connect with friends and family around the world and share some special moments together online. Virtual weddings are a new trend growing in popularity as we settle into this ‘new normal’.
It’s no secret the wedding industry has been hit hard by the spread of Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown measures. This has not only seen wedding planning put on hold for many, but also forced couples to make the tough decision to postpone their wedding or even cancel their big day.
But you brides-to-be are a resilient bunch, and rather than letting the small matter of a global pandemic get in the way of your big day, we’ve seen more and more couples opt for a virtual wedding live from lockdown.
But just as regular marriage laws vary from country to country, the legalities of ‘Zoom weddings’ also depend on where you want to wed. And while one couple From tips and tricks to hold your own virtual celebrations to brushing up on the we’ve got your virtual wedding covered.
Everything you Need to Know About Virtual Weddings
While sharing your wedding vows over Zoom might not quite marry up to your ideas of the perfect wedding day, a virtual ceremony is a great way to still celebrate on your original wedding day. Plus, it gives you and your guests something to look forward to during lockdown. Think of it as a little teaser, or a practice run, for the real deal.
A virtual wedding will also give you the opportunity to get a little creative with your venue or wedding destination. If you hadn’t considered a destination wedding, or your plans to jet off for a wedding abroad have gone awry, here’s how you can still tie the knot in one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations.
How to Host a Virtual Wedding
First up, let’s talk logistics.
Finding a date that all your closest friends and family can make, that suits you as a couple and that matches up to when your dream venue is free is one of the biggest challenges for weddings in real life. Luckily, a quick message sent around your Whatsapp group can secure an evening for a Zoom wedding.
Now, follow this step-by-step guide to set up your virtual wedding.
- Choose your virtual wedding guests
- Decide on a video calling platform
- Select a date and send a calendar invite
- Make a schedule for the virtual wedding
- Invite your guests to make speeches
- Toast to your virtual wedding
How to set up a Zoom Background for Your Virtual Wedding
You don’t have to stick to the destination locations we’ve picked out, you can choose any background or image you like.
To set a virtual background on Zoom you need to:
- Log into Zoom
- Go into account settings
- In the account profile tab under background image for Zoom rooms click upload new image
- Select your image and click open
The Best Zoom Backgrounds for Your Virtual Wedding
From Bali to New York, you can *virtually* travel to the venue of your choice and live stream with your friends and family; wherever in the world they may be.
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3. New York
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4. Los Angeles
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7. Las Vegas
#lasvegaswedding 168,210 posts
#santoriniwedding 120,059 posts
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10. San Francisco
#sanfranciscowedding 110,743 posts
Are Zoom Weddings Legal?
Now the fun part is out of the way, it’s time to talk legalities. We caught up with Claire Tollefson, Managing Associate at Cripps Pemperton Greenish law firm, for the lowdown on whether your virtual wedding is official.
“Weddings in England and Wales are currently governed by the Marriage Act 1949,” explains Claire.
Among other things, this calls for couples to give formal notice of their wedding in person at either their church or the register office. Additionally, the wedding must take place in a registered building, and cannot take place outside even at a registered venue in order to be legally recognised.
While these laws may seem outdates, particularly given the restrictions in place due to Covid-19, they mean that any Zoom or virtual wedding in the UK would need to be followed up with a legal ceremony.
“Currently that online ‘ceremony’ has to be followed by a legal ceremony following the formalities outlined above,” says Claire.
“But if there is reform following the Law Commission’s consultation, a couple could legally marry simply by logging on and giving their consent orally to an officiant and witness who would hear and observe remotely.
“The current proposal is that this would only be possible in England and Wales in an emergency, such as this pandemic.”
Claire also added that The Law Commission is currently consulting on a proposed reform which may provide couples with more flexibility when it comes to the legal proceedings of a wedding – although exactly what changes will come into play is not a foregone conclusion.
Additionally, other countries around the world have different marriage laws and therefore different rules when it comes to virtual weddings. In some states in America, for instance, a change in legislation has meant Zoom weddings can be legally binding.
Claire adds, “If looking to marry remotely, perhaps whilst on holiday in a foreign country, the couple would need to ensure that their wedding is legally recognised in England.”
In order to do that couples must adhere to the below:
- Make sure that their wedding complies with the formalities of the country in which it takes place. New York, Illinois and United Arab Emirates have all passed legislation this year enabling marriages to take place remotely. A marriage in these countries via Zoom would therefore be recognised in England and Wales as legal. Couples will need to check the laws of other countries and make sure formalities are complied with.
- The couple must have legal capacity to marry in accordance with the law of the country they live in.
- The marriage can’t be contrary to English public policy – this is highly unlikely however