Zoom Weddings: A Pandemic Blessing for Some Couples

JW Couples

After some months with no work at all, 15 months or so but who’s counting, some countries are now slowly re-opening for events and have been implementing new safety measures to make it happen again. But the burning question that remains to be asked is how comfortable will all your invited guests be about attending your wedding?

When you dreamed of your wedding you didn’t imagine it quite this way–over Zoom, with a limited amount of guests, and the possibility of not having your elderly friends and family members there to celebrate one of the greatest moments of your life. What’s the saying–when life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade. Well, a few couples did just that. They served it up in their finest stemware and the recipients were more than happy to savor every bit of it.

When Love Calls You Answer

For many of our couples we heard from who decided to move forward with their wedding during the pandemic, it was tough. But many chose to focus more on their beloved and the union of marriage rather than focus on the tangible things we have come to be accustomed to which for many couples planning their wedding can be burdensome, not to mention overwhelming. Some of you chose to keep it simple–respond to love and put the love of neighbor first by keeping it chic, elegant without compromising the safety of your loved ones. This is not to be mistaken for being cheap. At World Bride Magazine, we are all about quality over quantity.

Choosing to host your wedding with a reasonable budget is nothing to be ashamed of or take lightly after a financially challenging 15 months. We would say that is wise.

Dressed in a delicate lace and tulle gown, Daniela’s smile beamed as she joined Kelly in front of the Zoom camera to say their vows in the dappled sunlight beneath the trees at his family’s East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, home. 

Artificial roses adorned the arbor backdrop and platform that Kelly built himself for the ceremony, and his mom cooked BBQ ribs for the wedding dinner.

The bill for the 700-guest wedding? An unheard-of $800. With virtual guests “there was definitely no worry about costs,” said Kelly.

Kelly and Daniela Pierre’s backyard wedding in September wasn’t what they expected when they started planning their big day back in 2019.

For love that bloomed in lockdown, a whittled-down pandemic wedding proved to be a blessing in disguise for some couples like them.

Just 12% of couples who planned to get married in 2020 went fully virtual for their ceremony, according to a survey of some 7,600 couples by online wedding planning platform The Knot. More than 40% of those who wed in the pandemic added a streaming or video platform component to their ceremony. 

“Even after the pandemic ends, virtual wedding planning and live-streamed weddings after COVID will remain common,” The Knot’s report predicted. Its recent social media survey suggested the trend is still holding through the spring.

That’s what Denise Adams and Kevin Cortez opted for after getting engaged in February. 

For their June wedding, the couple will have only their immediate family in the Riverside, California, backyard they’ve been dressing up with drought-hardy flowers and succulents. The rest of the guests will join via videoconferencing.

Denise sees the positives: “We have friends coming from the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and South Africa. That would have never been possible at an in-person wedding. That’s what makes it really special on top of everything—the fact that I can literally include everyone who has had a special part in my life, regardless of where they are in the world.”

Even before the pandemic required downsizing for health and safety reasons, wedding planners have seen millennial brides like Denise and Daniela bucking the traditions of prior generations in favor of weddings that fit their personality and values.

“I felt so good that day, just focused on Kelly without distractions,” said Daniela, who together with him spends some 70 hours a month in Christian volunteer work. “Now we can spend more time together in our ministry and not be anxious about working more to pay off debt.” 

Nie’shia and Ekhomwanye “Ike” Ikponmwosa, too, appreciated the cost savings for their Austin, Texas, wedding in March.

Their backyard “minimony,” with a few masked and properly distanced in-person guests along with 210 attendees connected via Zoom, cut their expenses to an amount easily covered by two government stimulus checks.

Your Priorities Are Personal

Let’s be honest, we are influenced by our community, our culture, friends, and family. We can easily fall victim to the wants, desires of whatever society we have grown up in. Nothing wrong with wanting to incorporate beautiful customs and trendy or chic aspects into your wedding. But make sure that it is what you and your beloved truly want, and it is in alignment with your own vision.

However, the biggest motivation for Ike and Nie’shia was their faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses. They initially embraced a virtual hybrid wedding as an opportunity to incorporate into the occasion two key Bible principles by which they live: respect for life and love of neighbor. 

Keeping the wedding simple and small not only protected against the spread of COVID-19 but also gave them an opportunity to focus on the meaning of marriage rather than custom and tradition. 

Other than some minor audio issues at the ceremony, Nie’shia said she wouldn’t change a thing. “With a small wedding we were able to focus on the big picture, which is God bringing us together,” she said.

“Jesus taught his disciples to maintain a simple life. That’s good advice for those who are planning a wedding,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Ironically, the pandemic has given us an opportunity to see just how simple a wedding can be—while still being beautiful, joyful, and memorable. It’s more than just about saving money. It helps preserve our spirituality.”

Because hybrid weddings are often less complicated to coordinate, brides and grooms have found they can simply concentrate on the joy of getting married.

Without an elaborate setup or large crowd of guests to worry about before their small hybrid wedding in November, Andre and Murielle Minchella had time to eat breakfast together and chat over coffee.

“The focus of that day wasn’t about things, it was simply about the marriage,” said Andre, of Orange, Connecticut.

Your Unlimited Guest List

We have heard from many of you, our readers, how you wish you could have invited more loved ones but, whether it was due to budgeting, or travel restrictions, the guest list was one of the most challenging aspects of planning your weddings. For the sake of this article, Zoom may have solved that problem indefinitely.

A trilingual officiant conducted their ceremony in English, French, and Swahili for an audience of more than 300 guests, including relatives from Europe and Africa, watching via Zoom and YouTube Live.

“I’m so grateful and happy that we could share our special day with family and friends from so far away who might not have been able to attend in person even if we were not in a pandemic,” Murielle said. 

Virtual weddings may lack some treasured aspects of a traditional ceremony, but many couples have ended up more than satisfied with this unique way to begin life’s journey together.

Having a small, intimate wedding with far-flung family and friends connected virtually, said Kelly, “was better than I could have imagined; better than I could have dreamed.” 

So as you plan your nuptials in the upcoming months and possibly years, don’t be shy about keeping it simple. Make sure of the more important things–the sacredness of your marriage outweighs all other things.

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