COVID-19 has taken many things away from us. It has affected the way we gather, socialize, and act with the people all around us. One specific area that has been significantly impacted by the pandemic is weddings. Virtual weddings have become a new option for engaged couples to celebrate their marriage while maintaining a safe and healthy distance for all their loved ones to view.
Two event planners from the company Well Dressed Events, a Bergen County event planning business, shared their views on these new and now common virtual weddings. Kristen Ligas, one of Well Dressed Events co-owners, stated “Obviously no one could have prepared us for this pandemic. With virtual weddings becoming way more popular with our clients, we had to sit down and figure out what were the necessities in making them work, and what we could throw away.”
She explained that because virtual weddings were new to them, the company had to rethink the ways they went about normal weddings. Nicole Serse, Well Dressed Events other co-owner, stated, “Usually we have vendors and caterers, but now most of them are useless. I will say it has been nice that when we do virtual weddings now, we don’t worry about handling a crowd, or making sure guests aren’t too drunk. ‘Cause me and Kristen both know some people do not know manners, especially at weddings. It’s been honestly easier on us, but we’ve had to adapt and learn other ways to make virtual weddings memorable for our brides.”
The event planners explained that one of their main focuses with virtual weddings are to create background displays for the couples zoom. They shared that they have become more advanced with their balloon garlands and design set ups, as this is one of the main areas they can showcase their skills with during the pandemic. The planners create and manage a timeline of activities for the virtual wedding, handle the behind-the-scenes tech, work with Covid friendly vendors, and try their best to, as Serse states, “make sure the virtual wedding holds that same romantic feel that an in-person wedding would.”
Though these virtual weddings may be planned as well as they can by professionals such as Ligas and Serse, some people believe that virtual weddings cannot hold the same romantic feel that an in-person one would.
Caroline Hurtt, a 21 year old Monmouth University student, attended her Uncle Steve’s virtual wedding this past summer. She stated, “I felt really bad for my Uncle, the whole time we were on Zoom it kept lagging and the sound kept messing up. The older people in my family, who don’t even use technology that much, struggled to get on and figure out what to do half the time so it was kind of a mess.” Hurtt also explained, “Something that stood out to me at the wedding was that mics were a big problem. Like I said, I have a lot of older family members and technology was just not in their favor, so we’d hear them talking as the wedding was going on. It was uncomfortable but a lot of us just pretended to not notice because we didn’t want to make them feel bad.”
She also explained that while everyone dressed up for the event, it still did not hold the same feelings that a normal wedding would. She wore a dress with sweats underneath and slippers on her feet, which she stated she took off immediately after the Zoom. “As awful as it sounds, it felt more like a chore to get done because I was just staring at my screen, which at that point I was doing anyways for my summer classes.”
Virtual weddings, with their technological difficulties, do appear to have disadvantages but Ligas states, “I feel like if you are going to have a virtual wedding, you almost need a wedding planner. We have learned so much from doing them that if you’ve never had one or gone to one you don’t realize what to do until it comes. If you have a planner, we definitely think you can have a beautiful virtual wedding.” Along with this, Ashwin Maltora, a recent groom involved in a virtual wedding, explained to TravelandLeisure, “At a 150- or 200-person wedding, you can get lost in the shuffle, and you might not even be able to see all the guests and greet them. In a Zoom wedding, you know exactly who is there, and they all talk to you. You can see everyone and their reactions. The whole event becomes more memorable and way more in touch… It was all on display, so it created a sense of transparency.”
Does this mean virtual weddings are here to stay? Even after the pandemic? Unfortunately, there is no straight answer as it will always be personal preferences. Like Hurtt explained, her personal experience of a virtual wedding was not a good one, and in her eyes she does not believe these online weddings hold the same feelings and appreciation that a normal one would. On the contrary, Well Dressed Events co-owners seem to believe they can be beautiful and amazing as long as they are planned accordingly.
Serse shared, “If you’re upset about holding or going to a virtual wedding instead of a physical one, it is understandable, but you have to remember what the main point of a wedding is. You are there to celebrate the love of the bride and groom, or groom and groom, or bride and bride, whoever it is. You’re watching two people so in love that they want to spend the rest of their lives together, being upset about a virtual wedding is one thing, but you have to remember what the day is there for.”
As long as the pandemic is around, virtual weddings will be held. The pandemic has shown no signs of stopping, therefore holding virtual weddings on Zoom, or on any other video calling application, is what we put into it and what we make of it. As Hurtt, Ligas, and Serse share their feelings towards virtual weddings, it is important to note what Serse states. Whether an experience of a virtual wedding is a good or bad one, it is important to remember the day itself has meaning and that it should be respected and appreciated, virtually or not.
IMAGE TAKEN from New York Times