The Ultimate Virtual Wedding Planner 18 May 2020 Admin How To Pull Off A Virtual Wedding Having spent months - maybe even years - planning your big day, the anticlimax of having to postpone or cancel it can leave people reeling. The pandemic has had the inevitable effect of couples researching whether it would still be possible to get married without having to move their wedding to 2021 - whilst complying with the strict lockdown measures. With churches and local councils not performing weddings at this time, the only other option brides and grooms are having to consider is an online, virtual wedding. So we thought we’d offer some advice to couples still hoping to plan their wedding in this “new normal” state of living. First things first: is an online marriage legal in Scotland? The short answer is “no”. Whilst the State of New York is in the process of making it legal to have a lockdown wedding (performed online), they currently remain one of the only places in the world where this is a possibility. According to a website offering legal advice, the legitimacy of a marriage is stipulated by the Marriage Act of 1977 which hasn’t changed much since it first came into effect. As such, the act offers no provisions for couples to get married in a way that would adhere to the current social distancing measures. The good news? Whilst it’s not yet possible for your friends and family to get ordained to perform wedding ceremonies online, Covid-19 will undoubtedly be a catalyst for many dramatic transformations in our society, so it may be possible to have a legally binding, Zoom wedding at some point in the foreseeable future. But just because you can’t have your marriage legally recognised, does not mean that you can’t celebrate your love for each other, witnessed by your nearest and dearest! So how do you hold a virtual wedding celebration? In a freakishly precognitive move - all the way back in 2015 - Ikea, of all things, launched an online wedding platform where you could have a virtual wedding with as many guests as you liked via a video link. The platform allowed you to choose a location from a number of preset backdrops (all decorated by the retailer’s furniture). We thought it was in idea worth investigating and found inspiration from some of the most ingenious ways that brides and grooms across the world have celebrated their big day in style. So put your wedding planner aside for a moment and have a look at our Coronavirus remote wedding checklist. Step 1: Decide On Your New Wedding Venue Home is where the heart is right? Well now, home is where your wedding can be too! In some ways you can’t get a better wedding venue than the space you’ve created together. So transform your living room into a candle-filled reception venue; use those old curtains to create an isle, cover chairs with bed sheets and ribbons to make chair covers - it can all be done with a bit of imagination... and Pinterest! If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, your wedding and reception venues could be in different locations. Fairy lights, a gazebo and a decorated table on the patio as well as a large projector screen to show your Zoom guests, could all make for an unforgettable experience. Step 2: Plan Your Catering Whether you’re a foodie or just like a good old fashioned BBQ you can make the wedding catering phenomenal. You can get a takeaway from your favourite restaurant, or make a homemade, gourmet meal at home (or ask your talented friends / family to make you something special) or even just have a bbq-for-two, with all of your favourites on the menu. It’s all about what you love best. Don’t want to cook on your wedding day but still want to dine in style? Some catering companies are providing an at-home-catering service and fine dining restaurants, including Six By Nico, are offering takeaway tasting menus which would ensure that your wedding meal is extra special. Step 3: DIY Wedding Decorations Tesco, Aldi, M & S - take your pick. Every supermarket stocks lovely bouquets, or you can try any number of the online delivery services still up and running around the UK. Yes, the stock might be limited but flowers are flowers - they’ll brighten up the room regardless. Fancy trying your hand at arranging your own bouquets? YouTube has got hundreds of videos on how to channel your inner florist, while Pinterest has a whole host of design ideas to inspire your floral arrangements so you can set up your wedding decor and learn a new skill at the same time - what’s not to love? Not a fan of flowers? No problem. From candles, to DIY paper lanterns (at a safe distance apart!), to empty gin bottles filled with fairy lights - you can make your venue a stunning display of arts and crafts, the making of which will keep that quarantine boredom at bay. Step 4: Book Your Entertainment Chances are your virtual wedding will be attended by quite a number of guests and each one of them will have some sort of talent - hidden or otherwise. So use that to your advantage! Is your uncle a frustrated comic? Do your friends play the piano / violin / guitar / harp? Is your brother a piper? Or maybe your mum can blow the roof of the place with her rendition of your favourite song. You can create a whole variety show out of the entertainers you have on your own guest list. Recreate that famous church scene from Love Actually by asking your nearest and dearest to get involved and your virtual wedding will be a riot of fun, guaranteed. Step 5: Arrange a Virtual Hen / Stag Do Yes ok, you can’t go to Blackpool / Vegas / Marbella or paint-balling for your final night of freedom, but there are plenty of ways to make your hen and stag fun. From quizzes, to wine tastings, afternoon tea, murder mysteries, online poker games, to watch parties with your favourite film or DIY spa sessions - there are countless ways to make the big night in special. One bride-to-be did just that and declared “This day will go down in history as one of my favourites." The party went on from the early afternoon to the early hours of night - it can be done!! And just think of the positives: no aggressive blisters from those sky-high stilettos at the end of the night, no uncomfortable bandage dresses (unless you want to get dressed up - in which case feel free) and you’re stumbling distance from bed - you can even have a sleepover themed party where you don’t have to leave your bed at all! Step 6: Get Married! Yes, it’s not going to be like you imagined it and it won’t be official because virtual marriages aren’t a thing in the UK yet but it will still be exciting and special in a whole different way. To get into the mood on the day, why not ask your wedding guests to send video messages which you can enjoy watching with a glass of bubbly before you start getting ready? Set up a Zoom session with your bridal party so you can get all glammed-up with your bridesmaids / groomsmen - just like you would have done had your wedding gone ahead. You can find online tutorials for everything from hair up-dos to stunning wedding make up and how to tie that bow tie like a pro, so you’re sure to look incredible. All from the comfort of your own home. Ask a family member or friend to “unofficially officiate” and, when the big moment comes, you can Zoom it, Skype it, stream it on Instagram and Facebook - making sure as many people as possible witness your special day. By embracing technology you can involve all those people who are special to you - and maybe even more than you would have otherwise been able to invite in a real life, since you’re taking the cost element out of it - and boost positivity and morale for all, while remaining completely socially responsible. If floral arrangements, caterers (and that all important bit of legal paper) are the be-all and end-all of your big day, going down the virtual wedding route is not for you. If however you can make your wedding happen and make it as special with a supermarket flower bouquet, home made catering (or a takeaway from your favourite restaurant) then why not have a DIY celebration in the comfort of your own home? You might not have the dream venue or live wedding band but your big day will be unique. And, think about it, it means you can have your wedding day twice - not many brides can claim that. The words for better or for worse will ring especially true for those adventurous enough to have their wedding in lockdown - things can’t get much worse so, if you as a couple can still celebrate your love during the biggest catastrophe of the 21st century, then your relationship deserves to be celebrated in as many ways as possible. The marriage may have to be virtual at this moment in time, but to you and your guests it will feel more than real. And it will be your virtual wedding day- not this gruesome pandemic - that will be the defining moment of your life in quarantine, that has to to be a big deal. Stay safe and share the love.