Horse-drawn carriages, a procession of mounted cavalry, and even a post-service ride in a Jaguar E-Type may be beyond your means, but there is at least one way your wedding can match that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
You, too, can live stream your wedding.
Yes, despite the near-saturation coverage the lavish wedding received on network television, the British royal family also hosted two live streams of the big day through their own social media channels.
The Queen’s own Facebook page carried a live, officially sanctioned stream of the event, which was shadowed by a feed from their Majesties’ YouTube channel…which has little more than 500,000 followers, or around one-sixtieth of Katy Perry’s digital entourage. There was no particular reason to follow the Royal stream as all the good bits made it to free-to-air television, but at least the HRHs showed they can move with the times. And so can you.
It’s 2018, and we’re asking, why bother with seating arrangements or worry about bridesmaids turning up on time? Just get yourself a good webcam, point it at you and your betrothed, and have a destination wedding all to yourselves while your friends watch from home.
How to Live Stream Your Wedding
As far as digital how-to’s go, live streaming is not the most elaborate process. You’ll need a webcam of course–you don’t want to be at the mercy of the wobbly hands of some hungover best man holding a smartphone–and you’ll need to consider the lighting and acoustics of your venue, but the tech side of things is a breeze.
Firstly, you’ll need an account at whichever live streaming site best suits your tastes. VC Daily has investigated the major sites in past posts, and we’d tend to agree with the Royals. Despite YouNow and Periscope having their advantages, YouTube Live and Facebook Live are the safest bets. Once you sign up to either, you’ll be guided through downloading the necessary codecs to make it all fly, but it’s not a complicated process.
Choose Facebook and you can stream your wedding directly through your newsfeed, giving your followers an immediate notification–who needs save-the-day reminders, anyway?
Choose YouTube and you’ll have to have to send out your stream’s link by text or email, but you’ll get greater control over your broadcast–including a preview function and a backup stream in case there’s a technical crimp in your otherwise perfect day.
And that’s it, basically.
The only other crucial technical ingredient is choosing a decent webcam.
Live Streaming Webcams
For a start, don’t rely on the camera built into your smartphone or laptop. Despite the improvements the iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 have made in recent times–and the misplaced allure of shooting everything in sepia–dedicated external webcams are far more reliable when it comes to live streaming.
As a general rule, you’ll get better resolution and a smoother frame rate (the number of frames of video that can be processed per second) with an external device. There are even a few specifically designed with streaming in mind–both Logitech’s C922 and Razer’s Kiyo have partnered with major streaming powers such as XSplit and Streamlabs.
If visuals alone interest you, then some of the best we’ve encountered are offered by Logitech’s 4K marvel, the BRIO. You can’t necessarily count on getting a 4K-capable internet connection at a tropical island wedding destination, but the BRIO still provides remarkable clarity at high-def 1080p standards. It’s also wise to consider your webcam’s autofocus and light adjustment features as well, before you leave it on a tripod and at the mercy of the shifting clouds.
So that’s how you can live stream your wedding, but what about the why? What’s the point of replacing your friends and family with a webcam? We’re here to explain.
Why You Should Live Stream Your Wedding
Aside from some very specific exceptions, a remote marriage isn’t legally recognized in the U.S. However, sometimes circumstances dictate you at least put on a matrimonial show to save your day from ruin. In 2010, for example, a British couple beamed a live Skype broadcast of their wedding ceremony from Dubai to their guests in London when a volcanic eruption indefinitely grounded their flight home.
It’s good to know there’s a digital backup plan for any occurrence.
Usually, though, you’ll be live streaming your wedding by choice. Maybe the best argument for this option is simply that it’s cheaper. Want the dream beach location in Thailand or some remote island in the South Pacific but couldn’t possibly afford to fly, house, or feed all of your guests on-site? Just pack the essential guests–maybe the best man, maid of honor, and parents–and let everyone else watch from afar. As a bonus, you can start your honeymoon as soon as you switch off the webcam.
Alternatively, you may have family members and friends who can’t travel to the ceremony, even if it’s not halfway around the world. A wedding with a mix of live and remote guests would mean balancing the visuals between the happy couple and the on-site crowd, but all that requires is a designated cameraman who can pan a little now and then.
Whatever the reason you might be considering live streaming your wedding, you should know that in the digital age there is a choice to make. Live streaming isn’t complicated; in fact, it’s getting simpler and simpler, as well as more and more popular. And who knows, with the money you save on a $200-a-head reception you might be able to rent a place next to Windsor Castle.