Google trends show that the search for "virtual weddings" increased by more than 10x this year at its peak. We recently organized an engagement with 300 guests on the live stream, where the couple forgot their laptop charger and had to delay the ceremony. In today's world, it's essential to have a virtual option for your guests to attend your big day, whether it's a micro wedding or a minimony or another special event.
Brides and grooms can customize their virtual wedding with the level of interaction they want. Facebook Rooms and YouTube Live allow for one-sided viewing where guests are watching a live broadcast, whereas Zoom allows for guests to interact and engage with others. In this post, we will walk through the pros and cons of the three most popular platforms, so you can pick the one that is right for you! Once you've selected the right platform, visit our post on tips on how to host a successful live stream wedding!
Cheatsheet: Our recommendation is at the end of the article :)
YouTube Live, For the social couple who wants a simple way to broadcast their wedding:
YouTube live is great if you are looking to broadcast (zero interaction) and your guests are not tech-savvy. It lets you create a custom link ahead of the event for your guests to easily access with one click. It also allows for unlimited viewers. The downside is that it just offers a live broadcast and no interaction or video communication with your guests as well as no encryption if security is a concern. YouTube has a good tutorial you can find here.
Facebook Rooms, For the intimate wedding couple who wants their friends and family to react and leave comments but may not have an extra hand to administer the live stream: Facebook allows you to create a group and then a room, streaming a live event within the group. By creating a group ahead of time, you can get your guests excited about the big day and share details leading up to the live stream. Unlike Zoom, Facebook allows people without a Facebook account to view the live stream. Also, there are filters, mood lighting, and backgrounds to make your wedding more fun. The minuses are that while guests can comment, there is no way to interact with them in breakout rooms or in small groups. Verge has a tutorial on how to create a Room and start an event here.
Zoom Pro, For the interactive couple who wants their guests to actively participate and has a dedicated guest or professional on point to handle the live stream: Zoom is a two-sided platform with several features like virtual backgrounds (e.g., personalized wedding background or picture of the couple), break out rooms for cocktail hour or reception (e.g., avoid your high school friends awkwardly making conversation with your college buddies), and the ability for people to speak and go on mute (so your best man and maid of honor can make speeches, or your niece and nephew can perform their latest favorite dance to "Oh Ho Jane Jaana). Zoom does require someone on point to administer the live event, e.g., let people into the room, send people to breakout rooms, and mute / unmute guests. We recommend upgrading to Zoom Pro as it allows for unlimited time unlike the free version, which only allows for 40 minutes. Zoom provides a detailed playbook on running an engaging live event here.
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