A virtual wedding? Isn’t that so 2020? While 2020 might have been the year of the virtual wedding, online weddings are still very much a thing in 2023 and beyond.

Keep reading to learn why virtual weddings are still needed post-pandemic, the different types of online weddings you can host, your options for streaming, and our top tips for a successful virtual and in-person wedding ceremony!

What is a virtual wedding?

A virtual wedding, also known as an online wedding, a live stream wedding or a Zoom wedding, is a wedding ceremony that is streamed online for guests to attend virtually from all over the world. These weddings became very popular during the pandemic when restrictions prevented large weddings from taking place.

In 2023, virtual weddings usually happen in addition to in-person weddings. For example, a couple may get married in a small elopement with just 15 guests in attendance, while streaming their wedding to many more loved ones around the world.

Why do we still need virtual weddings in 2023?

Even though most pandemic-era restrictions are lifted and large weddings are back, a virtual wedding could still be a good option for you in 2023. Here are five reasons why you might want to hold a virtual wedding:

  1. Virtual weddings are cheaper. Rather than paying for a venue that seats 200 people and decorating it, you can rent and decorate a smaller venue without compromising on your guest list by inviting some guests to attend virtually.
  2. Online weddings can be more intimate. If you’re wanting to elope but still want to share your wedding with a few loved ones, a live stream is a great way to have both a private moment and invite a few people to watch from afar.
  3. You can involve more friends and family. Whether due to budget or venue constraints, you may not be able to invite everyone you love to join your wedding in person. But when you stream your ceremony, your guest list is only limited by the number of Zoom attendees you pay for!
  4. You can involve loved ones who can’t attend in person. A virtual wedding is a great way to involve guests who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend your wedding ceremony, such as those who live far away, can’t travel or aren’t well enough for a big event.
  5. You get a great keepsake of your day. With most virtual ceremonies, you’ll have a filmed version of your day to look back on. This can often include videos or written messages from your virtual guests, making it a great keepsake and memory of the day.
bride and groom set up the tech for the virtual wedding to live stream to guests
by Amber Leigh Photography

Different types of online weddings

Before you start setting up a camera, you’ll want to decide what kind of online wedding you’re looking to have. There are a few different options to choose from and decisions to make.

One-way or two-way video

With a one-way video, you’ll stream your wedding ceremony to your guests and they’ll watch it as if they’re watching a TV show. They won’t have their cameras on or be able to interact with you. With a two-way video, your wedding will be more like a FaceTime call with both sides able to chat and be seen on screen.

Most couples opt for a one-way video, as it can get very chaotic if hundreds of online guests are trying to speak or show their faces at once. You could also have a one-way video for the ceremony and then open up the video chat afterwards.

Hosted or not

Another virtual wedding planning decision you’ll need to make is whether to have your event hosted or not. A host can be a designated guest who serves as virtual MC, or may come included in your professional videography or live stream package. You can also opt to not have a host and simply start streaming your wedding at the appointed time.

If you do choose a host, you’ll have to decide if you want the host to be on-site and if they’ll also be the person to deal with any technical snafus. The host should not be the couple getting married or anyone involved in the ceremony, as they’ll be too busy in front of the camera to be behind it.

Stream just the ceremony or more of the wedding day

When it comes to virtual weddings you can choose to stream just your wedding ceremony or other parts of the wedding day. You may want your online guests to join you for speeches, even having virtual speakers take a turn at the mic, watch your first dance, or keep attending throughout the reception.

Keep in mind that while most virtual guests are happy to sit through a 20 minute ceremony, it’s not nice to ask them to stay glued to their computer screens for hours while you and your IRL guests party the night away. If you’re going to extend your live stream past the ceremony, have a plan for what virtual attendees will do.

Share your wedding live or later

While most Zoom weddings are live streamed, as in broadcast live online as they are happening, you do have the option to share your wedding ceremony after the fact instead. This could be a good option if you’re worried about internet at your venue, since you can film the ceremony offline and upload it once you have better wifi. This is also a great option if your guests aren’t able to attend live, since they can watch a recording whenever works best for them.

If you are planning to share your ceremony later, you may choose to just send out your wedding video, instead of a full live stream of the ceremony. Depending on what you work out with your videographer, the wedding video may include snippets of the full day in a beautifully edited package, which some guests may appreciate more.

Tripod set up to capture an online wedding at Porteau Cove with Young Hip & Married
by Emily Nicole Photos

Deciding how to stream your wedding

Just a few more decisions to make before you go live with your wedding ceremony! How do you plan to stream it?


You can choose to DIY your virtual wedding. This might look like setting up a tripod for your phone or camera, buying microphones and subscribing to an online video platform, like Zoom.

While DIY-ing your live wedding video is usually the most budget-friendly way to do it, it can also be the hardest to organize. You’ll need to coordinate all of the tech, plus ensure you capture good quality video and sound. I think we’ve all sat through a virtual pandemic wedding where you couldn’t hear anything and someone stood in front of the camera for half the time – don’t let that be your 2023 virtual wedding!

Professional videography

On the other end of the spectrum, you could hire a professional videographer to capture your wedding and stream it to your virtual guests. Many videographers offer live stream packages, thanks to their popularity during the pandemic, so are experienced in this area. You’ll also be able to rest easy knowing they’re going to capture the best audio and video.

Of course, hiring a professional videographer is going to cost a lot more than just setting up a Zoom account. But if you were planning to have a videographer anyway, asking about a live stream option may be a more affordable upgrade than you think. While we know it’s not in everyone’s budget, nothing beats having a wedding video to relive all of the sights and sounds of your special day.

PS: Check out our awesome elopement videography partner, Capture Media!

Online companies

A compromise between DIY-ing your online wedding and hiring a professional videographer would be going with an online company. A number of online wedding livestream companies popped up during the pandemic to help couples plan and execute their virtual weddings.

While these companies are usually more affordable than hiring a videographer, they often still leave the audio and video aspects of setting up a virtual wedding to you. But if you’re confident in your camera skills and just need someone to run the virtual part, one of these companies might be the way to go.

Newlyweds joining an online call to share their wedding with livestream guests
by Erica Miller Photography

10 tips for your virtual online wedding

Here are a few more tips to make sure your virtual wedding goes off without a hitch!

  1. Practice with your tech ahead of time. Especially if you’re going the DIY route, make sure you’re very comfortable with your tech and your online set up. If possible, do a test run at your venue to make sure everything is working.
  2. Have someone available to troubleshoot. During the livestream, designate someone to be your tech troubleshooter. If anything goes wrong, this person is responsible for trying to fix it. It may help if this person is on-site in case they need to adjust a camera lens.
  3. Have a plan B. This mostly applies to a DIY or online company livestream, but you’ll want to make sure you have back up options in case plan A fails. This might mean having a second camera charged and ready or a plan to hot spot off your phone if the venue wifi falls through.
  4. Prep guests ahead of time. Leading up to your virtual wedding, make sure your guests have everything they need to attend. Give them the time, the URL and anything they’ll need to login. It might also be helpful to have some tech-savvy attendees set things up for the less tech-savvy ones, such as sending your cousin over to grandma’s house.
  5. Be sensitive with your guest list. Hopefully, virtual guests will understand why they’re not being invited to attend in person and still enjoy celebrating with you online. But because virtual weddings are less common in 2023, you may get some pushback. Prepare yourself to politely answer any questions or deal with hurt feelings. And please, don’t demand or expect a gift from anyone who only attends virtually!
  6. Make it special for your virtual guests. To help let your virtual guests know you still value their presence, make the wedding a special event for them. You can do this by sending fancy e-vites, reaching out with personal notes, asking guests to dress up, or even sending care packages to virtual guests with fun party favours.
  7. Encourage guests to participate. Depending on what type of virtual wedding format you opt for, there may be a chance for your online guests to participate and engage in the ceremony. Whether that’s raising a glass to you in a virtual breakout room, turning on their cameras to applaud, leaving you a video message or writing in the chat, let your virtual guests know how they can participate and encourage them to do so.
  8. Let your vendors know that you’re streaming your wedding. Don’t forget to tell your vendors that you’ll be streaming your wedding. They may have some tips and tricks for you, or be able to help you get everything set up on the day. For example, your wedding officiant can make an announcement during your ceremony that the wedding is being live streamed, so in-person guests know not to block the camera. Your officiant can also give you a chance to wave and smile at the camera, which your online guests will love!
  9. Get copies of the video and chat. Most livestream platforms will have a way for you to record and save the video, as well as any comments that get left in the virtual chat room. And, of course, if you have a professional videographer doing this, they will definitely be able to provide you with an edited version of the ceremony. It’s so much fun to watch your wedding back and see what your guests were saying along the way.
  10. Don’t forget to enjoy your ceremony! Sometimes planning a virtual wedding can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to figure out all of the tech, audio and video parts yourself. So while it pays to practice and be prepared, don’t forget to also enjoy your own wedding ceremony. Your virtual guests won’t mind if you’re running a few minutes behind or there’s a little static on the mic, as long as they get to watch you share your heartfelt vows with each other. After all, that’s why everyone is tuning in!

Whether you’re having a virtual celebration, in-person or a bit of both, we’d love to help create a custom ceremony that’s personalized for you two. Check out all of our ceremony packages, meet our officiant team and get in touch to book today!