Being invited to a wedding in the time of COVID-19 may mean the couple had to change their original wedding plans for a virtual or micro-wedding. If you have the option to attend virtually (usually indicated on the wedding website or invitations), the event may feel different from what you’re used to. While you won’t celebrate with the soon-to-be newlyweds in person, a virtual wedding can still be just as fun and full of love as a traditional gathering.
With Wedfuly, a virtual wedding planning company, there are creative ways to make virtual weddings engaging and interactive for the guest list, from the ceremony to the reception to the first dance. But to make sure everyone has the best experience possible on the couple’s special day, there is some guest etiquette to know. With advice from CEO Caroline Creidenberg, we’ve rounded up 10 tips for being the best virtual wedding guest in between virtual hugs, toasts, and screenshot photos over Zoom.
1. RSVP on time
Even if attending a wedding means clicking a link, it’s still important and polite to RSVP. Just because it’s a virtual wedding doesn’t mean you can ignore the usual etiquette when it comes to RSVPing. Virtual tables still need to be arranged, and the couple still wants to know who’s coming to celebrate their big day with them. The rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t do it in person, the same should apply for virtual weddings, including confirming whether you’re attending.
2. Send a wedding gift
Just like a traditional wedding, buying a gift for the couple is a thoughtful gesture. The couple will still likely have a registry, so there’s no need to worry about what to gift. When invited to a virtual wedding, do some online shopping ahead of time and have your gift sent directly to the couple before they tie the knot. You don’t want them worrying about packages on the day of their wedding!
3. Dress for the occasion
You wouldn’t wear sweatpants and an old tee to a wedding, right? Well, the same dress code rules apply for a virtual wedding. Do your hair, makeup, and put on your best dress and suit to show the love birds you care! This is still their big day, whether you’re there in person or not. Get yourself camera ready and have some fun.
4. Familiarize yourself with the live streaming platform
Whether it’s Zoom, Google Meet, or some other platform, make sure you’re familiar with how it works before the wedding date. You don’t want to bother the couple with tech questions, and they probably won’t have time to help.
5. Have watch parties
Having a watch party for anything is always a good time, but it’s even more special for a wedding. By being with one or two other people (safely, of course!), the live stream may feel more like a wedding party, and you’ll be more inclined to be social with other guests and loved ones.
“If you can safely gather with a few other friends who are also invited, have a party to celebrate safely at home while tuning into the virtual wedding,” Creidenberg says. “Take pictures, post on social media, let them know you’re supporting them from a distance. Any support you can show them will be greatly appreciated. Plus, you’ll have fun with it!”
6. Find the right background
Mind what’s behind you when your camera is on. If your home isn’t ready for visitors, consider having a virtual background or finding the right angle or wall to be in front of. Many platforms like Zoom and Google Meet have ‘Blur the Background’ options, as well. You can even play around with it and have a photo of the wedding venue as your virtual background.
7. Mute yourself
Like an in-person wedding, interrupting a virtual wedding ceremony or the Maid of Honor speech is seen as rude — even if the noise is your dog barking profusely in the background. Be respectful, and make sure you’re muting yourself during the live stream until you get the okay to speak to others.
8. Participate and be engaged
Creidenberg emphasizes that it’s important is to be engaged with others when it’s time. It makes it more fun for you and helps the lovebirds feel connected with friends and family members who are attending.
“If the platform is a two-way stream (video of you as well as video of the couple), make sure you’re fully tuned in and ready for the experience,” she says. “We consistently have dancing, cheering, and toasts so be prepared to unmute, get up out of your seat, and participate.”
9. Introduce yourself to others if you’re at a virtual reception table
When guests are broken up into virtual tables during the reception portion of the wedding, the couple will usually pop in to say hello to everyone. Just like at an in-person wedding, making rounds at a wedding is a lot! People want to chat for a long time, so it may take a while for them to get to your ‘table.’ Make sure to stick around, mingle, and have fun while you wait.
“The couple put a lot of thought and love into these virtual reception tables, so if you don’t know anyone, don’t just log off. Take some time to introduce yourself and explain how you know the couple,” Creidenberg says. “If it’s taking a while for the couple to make their rounds, turn your camera off and mute yourself, but hang near your computer so you can hear when they’re in your room!”
10. Hype the couple up post-wedding
The last tip may be the most important: Make sure to hype up the couple after they say “I do!” Planning a wedding takes a lot of work, and planning a virtual one was probably something the couple never imagined doing before 2020. Let them know you appreciate being a part of their wedding day by showing some love, support, and well wishes afterward.
“Obviously, don’t lie if the virtual experience is terrible (with Wedfuly it won’t be!), but do express your gratitude and let them know how much you appreciate them giving you an option to attend safely. It says a lot about couples who choose to opt for a virtual experience with everything going on. We see first-hand how much it impacts the couple when guests react to their experience online,” Creidenberg says.
Take it all in, be respectful, have fun, and — most importantly — support the couple during this crazy time. The most exciting moment in their lives is happening among a lot of other things, so leverage these tips to ensure you and the happy couple have a great time on the wedding day.