How to Stream Your Ceremony Online
Not every guest will be able to attend your wedding ceremony, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss the service.
According to Ustream, 20,000 U.S. couples used the San Francisco-based streaming service to live-broadcast their wedding ceremony between May 2012 and May 2013, a 250-percent increase from the previous 12-month period.
It makes sense, says Anne Chertoff, a New York-based wedding editor and consultant. Not only does live-streaming allow absent loved ones — your sick grandma, too-far-along-to-travel pregnant cousin, or cash-strapped college roomie — to witness your nuptials, the potentially smaller actual guest list can help keep your budget in check. The typical starting cost for live streaming ranges from nearly free to upward of $900, depending on whether you go completely DIY or opt for a professional setup. Compare that to the $100-plus price tag per individual guest for an invite, meal, drinks, rentals, favor, etc., and the cost savings quickly could add up.
To make the magic happen on your own you’ll need a high speed Internet connection, camera and laptop, Chertoff says, and you should assign a tech-savvy friend to test it first and run it on the big day. Talk to your venue as they may be able to loan or rent you the equipment and might have an IT person. You’ll also want to sign up with a streaming service, such as Ustream or WebcastMyWedding. A no-cost variation is placing someone up front with a tablet or smart phone who can use FaceTime, a Google Hangout or Skype to stream the ceremony, Chertoff adds, but these methods also have the most potential for glitches.
A third option is to hire a company or videographer who offers full-service live-streaming packages (equipment, technicians, personal website, an email invitation for guests, reminders for your audience,). One such company, Live Maui Webcasts, caters to Hawaii-based destination weddings. They charge $495 to simply livecast your ceremony but can add the service to any of their videography packages for $300.
Having a pro manage all the details not only takes it off the couple’s plate, but it also ensures production elements like light exposure and sound are all correct.
“There are no second takes at a wedding,” says Stephan Boeker, the company’s executive producer.
Make sure all your invitees are aware of your webcast by posting information about it on your wedding website and your social networks, says Chertoff. “Create a hashtag (ex: #JaneJimWedding) so people can post comments and well wishes,” she adds.
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