Q&A with Wedfuly: Zoom Weddings During COVID-19 & the Future of Virtual Ceremonies
The COVID-19 global pandemic has fundamentally changed life for all of us, but Denver-based Wedfuly is determined to help couples around the world carry out their planned weddings, even if they have to be Zoom weddings.
Wedfuly, an online wedding planning service, has shifted to hosting virtual weddings using Zoom so that couples can still tie the knot in front of their loved ones while venues are shut down and large gatherings are prohibited.
Caroline Creidenberg, the founder and CEO of Wedfuly, shared how her team managed the sudden shift to online ceremonies, the role the Zoom platform plays, and the future of virtual weddings.
How have couples responded to having their weddings virtually?
“We see lots of people come in with very low spirits because this is their last resort to have their wedding during this time. But after we walk them through all how we’re going to do it, with the virtual readers, virtual musicians, and the slideshows and videos, you can see their faces light up. And because the price of an online wedding is so attainable, couples can invite more people to participate than they would with an in-person wedding. So I think the whole process is a lot cooler than we thought it was going to be and we’ve seen a positive response.”
How do you ensure that your events are secure?
“The first thing I recommend is that couples don’t post the link on their wedding website if it’s public. I also give them the option to password-protect the link, as well as the option to use the Waiting Room feature. We disable the screen-sharing privileges during the event as well.”
What kind of technical support do you provide guests?
“I have technical support staff that provides support for couples during the actual event, so they monitor that Waiting Room list and let in the guests. Zoom also has a great catalog of support documents that we can send their way for anyone who isn’t confident using the platform. We do whatever we can to ensure the couples and their guests don’t have to worry about the technology and can enjoy the event.”
What role does Zoom play in these virtual weddings?
“We use the Zoom Meetings platform for our virtual weddings. We start by sending a Paperless Post invitation to the wedding guests, which has the link to the wedding in it, so all they have to do is click the link to join the wedding. From there, we use Zoom to shape the event because it has the tools to make the experience feel authentic.
Why did you choose Zoom to host your virtual weddings?
“I knew that a lot of people were using Zoom for more social gatherings, and although there are other web conferencing services out there, I felt like Zoom could offer a more social experience. I also decided to go with Zoom because it’s easier for people who are not tech-savvy to use. It’s also been really easy to train our employees to use. I think that the ease of Zoom has made our lives a lot easier, and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without Zoom.”
What Zoom features do you use?
“The more weddings we do, the more we realize that different features on Zoom can be used for different things. We use screen sharing throughout the entire event for visuals including videos and slideshows, the Raise Hand feature for open-floor toasts, and the computer audio sharing ability to provide a seamless DJ experience. Zoom also is great for virtual musicians since they can change their mic option and use their professional mics.
“We even use Breakout Rooms to create different ‘tables’ for the reception so that couples can keep their seating chart from their original wedding plans. The bride and groom can then pop in to these rooms and speak with smaller groups individually, just like they would at a regular wedding.”
What was it like for Wedfuly to pivot to a virtual wedding platform?
“We’ve booked 80 virtual weddings in less than a month, and that’s an 8x-10x increase over our normal number of monthly signups. Our whole team sees a huge future with virtual weddings now that we’ve been able to fully explore it. I don’t think virtual weddings will be the ‘backup’ option once people see how amazing these can still be and how hybrid models can offer additional flexibility.”
What do you see for the future of virtual weddings?
“I think there will be long-term changes to how we live our lives post-pandemic. One large-scale change will be how people celebrate and attend events. Priorities will change in regard to travel and safety, resulting in a shift toward smaller-scale and virtual events. I think a market will emerge for weddings that are a hybrid of in-person and virtual. Virtual is such an affordable option while still remaining intimate and authentic to the couple. A hybrid event facilitates having the picturesque venue, décor, dinner, and drinks for your closest guests while allowing so many others to attend virtually. This is a win for the couple financially since they don’t have to balance the budget with the number of guests or take out loans to fund the event. Ultimately, this minimizes stress for the couple, enabling them to focus on what’s most important to them.”
What do you think that means for larger weddings?
“Big weddings won’t ever go away for those who can afford more elaborate events. Virtual, though, is a good option for those who don’t want to spend their life savings for one night while still working within the constraints of a too-small guest list. Because of this latter group, we can expect many brides and grooms to jump on the virtual hybrid train when life normalizes post-pandemic.”
Visit wedfuly.com to learn more about Wedfuly and its virtual wedding services. To learn more about taking your in-person events virtual using Zoom, check out our guide for Running Engaging Online Events.