Whether you choose to get married in an exotic location or have loved ones who simply can't attend, there are many reasons why you may want to live stream your wedding celebration. Thanks to a variety of video-streaming apps and services, live-streaming is easier than ever, allowing you to share the most special moments of your wedding with loved ones near and far. Live streaming has become wildly popular in recent months and it's one trend that we think is here to stay!
Before you cue up the camera, there are a few things you should know . . . Let's run through how to live stream your wedding like a pro so that your virtual guests aren't left wondering why they can only see the dance floor!
Here's what we'll cover . . .
- The true cost of live streaming a wedding
- How to live stream your wedding for free
- The best platforms for live streaming a wedding
- How to stream your wedding with Facebook Live
- How to live stream your wedding ceremony
- Choosing and setting up your live stream equipment
- How to decide on the best live stream POV
- How to optimize the audio for your live-streamed wedding
- Best practices for interacting with your virtual wedding guests
How Much Does It Cost?
The costs of live streaming a wedding vary—DIY using a mobile phone, DIY with upgraded equipment, or hire a professional. While you can live stream your wedding for free, if you're planning your live stream ahead of time, we recommend at least investing in some upgraded equipment to ensure optimal sound and image quality.
The options for professional-quality live streaming continue to expand, with a wide variety of investment options ranging from $400 to $3000, depending on your location and needs. Start with local videographers that know your venue of choice. Our teams at all Wedgewood Weddings venues can put you in touch with local live stream experts; we're happy to say all of our hand-picked photographers and videographers offer this service. Alternatively, many companies specialize specifically in real-time virtual experiences.
Common live streaming platforms
With the rise in popularity of live streaming, there is no shortage of platform options if you choose to DIY your wedding live stream. The most common streaming platforms are Facebook Live, Instagram TV, YouTube Live, Twitter Periscope, Amazon Twitch, and Zoom. Livestream from Vimeo and newcomer Dacast are also great options.
Of course, if you plan to hire a professional, they will handle the technical details for you. One more option is to use a dedicated streaming service for weddings and events. If this takes your fancy, check out: EventLive and LoveStream.
How to live stream your wedding for free
It's totally possible to set up a live stream of your wedding at no cost as long as you have some helping hands! We recommend nominating one or two of your most technically savvy guests to assist you with this task.
- Facebook Live: Streaming is free for any number of participants, and you can show off your event for eight hours after you press 'start live video'.
- FaceTime: If you and your guests use iPhones/iPads, then Apple FaceTime is also free and allows up to 32 people to join in. This is a great option for intimate weddings—just be sure to check with your guests to make sure they have a compatible device!
- YouTube Live: This service is free for unlimited viewers and you can stream in a single video for up to 12 hours. We love this option if you want to be able to re-watch your live stream (again and again) as YouTube will automatically save your wedding live stream.
- Zoom: If you have a free Zoom account, you can broadcast on a private cloud for 40 minutes and up to 100 participants. You can also pay $14.99 for a monthly “pro” zoom account for additional allowances or increase your bandwidth to 500 participants with a $50 fee.
- Google Meet: Google Hangouts recently had a makeover and is now known as Google Meet. It's another free tool and is easy for anyone with a Gmail account. As standard, Google Meet only lets 25 people join a video call but they have routinely offered exceptions to the rule so check it out!
Autumn and Christian decided on adding a Facebook Live feed for their faraway attendees at their May 20, 2020 wedding in Ohio. Read the full story on Local12.com.
how to steam your wedding with Facebook Live
Facebook’s Live function was launched in August of 2015 as a way to broadcast live video streams to a Facebook user’s or page’s friend list. Using Facebook’s live stream capabilities allows your guests to view the wedding and festivities from the comfort of their own home.
HOW-TO: FACEBOOK LIVE VIA SMARTPHONE OR TABLET
- Open the Facebook app.
- Tap the camera icon to the left of your search bar.
- Approve Facebook’s access request to your camera and microphone.
- Choose the "Live" prompt on your screen.
- Choose your privacy and posting settings.
- Write a description for your stream.
- Tag pages, co-hosts, add a location tag, or add an activity—similar to how you would in a regular Facebook status update.
- Set your camera's orientation—for mobile users, this will be landscape or portrait.
- 98% of Facebook users access their account through mobile – making “portrait mode” an excellent choice
- Tap the blue "Start Live Video" button to start streaming.
- Click "Finish" to end the broadcast.
HOW-TO: FACEBOOK LIVE VIA LAPTOP
- Open Facebook and log in. Then click the status bar, similar to how you would if you were writing a status update.
- Select the “see more” function—from there, select “live video”.
- Once in the “Live Producer”, allow access to the camera and microphone.
- Choose your privacy and posting settings.
- Write a post text description for your stream.
- Tag pages, co-hosts, add a location tag, or add an activity
- Tap the blue "Go Live" button to start streaming.
- Click "Finish" to end the broadcast.
Get more streAming tips from OFFBEAT Bride.
Photo Credit: Janessa White, Co-founder of Simply Eloped
Choosing your live stream equipment
You can stream via a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or a newer GoPro. There is no right or wrong, but select a device with a good camera and make sure to clean the lens before you start!
If your ceremony is outside, then investing in an external microphone with a sound baffle makes sense. You can pick up low-cost versions that plug directly into a smartphone for under $50. Using a baffle (AKA Wind Shield) will cut the noise from a light breeze, guest chatter, or background distractions.
If you decide to take a professional route, you can add radio mics for you, your fiancé and your officiant. This option guarantees great sound, but unless you already have the equipment, it is usually easier (and more cost-effective) to ask your videographer for help.
eventlive was designed specifically for live streaming weddings
How to Livestream Your Wedding Ceremony
choose your live stream Point of View
Start by thinking about POV. The Point of View (POV) is all about angles! It means choosing a place to put your device so that virtual guests get a great view of the proceedings. Do you want them to view your ceremony close-up, from afar, from the side, etc.? You'll want to choose a location that gives them a clear view but also doesn't obstruct other participants, or your photographers.
How to Set Up Your Live Stream Equipment
You'll determine the best equipment set up by considering your ideal POV, how many in-person guests you expect, the shape of your ceremony set up, and who you have to assist with this process. You'll also want to consult your photographer so that you're fully aligned on placement and expectations. Follow these tips to find the best live stream plan for your event.
If you decide to go low-key, ask a front-row guest to log into a streaming service, share the link, and hold their smartphone up as you say your vows. Recent Android and iPhones all contain optical and electronic image stabilization features which will make it easier for your at-home attendees to watch.
For a more hands-off but effective route, set up a device on a tripod and have a guest start the stream as the wedding party takes their places. This way, the camera won't joggle, and your virtual guests can feel like part of the crowd. The cost for a lightweight standing tripod can range from $30 to $$$, or you may be able to borrow one from your photographer—or you can connect a selfie stick phone mount.
Positioning a camera aisle-side in the second row of seating can be unobtrusive but effective. If you're using a tripod, then give it its own 'seat'. This will ensure it isn't jostled. Once the guests of honor are in position, the person responsible for the live stream can nudge it out into the aisle slightly to give your virtual guests a clear view that matches what all your other guests can see.
If you want to go for a slightly fancier setup, place the camera on a tripod behind the last row of guests and film them as they arrive. A nominated guest can keep the camera pointed towards the back of the venue as the wedding processional takes place. After you are in position for your ceremony, your live streaming buddy can move the camera to the center of the aisle facing your ceremony backdrop. They can then zoom in on you two to give your virtual guests an unparalleled view. Then as you walk up the aisle after your vows, you can wave to the camera (and an attendee can move it at the last second so you can make your way past).
If you have plenty of space, placing the camera next to the officiant creates a beautiful behind-the-scenes perspective. Set up a tripod at head height for the perfect angle as you say your vows. Your virtual guests will be able to look out on the processional and all your in-person attendees ahead of your ceremony.
A fun alternative involves a GorillaPod and placing your device among your ceremony florals above you. This will give your guests a unique perspective and is guaranteed not to block anyone's view. For this option, you will probably want to set up a 'remote start' or have the feed running ahead of time so that you can place the camera in advance and guests later join you when everything is all set up perfectly.
You can get really creative if that's your style—consider adding a camera in your bouquet, sending up a drone, placing a smartphone in the best man's jacket pocket, or at the bar. If you decide to stream via a zoom call you could place numerous smartphones around your venue to add extra viewpoints for your at-home attendees.
important details to consider
With your streaming setup all planned, don't forget about your audience. Make sure to take a few moments to look directly at the camera throughout the event; this will make your guests feel more engaged. They should feel like a valued part of your celebration.
You can also decide if you want to keep a recording of your live feed. Most streaming services offer this option but it must be selected at the beginning of the live stream. Many couples tell us they enjoy seeing what their virtual guests experienced at a later date, so it's highly recommended!
How to Optimize your live stream audio
Check for nearby devices which might cause interference (like cell phones).
Be mindful of background noise. Switch off anything noisy, like fans or air conditioners, and place the microphone away from rustling dresses!
Angle the microphone to directly face the person(s) you want to hear best.
Check if your device has a setting for Ambient Noise Reduction. If so, use it!
If you're using a laptop, make sure the mic is plugged into the microphone jack and not the speaker jack. You can also try unplugging the power cable and switching to battery power for less audio interference.
Best practices for interacting with your Virtual Wedding Guests
You have the option with most streaming platforms to decide ahead of time if you would like participants to be able to join in via audio so that everyone can hear them clap, oooh & ah! For most wedding live streams, the virtual guests are automatically set to mute, and they have their own cameras turned off.
You can also decide if only people with the link can join your live stream. This is important if you want to keep your stream private. If you want guests to join in via video and audio (using Zoom, Google Meet or GoToMeeting), then you should only give your link to specific participants.
If you are streaming more of your wedding than simply the ceremony then there are multiple opportunities to invite virtual guests to participate:
- Start the video experience ahead of your ceremony start time and have virtual guests join unmuted so that they can greet each other. Ask all your in-person attendees to say hello as they pass the camera on their way to their seats.
- Share the live stream link with all your guests whether or not they are attending in person—that way they can dip into the live feed during cocktail hour or after the ceremony to hear comments from virtual attendees and make everyone feel part of the buzz.
- After the speeches, you can create a virtual shout-out. Ask key at-home guests to prepare something they want to say and then create a loose run order, so they know when they will be called upon to share their thoughts. This is also an awesome time for you to ask in-person attendees to address your virtual guests too.
- Make your stream interactive by letting virtual wedding guests know that a member of your wedding party will read their chat messages to the crowd at a certain time.
- Want to do something extra special for your virtual guests? Ahead of your wedding day create an 'absent buds' care package to ship them ahead of time. You can include a formal virtual participant invitation, a copy of your program and wedding favors, a cocktail mix so they can enjoy your signature cocktail, and your wedding cake recipe formulated for cupcakes. Ask your virtual guests to dress up if they wish, so they feel fully involved.
Find out how you can create a fast and easy wedding live stream via Citizen.tv
10 final tips for an incredible wedding live stream
Improving your live stream video and sound quality is easy to do and can make a big difference for your virtual guests. Take a look at these ten expert live stream tips from the professionals:
- Double and triple-check the internet connection at your venue.
- Give your at-home guests a formal invitation with the streaming address ahead of time so they can prepare to watch comfortably. Let them know how to prepare: how to dress, whether they should bring food or drinks, how long the live-stream will last, etc.
- Use a high-quality smartphone, camera, or webcam for streaming.
- Invest in a tripod, available from online retailers like Amazon or Best Buy.
- Add an exterior smartphone microphone attachment—check out these examples. If using an exterior microphone, it is common to purchase lavaliers and a preamp as well, although not expressly necessary. You can find inexpensive smartphone-compatible lavaliers here and preamps here.
- Test out your live stream ahead of the official ceremony by using an “only me” privacy setting—good to test camera and stream settings or signal strength.
- Just as with any event, openings and closings are important. Think about the best time to start the live stream and the ideal time to end it. You might even prepare a schedule to share with your virtual guests. Many guests will be happy to tune in for just your highlight moments.
- Nominate a trusted guest to MC your live stream so everyone knows what is happening, what to expect, and to make introductions.
- Think about where you position the camera—you want to be close enough to capture sound but not in the way of other guests or photographers.
- Charge your device to the max so that you don't lose power midway through an important moment!