Virtual Weddings - The Secret Bargain of the Century

October 14, 2020

Saying “I do” to minimonies and “I don’t” to debt

Wedding invitations used to come with all kinds of things, like boxes to check for salmon, chicken, or quiche and maps to obscure rural Irish cottages too old for an address. But the latest trend in wedding invitations is to send a hyperlink.

A common reaction is to feel sorry for the brides and grooms that have to sacrifice their big day due to the pandemic, but in actuality, there are many upsides to having a virtual wedding, it’s quite possible the industry will never be the same after 2021.

After all, shrimp towers, chocolate fountains, and ice sculptures all come with a price tag. When you add up the cost of a venue, flowers, a D.J. or band, bridesmaid favors, alcohol and salmon and quiche…an average wedding runs about $34,000. And if you’re in a big city like New York or Chicago, simply paying for a venue can bring that total way over $50,000.

And though commemorating your commitment to each other with a big day done in a big way can be very cool, it can also be intensely impractical because debt is very uncool. When you consider that many young couples are already saddled with student debt, incurring a whopping wedding expense (vs. paying down that debt) is not the best way to set yourselves up for a comfortable future.

One can’t help but think Suze Orman is secretly gleeful when she gets one of these invitations with a hyperlink. She has long been a fan of couples setting out to “tie the knot so that it never comes unraveled.” And by that, she meant planning wisely, within reason, within your budget.

“Don’t spend money you don’t have for people you (or your fiance) barely know. Make the day a respectable day for yourselves and your financial situation. Make it a day that lasts forever with the money you have saved. Make a vow to talk to each other, not at each other, about money. Marriage is merging your hearts, your souls, and your bank accounts,” Orman advised.

Most couples who choose to have a minimony at home will still invest in wedding rings and something special to wear, whether it is a dress, tux, or suit. But so many of the traditional costs can be avoided when you get married online with a virtual wedding.

These are several cost-saving factors of virtual weddings vs. traditional weddings, as well as a few other unexpected upsides.

Catering The two that choose to throw a virtual wedding may splurge on champagne and caviar, but providing for guests is not a thing with virtual weddings.

When you consider that the average cost for catering a wedding, according to the Knot, is $9,170 (@$70 per head) this can add up to be one of the biggest wedding reception costs.

Reception venue Venues generally range from $5,000-$10,000. According to Peerspace, “If you’d like to rent a space for your wedding in a park, you might pay $8,000 to $15,000 as a standard rate. Meanwhile, a hotel, resort, or country club can be as low as $5,000 or as high as many tens of thousands of dollars for the top luxury locations.” Yikes!

Band This is a wide range depending on whether you’re getting the local science teachers who have a weekend trio vs. reuniting Wilson-Phillips as the over-the-top Helen did in Bridesmaids. According to, The average starting price for a reception band performing for three hours after dinner, including sound gear and light production, is $4,000 plus a 10% tip.

Some more stats: D.J. $1,000-$1,500 Wedding planner $3,000-$5,000 Flowers/decor $6,000-$10,000 Favors $300-$600

And, depending on the affair, when you factor in glow sticks, fire dancers, drummers, photo booths, cigar-rolling stations, craft margarita bars, and flower leis…the numbers can get completely crazy.

It’s kind of mind blowing when you consider that choosing wedding live streaming over a traditional wedding will conservatively save you $28,300.

One 20-something couple in Germany, Robert and Annika, rolled with the changes and moved their wedding online. They decided to just have fun with it, and enjoy the savings. In in interview at home on their couch Robert said, “One very practical silver lining is that the wedding was way cheaper than expected. We wouldn’t have this couch we are sitting on!”

There is one other factor of wedding live streaming to consider which brings massive savings - not to the two getting married but to everyone else involved. There may be some folks out there on the receiving end of these hyperlink invitations breathing a huge sigh of relief. Especially since, at the moment, we are in the middle of a global pandemic that has taken a massive toll on many people’s finances.

Travel costs, hotels, bridesmaid’s dresses, tuxes, etc., are expenses that can really add up for family and friends.

Apart from the financial advantages, there are a few other factors that people are starting to discover that make the idea of getting married online with a virtual wedding kind of a great deal.

The stress factor Hey, if you were in a panic worrying at which table you would seat your slightly-lecherous uncle with chronic halitosis, that concern is now taken off your plate!

Hassling with seating charts, blocking out hotel rooms, navigating in-laws who no longer speak, coordinating with a wedding planner…these things all happily fall by the wayside when you have a virtual wedding.

An introvert’s dream “I hate big weddings with everybody staring. I’d like to get married on a weekday while everybody’s at work.” ~ Julia Roberts, Runaway Bride.

If you’re excited to get married but not so excited about a huge ceremony and reception where you are the center of attention for five hours, curating your own personal experience with a virtual wedding can actually be a sweet relief.

Element of kitsch

When life throws little curveballs your way (a global pandemic, for instance) and you can’t do the same old, you’re forced into new terrain. One couple, Jenny Cooper and Sean Steuer, of Los Angeles, had an online rehearsal in which he wore a hot pink suit. In the background were the Pinterest-worthy spray-painted hula hoops the bride had wrapped with lovely vines and flowers. The groom’s buddy flew his drone by the couple’s apartment for balcony shots.

Unexpected Intimacy

The minimony brings a surprise element of intimacy. Sometimes in the throes of a big, lavish event there is more emphasis on the party and ensuring everyone is having a good experience and less emphasis on the emotions of this momentous moment for the newlyweds.

Whether the couple has done some fun decorating for the occasion and they’re in their living room or patio, or even a remote location, you’re right there with them, included in this improvised moment.

As for the couple, the wedding day is just the first day in what will hopefully be a decades-long journey together. Getting through a pandemic with panache and navigating this crisis with each other is actually a bonding activity.

When you can make lemons out of lemonade, it bodes well for all the ups and downs you will inevitably face in the years to come.

Dylan and Lucy Phillips met on bumble and married online in a virtual ceremony, so it’s sort of the perfect modern romance in her eyes.

With a little creativity, you can still have:

  • something old, (your mother’s dress, your father’s tie)
  • something new, (drones!)
  • something borrowed, (your influencer friend’s selfie stick)
  • something blue, (a Tiffany box cake)
  • and a sixpence in her shoe (or $28,300)

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