Skyping your Wedding

Posted by on Dec 30, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Skyping your Wedding

Dear Engaged Couple:

In the movie the Wedding Planner,  Jaylo  plays the WP to end all WP’s.    She directs weddings the way a female director might direct a Broadway show—checking wardrobe, sweet talking producers (family members), running at breakneck speed out of sight of the audience (congregation), to repair props (flowers) and in spiked heels no less!   Remember?  AND, Jaylo wears a microphone headset. This is one serious woman who has evidently taken wedding planning to a new level. 

I haven’t yet met a WP that is sooo business-oriented, and maybe that is a good thing.  As much as people with whom I work talk about the “Wedding Industry,” I find that it’s really about people in the know and with a great deal of common sense and energy,  helping other people plan their special day. In other words, the human element trumps efficiency.   “Wedding Industry” folks are really just wanting to do what is right by the couple and their respective families.   Their payoff is as much about sharing in a little of the romance, drama and joy that goes along with tying the knot as it is about money.

But more and more WP’s and the rest of us who are involved with weddings ARE using technology (although not headsets so much) to make for a meaningful service.  To be more precise—we are skyping.  

You know how it is.  Grandma just got out of the hospital and is in no condition to travel;  or your wedding is at a stateside winery but Uncle Ted is out of the country attending to a business emergency.  What to do?  Skype the thing.   
So far I have only officiated at one skyped wedding.  To be honest, it was not so easy to pull off.  The venue we used, a little country church, did not get great internet service.  The bride’s friends had to find just the right place to put the computer so that it could receive a wireless signal.  That place was in the chancel area, to the left of the cross.   Not to fear, however.  The computer was well hidden in the pulpit’s shadow.  The camcorder was separate from the computer.   We clipped the little camcorder lens to the pulpit itself, which was not a problem, since I don’t use it when I officiate at weddings. It was barely visible to people in the pews.   From that vantage point, the bride’s parents (who have health issues, and reside in England) had ringside seats to the service. 

However, things did not turn out as we had hoped.  Although we tested the setup just a few minutes before the service began, dad (in England) decided to turn up the volume on his computer and instead hit mute.  Sadly, Mom and Dad saw the exchange of vows, but they did not actually hear the exchange of vows. .   

Here then, are my tips for skyping your wedding:

1)     Test to make sure that the church, vineyard, hotel, etc. has adequate wireless coverage.  Please, please don’t trust the establishment’s assurances.  Yes, the venue may have some wireless coverage, but not necessarily where your vows will be said. Do this early if possible, and before you sign a contract with the establishment. 

2)    Elect someone to be the skype/computer technician.  This person should do a practice run well in advance of the wedding day, ideally working with the people who will be receiving the skype.  Again ideally, this elected person should arrive at the wedding a good hour in advance, in time to work through any last minute glitches.  Make sure he/she has access to a phone, so that he/she can still contact the receiving party if the internet connection fails.
3)    Have a backup plan.  Can someone video the event if for some reason skype doesn’t work? 
4)    Relax.  Enjoy the moment.  Your day is not primarily about technology anyway, right?  It’s about you.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Have fun.  Blessings your way. 
Gay Lee (aka, Wedding Preacher)


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