You produce virtual events for some of the top companies in the world. Global corporate giants trust their brands to you. So why are you so nervous? It’s just a virtual event, right?! Tell that to your wife, when your son is the nervous groom at the front of the aisle. This virtual event has to be perfect.
Scrolling through the wedding photos of Nicole Diane Elia and Andrew Connor Jung, the most striking you notice is, nothing. It all looks pretty normal — which was odd, because this virtual wedding was held amid a worldwide pandemic and social distancing orders from California Governor Newsome. Judging from the smiles, nothing seemed amiss.
Through a wide-angle lens, the scale of this wedding becomes readily apparent. People came in ones and twos: the lovely couple with their respective mothers, fathers, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and an officiant. But this was not your typical American wedding, even by COVID-19 standards.
So what made this particular wedding so special?
Most COVID-19 weddings are not streamed live in HD. Most are small backyard affairs with no one but the bride, groom, their children (it’s 2020 after all), and an officiant. Floral arrangements are sourced via Facebook from friends with gardens and delivered via contactless drop-off on porches because floral shops are nonessential. They may have been a bit slapdash, but the pandemic was still new.
The Jungs, on the other hand, drew insight from the months of regulations and social distancing recommendations in place across California. The resilient couple decided to pivot. The big family wedding got whittled to the core, but they had no intention of not sharing their special day. It helps to have a digital strategist with several broadband networking clients on the team. Having event and technical expertise in the family obviously set the soon-to-be-newlyweds up for a better than average virtual wedding experience.
The church became a set. It was emptied of its pews, and an arch — beautifully designed to match the interior of the church — was added for the couple to be wed under. Tasteful floral arrangements were hung and lined a path to the officiant. A talented family friend, Silas Pang, followed the couple throughout the ceremony, capturing the intimacy and emotion of the event in pictures. And all the guests attended via a live broadcast.
The ceremony was live streamed by Sherpa. In addition to the Jung’s, they handle video based events for small firms like Apple, Blackrock, and Disney. The wedding party was mic’d and cameras were positioned during the rehearsal to optimize visibility of the couple exchanging their vows. Prerecorded content of photo montages were added in advance. Interestingly, despite an intimate gathering, the original guest list of 200 ballooned to about 300, something an in-person event could not have accommodated!
Unique digital touches added to the broadcast experience, including the incorporation of a video created by the bridesmaids and groomsmen not able to attend. Afterwards, local friends and family formed a driveby parade with best wishes written on signs and congratulations shouted from the safe confines of their vehicles. The final COVID-19 touch? The new couple wore matching Mr. and Mrs. handkerchiefs over their faces.
“About 30 friends came by in their cars. The car parade was certainly a blast!” said Brad Jung.
In lieu of the traditional wedding signature book, the groomsman put together clips of the virtual guests offering their greetings and good wishes. The couple and their families found ways to incorporate almost every aspect of a traditional wedding, albeit delivered in unconventional ways.
So is this a glimpse of the future? How many times have loved ones missed a momentous occasion despite truly wanting to attend? Can we look forward to the opportunity to participate in virtual family milestones on the regular? Bar mitzvahs, quinceañeras, and, of course, every millennial’s favorite — the gender reveal party. Is this the time to reconsider our holiday rituals? Wouldn’t it be great to have Christmas dinner with your family from Tahiti? With increasingly far-flung friends and families, will live streaming may become as commonplace as the wedding photographer? As for Decision Counsel’s brilliant strategist, his personal and business life blended perfectly for one day.
Cover Image: Silas Pang