As the coronavirus pandemic began to uproot life in the United States just four months ago, engaged couples faced an unprecedented question mark: when can we get married? For those with save-the-dates already locked in place, the spread of COVID-19 posed an even greater challenge — rescheduling an entirely planned ceremony is no small feat, complicated by the uncertainty of a clear-cut end to the health crisis.
Even amidst a pandemic, love still prevails. Determined couples have come up with creative ways to tie the knot ranging from socially distanced outdoor weddings to “drive-in” ceremonies during which guests remain in their cars. Of newlyweds’ myriad solutions, one in particular has proven to be a popular choice: the Zoom wedding. Riffing on the concept of a Zoom party or happy hour, the Zoom wedding takes place via video chat and allows guests to “attend” from the comforts of their own homes. The format has taken off to such an extent that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing couples to obtain marriage licenses remotely and permitting officiants to perform ceremonies over video chat.
Now, couples are scrambling to plan their own virtual weddings while the wedding industry, a sector hit hard by the pandemic, has also taken note of this new trend — some companies now offer virtual packages that include a tech team to oversee digital celebrations and reduce the risk of technical difficulties.
HYPEBAE spoke to virtually married brides, as well as wedding planners navigating the coronavirus pandemic, about the rise of Zoom weddings and what cultural shifts they signal.