First comes love, then comes coronavirus, then comes the influx of Zoom weddings in 2020. If you’re a human existing on Planet Earth rn, congrats! Life majorly sucks. Jobs, lives, and financial stability are being ripped out from underneath us, and we can’t even have nice things like happy hours or big open bar weddings to alleviate some of that sadness. As more and more couples have had to ditch their original plans and scale wayyy back on their Pinterest-inspired nuptials, technological ceremonies are officially on the rise.
While hosting a virtual affair is one thing, attending a Zoom wedding is a whole other situation. Granted, this is a very new concept so the kinks are still being sorted out, but just like with a traditional in-person ceremony, ensuring you’re not being a d*ck at a streamed wedding is just as important. “Much like an in-person wedding, look to the wedding invite for clues—even if it’s an email invite or a quick text with a Zoom link,” advises Lauren Kay, executive editor of The Knot. That will give you an insight into how to move forward without making your pals more upset than they already are.
But to break it down further, we’re covering what to wear, whether or not to send a gift, and what you should (and shouldn’t do) to be the best Zoom wedding guest possible. Because honestly, if we can’t give our friends their dream weddings, the literal least we can do is not be total pieces of sh*t at their on-screen celebrations.
Do You Give A Gift?
One of the most upsetting parts of this whole “changing your plans” thing (IMO) is the lack of gifts. I love gifts. Everyone loves gifts. So, if events are being canceled or scaled back, there’s a chance gifts are as well, and for some engaged couples, they’re really counting on that blender/bar cart/contribution to their cash fund. Basically, if they’re scaling back and only having a small ceremony/celebration, send them a gift as usual, whether or not you’re actually attending their event.
If they’re having a minimony now and a party later, consider splitting your gift amount in half and giving them something for both occasions, if you can afford it. “I’d recommend giving something now and something later,” advises Kay. Some of the best options for a gift amid the pandemic are things off of their registry that they can use, like board games or a cocktail set so they can practice their mixology skills (or drink their sorrows) at home. “A ‘now’ gift softens the blow of a postponement/virtual ceremony ever so slightly, and what better time to learn a new skill?” notes Kay.
What TF Do You Wear?
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remember when our hardest decision was who to invite to our weddings? Now it’s which online streaming platform to use.😫 beautiful lake house corona elopement story submitted by @waverlyrood: “Our big wedding was planned in Savannah for April 18th but we had to postpone due to corona, so we had a tiny ceremony at my groom’s lake house – his brother officiated and just our parents were in attendance & friends over zoom!! We are so happy and can’t wait to celebrate with everyone in September.”
By now, most of us are so used to showing up ugly on video chats, we don’t even think twice about our appearance. Greasy hair, stained pajamas, and pimple cream dotting our faces is the new WFH uniform. While it might seem silly to dress up just to stay home and watch a glitchy ceremony on your laptop screen, the effort you put in will go a long way for the couple. “Check the couple’s wedding website to see if they mention anything about a preferred dress code,” suggests Kay. “When in doubt, air on the celebratory side. Dress as you might have for the postponed celebration—even if it’s only from the waist up.”
Dress to impress, because if all else fails, you’ll at least get to see if you still remember how to put makeup on and can pop off an Instagram where you look somewhat like the former self who used to get dressed and do fun things. If not for love, do it for the likes.
What’s The Tech Etiquette?
“You’re tuning in to celebrate the couple, so keep the focus on them,” reminds Kay. Even though you’re sitting at home and not at a fancy venue, it doesn’t mean all etiquette is out the window. Mute your mic, speak only if asked/when it’s appropriate, respect any requests to avoid photography, and choose a background that fits the theme but isn’t in-your-face. No matter how much the couple likes The Office, this isn’t the time to whip out a picture of Michael Scott. “Find a simple background (think: no distractions) with good lighting so your excitement can be seen by the newlyweds,” suggests Kay.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
“Virtual weddings are still fairly new, so there aren’t any hard and fast rules. That being said, be a good guest—much like you’d be in person,” says Kay. Which is pretty self-explanatory, but just in case you think virtual weddings are an excuse to be an asshole, here’s your official notice: they’re not. “Log on at the designated time and follow any requests of the couple (think: attire, “bring something to toast with us,” etc.). Be attentive and respectful, making your congratulations known to the couple at the appropriate time,” she advises.
While it might seem like this new take on weddings means you get to be less present (or give fewer presents), give your friends the same courtesy they gave you when they shelled out thousands just to hook up with some drunk groomsmen when it was your turn.