Weddings Getting Caught Up in Online Trend

Courtesy of HAKU
An increasing number of couples are holding their weddings online using special services.

When Masaru and Satomi Sudo got married last November in Tokyo, the wedding was attended by 11 guests, including their parents. About 120 more people, however, were able to watch the ceremony online.

With the ongoing coronavirus crisis making it difficult to organize large gatherings, the wedding industry is following the trend of using livestream technology to allow others to join in the celebration of a new couple’s life together — at a safe distance.

And business in booming.

The Sudo wedding was viewed remotely using an online wedding service provided by Favio Wedding’s Web-kon. The event went off flawlessly; friends watched as the bride and groom danced, and a baby girl, born just the day before to a couple living in the United States who are friends with the bride, also made an appearance.

“We were able to celebrate with lots of people without being concerned about the size of the venue or other matters,” said Masaru, 31. Added Satomi, 37: “Even my 90-year-old grandmother in a nursing home was able to see [the wedding].”

Professionally shot

Web-kon uses the Zoom videoconferencing system. Even though Zoom allows anyone to livestream an event on their own, it takes time and effort to get the system set up and do the shooting, and it is difficult to capture the festive mood of the occasion from a basic shot.

However, Web-kon provides professional service by filming the event using two cameras. It also has an operator who remotely switches between the two live feeds, inserts music and streams it to the participants.

During the Sudo wedding, some of Zoom’s distinctive features were cleverly put to use, such as a voting function that allowed participants to take part in a fun quiz about the bride and groom.

For those who have set their wedding plans and want to add Web-kon’s services, the basic price is ¥128,000 plus tax for the wedding ceremony only, or a set price of ¥198,000 for the ceremony and reception.

Livestream from home

Another online wedding service, called HAKU, focuses on enhancing a sense of unity with the venue. In addition to Zoom livestream on the day of the ceremony, the happy couple can send things such as letters, photos and even dinners to the participants in advance. Doing so allows everyone to enjoy the progress of the ceremony together.

For couples who wish to hold their ceremony at home, there is also a service that provides a designer who will decorate the room to create a festive atmosphere.

NEO FEVE is a service that broadcasts nonreligious weddings conducted before families and friends. It features use of the same advanced video technology employed for live musical performances, ensuring that every expression and gesture the happy couple makes can be clearly seen.

A copy of the recorded ceremony is provided afterward.

Online weddings can basically be split into two types: those with no invited guests, and those held at a venue that can be viewed by people unable to come in person.

“There have been many couples who have a strong desire to have a wedding ceremony, and in the end use an online service as well,” said Tomoyo Sashi of Tokihana, a wedding consultation service.

Everyone wins

There are advantages for guests who attend online, such as being able to wear casual clothes or easily leave during the ceremony without concern.

“Going online makes it easier to attend for people who couldn’t come to the venue in person, such as parents raising young children, pregnant women, and the elderly,” said Mayuko Okada, editor-in-chief of the marriage information magazine Zexy. “It may become an option for weddings even after the pandemic is over.”

Points to consider

It should be noted that some wedding venues may not allow live streaming. Also, there are cases in which the company providing online wedding services will specify the venue. It is necessary to check such details carefully when applying for the service.

The “market price” for the gift money given at an online wedding has not yet been established. It is therefore suggested that prospective couples clearly spell this out when inviting guests so as not to cause any concern.