For many, there is no replacement for getting married in a church. Churches are holy spaces that make God’s blessing on a marriage central to the event. Conducting wedding ceremonies in your church also offers the couple an opportunity to share this monumental moment in a space that is both beautiful and meaningful.

Live streaming is, perhaps, not a couple’s first choice for their wedding. Yet offering this service presents an opportunity to help include loved ones while adhering to current guidelines.

When your church is set up to accommodate a robust live streaming experience (in other words you’ve moved beyond your cell phone), it offers an opportunity to provide a needed service to your parish.

Hosting a live streamed event is an opportunity to continue to use your venue to help maintain a regular source of income for your church.

Guidelines Around Wedding Size and Covid-19

The Government had previously set a maximum of 30 people. But on September 28, they reduced this number to 15. Fifteen includes the couple, the guests, and the vicar as well as any musicians, videographers, or photographers.

Social bubbles and the Rule of Six are also important considerations when planning the arrangement of the people in the space and how they are to enter and exit. The couple and vicar are the only ones not required to wear face masks during the ceremony.

Preparing for the Event to Live Stream a Wedding

In the weeks prior to the event, proper planning can help make sure everything runs smoothly. If you are providing the use of your live streaming equipment, you or your technical expert should be on hand to walk the grounds and determine camera placement and shot selection.

Empty church set up for a live stream wedding with flowers and decorationsThe Live Stream Wedding Dress Rehearsal

Identify in advance the space to include for the live stream portion. Take and film shots of the planned procession. This can help you determine how to frame the shots and ensure that you have the necessary equipment to host potential indoor and outdoor filming.

Identify Special Moments

As you prepare a meaningful and spiritual service for the union, work with your technical expert to ensure camera placement can capture the moment without interference. Knowing key moments that may require close up shots could require an over the shoulder camera placement.

Get a Shot List from the Couple

The couple will have moments in mind that they want to capture, both in video and in photo. Getting this list in advance will help you plan the day and make sure everyone is satisfied. You are now responsible for both the event itself and how you capture it.

Wedding couple photoCheck Licensing in Advance

If the ceremony will play music or include other creative works, such as poetry, obtaining copyright permissions is essential. Make sure you have all of this information well enough in advance to make sure the entire ceremony can be part of the live stream.

Defining the Live Stream Audience

A wedding you live stream to Facebook is a public event. You can set your YouTube to private or you can also use our platform and custom URL that the couple can share with their intended guest list.

Live streaming a wedding is becoming mainstream. Guests of this wedding likely have attended some form of live stream life event already. They’ve probably experienced enough live events to have all the proper software (such as Zoom) installed.

If you have a booking system as part of your platform, like the one we offer on Faith Online, you can help the couple gain the links for their invitations. You can also offer this booking system to help the couple set their cap of 15 attendees while also adhering to both GDPR and NHS Test and Trace guidelines.

Test Your Camera Positioning

Depending on how many cameras you have, and whether these are optimised for events, you could create a live stream wedding experience that feels like a professional production. Staging and planning is key to this.

If you have one camera

Determine if the couple would rather view their ceremony from the back of the church (with zoom in during the exchange of vows), or if they would prefer a more intimate over the shoulder set up. Using a tripod or wall mount, you can set up the camera to capture the entire event from a single point of view but with the option to pan or zoom as desired.

If you have more than one camera

Offer a front and rear view to capture the moments from both vantage points. A third camera could be useful if you want a side view, but this would likely favour only one of the couple and could even block the other’s face. If you have a wireless camera, you can also follow the couple in through their procession, adding drama and movement to the event.

Bride and father prepare to walk into the church, captured from a wireless live stream deviceMicrophones and Sound

Lavalier mics or wireless mics are the best for this type of event as they do not distract from the scenery or formal dress. If you are using a platform for two-way communication, you could also invite the remote guests to join in and offer words of encouragement at a pre-defined moment.

After the Ceremony: Hosting Receptions

While receptions should not include food or beverage, you can offer to use another space in your church for an interactive live streaming experience. Depending on whether you are using chat or a two-way communication, these could include

  • Reading of speeches
  • Well wishes from guests afar
  • Shared prayer or spoken word

While a vicar always plays a key role in framing the sequence of events for a wedding ceremony, offering to live stream a wedding ceremony will make you a host and wedding planner all in one.

Offering this service may be a tipping point for investing in higher quality live streaming equipment. Watch a demo to see how the Faith Online live streaming kit and platform is helping churches across the UK transition to digital as the most affordable comprehensive live streaming solution.