During the summer, Lucas Robinson sat on his Los Angeles couch, putting on virtual reality glasses, and preparing for his friend’s wedding.
The couple set up a complete virtual reality (VR) system so that guests can feel like they are at the wedding.
“We were escorted to a seat and everyone had a camera that was our eyes so we could look around and see all the action,” said Robinson, the chief marketing officer of Crediful, a personal finance website.
If zoom is the only technology you use for your wedding, you are missing out on other options that can enhance the experience – especially for virtual affairs.
The pandemic has paved the way for technology-driven weddings: there’s everything from holograms (for missing guests) to robotic bartenders (to help keep bartenders safe). According to the Global Covid-19 Weddings Report, which sheds light on how couples around the world celebrate with weddings originally scheduled for September 2020 through January 2021, couples use virtual add-ons at 43% of weddings in the United States . It’s time to join the party.
Zoom is great, but virtual reality is better. Companies like Save the Date VR send VR headsets to every wedding guest so that couples can broadcast their wedding live. The guests can watch the 360-degree wedding video from a fixed location via the headsets. The company takes the videos during the wedding and puts them together to create a full scene (the couple don’t wear the VR set during the wedding). From there the video is shared and can be played on the headsets or on the computer or phone.
“Some people want the wedding to be streamed live, others want it to be a keepsake they can have forever, and others want both,” said Lien Driscoll, owner and president of the Irvine, California-based company.
Driscoll said her team is working with a couple to determine camera positions and set everything up in advance. It’s still a new technology in the wedding arena, but it seems to be growing in popularity as couples learn more about the possibilities, Driscoll said. Photographers also work with Save the Date VR and use it as a package add-on.
Most weddings start at $ 1,400. This includes a video of the ceremony, an edited video, and three more moments from the wedding. There is a separate fee for renting headsets starting at $ 10 plus taxes and shipping costs (price depends on the number of headsets rented and the length of the rental). The return postage is paid in advance.
VIRTUAL PHOTO BOOTH
Outsnapped, a virtual photo booth company, was founded in 2017 and is prepared for pandemic weddings. It makes it possible to take group photos or pose remotely with the bride, groom or other wedding guests. You can also create mosaic recap videos and choose backgrounds, stickers, and other features that will allow guests to pose for photos with stickers of the wedding couple and their pets, overlay all of them in memories of the first date, or virtually take guests on your honeymoon. (If they appear in the photos, they must have been there, right?)
The company’s artificial intelligence realizes all virtual photos. Photos can be shared, downloaded or made into a specific album. Basic plans start at $ 495 (including up to 500 photos, an overlay, an image gallery, and 24 hours of use).
We already have the ability to virtually move furniture around our homes, and now we can do it for our wedding venue thanks to 3D Event Designer, a comprehensive, interactive wedding floor plan website based in Laguna Niguel, California. This is a tool that provides drag-and-drop functionality that lets you experiment with chairs, place settings, buffet and beverage charts, and room layouts (starts at $ 14.95 for a month-long subscription to the service that includes a floor plan).
3D Event Designer also has dozens of real-life wedding venues on its website, from the Castle Hotel and Spa in New York to the Space Needle in Seattle, so you can experiment with them. “If you want to see what your dining tables look like with dark blue tablecloths versus beige, a simple click of the button shows your options,” said Lynn Kennedy, wedding planner at Gilded Aisle Weddings in Chicago.
Would you like fancy drinks, but don’t necessarily want more people in the room to serve these drinks? Now you can buy a bartending robot ($ 1,250) to make drinks without real bodies involved. Once you’ve added up to five spirits and three mixers, the app will make the drinks (you let the app know what to do in advance). The app comes pre-installed with hundreds of recipes, but couples can customize their own too.
Users enter their ingredients into the app and select the cocktail they want to make. You can also create unique drinks for guests. Place a special tablet on the bar and guests can order.
“Our guests usually use the machine for entertainment at small gatherings,” said Akshet Tewari, who founded the company. “There was a waiting list for the robotic bartender as more and more people have been drinking at home since the beginning of the pandemic.”
The company is currently supplying a limited number of robots from its waiting list.
Your imagination can run wild here: bring historical figures to your wedding; Reviving famous singers to serenade you; sing a duet with Dolly Parton; or even teleport relatives to your wedding so they can give a speech. You could even create a Kim Kardashian-worthy moment (on her 40th birthday, Kanye West gave her a 3D hologram of her late father, Robert Kardashian Sr., wishing his daughter a happy birthday).
“When it’s a surprise, it can be very emotional,” said Daniel Reynolds, director and producer at Kaleida, a hologram and interactive experience company with offices in London, Toronto and Berlin. “Since the video link is bidirectional, those who are displayed can also see the wedding couple’s response.”
Out of budget, the location is not an obstacle to holograms as most companies (including Kaleida) have connections virtually everywhere to help with the delivery of the projectors. From a technical point of view, it’s about projecting or reflecting an image onto an invisible surface, Reynolds said. However, the holograms you may have seen in “Star Wars” – which have the look of a full 360-degree image in 3D space – are still far from reality.
“For us, the art of making a great hologram is not to give your audience any idea how it was done,” said Reynolds. It used to be around $ 1 million for a 4 to 5 minute holographic resurrection of a historical figure. Today it can be done for much less and at a much higher quality, Reynolds said. But it is still not a cheap endeavor.
Prices start at $ 80,000 and include a hologram at your wedding, even if it only takes a few minutes.