With the second lockdown looming we look at the ways you can have a digital big day....
Written by: Frances Leach
Even in ordinary times weddings can be stressful, but since the pandemic began at the start of the year a new type of bride was born; the Corona bride.
Those getting married this year had an impossible choice, cancel their weddings and wait until the restrictions eased up to allow them the big wedding of their dreams. Or, give it all up to have a small and socially distanced ceremony with those they are closest to...
However, there has been a third option that has appeared as of late, something that until this year would have been the stuff of corny movies or sitcoms. The virtual wedding.
Getting Hitched On Zoom
Picture it, your family and friends all crowded into one Zoom call. Your grandmother fumbling to switch her microphone on as you share vows. The thought for some sends shivers down the spine, and not in the romantic sense.
But this is a time to do away with pride, and embrace the new and the bold to make the best out of a bad situation.
So what does a virtual wedding actually involve? It’s not just hosting a digital ceremony, the whole build up to the big day is planned almost entirely online.
Vogue helpfully put together a guide on how to host a fabulous Zoom wedding to recommend you everything from the best streaming services to the perfect virtual wedding coordinator.
For most nuptials, finding the right tech to host your big day is a key challenge. We've all been through those horror show video calls where cameras cut out and videos buffer, so the the fear of this happening on your big day is almost too awful to think about.
High speed internet and a crystal clear camera are the perfect pairing to ensure your wedding ceremony is one fit to broadcast to the world.
Putting A Ring On It
Research from online jewellers Angelic Diamonds shows that searches for virtual engagement ring try on increased by 255% between February and July, and just the term ‘virtual wedding’ had 3900% more online searches in July than June.
For those getting engaged during a pandemic, finding the perfect diamond ring can feel like an impossible task. Travelling to hundreds of shops and trying on hundreds of styles is no longer an option, so brides must adapt and embrace technological solutions to find their perfect fit.
But using the latest Augmented Reality technology, brides are now able to test out thousands of rings from the comfort of their sitting rooms and share the results on social media with their family and friends.
Apps like this from luxury jewellers Diamond Hedge allow their customers to try out all of their engagement rings, with the AR technology allowing them to see a real-time presentation of their hand movements with a virtual diamond placed automatically at the base of their ring finger.
The proprietary AR app uses a phone camera to track the base of the finger and place a ring on it.
But what else does it involve to be a Corona bride?
Finding The Dress
Rebecca Goodwin at The Dress Tribe notes that although the wedding industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, they have still seen a high demand for wedding gowns throughout this year.
The Dress Tribe is an online bridal dress matchmaker, the curated platform has 58 designers and 223 boutiques on the platform and has seen a steady flow of customers even during the pandemic.
Goodwin notes that brides are seeking out styles that are sustainable and often more lowkey than the traditional dresses on offer. She thinks that for many 'Corona Brides' traditions are becoming less important, so brides are starting to experiment and think outside of the box when it comes to their dress.
The pandemic seems to have inspired a growing movement of social consciousness. This year has seen a growing concern about sustainability in the fashion industry, such as the Boohoo garment workers scandal or growing concerns at mass textile waste.
For modern day brides, the need for style is now balanced with a need for sustainability, meaning that for many a wedding dress can, and should, be something worn again. Goodwin says that many of The Dress Tribe’s customers have been requesting styles that can be worn as a wedding dress one day and as workwear the next.
For brides who are having a virtual wedding, or a small ceremony with those closest to them, the dress is still a huge part of whatever celebration they choose.
Buying a dress can be one of the highest costs of getting married, so having the opportunity to rent bridal couture (for a fraction of the retail price) and take part in the green circular sharing economy has been an unexpected positive to the weddings this year.
By Rotation is the leading peer to peer clothing rental app in the UK, and has seen a big uptake in brides renting designer gowns to wear for their weddings.
Founder Eshita Kabra reflects that "With one of the traditions as "something borrowed", there's no reason why it can't be one of the most expensive clothing items we'll ever buy - our wedding dress! On the more practical side - having spoken to many brides and also reflecting on my beautiful wedding dress sitting away in a box, I understand that wedding dresses can sometimes be a non-efficient purchase."
Bringing Us together
Something seen throughout the pandemic, particularly for brides, is the sense of community and love shared by those going through a shared experience.
For many of them, plans are cut short with a moments notice. Leaving them to make impossible decisions like who cut from their guest list or cancelling a once in a lifetime honeymoon.
Although a virtual wedding might not be what you had in mind for your dream wedding as the world heads back into lockdown, the Corona Bride looks here to stay.
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