“People Commented In Real-Time”: What It’s Like To Live-Stream Your Wedding

Courtesy of Alyssa Ciccotelli & Chris Fenimore

It's been said that throwing a wedding is as much of a party for the happy couple's loved ones, as it is an acknowledgment of their life-long commitment. After all, your nearest and dearest are the ones who had to field 3:00 a.m. calls and provide years of relationship advice. But what happens when families, friends, and coworkers are robbed of sharing that joy? For couples who live-streamed their weddings after canceling them amid coronavirus concerns, celebrating through a screen was the next best thing to dancing to "You make me wanna shout."

"Before the outbreak, we had 126 guests who had RSVP'd yes to our ceremony," Anna Favilla, a bride who live-streamed her wedding using Facebook Portal, tells Bustle. She and her fiancé, Ricky, were set to get married in a church in Colorado, followed by a reception at a nearby Tuscan-style venue with mountain views in the distance. But once they heard about the limits placed on social gatherings, they immediately canceled their vendors and said, "I do" online.

Throughout the live-stream, they were commenting in real-time, and now we'll get to cherish those special notes forever.

Across the country, in New Jersey, Alyssa Ciccotelli and Chris Fenimore were also scrambling to reshape their big day after the governors of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut banned gatherings of more than 50 people. Their wedding was postponed until August, but that wasn't going to stop them from tying the knot as planned.

"Not all of our siblings could come, so we started to run through the different options of letting them be a part of our wedding," Ciccotelli tells Bustle. They considered FaceTiming guests, then finally decided on live-streaming on Facebook. The bride's sister took over her page, posted when the ceremony would begin, and within minutes almost 100 people were watching. "Our friends and family loved it," she says.

This was the route Danielle Burnette and Ismael Cruz, a recently married couple in North Carolina, chose to take as well. Not only were their original wedding plans thwarted by social distancing, but many of their guests worked in the healthcare industry, and didn't feel comfortable attending the event in person.

Photo credit: Danielle Burnette & Ismael Cruz

To keep everyone safe and healthy, the couple quickly postponed their original plans and pulled together a new wedding in just three days, Burnette tells Bustle. The couple picked up a few decorations, bought a cake at Publix, and asked their pastor to marry them via video chat.

In front of a few guests, and with the rest watching from afar, Burnette's dad walked her down the "aisle" — aka her childhood front yard — and the couple exchanged vows. "Throughout the live-stream, they were commenting in real-time," she says, "and now we'll get to cherish those special notes forever!"

According to Ciccotelli, their wedding has now been viewed over 300 times on Facebook, not only by the ceremony's original guests, but also by friends who wouldn't have been able to celebrate with them otherwise.

"We had people commenting throughout the entire ceremony, people sending us photos of their moms crying because it was still such a beautiful ceremony, and they were thrilled to be a part of it," she says. "And, we were even able to include people that were not planning on coming to the wedding and maybe would not have seen the ceremony if the live-stream never happened."

These three couples outlined some perks of live-streaming a wedding, from instant video footage and multiple camera angles, to the collection of sweet comments. And while they pointed to missing family members as one of the most challenging parts of the diversion, they didn't regret their decision.

"We knew the day that everything shifted that we still just wanted to marry one another," Anna Favilla says.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call NHS 111 in the UK or visit the CDC website in the U.S. for up-to-date information and resources. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here, and UK-specific updates on coronavirus here.