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Skype for weddings: Broadcast your wedding “live” for friends and family who can’t be there!

Imagine planning the wedding of your dreams only to find out, just before the wedding, that your mom wouldn’t be able to attend.

That is exactly what happened to one of our clients. Our Bride’s mother was stuck in the very unfortunate situation of not being able to obtain a visa for travel from the Philippines to the US for her daughter’s wedding. After doing everything possible to get a visa, it became clear that it just wasn’t going to happen in time. I was extremely moved by the situation, especially by the fact that friends and family who were in attendance put their heads together and chipped in to provide some type of solution so the mother could be “present” to experience the joy of this great day.

The solution? Use some off the shelf software (Skype), a video camera, and a laptop to stream the wedding live over the Internet. In the corner of the ballroom at the Woodland Hills Marriott was a table, on which sat a Macbook Pro laptop, a small HD Video camera on a tripod connected to the laptop. The laptop was connected wirelessly to the Internet. One of the groomsmen helped set it all up and the results were worth it; The bride’s mother was able to watch everything as it happened from her home computer in the Philippines with other friends and family by her side. Mom even made a video of her “toast/speech” beforehand which was shown during a presentation just after dinner.

It’s a good example of technology making things better for everyone involved.

Here’s how to broadcast your next event live using Skype:

  • You’ll need to make sure your Wedding venue has wireless internet access and that you have permission to use it. Test it early and on the day of the wedding. Wireless cell cards like the Verizon broadband card also make good backup plans in areas where there is no wifi or the wifi network is spotty.
  • You’ll need a computer with wireless capability.
  • You’ll need a video camera with someone assigned to occasionally operate the camera (to take it close to the action).
  • You’ll connect the video camera to the laptop with a USB cable and have Skype use the external camera for the feed – have a techy friend help you set it up.
  • And don’t forget, the party watching over the Internet needs a computer with an internet connection, Skype, and webcam or video camera as well.
  • Test everything ahead of time!

I’m sure there are companies out there in the world that offer this as a package service, but the above setup is a quick way to do it at low cost. You may not have relatives overseas who can’t obtain a travel visa, but many people do have friends and family across the country, in the military, with an illness, or other reason they cannot attend your special day. Skype and an Internet connection can come to your rescue in these situations.