Streaming events have become the new normal and many wedding vendors are starting to offer a livestream addon to their services. However, with almost all smartphones having a video camera, the average person can livestream in HD directly from their device. Like any live event, you only get one shot at getting it right, and troubleshooting in the moment can be stressful. But with a little bit of preparation and confidence, you can stream your own wedding. If you are a tech-savvy person or have a friend who is, you can pull this off. Here’s what you need to know to DIY the best livestream for your wedding.
We’ve got this! What do we need to consider for our DIY set up?
The three most important areas to focus on with streaming your wedding are: (1) Checking your internet connection, (2) getting solid audio for your stream, and (3) choosing the right platform for you.
The most important issue in live-streaming is your internet connection. Most new smartphones can shoot 4K video, but if the cell reception or venue wifi is terrible, your video quality may look terrible, or not even stream. When you visit the venue you can use a free speed test app (speedtest.net) to measure the quality of the internet connection. (Keep in mind, if it’s an open wifi network at the venue, the speed may change if your guests can also get online. Even if you ask folks to put their phones away during the ceremony, some folks have automatic updates that may use up bandwidth.) When it comes to live-streaming, the important factor is upload speed. If you can get at least 1.5mb/s (that’s mega-bits, not bytes) for upload you can have a solid stream. More than 2.5mb/s would be even better.
This may sound odd, but audio can be more important than video (see what I did there). Watching a lower quality image with good sound is more tolerable than watching a super high definition video with low-quality audio. If you go the DIY route you will want to find a way to get audio from the DJ or a microphone directly to the phone or computer you are using to stream. A decent wireless mic can cost about $200 and can be used as either a lapel mic directly on your officiant or as a wireless connection to the DJ’s sound feed. There are other audio solutions you can research, but getting that quality signal into the stream is essential.
Lastly, you need to decide which platform you’re going to use to host the stream so that you can get a link out early to all the guests you’re inviting to watch. Zoom, Youtube, and Facebook are popular choices and allow you to livestream directly from your phone. The benefit of these platforms is that they are familiar to almost everyone. But there are some drawbacks to using them as well. I’ve included one premium site, Eventlive.pro. It’s the best one I’ve found that caters specifically to events like weddings. Here’s a quick breakdown comparing each platform.
In the graphic above you can see a breakdown of some of the most important factors to consider when selecting a platform for your livestream. Also, there are some unique characteristics for each:
Unlike the other platforms, Zoom allows guests to see each other. That helps folks experience the feeling of being part of the community in a way the other platforms can’t. And it lets you all directly interact before and/or after the ceremony with your virtual guests. However, unless you have or can borrow a business account, your stream quality won’t even be HD. Also, you’ll need to have someone manage the crowd the entire time to make sure late guests are allowed in and folks stay muted so no one is talking over the ceremony.
YouTube is probably the most well-known option, but not being able to stream directly from the mobile app (unless you’ve got 1000 subscribers) makes it a difficult choice for simple setups. And guests will need a YouTube account to leave comments in a virtual guestbook. Lastly, those ugly advertisements and suggestions at the end of the stream make it look tacky.
There are, apparently, some folks out there who still don’t have a Facebook account, but the rest of your guests will be super familiar with the platform. Streaming from the mobile app is super intuitive and simple. However, just like with YouTube, there still is the chance that Facebook will mute or remove your video if you stream any of the copyrighted music the DJ plays before, during, or after the ceremony.
Lastly, if you are planning on pausing the livestream between parts of the day (ie. between ceremony and toasts), neither Facebook nor YouTube make that easy. You’ll end up streaming multiple events, which may be fine for you.
If you are willing to put up $50, the best solution currently available is Eventlive.pro. It was created and designed by photographers and is focused on streaming events like weddings. Not only does it solve the issues that come up with free services, but it looks clean and classy. The mobile app is intuitive and allows for starting and stopping the stream during a 24-hour streaming window.
I highly recommend if you are going to tackle the DIY option to livestream your wedding, invest the $50. The app lets you create free test streams so you can take it for a spin before you purchase an event pass. You’ll also get a downloadable file after your 24-hour window and it will auto-generate a pdf file of the comments and photos your guests’ post. Also, you get a custom URL and can even embed the stream directly into your wedding website (as long as custom HTML is supported).
DIY Gear Check List
If you are going the DIY route, here’s some gear that you will want to pick up. The best part about these items is that you can also put them to use to improve your work-from-home video call set up. Or at least up the quality of those calls with your family. I’ve put together a kit that includes everything you need here. If you use your phone, everything will cost less than $200.
⬚ Mobile Phone with HD Camera
⬚ Tripod for Camera
⬚ Wireless Microphone
⬚ Cable adapter for DJ Soundboard / Speaker
⬚ Powerbank to Charge Phone
Total Cost to DIY livestream with your gear and professional-looking streaming service: under $250
The very last (and maybe most important) thing that you absolutely should do if you plan to livestream your wedding is practice! Set up your gear and space things out in a similar way as they will be for the ceremony. Put the camera/phone tripod at the same distance between you and where you imagine it’ll be on your wedding day and start a practice stream. If you’re wearing the microphone instead of plugging directly into the DJs system, see if where you position the transmitter makes a difference. Test to see how the sound works at that distance. Then test it for any of the parts of the ceremony where you might change positions significantly (moving for a particular ritual, having your back to the audience, etc.)
Practicing lets you see if there are any issues with your equipment, get’s you comfortable with the streaming platform/app, and will help build your confidence. And it’s fun to practice the first kiss part.
You’ve got this!
There it is. With a little bit of confidence and some equipment, you can livestream your wedding all on your own. Your virtual guests will get to enjoy sharing the most important moments of your celebration. Take the time to talk about your expectations and hopes with your partner and enjoy yourselves! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
One more thing.
Let’s say you’re really excited to livestream your own ceremony, but you don’t want to have to buy any equipment or figure out a platform on your own. In that case, let me introduce you to LoveStream.io. It’s an amazing service that helps DIY folks like yourself get the very best live stream for their virtual guests. They have great features, offer tech support, and can even get you a multiple-camera setup. Check out this amazing service and save 10% when you use code: LOVERIDGE10.