Virtual Vows: How Metaverse Weddings Are Transforming Tradition
Metaverse matrimony is the latest iteration of a long lineage of ‘on-line’ weddings, which started in 1876.
From sparkly sponsored weddings to digital vow renewals, the metaverse is shaping up into the newest technologically-mediated wedding destination. This follows a lineage of online weddings and marriage ceremonies that began a long time ago.
Online weddings spiked in popularity during the COVID pandemic. These digital soirees connected participants and guests via video conferencing software, such as Zoom.
Often a second-best option during difficult times, people still chose grainy livestreams over nothing. The effort was worthwhile for those who had waited years to tie the knot, only to see it dashed by travel restrictions and crisis.
Facilitating a wedding ceremony with great distances between guests isn’t a new phenomenon. If you think that online weddings are a development from last decade’s online games like Everquest and World of Warcraft, the reality is much more storied.
The first ‘on-line’ wedding took place via telegraph with a Reverend officiating from over 600 miles away and a band that went unheard due to technological limitations. This event in 1876 connected people electronically for one of humankind’s oldest traditions, and began a trend that persists to this day.
Writing a new script for marriage in 2023
Now that travel restrictions have slackened, purely online weddings have reclaimed their old status as an optional event for enthusiasts. Following the pandemic experience, there’s been a softening of perceptions about marrying over the internet. The old view that they are for asocial people has wilted with the normalization of streaming and online dating.
More and more wedding planners are offering mixed packages that include teleconferencing for distant relatives. As the wedding industry recovers, lessons learned from the pandemic are being applied swiftly alongside wider acceptance of teleconferencing.
Mixed wedding packages speak to the practicalities of wedding planning. Travel and accommodation expenses can be a major burden in a time of overstretched budgets. Adding an online component to a wedding can defray costs while dramatically increasing the guest count.
Yes, this comes with the oft-discussed downsides of not being ‘the same’ as appearing in person, as well as the hassles of managing a stable livestream. However, all event planning is a cost-benefit analysis and compromises are made at every step.
Sheel and Amruta's Taco Bell metaverse wedding shines a light on the qualities of metaverse weddings. Using a virtual world can dramatically cut down on travel, accommodation, catering, and venue costs. This happens at the expense of being able to hold the wedding in person.
RECOMMENDED READ: People Are Getting Married in the Metaverse. Here’s How.
A solid host in the metaverse means that there’s no real ceiling on guest numbers, but the floor for success is set by internet access and technological literacy. The decor can be anything the newlyweds desire, but that freedom can also be a cursed thing.
‘I do’ in the next reality over
None of the ridicule faced by online weddings is new. People have married electronically since at least 1876, despite missing out on the qualities that make ‘being there’ special. It’s evident that tradition cannot overcome the desire to express love, and this should be lauded as the digital era pushes on.
Weddings are a ubiquitous part of the human experience and they’ve always evolved alongside technology. Although we are quick to mock deviations from tradition, every new tradition has only developed from small deviations. A fast food-sponsored metaverse wedding may be easy to laugh at, but ultimately, it’s an expression of how a couple wishes to commemorate their relationship.
Only after we crack through our attachments to what makes a wedding ‘appropriate’ can we earnestly evaluate the pros and cons of including alternate realities in our weddings. Then we see that the metaverse offers exciting opportunities for people to marry in fantastical places with larger guest lists and lower expenses.
The metaverse can accessibly marry people separated by geography. The lessons learned from them can improve traditional in-person ceremonies: to connect elders who can’t safely travel, open the guestbook wider than before, and record it all for posterity – often at a fraction of the cost of in-person wedding ceremonies.
Metaverse weddings are an evolution of people’s desire to include new technology in timeless ceremonies of coming together. For those willing to undertake some compromises and challenge traditions, the metaverse can open up practical benefits for wedding planners.
Now, if only we could resolve audio issues without reducing ourselves to an endless chain of, “Hello? Can you hear me?” over the microphone.