It’s been a minute but I’m back again! Isabella Akinseye here. I hope you enjoyed reading my past features, if you haven’t read any, now is a good time to catch up.
So, the new normal means that our 50-people (or less) events will now have another set of guests. No, not the mo gbo mo ya kind but the virtual guests. Thanks to streaming technology, you can have (almost) everyone still share in your special day via the internet. How cool is that?
Errr, but how do you keep those guests engaged? Not an easy one. As a Master of Ceremony (MC), I have hosted a number of events with online audiences and I can tell you a thing or two about the struggle to hold people’s attention when a hundred and one other things are competing for it.
Today, I will be sharing with you 7 ways to keep your virtual wedding guests glued to their screen or at least engaged for the most part of it.
Share program ahead of time so the audience knows what to expect and can plan their time well. Those who will be speaking live need to attend a technical rehearsal if possible or take the option to record their video. Nothing kills the vibe faster than dead air. Ngwanu, use all your fine pre-wedding pictures and music if you must take a break.
Play games with the audience such as quizzes about the couple and their love story. The MC can be creative in also carrying the virtual wedding guests along getting them to share their answers online and do special shout outs to the winners.
Get the audience to share special messages ahead of the event. These can be read out or scrolled on the screen at intervals. Of course, the host will keep reminding them to be on the lookout. Waiting to see the expression of the couple’s faces or hear their responses can keep some wedding guests hooked.
Promote the wedding hashtag so their AsoebiBella will not waste. Yes, people do dress up to virtual wedding ceremonies. Side eye if you are tucked in bed in your pyjamas and bonnet cap. We must giddemmm so they can take it. Ayeeee!
Have a mix of live and pre-recorded footage. There will be breaks in transmission like when the couple go and change to their next outfit. Fill up the time with recorded footage or live music. Having a good mix will help in preventing dead air.
Customise a backdrop especially for them so they too can feel among. Give them their own virtual photo booth so the hair, makeup and baffs don’t waste. It also goes a long way in making them feel like they are right there at the venue with you in flesh and blood.
Depending on your guest list and budget, you just might be able to do item 7 for them complete with the souvenirs you would have shared. Yayyy to more plastic bowls, just kidding.
Virtual weddings are just only starting, so it is okay to experiment. Your guests will understand and some will be happy they are not paying 500 bucks or 1K for parking or stuck in traffic. I have had to come down and trek before when the holdup was at a standstill for close to an hour, thank God I wore comfy shoes that day. Remember to pay close attention to internet connectivity. This might mean you have a backup for just in case. Above all, know that your guests are there to celebrate your day with you. So while they are important, you and your significant other are importanter. Have fun!