Riding unicorns down the cyber aisle: weddings in the metaverse

The pandemic has already overhauled our ideas about what a wedding can look like. With new technology – including the metaverse – adding further innovation to the mix, Joy co-founder and chief executive Vishal Joshi makes a few predictions about how weddings might look in the near future.

When Zoom weddings took off at the start of the pandemic, they felt like a novelty – an unconventional response to a very unconventional time. But – like so much else in those first few months – what at first seemed unusual quickly became routine, and Zoom weddings became as normal as Zoom meetings and Zoom cocktail hours.

With widespread vaccines and diminishing case counts, the Zoom wedding has naturally declined in popularity. That said, virtual tools like Zoom will likely play some role at weddings going forward. Many conventional weddings are already opting to include a livestream component for guests who – due to distance, illness or immunocompromised status – otherwise would miss it.

In a sense, Zoom weddings were training for the next frontier of cyber-matrimony: getting married in the metaverse.

Weddings in the metaverse

Picture it: the bride gallops down the aisle on a unicorn. The groom flies in on a rocket. The crowd – made up of gnomes, dragons and beloved cartoon characters – explodes in applause and showers the happy couple with holographic confetti. Did I mention all this is happening in outer space?

Perhaps that’s going a little overboard. But the fact remains that the metaverse has opened up a world of possibility for the conventional wedding. Already, people are doing incredible things in the space – one couple, for instance, resurrected the bride’s late father in avatar form.

Obviously, the vast majority of weddings will not take place in the metaverse any time soon: people are always going to prefer to gather in person. More likely, the metaverse will be used as a fun add-on for weddings taking place IRL. Invitees who can’t make it, for instance, can gather in a virtual winery a few days before the main event to celebrate with the couple.

But the metaverse’s real utility, weddings-wise, will be for preparation and planning. It’s a strange thing: every aspect of our lives has changed radically via technology in the last few decades, but wedding planning has remained largely the same. With the advent of the metaverse, wedding planning might finally catch up to the 21st century.

What might that look like in practice? Well, for one thing, picture significantly fewer in-person venue visits – instead, 360° videos will allow couples to evaluate potential venues from home. In fact, the applications are endless: couples can experiment with decor, try on dresses or hairstyles, or even evaluate potential bands or DJs.

From a wedding-planning industry perspective, wedding vendors will have virtual showrooms in the metaverse, photographers and videographers will adapt to capture couples’ weddings in a way that can be relived virtually in the metaverse, and even wedding shows could take place in the metaverse.

The changing face of wedding tech

The metaverse is just the shiniest, most futuristic example of the ways in which technological advances will be revolutionizing the wedding process in the coming years.

It’s true that the heart of a wedding – two people publicly committing their lives to each other – doesn’t leave much room for technological improvement. It’s all the headaches that surround that beautiful moment where technology will play an increasingly major role.

For one thing, expect a greater degree of comfort moving forward with digital invites. At this point in time, can you think of anything besides weddings where the invites aren’t digital? Hesitancy to change here is understandable – a beautiful wedding invite feels as much a part of a classic ceremony as the cake – but as digital invites become more ornate and innovative, expect that hesitancy to fall away.

Also due for an improvement: transportation options. Things such as Uber integrations can provide the peace of mind that people are getting to and from events safely, and drastically simplify coordination.

And then, of course, there are fintech integrations: for instance, couples adding Bitcoin or NFTs to their registries.

Decades from now, when couples reflect on their weddings, they won’t be thinking about any of this stuff. They’ll be thinking, instead, about how happy they were that their grandmother could make it, or the combination of nervousness and elation they felt while walking down the aisle.

The role of technology, now and in the future, is to facilitate those moments – to make everything else easier and more seamless, so that the couple in question can focus on what actually matters.

Vishal Joshi is co-founder and chief executive of Joy.

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