Couples save money with webcam weddings

Couple creates new etiquette for guests

By Mike Machi - Executive Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - In this economy, nearly everyone is looking for ways to save money, including brides-to-be.

There are ways to stop worrying about cost per plate, like incorporating social media to into the big day. For many couples planning a wedding, it makes sense to use social media to share the good news.

"Technology just makes it easier in a lot of cases for a bride," according to Wedding Expert Anja Winikka.

Annick and Peter Gilbert decided to stream their ceremony live online, so her grandmother could "be" there.

"She was able to enjoy the wedding as well," says Annick.  "That meant very much to all of us."

Another benefit: The wedding webcast allowed the couple to cut their invitation "list" in half.  

"Some couples are frankly obsessed with reality TV and they're into the wedding shows," says Philip Lee, the owner of a wedding webcasting company. "This is their chance to broadcast their wedding."  

Lee warns all of his customers that live streaming is not without potential pitfalls. 

"I've had grooms who have been mic'ed up and didn't realize they were mic'ed up," says Lee.  "They kept chatting and people online could hear everything they said."

In fact, new technology has created a new wedding etiquette.

For example, should guests post Facebook photos the day of the event?

"She may not want that to happen," says Winikka.

The same goes for live tweeting. The bride may encourage it, or consider it disrespectful.

Winikka tells brides they need to have a social media policy and be clear about it.

"Spread the news through family and friends, bridal party, letting people know, "Winnick said. "And if she really wants people to follow the rule, I would say even leave like a little note at the bottom of the program."

More and more guests are being asked to quote "sign in" without pen and paper.

Instead they leave video comments in a guest book produced with an iPad app.

Friends and family are also requested to tag pictures to specially created albums on Facebook or Pinterest.

And lastly, if you're invited to a wedding webcast are you still expected to send a gift?

"Even though you're not there in person, you have been invited," says Winikka. "So I think it is appropriate for you to send a wedding gift."

While wedding webcasts can be done by professionals, you can also do them yourself on the cheap. All you need is a camera, laptop, some special software and an internet connection and you're good to go.

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