How to include guests who can’t attend your wedding

More often than not, when organising your guest list for your wedding, you’ll find out that some guests you have a deep connection with cannot make it due to any number of reasons. These guests are people who perhaps are too old and frail to venture out to your wedding venue, or perhaps they are living overseas. I thought I might make a bit of a list of ideas I’ve seen when covering weddings as a wedding photographer of how to include guests who can’t attend your wedding.

Ideas for how to include guests who can’t attend your wedding

Live stream your ceremony

Providing of course that your wedding venue has good mobile phone coverage, you could opt to live stream your wedding ceremony via your mobile device. Modern smartphones with cameras all have this ability whereby you can set up a face to face call with the guest that could not make it and instead of facing the camera towards yourself, simply turn it around so that it’s facing the altar. In this way your guest can participate in the wedding ceremony in real time.

If you’re a little more tech minded one could also set up a live streaming event with a service such as livestream, where you’re able to hook up a camera with a PC with an internet connection. Using this kind of service more than just one guest could watch the stream at once.

Since writing this article in 2016, I have started offering not only live streaming services, but also Virtual reality recording services so let me know if you’d like to make use of what I offer! 🙂

Record a video message to play at your reception

One wedding that I fondly remember was the wedding of Michaela & Paddy at the SC Pannell Winery where the reception featured a video of well wishes from guests all around the world who could not make it. The reactions from Michaela seeing the faces of loved ones talking to her via video was a beautiful addition to the day.

Make use of a Videographer

As a wedding photographer, I’m often working alongside a videographer, and I will be soon expanding into this area as a new service. The best use of a videographer is of course having a full video documenting your wedding day in ways that still photography cannot. A great idea for how to include guests who cannot attend your wedding is to hold a viewing party at some point after your wedding where you can take your video to the guests who couldn’t make it. You can also opt to send a copy of your video to guests abroad, or even use the internet.

Represent guests not present with their photo

Having guests who could not make it represented by framed photos is a wonderful idea to remember those who could not make it for one reason or another. This idea is often used for those guests who would have loved to attend but who had passed on before the wedding date.

My favourite application of this idea I saw at Kirstyn and Tom’s Nepenthe winery wedding where Kirstyn had attached an image of her grandfather to her bouquet so that he was with her the entire day. Was beautifully touching.

These are just some of the ideas I’ve picked up throughout the dozens of weddings I’ve covered. If you have another idea to perhaps add to this list I’d love to hear about it!


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