How to gamify your wedding
Destination weddings? Hot. Saying "I do" in a virtual world dressed like a pirate or pro athlete? Even hotter. Here's how.
Nothing beats a party in person. Yet in-person weddings can be expensive, exclusive, and often hard to get to for faraway friends and relatives.
Who says a destination wedding has to involve a trip to the airport?
It may not come as a surprise that the hot new thing in wedding planning—besides, um, planning weddings after a few years of pent-up pandemic demand—is celebrating in the metaverse.
The virtual wedding is hardly new, and the phenomenon has been around as long as technology has made it possible. But lately some couples find themselves asking why they shouldn’t combine their magical day and a session in Sea of Thieves or NBA 2K.
The answer, of course, is that there’s no reason not to—and it needn’t always replicate an actual ceremony. As games continue their march into the mainstream, more wedding parties are as happy to battle a sea creature together as they are to get down to “Marry You” on the dancefloor.
Below, some tips for working the virtual into your wedding.
Through playing NBA 2K20, Detroit native Robert Watts was able to keep in touch with a best friend who had moved to Atlanta. The two friends formed a five-man squad with three strangers they met while balling online.
Then Watts’ friend popped the question to his partner. She said yes.
The rest of the squad decided a virtual celebration on the hardwood was in order. The idea was simple: Everyone buys matching outfits from the in-game shop in order to surprise the groom.
They did, to his delight. Compared to their regular matches on the virtual hardwood, nothing more or less was necessary.
"We surprised him with his wedding colors in the game for our last night playing together before the wedding," Watt wrote earlier this month in a Reddit post about the event. "This weekend will be the first time I’ve met three of the five people here."
To replicate this slam-dunk idea takes three simple steps:
Matching outfits. Secure them on the sly. (Bonus points if it's the wedding colors.)
Surprise invitation(s). Obviously!
A group photo. Mug for the camera like you just won a sports championship using in-game photo tools. (More on this below.)
The venue is often the most stressful aspect of planning an in-person wedding. It's got to be special, spacious, affordable, and near enough to everyone you’d like to physically invite.
Nailing all of those requirements? Not so easy. Especially if your friends list spans multiple continents.
For the gamer who goes by Wookie422 and his wife-to-be, there was an easier way. The Texas native and longtime Sea of Thieves fan met his future spouse while sailing in the early days of Rare's sandbox pirate adventure. The couple hit it off as fast and hard as waves strike a galleon’s hull during a storm.
Virtual connection eventually gave way to real-world cohabitation and it wasn’t long before the couple found themselves planning a wedding. Naturally, they had to include Sea of Thieves.
They lined the virtual shore of their favorite in-game island with ships and lights, gathered their friends, and held a short ceremony where vows were shared amongst the sound of boot buckles clacking along the sandy shores.
"We actually did get attacked by a kraken right as we sailed out," the groom said of the newlyweds’ fate following the pirate wedding. "It sank us because we had no supplies, and we had to rowboat to the Sanctuary Outpost."
Sound appealing? You too can host a virtual wedding at sea (or in the Wild West, or in medieval times…) for far less complexity than an IRL one.
Three simple steps to make it happen:
A sandbox lobby. This is a social event, after all! Give your guests the freedom to interact with each other.
Voice comms. Silent raves are a thing. Silent weddings? Not so much.
Enough space for friends. Try not to pick a virtual location that quite literally won’t fit your invite list, mmmk?
Flowers, a live band, or fireworks? Only if you want to. But you’re better off enjoying the virtual presence of your invitees. Just make sure they don’t need special abilities or upgrades to actually get there.
Shoot ‘em (no, not like that)
A wedding is all about creating a moment. Why not use all the tools available to do so in-game?
Just make sure that if you add features like fireworks or light shows in games such as Animal Crossing and Sea of Thieves, you’ve thought about how to capture them. Titles such as Fortnight, Overwatch, Valorant, or Minecraft include a photo or replay mode as an extension of multiplayer mode. Depending on the game, you can hop into a live session or look at a complete replay of one played in order to capture frames of that special moment—no special photo mode required.
And hey—those photos make excellent thank you cards for attendees.
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