With more and more people having both the technology and the knowhow to become ‘amateur streamers’, it is little surprise that the ‘happiest day of their lives’ is a prime target for the treatment.
A report from Mashable suggests that the number of people providing a digital option for their wedding (not including those that are viewed by millions) has risen by 250% between May 2012 and May 2013, with many virtual guests who would have trouble making the event seeing it as a more convenient way to ‘attend’ than a long-haul journey. The numbers themselves have risen from 7,800 in a year recorded last May, to nearly 20,000 wedding streams in 2012-13.
The service responsible for the broadcasts recorded in the survey is free ad-supported service Ustream, though it is noted that there are more (such as Skype, I Do Stream, and HangWith, albeit in lower frequency) that utilise the same approach through a different platform.
For Ustream’s figures, however, it is recognised that the most popular place to perform such streaming is the USA (a fairly predictable result given the access to technology and often vast distances that relatives can live apart whilst in the same country or even state), followed by India, England, Australia and Canada.
It is noted by Mashable that alongside the long distances associated with a family reunion of any sort, the fact that an average American spends an average of $529 to merely attend a wedding is a key indicator of why watching from home is such an appealing option for many. Internet entrepreneur Chris Pirillo, who streamed his marriage ceremony in 2012, said of his experience: “I’ve been (online) for so long and thought it just made sense. Not all of our family could make it [to Washington], with my family in Iowa, her family in Texas, and really all around the world.”
Technology columnist Monica Guzman, who did likewise in 2010, said of the trends: “What it says about our world is the boundaries of being physically co-present with people are gone. Now we have connections with people who not necessarily with us, didn’t make the guest list of weddings, but we’re happy to include them in the ways that we can. [However,] I think you need to be very careful how much you’re on your phone at somebody’s wedding. Unless it’s something you think the couple’s really comfortable with, it can also be good to pay attention and be in the moment.”
And those people who are not only unable to be ‘in the moment’, but also unable to log on to watch online as the ceremonial events unfold? You can roll back to the pre-streaming explanation of ‘they’re here in spirit’…