January 19, 2013 7:52:07 PM
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Technology offers ways to improve wedding experiences for guests and connect friends and family who could not attend.
Some couples choose to broadcast weddings via Skype or other live streaming services to loved ones who are not able to be at the wedding because of distance or illness.
Connie Templeton, distance learning analyst for the Mississippi State University Extension Service's Extension Center for Technology Outreach, said many live streaming services are free, but she recommended hiring a professional videographer to set up the equipment.
"It is important to keep the camera stationary to avoid pixilation," she said. "A professional or tech-savvy friend would be able to help with this. Some wedding photographers and videographers will be able to incorporate this service into the wedding package."
Templeton said practicing with equipment before the ceremony is vital.
"I definitely suggest couples test the system beforehand to work out any kinks. They should be aware of the Internet speed to make sure it's not too slow," she said. "This will help the whole thing run more smoothly during the actual ceremony."
Templeton said the videographer should be sure to adjust the streaming settings to prevent long distance viewers from disrupting the ceremony by talking.
"Live streaming is a favor for the guests, but we must remember the day is really about the bride and groom," she said.
Liven up the reception
Tech-savvy couples have also found creative ways to incorporate technology in wedding receptions.
Bryce Hall, digital and graphic designer, created a photo booth to use at his wedding reception in 2011.
"My wife, Rita, had always wanted a photo booth at her wedding, but most photographers were going to charge at least $1,000 for that," he said. "That simply wasn't in our budget, so we decided to see what we could do to create our own."
To create the photo booth, Hall used a camera, laptop with photography software, a monitor, a studio- style flash, a softbox lighting kit and a remote control to trigger the camera. He said the remote was useful because guests could take the photos themselves. This meant the Halls did not have to pay a photographer or ask a friend to operate the camera the entire time.
Hall said he tethered the camera to the computer, which connected to the larger monitor. When a guest used the remote, the flash went off and the camera took the photo. The camera transmitted the photo to computer, and the image was displayed on the monitor until the next photo was taken.
"I felt like the big screen was important because it allowed people to see what they had just taken," Hall said. "Everyone got to laugh at the silly photos together, and it just added a nice element to the setup."
Hall said he and Rita created their own backdrop for the photo booth using PVC pipe and fabric. Their backdrop was about 15 feet by 10 feet to accommodate multiple guests at once.
To add a creative element to the photo booth, Rita bought inexpensive props for the guests to use.
"It became one of the attractions at the wedding that everyone had to be a part of," he said. "It also allowed my wife and me to get involved with some of the wedding guests for some really fun shots. While we still had professional photographers at the wedding, the photo booth pictures are different and special."