Originally published in The Jamaica Observer – Saturday | June 4, 2020.

JTB joins partners to execute virtual mass wedding during COVID-19 pandemic

JAMAICA’S borders might be closed but that has not stopped several individuals from going ahead with plans to get married in their ideal vacation destination. However, the weddings have been done online.

The Jamaica Tourist Board and partnered with Phase 3 Productions recently to execute a first-of-its-kind mass virtual wedding ceremony.

The event catered to couples worldwide who were forced to cancel their weddings in Jamaica, or other warm weather destinations, due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staged at the beautiful Laughing Waters in St Ann, the simulcast was welcomed by couples worldwide who joined the ceremony through the social media channels Zoom, YouTube and Facebook.

“For us the execution was monumental; the challenge of doing something never done before was welcomed by the team. The creative [process] included the camera taking the perspective of the couple walking down the aisle at the picturesque location.

“We wanted the couples joining the ceremony to feel immersed in the moment and captivated by the Jamaican experience,” said Delano Forbes, creative director and CEO, Phase 3 Productions.

“We provided a production truck with four cameras, as well as a live drone. We decided to use a Steadicam (specialised camera strapped to the camera person’s body) as the main camera for the virtual ceremony, offering a unique view flowing through the ceremony as the view of the married couple.

“Numerous choreographed rehearsals and blocking of the talent was needed in order to execute the show as one seamless shot. The amazing décor, wardrobe and wedding coordination was provided by the Altelier Dermoth Williams Events. So essentially, it was a complete 360 execution,” added Forbes.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett delivered a special toast for couples that participated in the virtual wedding, under the hashtag #Loveisnotcancelled.

Over the past few weeks, Zoom weddings have surged in popularity, with countless stories in the international media of couples videoconferencing their big day.

In the United States, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order to allow weddings to become legally binding where couples obtain licences and marry “utilising audio-video technology”.

But in the United Kingdom the law states that witnesses and officiants must be present in person for a wedding to be legal.

Marriages that take place in Jamaican law are recognised in the US as legal marriages, but individuals must be in country for 24 hours before the ceremony can be performed.

Read the full article on the The Jamaica Observer →