What began in the cloud culminated in the cloud and created a history of sorts. Zoom weddings became a thing in India in 2020—bride in Indore, groom in Bengaluru and the pandit (wedding priest) in Pune. However, the Big Fat Indian wedding is back with a vengeance, with destination wedding venues like Goa and Rajasthan back in the mix. Traci and Dave Gagnon were not content with the in-person wedding that took place in September in New Hampshire, USA. They also hosted a virtual ceremony via Virbela, a company that builds virtual environments for work, learning and events. Now that’s not unusual in a post-Covid world, but what happened next is.
A team of software engineers and event planners at Virbela went on a step further with this. Traci’s avatar was walked down the aisle by the avatar of her close friend, while Dave Gagnon’s avatar nodded in approval as his mate’s avatar hit the stage and delivered a toast. As Dave got the green signal to kiss his bride (virtually, of course), the Gagnons made history by becoming the first couple to be married in the metaverse. Understandably, the event, the subsequent media coverage, and the dance of the two 7-year-old twin avatars—the flower girl and ring bearer—at the reception triggered a wave of comments and memes on Twitter.
Dave, 60, and Traci, 52, both work at eXP Realty, one of the many companies that have championed virtual workplaces and a group company of Virbela. The team worked hard to create images and details (like floral details) from their in-person wedding venue to the metaverse ceremony. The couple shared pictures of their guests who were also transformed into avatars for this gig. Interestingly, the couple’s relationship too blossomed in the virtual world back in 2015, when their avatars met at a company in Las Vegas.
Even though the memes don’t seem to be slowing down, there’s little doubt that the Gagnons might have just created the next big trend and provided couples with another opportunity at creating memories. In 2020, during the first Covid-19 wave, a New Jersey couple staged a wedding within the popular Animal Crossing game when it became clear that they could not go ahead with their proposed 150-guest event. Virtual event planners are excited at the potential of the metaverse for weddings. Even if you don’t have the budget to transport all your guests to Hawaii for a destination wedding, you could superimpose those Goa images of the in-person wedding for the metaverse version. Clearly, there are no limits but don’t expect a wedding certificate from your local registrar’s office for a metaverse wedding. At least not just yet.