As a millennial, an ex-physicist, and a gamer, it probably won’t come as a huge surprise that I LOVE keeping on top of new technology and gadgets – and I’m so excited to delve into how these are trickling into, and re-shaping, the wedding and events industry. Most of these topics are part of a larger, industry-wide trend, which is the concept of super-personalised, hand-crafted, bespoke, experiential weddings. That is, weddings in which the couple and their loved ones are treated to experiences way beyond what is expected and traditional – which are often nothing short of one-of-a-kind wow-factor features. It’s all about the desire for unique things. These are exactly the kinds of innovative, creative weddings that I adore working on, and it’s wonderful to see more couples put their own stamp on their day through the wonders of technology.
I’ve chosen a few topics to think about in this space at the moment, including the rise of wedding-specific efficiency tools, digital printing, drones, projection mapping, and applications of virtual reality. The tech landscape is changing every day, and I’m certain that by the time I cover this blog topic again the list will have completely changed – which is, in no small part, the magic of living in the 21st century.
Though us colour-coded-label-lovers are still putting up a good resistance, the days of clipboards and binders really are looking numbered. With so many fantastic digital tools for organising documents, both in website form and app form, there’s really no more excuse for anyone to end up looking at the non-latest version of the guest list PDF. When it comes to wedding planning, there are some exceptionally helpful apps out there for couples and for industry pros alike (Evernote, Dropbox, 17Hats, Asana, Dubsado, Trello, TopTablePlanner, and many more). Of course, all of this is in addition to the wonders that social media has done for wedding inspiration, supplier search, and photo sharing; for some thoughts on how to use technology and social media mindfully and efficiently while planning your wedding, have a look at this blog post.
Though laser cutting and 3D printing are no longer “new”, it’s only now in their adolescent phase that we’ve seen companies expanding into more sophisticated applications for this in the wedding and events world. Your wedding can feature digitally printed and laser cut invitations – as you know – but did you know you can now print rings, wedding dresses, flower receptacles for your centerpieces, floral crowns, cake toppers, monogrammed napkin rings, cufflinks, and much more? Not only is all of this possible, it’s all very easily scalable to the kinds of quantities needed for weddings. We’ve even heard of pre-designed wedding cakes being digitally printed live during the wedding reception itself – which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is nothing short of extraordinary.
This amazing couple created DIY invitations and rented a laser cutter/engraver to
help them create this cool 3D effect.
The beautiful 3D printed jewelry pieces by Collected Edition have a modern and whimsical feel to them.
Most videographers, particularly those covering destination weddings, will now offer (either as part of their package, or as a purchasable extra) drone footage in addition to their standard filming. Our own wedding video, captured beautifully by Luigi De Gregorio, starts with a breathtaking, sweeping view of the rolling hills of Tuscany – and it makes my heart warm every time I see it. These kinds of shots can set the scene, and convey scale, in a way that can very skilfully complement the documentary and detail-focused footage – so don’t rule it out as gimmicky before having a look at the videographer’s aerial portfolio. Drones have started being used in an even more interactive way, by having them follow the bride and groom for very immersive close-up shots (though not quite as close up as wearable cameras sewn into dresses or bouquets – which are a thing!), and even programming them to hover table to table, asking guests to record small messages for the couple.
Spectacular aerial videography of Tuscany by Luigi de Gregorio.
Part art installation, part feat of engineering, projection mapping is a tremendously exciting trend that continues to make waves in many industries (you may have recently heard of London’s latest immersive dining pop-up in Shoreditch, Le Petit Chef). In essence, projection mapping involves seamlessly projecting dynamically changing high-res imagery and video over a surface, which acts as the canvas. It’s an immersive visual journey that uses the geometry of a space – and, in technical terms, it’s pretty darn cool. For weddings, that surface could be the tablescape, the walls of the ceremony or reception venue, the cake, or even a dress. It means having control over visuals in a way that has never really been achieved before, especially if you’re intrigued by the idea of telling a story via aesthetics that evolve throughout the day.
This beautiful exhibition projects text onto the surface of a table.
This projection mapping by Miguel Chevalier on the King’s College Chapel blends
16th-century Gothic architecture with contemporary art.
Virtual and Augmented Reality.
As a recent purchaser of the HTC Vive, I’m immensely excited about this particular trend. At the moment, experiencing virtual reality involves wearing a headset which generates realistic 360-degree images, sounds and other sensations that simulate your physical presence in the virtual environment. With the headset on, you can “look around” the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features within it. For those of you that haven’t tried it yet, please forgive me saying that there is actually no way of accurately describing how mind-blowing virtual reality is until you’ve tried it. Since having a set at home, I’ve been a deep sea diver, meditated on Everest, battled crypto-creatures and robots in apocalyptic worlds, run around as Batman, explored haunted mansions, travelled through outer space, watched ballet from sitting on the theatre stage, escaped puzzle rooms, entered a Van Gogh painting, and sorted defective from non-defective cats (wait, what?). With the upcoming launch of increasingly wireless, non-intrusive, and affordable headsets in the second generation of standalone VR headsets (the HTC Vive Focus, the Oculus Go, the LG Ultragear, and many more), this trend is definitely going to transition from being relegated to the realm of gaming & flashy corporate demonstrations to all of our day-to-days. Augmented Reality, where computer-generated images are layered on the real world through a camera/lens/screen, is an even younger and more promising field, where companies like Magic Leap, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple, will completely revolutionise the way we look at the world around us (literally). In the wedding industry, this could mean exploring perfectly scaled venues and example events from the comfort of your living room, seeing a styling setup superimposed digitally over an existing room, allowing faraway/unwell loved ones to join you on your wedding day at a distance, and even reliving the experience yourself first-hand through VR videography. VR and AR have the potential to be “one of the most disruptive technologies for a decade” – and we’re ready for it ♡
Of course, all of this technology is still being discovered and refined – and, even if it had reached a stage of being utterly flawless, it is still only as valuable as what it can give you. The same way the convenience of audiobooks and e-readers takes nothing away from the pure joy of reading a physical book, so all of this shouldn’t take anything away from all of the fantastic skills and advances involved in the growth of all the non-tech suppliers, products, and features that the wedding industry is graced with. Moreover, a digitally printed cake is no replacement for a cake artist’s intricate labour of love – but it’s still really exciting to explore all the doors that technology is opening in terms of experience and innovation. In fact, it’s the tasteful and harmonious integration of these tools into our beautiful craftsmanship-rich industry that is the most exciting prospect of all.
If you want to have a chat about ideas on how to create a tech-savvy wedding, or would like any other help through your wedding journey, just get in touch!