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

Thursday, May 28, 2020

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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 DestinationWeddings.com 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.

The couple also needs to contact the Registrar General's Department approximately two weeks before the wedding with particular information, including their fathers' names or information substantiating same, official photo identification such as a passport or driver's licence, and if either party was married before, certified final divorce papers or death certificate of the deceased spouse.

But those rules did not stop the mass digital wedding ceremony.

“The mass wedding represented one of several ways we have risen to the occasion to deliver exceptional quality to our clients throughout the COVID-19 period and beyond. While we have always provided digital services, it is something that we have now ramped up to meet the growing demand,” declared Forbes.

“The edge that Phase 3 has when it comes to live-streaming is not just the technology, but we have the expertise and experience from producing quality live television shows that we have now carried over to the new digital space. Every job is different and we pick the right tools to fulfil each client's unique needs,” said Carlito Chippy, technical manager of Phase 3 Productions.

The company had already executed Jamaica's first virtual press conference with Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton, as well as webinars, virtual conferences, enhanced Zoom meetings, and the live-streaming of a variety of content.

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