Ways to include guests that can’t attend your wedding

Ways to include guests who cant attend your wedding Facebook

Please refer to this webpage for the most up to date information on COVID guidelines in WA.

With a lot of uncertainty around the world at the moment, you might be wondering how many guests will be able to attend your big day.

You might find yourself wondering whether or not to go ahead with the wedding, but if you are like most brides and just want to be married, here are some great tips to including everyone near and afar.


One upside is that we are living in such an incredible tech-savvy world that there are so many ways to include all your friends and family.

Yes, your RSVP list might turn into a big mess, but you just have to learn to roll with it and make plans for a beautifully intimate celebration.

As we don’t know what will happen month, let alone next year, brides around the world are embracing the smaller closer-to-home weddings and adapting to the new norm. And hey, improvising, compromising and working together in a positive way are all great lessons for marriage!


Here are some ideas to include guests who can’t attend:


Ask Guests to dress up for a Viewing Party!

Make your guests feel extra special and get in the celebratory mood by asking them to all dress up for the ceremony.

Obviously, with time differences PJ’s may pop in but for those willing and able, dressing up will make them feel more apart of the day!

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Send Guests a Wedding Day Playlist

Whether it’s via Spotify, USB or CD in the mail, your guests can really feel a sense of celebration as they sip champagne and listen to your favourite tunes.

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Get your wedding champagne delivered to your family abroad

Include all the sensors,  surprising guests a week prior with a little gift box including the soundtrack and a little bottle of something you’ll be drinking on the day.  You can also include things like their name place holder, wedding favour and non-perishable snacks.



Live Stream your wedding ceremony

With so many great platforms like Zoom, Facetime, Whatsapp and Skype your guests can attend virtually in real-time.  If they have Chromecast they can connect their device to a TV for lifesize viewing. Have someone in charge that can either sit in the front or second row or stand to the side of the ceremony with a mobile phone (try avoid iPads if possible). Make sure to:

  • Brief the person filming as to whom they are calling, their names and numbers, pre-create a group for all attendance.
  • On Zoom you can pre-invite everyone and send them all an invitation before the wedding so that everyone is already logged in and ready to go the week before the wedding – having a test run at a rehearsal or family dinner is a great way to ensure things go smoothly on the day.
  • Let your Photographer know who will be filming so they can watch out for them and have a chat pre-ceremony.
  • Have a backup phone or laptop in case something goes wrong. You can always set a laptop on a table to the side.

We actually did this at my ceremony back in 2018 when my Grandparents and family in South Africa couldn’t attend and we took a moment before the ceremony started to say hi to them all to really include them rather than it just being a fly on the wall. 

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Surprise your Lover with Love Notes from afar

Reading out letters during speeches has always been a great way of including those who can’t attend but now you can even go one further and get little video messages to be played on a projector screen.

It doesn’t have to be a fancy production, just ask all the guests to record a 10-second clip and you can merge them all easily with apps on your iPhone.

My husband surprised me with a video compilation made from little iPhone video messages from all my family overseas who couldn’t attend,  I still cherish it to this day.

Video live stream wedding

L: Saying hi to our Overseas family R: Watching a video compilation from family abroad Photos: James Simmons

Hire a Videographer to film the full ceremony and have a viewing party

Once your wedding video is edited and delivered to you, you can then have a viewing party over Zoom and be commentator to your own wedding and relive the day with all your friends and family while actually being able to talk to them all and hear their voices/ see their faces.

I have a fantastic list of recommended videographers in my welcome pack. 

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Send a copy of your wedding video to guests

Posting a copy of your wedding video along with a little love note is extra special, especially for the oldies who might not know how to use Vimeo / Youtube.

Uploading to Social Media and the Vimeo for the tech-savvy works a treat for mass numbers. They can then watch everything from the morning prep to location portraits and some dancing.


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Have a ‘Wish you Were Here’ table

Ask all your guests unable to attend to send through a photo of themselves to your wedding email address with the Title ‘Photo to print’ by a certain date (Or swipe one off their Facebook for those who forget). These can be nice or funny photos 🙂

Then download all photos to a USB and take it to a printer or photo kiosk.

Get a mesh screen and use paper clips/ bullnose clips to tack on all photos.

You can also replicate this screen with ‘So Glad You’re Here’ and have a polaroid camera there for all attending guests to do the same.

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You can include your furbabies in the “Wish you were here table’ too



Not sure what the go is with weddings and numbers at the moment?

Please refer to health.gov.au for up-to-date information.

how to include geusts in your wedding who cant attend

Have any more great ideas?

Please let me know in the comments below!






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    Kate Drennan Photography Best of Perth Queenstown 2019

    Hey, I'm Kate!

    A travel-loving introvert from a small pineapple farm in South Africa turned destination wedding photographer and Perth small business owner.


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