Is this the first (real) wedding to take place in the metaverse?

  • VR
  • Tuesday, 14 Dec 2021

The metaverse has hosted a real wedding ceremony. — AFP Relaxnews

With the pandemic making it difficult to organise a lavish, large-scale wedding ceremony in the real world, why not create the experience in the metaverse? That’s exactly what two Americans have just done, the first to have shared this special day, not with their family and friends, but with their avatars.

Since the start of the pandemic, weddings have been subject to ever-changing rules and restrictions. Completely outlawed for a certain time, then permitted but only with a certain number of attendees, many would-be brides and grooms found themselves having to cancel or get extra creative in order to share the day with their loved ones. Video conferencing has been particularly popular when some guests could not travel, but the advent of new virtual worlds could further revolutionise the wedding sector.

Back in September, Traci and Dave Gagnon made history when they held what is reportedly the first-ever wedding in the metaverse with virtual decorations and guests. This was not the first virtual ceremony, but the first one that was considered legal for the simple reason that the two protagonists were married simultaneously in the real world. A real marriage, if we can put it that way.

It was all made possible by Virbela, a company that creates virtual events of all kinds, and one that the two young spouses know well as both work for a brokerage company belonging to its parent company eXp World Holdings.

The New York Times, which got the scoop on this marriage in the metaverse, states that Traci and Dave Gagnon actually met at a corporate event in Las Vegas in 2015 through their avatars. So this type of wedding sounds like a logical continuation.

In fact their colleagues came up with the idea, during their engagement, of this virtual wedding ceremony, organised for free for the occasion. And for this unusual ceremony, nothing was left to chance: from the dress of the bride and groom to the decoration, everything was taken into account so that real and virtual became one hybrid world.

It should be noted that the couple, who got married physically at the Atkinson Resort & Country Club in New Hampshire, as reported in The New York Times, benefited from a free event that can be very expensive to organise. While Virbela did not reveal what such a unique wedding celebration could cost, rates for this type of virtual event can quickly climb to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on client requests, the New York daily outlines. Not unlike a physical wedding in fact.

The fact remains that this type of ceremony, like many things related to the metaverse, seems to greatly expand the realm of possibilities; a wedding could start on a desert island and conclude on the rooftop of a five-star restaurant in Paris. Meanwhile the wedding list of virtual gifts could also exceed all limits.

Of course such events may also avoid derogatory remarks from aunt Bertha and uncle Harold because, to attend such a ceremony, it is mandatory to download a program software and create your avatar, something that is not yet a given for everyone. – AFP Relaxnews

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