Virtual weddings done right by couples undeterred by the pandemic

Brittany and Daryl DuPree of Las Vegas got married May 1 in a local park, limiting guests to about a dozen family members to comply with social distancing guidelines.

(CNN)Marisa Bello always dreamed of getting married under the stars, and she wasn't about to let a global pandemic stop her.

So back in March, when her home state of Nevada started shutting down to minimize the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, she and her fiance, Luis, made plans to drive across the state line into Utah and elope.
They got married on April 3, and the Bellos set up a laptop camera to stream the wedding online so friends and family could follow along.
    There were vows. There was dancing. There were tears. And, yes, it all unfolded under the stars.
      "It wasn't exactly how we imagined it, but it was intimate and wonderful anyway," said Marisa Bello, a Catholic school principal who lives in Las Vegas. "Since we couldn't celebrate with everyone in real life, we just wanted to do something that would bring love into everybody's living room."
      Marisa and Luis Bello of Las Vegas set up a laptop to livestream their wedding, held April 3 in Utah, so friends and family could vitrually join the celebration.
      The Bellos aren't the only couple to pivot to a virtual wedding since the pandemic began. Across the country, a growing number of lovebirds are deciding to get married now.
      As more couples take this approach, some can't-miss strategies have emerged.

        Slay the technology

        Perhaps the most important step in organizing a virtual wedding is making sure the virtual part works. This means nailing the technology, at least as best you can.
        Many couples who have gone the virtual route have gravitated toward running the event on Zoom, a Web-based platform that many businesses are using to facilitate videoconferencing.
        The benefit: The technology fosters intimacy and camaraderie by displaying small video boxes of everyone in attendance.
        The downside: Sometimes sound can be a problem.
        One way to avoid hiccups is to do a dress rehearsal before the event.
        Maryssa Souza, owner of Save the Date! Weddings & Events in Sonoma County, California, was wishing she had done just that after she helped two local clients who got married in their backyard.
        During the event, the photographer's wife managed the technology and had to pause before the ceremony and mute everyone's microphones to avoid background noise.
        "The audio was better than expected, but [considering it was] the first virtual wedding we have experienced, there is always room for improvement," Souza wrote in a recent email. Because the wedding took place on such a warm and sunny day, the photographer set up a giant umbrella to shade the equipment so the devices would not overheat, she added.
        As virtual weddings become more pre