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Tracy and Dave Gagnon met in the cloud, so it only made sense that they were married in that. On Labor Day weekend, the couple – or rather, their digital avatar – held a ceremony organized by virbela, a company that creates virtual environments for work, learning and events.
Ms. Gagnon’s avatar was seen walking down the aisle by an avatar of her close friend. Mr Gagnon’s avatar watched as his friend’s avatar climbed onto the stage and gave a toast. And the 7-year-old twins Avatar (Ring Bearer and Flower Girl) danced at the reception.
How is an immersive virtual world known as metaverse, Who some of us understandWhat will replace the traditional wedding is, at the moment, anyone’s guess. But the possibilities of a phenomenon being free from the confines of reality are interesting enough to ponder.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology is being incorporated into more celebrations than ever before. zoom weddings has happened, and some individual celebrations now feature a livestream component for guests who cannot be there. Last year, a couple, whose wedding was canceled due to the pandemic, staged an (illegal) Celebrations within Animal Crossing, a popular video game.
Like a ceremony within a video game, however, it is important to note that any weddings that take place only in the metaverse are not currently legal. (Even virtual weddings by videoconferencing, which many states allowed during the height of the pandemic shutdown, have since illegal in new york state And elsewhere.) Still, the metaverse will take these virtual celebrations a long way, experts say, and offers couples nearly limitless possibilities.
“There are no limits,” said founder Sandy Hammer, all seated, which makes digital planning tools for weddings. The company is investing in the Metaverse by creating virtual versions of real-world event spaces, such as the Plaza Hotel in New York. “If you really want to do something different, in the metaverse you can let your creativity run wild.”
Think guest lists that number in the thousands. Gift Registries That Facilitate NFT, or non-fungible tokens. Maybe even a destination wedding in space.
“They’re going to take their friends on a space rocket,” said Ms. Hamer, as she envisions wedding parties going around the world virtually. “A bride might take her guests to the metaverse: ‘I want my morning session to be in Italy, my evening session to be in Paris.
Nathalie Cadet-James. “I think my role could be like a producer or a film director,” said Ms. Cadet-James. “I could make a set that I’ve grown. Flowers can come out of the ground when you’re walking in space. I’d add whimsy and fantasy to it — because we could.”
Of course, this would require the skills of a software engineer, a role not in any typical wedding budget at the moment.
The Gagnons had a kind of hybrid marriage. The couple were married in person on September 4 at the Atkinson Resort & Country Club in New Hampshire, where they live, in a ceremony hosted by David O’Leary, a friend and associate of theirs appointed by Universal Life Church, as well as a virtual In Virbela hosting the function.
They live-streamed their wedding for those who couldn’t be there in person. Guests of the virtual ceremony participated via a computer, which required downloading software and then creating an avatar.
Ms. Gagnon, 52, and Mr. Gagnon, 60, both work as agents here EXP Realty, The brokerage has embraced VirtualWork and Metaverse and is part of eXp World Holdings, which also owns Virbella.
Before the couple met in person, their avatars met in 2015 at a company event in Las Vegas. And when they announced their engagement in 2019, their co-workers Offers to re-construct Virbela’s Cloud Campus as a wedding venue, Free. (Ms Gagnon estimated it would have cost around $30,000 if she had paid for it; representatives for Virbela declined to disclose a price for the incident.)
Gagans sent photos of himself and his wedding decorations to Virbella’s event team and software engineers, who included personal details such as bird of paradise flowers and images of their personal venue in the virtual ceremony.
“They were able to take my wedding dress and customize it, and put a little floral halo on my hair,” said Ms. Gagnon.
Patrick Perry, director of event sales and partnerships for Virbella, said that the cost of holding an event in the Metaverse “depends on what you want,” adding, “if an engineer is building the MGM Ballroom or something of that nature.” So the cost goes up,” from a few thousand dollars to $10,000.
But, Mr. Perry said, as the Metaverse builds up, “there’s going to be more plug and play assets out there.” Wedding couples will be able to choose from predefined locations, flowers, tablescape, clothing, musical entertainment and other elements.
Virbella was designed as an immersive platform for organizations to host events and build a sense of community in the metaverse. But users have asked the company to host graduations, bar mitzvahs, weddings and other celebrations. Recently, Mr. Perry said, Virbella has begun exploring the wedding market and is in the planning stages with some couples.
Ms. Hammer said Olseid has not yet worked with a couple who might be interested in getting married that only happens in the metaverse. In addition to the validity of such a function, a hybrid phenomenon like Gagnons’ is “much more demanding and realistic,” she said, “because couples want both personal and virtual experiences.”
For Ms Gagnon, who hired two videographers, one to capture the event in-person and another to simulcast the event on the cloud, the whole point of the Metaverse element was the connection it offered.
His maid, who is ill, was still able to walk him down the aisle, if virtually. And Mr Gagnon’s friends, who were unable to attend due to his wife’s pre-existing health condition, could give their toast. The experience of moving through a virtual world as an avatar – a perfect version of yourself – makes for a more immersive, emotionally satisfying experience than Zoom, Ms Gagnon said.
“There’s a different level of connection,” with the Metaverse, she said.
There were more benefits to being a Metaverse bride. “I’ve always been a size 4, even in January,” said Ms. Gagnon, laughing. “And my hair is never bad.”