Wedcasting is a relatively new application that involves the process of streaming a marriage or commitment ceremony over the Internet. Rather than videotaping a traditional ceremony and then using Internet resources to share the recorded event through the World Wide Web, the wedcast is broadcast real time. The wedcast allows friends and family who are unable to attend the live ceremony to still be present and share in the experience with the happy couple.
There are actually several different ways to make use of the wedcast. The most common application has to do with simply broadcasting a live ceremony over the Internet, while simultaneously recording the event. With this approach, the two principals in the ceremony, along with those who are standing with the couple, participate in a traditional ceremony involving clergy or other officiating officers. Loved ones who live too far away to attend the event can receive the broadcast over their home computers. Generally, an online guest book is available for the virtual guests to sign, extending well wishes to the new couple.
More recently, the wedcast has been used to conduct an online ceremony in which the two principles are not in the same physical location. Since most jurisdictions do not allow proxy signatures on a marriage certificate, this can be more difficult to arrange. However, if the two parties can make arrangements with one of the few jurisdictions that do allow proxies, the virtual marriage ceremony is legal and carries the same rights and responsibilities as a traditional marriage ceremony. In the event that the two principles are conducting a commitment ceremony rather than a legally recognized union, the utilization of the wedcast is often much easier to arrange.
The underlying idea behind the wedcast is made possible because of current Internet technology. Voice and Video over Internet Protocol makes it possible to create an interactive environment where both partners and even the officiating authority can be in different locations and still conduct a ceremony that allows two people to pledge their love and commitment to one another. For many people who prefer to make a commitment sooner rather than at a later day, the wedcast is the ideal solution. However, critics of the practice do point out that there is one advantage to the live ceremony that a wedcast will never be able to provide. Unlike a traditional ceremony, the wedcast will never be able to provide the happy couple to enjoy a kiss as the final seal of their mutual pledges of commitment.