Indian weddings are extremely colorful multi-day events that capture everyone’s attention. They are rooted in different traditions, and their heritages have great significance to everyone involved.
It’s because of these reasons that your role, as the one in charge of live streaming the event, becomes much more demanding and unpredictable.
To avoid missing any crucial moment, you must learn about the different stages of an Indian wedding and how to capture them without missing the most important details.
Choosing Gear to Live Stream a Multi-Day Event
I’ll go briefly through the basics first, so you know exactly what you’ll need.
As Indian Weddings take place over multiple days, you have to be prepared to manage multiple aspects of the event. From invitations with links that you can rely on, to streaming equipment that is portable, discrete, and easy to operate.
You could do this job with any kit of your choice, but I have a strong preference when it comes to Indian events. In my experience as a wedding photographer, I’ve faced so many unforeseeable moments that I lost count years ago. Indian weddings took that to another level.
When you have to run around from the Ganesh Puja to the Mehndi/Sangeet, you don’t want to deal with a laptop, multiple cables, and other devices every time you want to go live. This can all be replaced with my kit of choice:
- Gimbal (I prefer a DJI OM5)
- Wireless microphone (Rode Wireless Go II, or DJI Mic)
Those three are a must for me. They can get me out of every problem within seconds, and the audio backup included in each microphone is a lifesaver in case anything doesn’t go as planned.
To complete the kit, you’d be missing a small tripod and a power bank.
If you don’t have the budget to get any of these items, you can replace the gimbal with an affordable tripod, and the pro wireless microphones for a more affordable set of Synco P1L or P1T. You can achieve the same results with an Android phone, but I prefer the video system of newer iPhones the most.
Choosing a Platform to Stream Indian Weddings
As most of my Indian Weddings consist of three days, this is what I tend to cover: Garba/Sangeet on the first day, followed by Grah Shanti and Pithi on day two, and the Wedding Ceremony and Reception on day three.
Your events might be different, as families have different traditions they’d like to honor prior to their wedding ceremony. In any case, it always takes place across multiple days.
When it comes to Indian Weddings, you need a live streaming platform with some basic requirements:
- Ability to schedule multi-day events
- Ability to pause and resume the live stream as needed: This is particularly useful when two events take place on the same day
- Automatic backups: Going live for several hours can take a toll on your rest times, so automatic backups can help you guarantee a successful job
- Notifications for virtual guests when you go live: As you might pause during breaks, you can keep them informed so they don’t miss the most important parts of the celebration
You can also look for specifics, such as virtual guest books, a customizable design, and things like that, but those 4 items listed above are must-haves for Indian weddings.
As YouTube Live, Facebook, and similar platforms are very problematic when it comes to sharing links for multiple days or simply pausing the live stream, I use EventLive.
It allows me to share a single link for 3 days, and people can tune in whenever they want. If they missed something important, they can always “rewind” and watch it. Even if it happened the day before.
As the streamer, I can pause the live stream on my iPhone and resume it when I get to a new location, or after taking a short break.
It works surprisingly well, even for those 10-12 hours of video streaming. Some colleagues place the phone on the dancefloor during the entire party so they end up with an even longer video… but most of my couples don’t really need/want that.
I didn’t know how much I needed the pause and resume function until YouTube private listings messed up with my links in the past. Now it’s a single link, for all 3 days.
Live Streaming an Indian Wedding: Dos and Don’ts
Indian weddings are usually hectic, but there are ways to make them go as smoothly as possible. With some planning and preparation, capturing the most important stages of the event shouldn’t be a problem.
Let’s break it down:
- Schedule the event in advance. You will get a unique link that you need to share with the bride and groom, as well as everyone invited to attend physically or virtually.
- Make sure you have plenty of free space on your phone, as the app will automatically save a backup if you have available storage.
- Charge all your batteries, including your phone, gimbal, and microphones before the event starts. Fully charge them every night, before the next event.
- Bring a fully charged power bank, a fast-charging cable, and a wall charger.
- Ask the couple for a program of the events going on. You don’t want to be charging batteries when the Baraat begins.
- Unless you’re Indian, do some research on each of the traditions taking place before attending them. You don’t want to miss the important details in a Haldi or Mehndi ceremony.
- Prepare for the unexpected. Be flexible, ready to move quickly, and have the live streaming app always ready to go live.
- Show different angles. Streaming with a smartphone allows you to move around, swap lenses during the live stream, and position yourself in unique places that a camera wouldn’t allow.
- Don’t go to the wedding without having tested live streaming before. EventLive allows you to run unlimited tests for free. Use them.
- Don’t forget that things can change quickly. Placing your phone on a tripod and walking away isn’t a smart thing to do at an Indian Wedding.
- Don’t be disrespectful. It’s a South Asian tradition to remove your shoes on some occasions, and you have to be ready to oblige.
- Talking about shoes, at some events the Groom takes off his Joota (footwear) to play a game. The women from the bride’s family steal it and run away with it. He has to recover the shoes, and all of this happens within seconds. Don’t be distracted. Be aware of what’s happening to avoid missing important details for the wedded couple.
- Don’t overcomplicate the live stream. Attempting to go live with multiple cameras, a laptop and encoders will only make it a very stressful experience. You need a portable streaming setup, don’t forget about that.
Indian Weddings: What You Can’t Miss During The Live Event
Since India is so big and the traditions vary a lot by region, I’ll list some of the most important moments that you should know before attempting to live stream an event like this one.
- Mehndi: This is a fun and interesting event to capture. The bride and some female family members usually get their hands and feet decorated with henna. If you’re not familiar with it, henna is a plant-based paste that after being cleaned, leaves a temporary tattoo on the skin. Indians consider it to bring good luck/health, and some believe that the darker the henna, the deeper the love between the couple.
- Sangeet: Similar to a welcome party at traditional western weddings, the Sangeet is a fantastic opportunity for both families to spend time together while dancing and singing. It usually takes place a day or two before the wedding day, and it’s present in almost every Indian wedding.
- Haldi: To purify the bride and groom prior to the wedding day, family members and close friends apply a turmeric paste on their faces and skin. Get close to capture the details, while protecting your streaming device and respecting the personal space of the ones involved in the Haldi ceremony.
- Grah Shanti: The Grah Shanti aims to bring peace and prosperity to the couple’s home. In order to merge the two families, they invoke Ganesh to remove all obstacles. It is usually a quieter ceremony, which allows for some easier streaming without having to move around as much.
- Baraat: It’s always fun to capture the Baraat, as the groom makes his way to the wedding venue. There is always chanting, singing, and dancing, all around the groom while he rides a horse on his way in. You’ll have to move a lot, follow them along their path, and get close as they move around you. It’s one of my favorite parts of every Indian wedding.
- Mandap: The focal point of every Indian wedding is the Mandap. Here’s where the Hindu priest performs the rituals to get the couple married and committed to each other. It’s not only beautiful to look at, but it’s also usually decorated with draping, flowers, and a lot of small details that will make your live stream stand out. Be ready to take your shoes off if you’re planning on walking on it.