Weddings see rise in online streaming

Weddings are going digital. Wedding trend watchers are seeing a big jump in couples who want to share their nuptials with the world wide web in real time.

Think handheld devices at destination weddings broadcasting live to Grandma, who couldn't fly out.

“The growth we’ve seen is pretty amazing. About 250 percent, year-over-year," according to David Thompson, a vice president at Ustream.

He says his company has live streamed about 20,000 weddings in the past 12 months.

Thompson credits most of the growth to the 'can't make it' factor' -- friends and family who just a few years ago would have to find out about a wedding via photo albums. An example of that was a recent wedding Ustream broadcast:

“The bride was from Colombia, and her whole family was watching from Bogota. But then we found out that a whole bunch of the family’s friends and friends of friends [were watching]…the whole thing became viral. It was like the wedding became a reality TV show for a whole bunch of people who weren’t planning to watch.”

That raises worries of etiquette and tastefulness.

"I think it’s one of the best examples, when done right, of technology keeping people first. And letting us have that connection that might not have been able to happen otherwise," says Anne Post, great-great-granddaughter of etiquette advice guru Emily Post, and the author of wedding book, 'Do I have to wear white?'. “The priority is keeping the priority, not on the technology, but on the people involved.”

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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