Weddings in the metaverse and vows of eternal love in the blockchain—could this be the future of weddings?
In the past few years, technology has become an even larger part of our lives worldwide. Even weddings are now making their way to the virtual space. Online weddings for guests who cannot attend physically have become a more common occurrence as many couples chose to have virtual nuptials over videoconference during the pandemic. But, could a metaverse wedding be an option for them as well?
First off, what is the metaverse? The metaverse is network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. Various platforms have been developed such as Decentraland, The Sandbox, Cryptovoxels, and Somnium Space where users can engage in this digital space. And, it's going to keep on growing. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the metaverse could be worth more than $800 billion by 2024. In this new virtual landscape, there's a whole new realm of opportunities for social connection—including weddings. Two couples who threw metaverse nuptials and exchanged NFT rings showcase this unconventional and pioneering form for the future.
A Look at Metaverse Weddings
Candice Hurley and Ryan Hurley had a metaverse wedding in February 2022 at the Rose Law Group property on the platform Decentraland. For coordination purposes, the bride, groom, their son, and the officiant were physically present in the physical offices of Rose Law Group, who planned their metaverse nuptials.
The couple met through an online dating site, and were legally married in a traditional ceremony in 2008. Explaining why they threw a metaverse wedding after 14 years marriage, Ryan says, "I am always fascinated by new and exciting things and have kept up with the emerging technologies around blockchain. I suggested to my wife that this would be a fun way to both renew our existing vows and extend our marriage to a multiverse that would last forever.”
The Hurleys planned the wedding with help from experts at the Rose Law Group. Their dream venue was built by a metaverse architect. Their avatars and thousands of attendees (some of whom they knew and the rest of whom were curious strangers) gathered at the property in Decentraland, which was modified to look like a mountain town wedding venue. The officiant, Clint Bolick, an Arizona Supreme Court Justice, held the ceremony for the avatars.
Instead of a traditional wedding favor, the Hurleys issued NFTs (non-fungible tokens) of their dog, Pepper, as gifts for the attendees. NFTs exist on a blockchain, which are deeply intertwined with the metaverse. NFTs are inseparable from the world of the metaverse, and can be exchanged online with cryptocurrency.
If you want a wedding in real life, you can still find a way to bring your nuptials into the metaverse world. Rebecca and Peter Kacherginsky, who had a traditional Jewish wedding in March 2021, pledged their love with an exchange of NFT art besides the physical rings. Rebecca, who works at Coinbase, explains, "Blockchains are global ledgers which keep permanent records for all to see, own, send and receive." She continues, “My husband wrote an Ethereum smart contract for our marriage that issued digital artwork as tokens to our cryptocurrency wallets. The day of the wedding, we exchanged them, like rings, by sending them to each other from our cryptocurrency wallets.”
They found and chose artwork by Carl Johan Hasselrodt as their NFT rings. Rebecca explains, “We fell in love with the motion in this piece, Loop 65, as it illustrates two distinct things becoming one, like in marriage.” The Kacherginskys were his first patron to ask about using his work for NFTs. The name of the token is "Tabaat," which means ring in Hebrew.
Are Metaverse Marriages Legal?
At the present, metaverse weddings are not currently legally binding. Jordan Rose, a founder and president of Rose Law Group who assisted with the Hurley's metaverse wedding, explains, “The marriage itself is recognizable with the meta-marriage certificate we developed. The meta-marriage certificate is a new concept for Web3 and is not a legal document.”
On the flip side, Rebecca notes, "The blockchain, however, is forever, and anyone, anywhere can contribute to it and view it. It is unstoppable, impossible to censor, and does not require anyone’s permission—just as love should be. Love is love. What could possibly be more romantic than that? While we are privileged to have a relationship that is approved of by society, not everyone is so lucky, such as those in non-heterosexual, interracial, or other relationships forbidden in the places where they live. Blockchain marriage gives individuals the power to declare and record a loving commitment without the need for state, religious, or any other authority. On top of that, one’s marriage status on the blockchain can be kept private and anonymous in cases where a public display is not accepted or safe."
Another benefit to a metaverse ceremony? "A metaverse wedding is a great way to have a relatively low-cost event and you can design whatever venue and details you want,” Ryan notes. There are a vast array of possibilities for planning and designing in metaverse weddings, and you can let your creativity go wild and include lots of special touches. Couture has already arrived in the metaverse, and this March, the first Metaverse Fashion Week was held in Decentraland. Designer Elie Saab even presented impressive items selected from the latest couture collection at its virtual flagship store. Other bridal gown brands may design wearables for avatars in the near future as well.
The appeal of metaverse and blockchain weddings? The possibilities are endless. They just might become the most popular wedding destination where everyone can pledge their true love.