A state-of-the-art tech solution revolutionising the wedding sector has thrown the industry a lifeline in the pandemic.
E-There, a Covid-19 success story, has seen bookings quadruple in the last three months, with enquiries from all over the world.
The live streaming service, which allows guests to attend a physical wedding virtually, has had 57k viewers from over 124 countries in six months.
The UK wedding industry normally hosts 20 million wedding guests and 252,000 weddings every year, worth over £10 billion to Britain’s economy. The pandemic has curtailed couples’ dream weddings and put thousands of wedding venues at risk of closure.
The low-cost high-quality E-There HD streaming allows wedding parties to access a bespoke viewing page, where guests can also interact and leave private video messages for the couple.
The concept was developed in 2019 – before Coronavirus hit – by entrepreneur Mark West, the former European sales manager for global leadership coach, Tony Robbins.
Mark was initially sceptical about the American business and lifestyle guru: “I couldn’t understand why people were paying such silly money for this big American, but Tony Robbins really did change my life, dramatically. At the time I was about 24 stone. Within nine months I’d lost ten stone, trebled my income, and it just set me on this path. I worked for Tony Robbins for seven years. I am super passionate about business that’s transformative.”
Mark moved to the role of sales director of a restaurant tech start-up, Quandoo. It went from a handful of restaurant clients to 6,000 in the UK, selling for £200 million after three years. He then set up E-There, after a close friend complained he couldn’t afford a big wedding.
Mark said: “We crave connection, even more so with lockdown. I wanted to do something where I can look back and know I’ve connected millions of people. I’m actually quite cheesy – my mission for E-There is to make a million people cry happy tears. The world needs love and celebration more than ever before.”
Mark added: “The pandemic has speeded up innovation. We spent 18-months developing this affordable and high-quality tech, and automating it so it can be easily rolled out to wedding venues and couples, who just need to download an App. It’s of its time.”
Venues, including hotels and registry offices, are installing E-There as an affordable hassle-free solution to the pandemic. It’s used at iconic wedding venues such as Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, Blackpool Registry Office, Broadoaks Country House and Gwel an Mor in Cornwall.
Dawn Titherington, Superintendent Registrar at Blackpool Council, said: “E-There has really helped us out financially and logistically during the pandemic. It has allowed our wedding business to continue in this terribly difficult year. Couples are able to engage with even more guests, bringing joy and connection. What’s more, the small friendly team are a pleasure to work with.”
Venues don’t need any technical skills. The couples’ virtual journey is handled by the E-There team.
Couples can also access E-There directly via the App.
When Francis Watson-Armstrong, owner of one of the UK’s most famous landmarks, Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, made history by becoming the first member of his family to marry in the 1400-year-old fortress in a Covid-19 secure ceremony, he and wife Claire turned to E-There so friends and family around the globe could join them for the historic event.
Francis Watson-Armstrong said: “One of the key reasons we decided to go ahead with our wedding and not to postpone it was knowing our family and friends around the world would be able to join us through E-There’s live stream. It made what was already an incredibly special event absolutely magical for everyone.
“We have had extraordinary feedback from our guests who were as far flung as New Zealand, Australia and Spain as well as in the UK itself who were unable to join us because of Covid-restrictions. Our virtual guests sent pictures and video messages of them dressed in their wedding finest with screenshots of our ceremony. It was such a joyous occasion.
“It is a wonderful service which we will be offering to couples looking to marry at Bamburgh Castle in the future.”
Claire Watson-Armstrong said: “Mark and the team at E-There were phenomenal. They worked very closely with our amazing team at Bamburgh Castle to guide them through the process of live streaming our ceremony. They always find solutions rather than barriers. I wanted to involve my sister who lives in San Francisco and Mark found a way to bring her in to deliver a reading. It was just wonderful and made her feel included and a part of our ceremony, too.”
E-There launched in the USA just before Christmas and have venues signed up in Maryland, Maine, Kentucky and LA.
E-There is the latest in streaming technology, dedicated to weddings. They work primarily with wedding venues, installing their E-There solutions allowing full attendance and unlimited guests… no matter where they are in the world, all watching LIVE! For couples and guests, this isn’t just a stream – it’s an event. All of their viewing pages are bespoke for the couple – they tell a story. Guests can even leave private video messages for the couple to keep forever.
Please note all case studies below are happy to speak to media; contact names and numbers included below.
Couple Case Study
Emma, 28, and Dave Fry, 31. 07841 014 914
Emma, a nurse, and Dave, a financial broker, couldn’t be happier with their lockdown wedding.
Dave said, “It was fantastic. The streaming went without a hitch. Originally, we were going to have 85 guests at our wedding and 120 people attending the evening do, but with lockdown we managed to only have 15 guests. E-There allowed us to stream to over 200 people, so technically we had more guests than we were ever planning. We got married on 26th October 2020 in a remote country house in Cambridge so it was even more impressive that the streaming technology worked, we were in the sticks!”
Dave added: “It was a hard decision as to whether we should go ahead, particularly as my sister lives in Singapore. Their lockdown was stricter than ours, so there were no flights in and out of the country.
“E-There made the decision easier for us to decide to go ahead and get married, as my sister and her family could attend virtually. Everything was done for us, the E-There team sent out the link to our guests and we had people attend from Australia, Canada, America and Singapore.
“My wife is a paediatric nurse at hospital in London and eight of her NHS colleagues on the ward dressed up and decorated their work stations with balloons. It was great. We also received video messages via E-There from our guests, which we will treasure forever.”
Emma said: “It was such a great feeling to know that our loved ones witnessed our special day, despite being halfway around the world.”
E-There also offers a virtual keepsake of the big day.
Venue Case Studies
Broadoaks Country House (Tracey Robinson, 07801 612 829)
Tracey Robinson, who runs Broadoaks Country House in Windemere, took the opportunity during lockdown to refurbish their venue and rebrand the website in readiness for April 2021, when the industry expects to fully reopen its doors.
The venue normally hosts 100 weddings per year with an average number of guests at 70.
The team have had look to postpone 30 weddings this year but offered a number of guests the E-There concept, so they could still have their wedding with guests viewing proceedings in real time and remotely. A number were determined to push ahead, despite the guest cap of between 15-30 – dependent on lockdown – particularly if they had postponed their wedding more than once.
Broadoaks Country House has developed a new package called ‘small and intimate’ for exclusive weddings for 15 people which are selling well.
Tracey said, “The media has reported all doom and gloom stories for the wedding industry, but we have remained positive and adapted where we can. Using E-There technology has allowed wedding guests to invite their loved ones, as well as people who would not normally attend their wedding such as work colleagues, to view the ceremony remotely and in real time. It also allowed additional guests to safely view weddings on a big TV screen live whilst in a public Covid-secure area in a completely different part of our building.”
Regardless of Covid, we always considered doing wedding streaming; we were worried we didn’t have enough bandwidth, but the E-There team took the hassle away, sorted all our IT and liaised directly with the couples. E-There has been a massive benefit to our guests and to the venue. Mark West and his team demonstrated the compression technology in April and we haven’t looked back.
For 2021 we are almost fully booked already.”
Blackpool Registry Office (Dawn Titherington, Superintendent Registrar at Blackpool Council, 07921 848 816).
Counter to the doom and gloom that the media has been portraying about couples getting divorced, Dawn Titherington at Blackpool registry office has experienced the opposite.
“Couples are seizing the day, especially couples who have been together for a long time. We have been surprised by the amount of couples that want to get married during the pandemic and we are taking bookings two years ahead. We have seen that people value their relationships more than ever as they realise that they don’t know what’s around the corner.”
Blackpool registry office is an iconic venue by the beach. Their wedding chapel hosts 300-400 couples per year. It has sea views and of the iconic Blackpool Tower, with the offer of illumination weddings and sunset weddings. Intimate weddings have always been popular.
“We were looking to install E-There prior to the lockdown as there are always relatives who are sick or unable to travel to weddings. When the lockdown happened, it accelerated the installation of E-There. It is so easy to use – all we have to do is turn one camera on and off. The E-There team liaise directly with the couples, and a wedding of 15 guests can be streamed to hundreds of friends and relatives.
“It’s been invaluable to us as an extra service we can offer and to the couples. E-There has been amazing; the support they have given has been brilliant, and they continually want to enhance and improve their offer.”