Live streaming platform spreads the love for wedding couples

E-There, a Birmingham-based live streaming service which connects wedding couples with loved ones across the world, says it seen bookings quadruple in the last three months, with enquiries from all over the world.

The start-up, which allows guests to attend a physical wedding virtually, has had 57,000 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 £10bn to Britain’s economy.

The pandemic has curtailed couples’ dream weddings and put thousands of wedding venues at risk of closure.

The 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.

He 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 £200m after three years.

He then set up E-There, after a close friend complained he couldn’t afford a big wedding.

West 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.

“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.

It is used at wedding venues such as Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, Blackpool Registry Office, Broadoaks Country House and Gwel an Mor in Cornwall.

Most recently, Hand Picked Hotels have signed up to the technology.

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.

He 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.”

E-There launched in the USA just before Christmas and have venues signed up in Maryland, Maine, Kentucky and LA.