How to broadcast your wedding live on YouTube

Note: Hangouts On Air has moved to YouTube Live. We'll be updating this post with new steps soon!

In my post about live-streaming your wedding, I singled out Google+ Hangouts on Air/YouTube Live as my favourite option if you want to broadcast your wedding to more than a few people and have a recorded copy saved — for free. You need a Google+ account and a verified YouTube account to do this. Here's my screenshot-laden tutorial so you'll be up and streaming, no sweat.

Step 1: Schedule your Hangout

Go to the Hangouts on Air page and click on "Start a Hangout On Air" button in the top right. You'll see this:

The drop-down menu allows you to schedule your event. This lets you have a YouTube link to share with your guests ahead of time.  
The drop-down menu allows you to schedule your event. This lets you have a YouTube link to share with your guests ahead of time.

Step 2: Invite Google+ Circles and/or via email

When your Hangout starts, it will prompt you to invite guests. You can do this, or you can skip it, if you'd rather share the YouTube link than have people sit in on the Hangout itself. People sitting in on the Hangout can chat amongst themselves while watching the video. Up to 10 people can be invited.  
When your Hangout starts, it will prompt you to invite guests. You can do this, or you can skip it, if you'd rather share the YouTube link than have people sit in on the Hangout itself. People sitting in on the Hangout can chat amongst themselves while watching the video. Up to 10 people can be invited.

 
Under "Audience" you can write in email addresses of people you'd like to "attend" the broadcast event. You can select Google+ Circles, too, and you can even make your event Public if you don't mind the possibility of it showing up on Google+ and YouTube sidebars. Please note that anyone with the link can technically share your wedding, but it won't appear on YouTube or Google+ sidebars.

Step 3: Grab the URL

In the bottom right-hand corner of the window, you'll see Links. Click on it, and you'll see the YouTube link you can share with others.
As soon as the Hangout is created, you can share the URL. 
As soon as the Hangout is created, even if it's weeks in advance, you can share the URL.

Before the broadcast begins, anyone with the URL will see this. Here, it shows that my event will start in two weeks. That means you can send this to guests weeks in advance and not have to worry about it on the day-of. 
Before the broadcast begins, anyone with the URL will see this. Here, it shows that my event will start in two weeks. That means you can send this to guests weeks in advance and not have to worry about it on the day-of.

Step 4: Broadcast your wedding day

Remember that you might want an assigned person to handle this on your wedding day so that you don't have to! You could call them your Stream Team.
Before you're live, you'll see this button. Click it to start the broadcast (duh). 
Before you're live, you'll see this button. Click it to start the broadcast (duh).

Once what you want to broadcast is finished, click Stop Broadcast. 
Once what you want to broadcast is finished, click Stop Broadcast.

 
After clicking Stop Broadcast, you have to "hang up" the hangout. It's the button on the far-right that looks like a phone hanging up.

Note that your Stream Team might want to mute the microphone at certain points of the ceremony (when music plays to avoid copyright). The mute is the "microphone" icon highlighted in red.

After you hang up, this window will display. Don't mind the ethereal cyber shadow captured on my screenshot. 
After you hang up, this window will display. Don't mind the ethereal cyber shadow captured on my screenshot.

Step 5: Set privacy

Now, the URL on YouTube will display the archived video of the broadcast. It gives this warning to anyone who you've given the link to, reminding them that you'd rather keep this URL to those who only have the link. 

Now, the URL on YouTube will display the archived video of the broadcast. It gives this warning to anyone who you've given the link to, reminding them that you'd rather keep this URL to those who only have the link.

Just above that, you'll see the Video Manager button.Click that to get more options on the video as soon as it's published in its archived version. 
Just above that, you'll see the Video Manager button. Click that to get more options on the video as soon as it's published in its archived version.

 
You'll want to click over to "Advanced Settings" to do things like disabling comments or embedding features, pick a thumbnail, anything like that. As you can see, my broadcast of a sticky note over my webcam turned out pretty well.

 
Back on the Video Manager page, under "Basic Settings," you'll be able to change the title (just in case I'm no longer fond of "bloop"), add tags, and perhaps the most important feature: adjusting privacy.

You'll see that under the drop-down menu you can change your video to Private. This means that it's no longer share-able just with the link. Anyone who wants to watch the video has to be expressly invited to do so. 
You'll see that under the drop-down menu you can change your video to Private. This means that it's no longer share-able just with the link. Anyone who wants to watch the video has to be expressly invited to do so.

Here's where you can invite people to watch the archived video. This is not necessary, but if you're really worried about privacy, it's the way to go. 
Here's where you can invite people to watch the archived video. This is not necessary, but if you're really worried about privacy, it's the way to go.

And that's it! Play around with it a few times and you'll get the Hang of it. Okay that pun might be awful, but sharing your wedding day with guests who can't make it sure isn't.

Hey newlyweds: did you livestream your wedding? What service worked best for you? Any tips?

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  1. Does anyone have any thoughts about how Google's copyright policies might affect this? It seems like this is the easiest way to handle livestreaming, but I really don't want Google to own my wedding ceremony.

    4 agree
  2. Does this have to be done from a laptop? How would one capture the event? External webcam that you turn around? Backwards laptop?

  3. Thank you for such an easy step by step. I had just created my first hang out thanks to this article. Thank you again! Love this blog! <3 Keep on creating more awesome content! xoxo Julls

  4. Caroline, well this is a unique idea but I don't think 1 camera is sufficient to broadcast any event and proper setup could be very costly because if the camera number exceeds from 1 then you will also need camera switcher, encoders and microphone switchers 🙂

    1 agrees
  5. Thank you so much for this tutorial!! It was so helpful! I do have a quick question, if I make my stream private and provide my YT link to only 7 people, do I still have to mute the video during the precessional music and such? TIA!

  6. I so want to do this but had to discard the idea due to no Internet access being available in my church! Might do it for the reception though perhaps!

  7. What I am not clear about is which app to use to create the video feed if you are using an iPhone or an iPad. What app should I use for the live streaming a wedding using my iPhone or an iPad if I am going to use Google+ Hangouts on Air/YouTube Live?

    3 agree
  8. I was wondering, I'm getting married in Mexico and set up an unlisted live stream with youtube to be broadcasted through hangouts. Should I set the broadcast start/end time in accordance with central time where everyone is watching from or according to the time zone in Mexico which is an hour ahead? HELP! 🙂

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