- Weddings conducted in video games aren’t legal, and they’re likely not legit in the metaverse either.
- Couples that want a metaverse ceremony would need to pair it with a real-life ceremony.
- With tech firms betting big on the metaverse come lots of questions about life in the virtual world.
Tying the knot in a video game doesn’t constitute a legal marriage.
And (sorry for all you metaverse optimists) that likely applies to the new virtual landscape touted by Mark Zuckerberg and other tech scions.
There’s a key reason why: people have to appear as their real-life selves during a legal wedding ceremony, not as digital avatars or anything that “distorts their appearance,” according to American Marriage Ministries (AMM), an internet church that has been ordaining people to officiate weddings since 2009.
“The laws have not caught up to the world in which we live, meaning that I don’t believe that [a metaverse wedding] would be legal, and it would just be a ceremony,” Lori Prashker-Thomas, a professional wedding officiant of 10 years, told Insider.
That’s how a couple who recently wed in the metaverse saw it. Their ceremony coincided with in-person (and legal) nuptials in September.
But as the New York Times noted, the nonlegal virtual wedding allowed the couple to host the ceremony from anywhere in the world, build a limitless guest list, and also allowed sick relatives and friends to attend.
While the metaverse and any potential martial laws within it are far from materializing, the same guidelines that govern the legality of online, Zoom, and in-game weddings could also apply to it.
Marital laws differ by state or county, meaning there are no sweeping federal guardrails to getting married online. You could risk invalidating your marriage if you conduct a ceremony outside of those confines, AMM says.
Most states don’t even allow a wedding officiant to remotely marry a couple via video conferencing technology, which is different from simply live- streaming a wedding, a practice that has grown common during the pandemic.
The only local government that currently allows that is Utah County, not the state of Utah at large. No state allows couples to get married while they’re both in separate locations.
Some states, like New York, allowed a remote officiant to Skype in and marry folks during the pandemic when it was difficult to wed at City Hall amid social distancing protocols and lockdown orders. But it stopped allowing such weddings in June.
And at the start of the pandemic, some couples whose wedding plans were dashed resorted to other means — like one that got married in Animal Crossing, a popular video game. The wedding, however, wasn’t legal.
The rules of the metaverse are still hazy, and experts previously told Insider that many of the real world and social media’s problems, like sexual harassment, misinformation, and divisiveness, will amplify within the virtual landscape.
But, following in video game fanatics’ footsteps, this is likely not the last (non-legal) metaverse wedding we’ll see.