If you thought this was a snap from one of those life simulation video games that are all the rage today, few would blame you. In truth though, this is how UAE couple Florian Ughetto and Liz Nunez celebrated their big wedding day — by making history on the metaverse.
Dresses were designed and crafted on the polygon blockchain, rings were exchanged as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and wedding certificates were issued and signed as smart contracts. It was a perfect union of the couple and their avatars, as their real and digital selves became one on Decentraland — the first wedding of its kind in the UAE.
I witnessed a celebrant solemnising the in-person ceremony after which the bride and the groom walked down the virtual aisle to applause from select guests assembled from 10 countries in the Web 3.0 version of the chapel of love.
Here’s how it all happened.
The evening got off to a beautiful start as guests, including parents of both the bride and the groom, joined the celebrations over a virtual call. The in-person ceremony was held in the couple's friend’s garden in Dubai.
Dressed in a black suit and white shirt, Florian looked a tad tense. The idea for a metaverse wedding was his brainchild. Liz looked radiant in a simple pink and white two-piece dress. There were laptops with the metaverse site of their wedding open in front of both the bride and the groom.
“Marriage should be fun, and love should always be the basis of every decision you take,” said the celebrant. After the couple exchanged vows, everyone gathered for a group photo.
Soon after the in-person event, the bride, the groom and guests headed off to the metaverse event. I had spent a lot of time browsing gown options on OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, but ditched those plans and opted for a red top and matching black pants when Florian insisted that it was a simple wedding.
Minutes before the event, I was directed to the secret coordinates of the wedding site to witness it. The groom arrived looking dapper in a flashy black and brown suit.
As we waited for the bride to arrive, Florian made a request over a virtual call. “Guys, could one of you please disconnect as we have reached the maximum number of guests in the room and the bride is unable to enter.” No bride in the real world ever had this problem!
Once both the bride and the groom arrived, everyone cleared out of the chapel.
That was when a gate-crasher made a sudden appearance, threatening to steal the spotlight from the couple on their special day.
Some guests chuckled; others watched in surprise as the shorts-wearing, eye-patch-clad person joined the ceremony.
However, he behaved himself. So, the organisers let him stay and watch wedding history being made on the metaverse in the UAE. For the record, this is only the third metaverse wedding in the world.
“Liz, please don’t run away from me” Florian quipped as the bride and groom struggled to make their way towards each other using the controls of their laptops amid the milling crowd in the chapel. I could hear a giggle from guests.
As all of us struggled to get the controls right, Florian and Liz managed a tender moment in the metaverse chapel to blow hearts at each other — the equivalent of blowing kisses at each other in the virtual space. There was a collective sigh of endearment during the virtual call session.
The couple decided to have their wedding on the metaverse because of logistical constraints. Florian hails from France and Liz is from Paraguay and it was a challenge to bring both their families together in one location. However, the families could take part in the metaverse wedding, which made the event special for the young couple.
Soon, everyone headed off to the site — 118, 125, which was named Amnesia Ibiza for the after-party. With disco lights, peppy music and happy guests, it was the perfect party to end an evening that made digital history. While some struggled to find the exact spot where the party was happening, I made my way to where the music was. I used the occasion to show off some deft dance moves in the metaverse world. This was one digital party I would never forget.
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