The term “mixed reality” is one that’s becoming more prevalent in public consciousness, and with good reason. Incorporating both virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively), mixed reality is basically the idea of using phones, tablets, or headsets to see a world that is rendered virtually. And if you look at the trajectory of this general field of technology so far, it becomes clear that it’s taking on one industry after another.
For the most part, the tech we’d think of as comprising modern mixed reality started in gaming. The Oculus Rift VR headset was unveiled in late 2015 and early 2016 (after years of speculation), and before long there were games being demonstrated and even sold to consumers. Fast-forward just a couple more years and mixed reality is all over the gaming business. Online casinos quickly got on board after more ordinary video games. Collections of 3D games in slot and jackpot categories already existed, and some have since been reimagined as even more immersive games in VR. And in 2017 mobile games really got in the mix, with entire development systems for augmented reality bringing about a whole new type of entertainment (which Pokémon GO had actually pioneered in 2016).
Aside from this fairly comprehensive takeover of the gaming industry, mixed reality is making its presence known in all sorts of different areas, some of which are quite unexpected. AR has already become a major technology in home design for instance, thanks to a team up between Apple and IKEA that led to a whole slew of design apps. VR has introduced whole new ways to meditate and exercise. These technologies are bringing about new modes of visual art, making it easier for medical professionals to practice procedures, assisting with real estate and travel booking, and accomplishing all kinds of other things. And while they haven’t fully “taken over” weddings just yet, it would be a mistake to think they won’t make their presence felt. If VR and AR can have such a widespread impact over so many different industries, they’re certainly going to become integrated with weddings in the near future. Or at least, people will have the option of involving them.
It could happen primarily through preparation. There are already apps that let you try on jewelry in augmented reality, such that you can effectively try out any engagement ring you could imagine simply by getting a visual rendering of your own hand that makes it look like you’re wearing the ring. The same could be done to some degree with dresses and suits, particularly given that fashion retail is already one of the major areas in which VR and AR are proving to be game changers. The idea of a virtual dressing room has become a reality at this point, which could make the process of shopping for wedding suits and dresses or even considering bridesmaids’ or groomsmen’s outfits far simpler. And of course, the same tech can be used to assist in the design of an actual venue or reception area. We mentioned the Apple/IKEA pairing, which basically allows users to visualize furniture in their homes, and nothing’s to stop a similar program from helping you to see flower arrangements at an altar, or centerpieces on tables, etc.
Beyond preparation, however, mixed reality also has the potential to more or less make entire weddings appear in VR. Imagine you had a grandmother who couldn’t make it, one article suggests. Perhaps it’s a destination wedding, or this grandmother has a difficult time traveling. As things stand currently, she would simply miss the wedding and have to wait for pictures and accounts from those who were able to attend. However, through virtual reality, it’s possible that strategically placed cameras could actually allow this hypothetical grandmother to put on a pair of goggles and feel as if she’s actually sitting there, with a 360-degree view of the ceremony and/or reception. It’s not quite the same as actually attending of course, but it’s a wonderful way to include people who might not be able to make it. For that matter, some couples will likely even put VR streams online for any and all distant friends who might be interested in to look at, or for people to look back on after the fact.
It’s through means like these that mixed reality will almost certainly be integrating with weddings in the coming years. And just as these technologies have become such fun additions to other industries, they may well start to feel indispensable in this area as well.