MANILA, Philippines – It’s not unusual for a friend to offer a would-be bride their place as a wedding venue. It also isn’t strange for the couple to want to document every moment and post it on social media later for the world to bear witness to their love.
But it is unusual for everything to happen in the bubble of social media and the popular Nintendo game Animal Crossing.
Lyka Lorraine Sumido, who started playing the game a few weeks after its release, exchanged “I do’s” with her real-life fiance in the game and posted photos of the fun weekend event on a Facebook group for Philippine-based players.
No less than her real-life best friend served as her maid of honor with several of their friends standing in as witnesses to the ceremony.
Lyka, whose real-life wedding is scheduled later this year, told Rappler that the idea first came about when another friend posted photos of her Animal Crossing island’s wedding area in a fan group for the podcast Wake Up With Jim and Saab. Her friend then offered to host the wedding.
“Since we have to cut down our guest list for the actual wedding given the new CBCP guidelines, I won’t be able to invite her. So I took the opportunity so she could still somehow be part of our wedding,” she told Rappler, referring to a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that suggests weddings forgo secondary sponsors (bridesmaids and groomsmen).
Lyka’s in-game wedding had all the usual elements – a fanciful wedding arch, a wedding cake, a white wedding gown, and even a matching white suit for the groom. All the items – from the chairs, the cake, and even their outfits – were all from friends who also had the game.
The wedding party itself lasted around 3 hours in-game, said Lyka.
And while everything was virtual and simulated, they went through every step – Lyka designed a wedding invite for their group, they had wedding preps and shoots, a pre-nup photoshoot, a short ceremony complete with a walk down a stretch of flowers, and an exchange of vows via video chat platform Discord. Lyka also had a first dance with Kelvin, her fiance.
And because physical distancing isn’t a requirement on “Christmas Island,” the guest list included their online friends – fellow fans of the podcast from the same fan group. Of course, it was her maid of honor who took note of the RSVPs and sign-ups. Those who couldn’t make it to the island (since you can only host a maximum of 8 players on an island at a time) sent or dropped off wedding gifts for the happy couple.
“Hope this post brings you joy and makes your heart all aflutter!” said Lyka in the Facebook group post.
She later posted a recap of the event set to “Fall” by Filipino band Ben&Ben. “Our real life selves would love to have [Ben&Ben] play in our real life wedding. They’ve been part of our every milestone as a couple. But until we’re able to make it possible, this will have to do for now,” she said.
Lyka earlier posted photos of herself and her fiance recreating their real-life prenuptial photos on Animal Crossing as well. (Check out Lyka’s in-game adventures on Instagram!)
Animal Crossing New Horizons is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the beloved social simulation game. In it, you play a human who relocates to a desert island alongside animal villagers. The island typically becomes more modern and landscaped as players progress in the game. It also allows players to visit friends’ and strangers’ islands, with the right permissions. It’s even been used to host museum exhibits.
Lyka certainly isn’t the first player to get “married” inside the game. For sure, more will follow, especially since Animal Crossing’s June event happens to be wedding-themed.
Animal Crossing has been praised for its gameplay and timing – it came out just as most of the world was forced to stay at home to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Metro Manila, for instance, has been on lockdown since mid-March 2020.
And while most peoples’ plans – including Lyka’s – have had to encounter roadblocks and take detours because of the pandemic, it’s the little things (like virtual weddings) that make the uncertainty just a bit more bearable. – Rappler.com
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