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Wedding Toast from Beyond: Using AI to Include Dead Loved Ones in Your Ceremony

Published Wednesday, Jan. 3rd, 2024

AI generated image shows elderly woman smiling on a laptop screen during a video call.
Illustration: David Fuentes / Adobe Stock

It's now possible to have a dead loved one give an original wedding toast, offer marriage advice, or lead the ring exchange at your ceremony -- with the help of conversational AI 


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AMM Audio Articles · Wedding Toast from Beyond: Using AI to Include Dead Loved Ones in Your Ceremony




How much would you pay to talk to a dead loved one just one more time? What would you give to see them smile at you on your wedding day and offer their blessing? To be able to ask them for marriage advice, or to hear them make an original toast during your wedding ceremony or reception?


Although coming back from the dead might be impossible, AI technology now offers something eerily similar: Life-like avatars that can look, sound, and answer questions just like a deceased loved one would.


Which means that having a deceased grandparent or parent speak at your wedding – at least, a virtual version of them – is possible.


And with AI avatars are already making frequent appearances at funeral ceremonies, it’s only a matter of time before they become an integral part of all types of celebrations – especially weddings! 


Related: Honoring the Memory of Loved Ones in Your Wedding Ceremony



What is conversational AI?


Created by companies like StoryFile, You Only Virtual (YOV), HereAfter AI, and others, conversational AI comes in a range of 'realism,' from text-based chats to interactive videos. One of the most convincing video services is StoryFile, which was just featured in The New York Times. 


StoryFile Life’s advanced avatars can be hard to tell apart from actual recordings of a loved one. They’re modeled on videos of the deceased and are ‘taught’ how to respond to interactions authentically using detailed interviews conducted with individuals before their deaths. During these interviews, individuals share stories and opinions, answer questions, and talk for hours about their lives, in order to ‘train’ an AI avatar how to imitate them after they die. 


These avatars give the living a way to process their grief, pass down wisdom from ancestors to younger generations, or even celebrate current events. StoryFile Life technology has even been promoted by the beloved William Shatner as a way for us to connect with future generations long after death.



A woman with a microphone looks at a screen where a man in a suit sits and speaks in front of an audience

Photo: Edwin Tan / iStock

Imagine this: Your wedding officiant pauses to introduce your loved one to guests as their avatar appears on screen. After being prompted by the officiant, your loved one begins to talk about meaning of love and marriage. They share a few lessons from their own long and happy marriage, and smile down at you before you take your vows.



How to Include AI Avatars in a Wedding


So, how might you include a loved one's avatar in your wedding ceremony? Here are a few examples to consider:


Couples can now use conversational AI technology to have a deceased relative or friend speak to them as they get ready on their wedding day, offer advice on life and marriage, give a toast or speech over brunch, or recount a favorite memory from early in the newlyweds’ love story.


Avatars can appear on screen during the wedding ceremony to read a poem, lead a group prayer, offer a blessing, or deliver an original speech. Avatars can also introduce the ring exchange or lead a unity ceremony, tell a funny story to guests before the vows exchange, or share sweet memories about the couple’s childhoods during the reception. 


Wedding officiants can introduce avatars to guests during the ceremony in the same ways they would any other special speaker or participant, and interact with them the same way they would with someone attending a ceremony remotely (such as during a hybrid or virtual wedding). 


In fact, the only thing an AI avatars can’t do is officiate the wedding! (But they might be able to co-officiate; only a qualified living officiant can legally perform a marriage ceremony.)


Related: Can you legally marry someone in a video game?


So what do you think? Would you include a dead loved one in your wedding ceremony with the help of AI? We’re excited to see how this technology evolves, and the different ways families might choose to use it to honor their loved ones. 



Read Next: 



Metaverse Weddings Give Us a New Way to Honor Deceased Loved Ones


Metaverse weddings offer engaged couples a unique way to honor deceased loved ones through the use of virtual avatars. Discover the ways holograms, super-imposed digital photographs, and other technology can inspire new, modern rituals as augmented and mixed reality weddings become mainstream.




Stylized over saturated photo of a bride dancing with her father



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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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