CHENNAI: On the first Sunday of February, as the sun breaks over a little village in Krishnagiri district, Dinesh S P and Janaganandhini Ramaswamy will tie the knot. Later, as dusk falls, the couple will get ready for the wedding reception. But instead of hopping into a decorated car, the duo will switch on their laptop and log onto a link that will take them to their virtual venue — the dining room of Hogwarts castle — where their avatars will meet and greet those of their loved ones logging in from across the world. And presiding over the function will be Janaganandhini’s late father’s avatar.
“I came up with the idea of having a Metaverse wedding reception, and my fiancée also liked the idea,” says Dinesh, a project associate at IIT Madras, whose marriage to software developer Janaganandhini will be held on February 6 in Sivalingapuram village.
Metaverse is a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.
Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta, which is working to build Metaverse, “a place where we’ll play and connect in 3D”. Microsoft will soon bring Mesh, a collaborative platform for virtual experiences, directly into Microsoft Teams. And people have quickly cottoned on to the idea. US-based couple Traci and Dave Gagnon made news when they got married in Metaverse last December.
“I have been into crypto and blockchain technology, and have been mining ethereum, a form of cryptocurrency, for the last one year,” says Dinesh. “Since blockchain is the basic technology of Metaverse, when my wedding was fixed, I thought of having a reception in Metaverse. ”
When he sounded out the idea with Janaganandhini, she was thrilled. “It’s apt in a way as we met on Insta and will be having our wedding reception on Meta,” she says.
With the surge in Covid cases, it’s also the best option. “We are inviting close family and friends for our wedding.
We would like to have more people for our reception. As large gatherings are banned now, having one in Metaverse was the perfect solution,” says Dinesh, who approached Vignesh Selvaraj of Quatics Tech, which specialises in web and mobile app development. Since Dinesh and Janaganandhini are both Potterheads, they wanted the reception to be themed on Harry Potter.
“Metaverse is the future, so we were working on creating a virtual world, Tardiverse, where people can come play and spend time. So, when Dinesh approached us, we were excited about hosting a Metaverse reception,” says Vignesh.
The avatars of the bride and groom will be dressed in traditional Indian clothes. All the guests will be given a link, so that they can login, choose an avatar — there will be avatars dressed in Indian and western clothes — and then interact during the one-hour reception. “We are accepting marriage gifts via Metaverse. Guests can transfer gift vouchers, or GPay, and we are also accepting cryptos as gifts,” says Dinesh, adding that the only thing missing at the reception would be food. touch to it is the avatar of Dinesh’s late father-in-law. “We got multiple photos of him from all angles so our designers could create his avatar,” says Vignesh.