Wedding photographers can’t possibly capture every moment of your special day, but guests can easily fill in the gaps on social media.
Using a designated wedding hashtag, attendees can post photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms, serving as a sort of personal paparazzi.
Fifty-four percent of couples create a wedding hashtag, according to WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report, and one in four views photos on social media immediately after the reception.
“Hashtags allow you to be able to see your wedding photos in real time,” said Jeffra Trumpower, the creative director at WeddingWire. “We’re living in an era of instant gratification.”
Creating a hashtag has become a core step in the wedding-planning process, said Kari Dirksen, the owner and lead planner at Feathered Arrow Events, a Los Angeles-based wedding and events planning business. “I’d say 90 percent of my clients incorporate a hashtag into their wedding,” she said.
With so many hashtags from which to choose, couples may feel pressure to create something clever and distinctive. Some may even hire professional hashtag writers.
Marielle Wakim, the founder of HappilyEverHashtagged.com, started her business in 2016. “I went to 14 weddings that year, and almost every couple asked me for help coming up with their wedding hashtag,” said Ms. Wakim, who is also an editor at Los Angeles Magazine. “I write puns for a lot of our magazine’s headlines, so I had the right experience.”
Ms. Wakim offers three price packages: one hashtag for $50, three for $95, and $125 for five. “A lot of couples want options,” she said.
Need help crafting your own hashtag? Here are some tips to ensure your hashtag isn’t an #epicfail.
Put Your Skills to the Test
“Puns are the lifeblood of hashtag writing,” said Christopher Shelley, a hashtag writer at the Wedding Hashers (which charges $20 for three hashtags) and a wedding officiant.
A natural starting point is to think about creative ways to incorporate your last name. For instance, Ms. Wakim created this hashtag for Tres Penny and Katie Smith: #PennyFoundHisDime. She also created the hashtag #HopelessRahmantics for Shabnam Mahmood and Rezwan Rahman.
If you’re stumped for ideas, Mr. Shelley recommends grabbing a thesaurus and jotting down words that sound like either person’s first or last names. For a groom with the last name Hurst, the Wedding Hashers created the hashtag #LoveAtHurstSight.
Keep it Simple
Though clever hashtags are the most popular, “not everyone loves puns,” Mr. Shelley said. If you’re looking for something more straightforward, consider using an alliteration, like #ForeverFong or #FinallyForman, or combining each person’s first or last name, like #DebraandAdamAugust2019. Incorporating your wedding’s location is another option, like #NelsonsInTheBarn or #TaylorsTakeNYC.
Pro tip: Capitalizing the first letter of each word will make your hashtag more readable at a glance, Mr. Shelley said.
Crowdsource for Ideas
If you want a lot of options, ask friends on Facebook, Instagram and other social media for hashtag suggestions. You can also solicit ideas from wedding vendors, such as your photographer, wedding planner or caterer. “I would get as many people involved in the brainstorming process as possible,” Ms. Wakim said.
Keep it Short
A recent poll of WeddingWire’s users found that the typical wedding hashtag is 16 characters (not including the #). In Mr. Shelley’s opinion, the shorter, the better. “You want a concise hashtag that people can remember easily,” he said. “Also, the longer your hashtag is, the more likely people are to make a typo.”
Avoid Hashtag Generators
There are a handful of automated hashtag generators online that will create free hashtags, but they can lead couples to cringe-worthy ideas, Mr. Shelley said. (To test one of them out, I plugged in my name, Daniel Bortz, and the name of my fiancée, Alexandra Wald. The generator suggested lame ideas such as #AdventuresOfDanielAndAlexandra, #BortzPartyOf2, and #TheDanielAndAlexandraWedding.)
Make Sure It’s Distinctive
The point of creating a wedding hashtag is to have your guests use it when posting photos from your wedding day, which is why Ms. Trumpower recommends couples create something distinctive. “You don’t want to compete with someone else’s hashtag, because you don’t want to be sifting through a ton of other people’s photos,” Ms. Trumpower said.
Once you’ve created a hashtag you like, do a search on social media to see if it already exists. If it does, Mr. Shelley said, adding the date of your wedding, like #LisaandMikeMay012019, could solve this problem.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Some couples choose to go big. When Mike and Heather Julian got married in Santa Barbara, Calif., on April 29, 2016, they used oversize magnets to showcase their hashtag, #FinallyTheJulians, on the side of a shuttle bus that transported guests to and from the venue. “Small signs can be overlooked, but you can’t ignore a six-foot hashtag on the side of a bus,” Ms. Julian said.
There are a number of other places where you can display your hashtag. Among them: a welcome chalkboard, guest book, ceremony program, cocktail napkins, dinner menus, photo booth props, favors, drink stirrers and table number signs.
Ms. Dirksen also recommends couples promote their hashtag on their save-the-date mailings, wedding website or at pre-wedding events likes the bridal shower.
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