“Hashtag Wedding. Hashtag Hashtags.”
I can’t remember the first time I spotted a hashtag, although I’d be willing to bet our wedding fund that I clicked my first hashtag on Twitter sometime shortly after I joined in 2009 (the same year Twitter introduced using the pound sign to link groups, events and ideas). The humble hashtag has evolved beyond trending topics on Twitter and is now used globally on many different networks to not only link concepts, but also to add unnecessary post script to social updates. #likethis
The latter use leads many people to believe that hashtags are silly, overused gimmicks that don’t really serve any purpose other than to inspire Jimmy Fallon to lampoon them on The Tonight Show. You guys have seen that clip, right? #hilarious #justintimberlakeismysoulmate #callme #imnotmarriedyet
Truthfully, I’m still on #teamhastag. So, like so many brides and grooms before us, Rooster and I have decided to adopt a wedding hashtag to help us (and our guests) collect and share pictures and updates about our bash.
Here’s how we did it.
Pick Something Unique and Easy-to-Remember
There’s no formal registration process for creating a hashtag, anyone can just, well… pick one. For that reason, you want to make sure that your hashtag is totally unique to your celebration; so when you or your guests click your hashtag on Instagram, for example, you’re only seeing shots from your bash. It should also be easy to remember, so guests can quickly type it in from memory after they snap a great shot at your ceremony.
Like a shot of your massive hashtag installation, maybe.
Creating an easy and unique hashtag is not as tough as it sounds, I promise. A great strategy is to combine your names (first or last) or the date together. A couple with unusual first names might just use those (#roccoandsamara; using “and” not “&,” there’s no spaces or punctuation in hashtags), while others opt to combine their new last name with the year (#kinsley2014). You can also try to get creative with other words related to your wedding. Rooster and I chose an alliterative phrase, #thewillifordwedding, for both our hashtag and wedsite domain to keep things consistent. Try adding words like “wed,” “wedding,” “bash,” “union” or “hitched” (or anything else a thesaurus can come up with). Or opt for something memorable that’s unique to your nuptials (like #kateandjackelope or #gardnerbeachbash).
How do you know if your hashtag is unique? Search for it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other network your friends and family might share to. We originally chose #willifordwedding before we discovered that another couple had used it for their wedding a few years back. Tacking “the” to the beginning ensures it’s all ours (assuming everyone types it correctly—another potential snag you should consider).
Share the #love
Now that you have a hashtag, let people know about it! We decided to share our hashtag right away through our wedding website and save-the-dates so our guests could tag their social excitement immediately. Our save-the-date suite included stickers for our guests to mark their calendars, and I made sure one of those stickers featured our hashtag.
Guests who visited the website also might have seen the Connect page, where we encouraged guests on “team bride” or “team groom” to friend us both on Facebook, and also introduced our hashtag with this bit of text:
If you’re sharing on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, use hashtag #thewillifordwedding. It lets us collect everyone’s well-wishes and photos all in one spot on different social networks. Consider it a 21st-century guestbook.
It worked, since a few friends shared their excitement over receiving our save-the-dates right away via Instagram and Facebook.
I expect we’ll see a lot more tagging on the day of the wedding as our guests snap photos of their night. Which is why you might also want to…
Post Some Signage
As guests walk into the ceremony, remind them to tag their photos and updates with your hashtag by posting some pretty DIY signage outside. Or decide to include the hashtag on your ceremony programs or inside gift bags for the out-of-towners. I haven’t yet decided on how we’ll display or share our hashtag on the day of the wedding, but I love this inspiration photo of one bride’s awesome chalkboard sign.
Do you, or did you, have a wedding hashtag? How are you sharing and displaying it?