Apparently 55 per cent of couples now have a dedicated wedding hashtag.
That’s 55 per cent of couples surveyed by Mashable and The Knot, not 55 per cent of couples in the whole wide world – but still. Having leapt from only nine per cent in 2012, that’s a heck of an epidemic. And by way of warning, 10 per cent of those who didn’t use one apparently wished they had.
‘I don’t get it. I mean, realistically, how many of your wedding guests are you not following on Twitter and Instagram?’ says my friend and 2015 bride-to-be Hannah, whose initial reaction, when I casually enquired what her hashtag would be and offered my social media consultancy services, was the kind you’d expect if you’d just casually asked how many diamonds they’d be putting in the marzipan.
‘What. WHAT? IS THAT A THING? That shouldn’t be a thing.’
‘It’s a thing.’
‘But if you’re not already friends with/following your guests on social media then they probably shouldn’t be invited,’ she decreed.
My newly-engaged friend Ashley is also anti-hashtag, and is debating the pros and cons of guest photos overall. ‘I want people to be enjoying our wedding in the moment, not glued to their phones,’ she says. ‘I hate seeing dozens of poor quality, blurry photos taken at horrible angles – so much so that I’m trying to work out how to explain this to my guests without spoiling everyone’s fun. We’re hiring a brilliant photographer to capture our day and for me, that’s enough.’
More on board with the idea, however, is my friend Amy, who’ll be using #amyandgarrygetmarried for her forthcoming nuptials (yes, apparently everyone in my life is getting married. I’m very calm about that).
‘I’m totally for it,’ she says. ‘People are going to take photos anyway, why not get them hashtagged for my convenience? I am going to spend my day rushing round trying to see everyone and possibly miss out on lovely, fun moments or not get to see how my friends are enjoying themselves because I’ll be stuck entertaining my granny. A wedding hashtag means we’ll be able to look back at our leisure and see all these amazing, intimate casual snaps as well as having beautiful shots by a photographer. The hashtagged ones may not make it into an album but they’ll be fun for us to look through.’
As a non-betrothed person I’d like to add my own perspective, which is thus: wedding hashtags are great because they make it really easy to stalk the weddings of people you do not know.
By ‘stalk’, of course I mean ‘appreciate from afar’. These are people I may have met once or twice, or never at all, but I’ll still lose a good 20 minutes to idly scrolling through each exquisitely filtered aspect of their day. As anyone who has ever watched Don’t Tell The Bride with a notebook and a bucket of popcorn will attest, critiquing other people’s weddings is now a social sport. It’s basically polo for people with a Pinterest habit.
And on a less superficial note, it might just be that your band of potential well-wishers extends beyond the intimate guest list. In our public-personal world, where we share more with our followers than we do with our families, a hashtag can be a way of ‘inviting’ the world along – without having to buy them all dinner.
But with wedding traditions come wedding competition, and if hashtags are the new hand painted mason jars, then bagging the best hashtags ideas before everyone else is just another point to add to the wedmin list along with adorable table favours and choosing a colour scheme that hasn’t been done to death yet (khaki and orange, I’m calling it). Plus there’s ‘launching’ the hashtag, making sure it doesn’t clash with anyone else’s… and training your auntie Marge to use it correctly so her pictures don’t end up lost at the back of the internet because of a rogue apostrophe.
Thankfully, you can pay people for that. Sophie Pyle founded ‘social wedding concierge service’ Tweet the Bride, which for upwards of $700 will send social reporters to tweet and Instagram photos of your day in real time. The service aims to remedy that flat, post-wedding feeling that no newlywed couple is supposed to admit they really get, by giving them a whole heap of lovely photos to flick through afterwards – ‘no waiting weeks for professional photography.’
Sophie also has a helpful guide to choosing an effective hashtag – ‘take apart the syllables of your name,’ she advises, or ‘try alliteration. Think: #harrisonsgethitched, #walterwedding, and #nicholsonnuptuals.(sic)’
But even Tweet the Bride is realistic – after all, we’re just getting married here, not staging a multi-million pound brand relaunch. ‘Don’t worry if nothing pops up,’ they say. ‘It doesn’t mean your wedding is doomed. There is nothing wrong with combining your names for a classic #sarahandmichael or #lauraandchris.’
Isn’t that reassuring?
Want to read more? If you’re looking to buy a wearable or activity tracker, we’ve found thebest wearables to keep you safe, but, if they’re too expensive, here are the best budget wearables and activity trackers for under £70.
If you’re not bothered by wearables at all, but still want help with keeping fit, check out our feature on 10 kitchen gadgets, tools and utensils for healthy living.