To hashtag or not to hashtag? Two area experts share their opinions (and tips) on hashtagging your wedding.
JANICE CARNEVALE, owner of DC-based Bellwether Events:
If you and your friends and family are very active on social media, you might want to hashtag your wedding. This will allow your friends and family from all aspects of your lives to connect via these social media outlets and share images and thoughts before, during and after your wedding weekend.
You will want to think about it early on and make a plan so that it is a successful hashtag. First, decide on a hashtag, and make sure no one else has used it already. My friends and clients have used #meetthemindells, #lindseywedsbryan and #notthefootballmannings. You don’t want to pick something so common and easy (#emmaandchris) that some other couple might use it too. If you and your friends primarily use Instagram, don’t worry about picking one that is a little longer, as you have unlimited characters on Instagram. If you and your friends use Twitter more often, then a shorter hashtag is better.
LISA ROWAN, DC-based writer/editor and owner of Beltway Vintage:
First, a word of caution: using a hashtag may make your wedding public, regardless of whether you want it to be. It’s worth taking time to consider how—if at all—you’d like guests to use their mobile devices at your wedding.
Warning aside, hashtags can be a lot of fun. A hashtag can allow more people to participate in your big day. We’re not just talking about far-away folks who can’t make the trip, but also about friends and family who may not care for dancing, but love to catch others in celebration. And in the first few days following your wedding, hashtagged pictures can fill the gap between your memories and your in-the-works professional photos.
Once you have the hashtag picked out, you need to inform your guests about it. The best way to do this is to include it in everything your guests will see: the save-the-date, wedding website, on an enclosure card in your invitation, in the welcome bag welcome note, and on the paper goods and signage around actual the wedding. You should also use the hashtag throughout the engagement whenever you are doing something wedding related – interviewing photographers, at a catering tasting, during a tux fitting etc. Remind your Wedding Party early and often to use the hashtag as well. Make sure all your wedding professionals know about it too – your planner should include it on the wedding day timeline.
Make it easy for guests to participate. Beyond word-of-mouth, consider including your hashtag on programs or table numbers—or even on the invitations themselves. A screen to stream tweets and pictures is the hippest new addition to modern wedding festivities, but not required. Guests will be able to keep up, as long as they’ve charged their phone batteries!
You must be prepared to explain what a hashtag is and how to use it those wedding guests who are not as social-media savvy. I explain hashtags as a way to attach your image or tweet to a unique search engine within that social media outlet. If you have a better way to explain hashtags, please share in the comments! And please share your wedding hashtags too so we can all check them out!
Lisa Rowan is a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. She also owns a vintage clothing shop, Beltway Vintage.