Modern Weddings: On the Worst Hashtags, Banning Gadgets, and More
1. My fiance and I decided to create a hashtag for our wedding. Is there a tasteful way to execute this?
First, congratulations! Also, condolences? The death of an elegant affair begins by encouraging the use of digital devices. But we have to move with the times. Is there such a thing as an elegant wedding hashtag? The problem lies in a medium that, in order to be effective, must be short and simple. If your first instinct is to think of a punny hashtag like everyone else, please reconsider. In the quest to sound clever, do not churn out hashtags that are annoyingly forced. Besides #AnneVinWaitingForYou and #SidOverHills are painful to the ear. Stick to those and you might as well use #goosebumps! You can try just mashing your names together, as in #AnneRyan2016, but that’s quite boring, not to mention vaguely political. It then becomes a battle to become #memorable and #unique, so you get #creative and churn out #AnneAndRyanTieTheKnot, #SoIMarriedAnne, #RyanGettingMarried, or, nixing your names altogether, go with #MyBestFriendsWedding, #ABigFatGeekWedding, or #NewlywedsOnTheBlock. All these, like the punny and funny ones, will one day become #corny though.
See that? Don’t do that. Guests, we discourage the use of wordy hashtags and their abusive cousin, the longform hashtag, as in: #ThePlacesIWouldRatherBeRightNow #IncludeAnywhereButHere #SoDriverPickMeUp #Ugh #IShouldHaveBeenTheOne. Save the juicy stories for the day-after lunch with friends who were not invited to the wedding. Keep hashtags brief, vague, beige, and, no matter how you feel, celebratory. Acceptable entries include: #Love, #SoHappy, #Congratulations, #AllTheBest, and my personal favorite, #Wedding.
2. I'm looking for a polite way to discourage the use of digital devices during the wedding service. Is this okay? I don't want to be that bride.
And by that bride, you mean your best friend Honey, who was sweet and gentle until she got engaged to Martin and transformed into an obsessive freak monster, who insisted that you wear a lacy dress with a muddy brown underlay because “It will match your skin tone,” but it did not and you ended up looking like a walking paper bag.
While you don’t want to sully the mood of the wedding by enforcing rules (telling people what they can’t do is such a downer), the limits on the use of digital devices must be made clear. Be like Pushy Honey and announce it right away, on your save-the-dates with a reminder that goes: “We are happy to invite you to our unplugged wedding. Please refrain from using mobile phones, tablets, and cameras during the ceremony. Or else!” Maybe, leave that last part out. And then, keep the reminders coming, with a note in your invitation, a sign at the entrance of the venue, an announcement before the service begins, and a line in the program. Is this too much? Not at all. Just keep the notes friendly: “We’d like to enjoy this wonderful moment with you...Or else.”
The Connected Wedding for Guests
What you can do (share memories) and can’t do (get in the way).
INSTAGRAM Most acceptable. The wedding is a visual creature.
PERISCOPE Still acceptable. The kiss. The first dance.
SNAPCHAT Okay. But what fleeting moment are you planning to share?
TWITTER Don’t. If thoughts are unkind.
FACEBOOK Later. This is not immediate.
TINDER No (or later). You’re not on a hunt (but there could be someone).
3. Should I hire a social media manager?
If you must have social media, then you should. Like influencers, beer chemists, and socialites, the social media manager has become a real thing (what a time to be alive!), and you should take advantage of their expertise in navigating the digital waters and consuming sweet treats. They will be in charge of creating the unique-but-tasteful hashtag, crafting the gentle-yet-firm social media reminder, live-tweeting the ceremony, and styling the perfect welfie or wedding selfie. You know, those unnecessary, beautiful group selfies with the entourage, the bride’s family, the groom’s family, both families, and so on and so forth. One of the characteristics of a social media manager is having freakishly long arms, to manage all sorts of -fies (belfies, shelfies, cakefies) and non-selfies. They can also strong-arm the rogue guest who has chosen to break the social media blackout by snapping and uploading an unflattering photograph of you with the hashtags #MyBestFriendsWedding #OMG #BrownUnderlay.
The Social Maiden
Should you just assign the social media wrangling to a bridesmaid (sister of fiance, not really close)? You could, so she has something to do and not just be awkwardly hanging around you. Fair warning: Assigning social media responsibilities to someone who is not social media savvy is akin to sending them to the hanging tree. Social media is a beast. You need to do it right lest you incur the wrath of The Netizens (also a thing now—what a time to be alive!). Make sure she knows what and what not to post. Brief her about the ins and outs of the wedding ceremony and party. And give her a wish list of the photos you’d like to see. This will require a little management on your part, so maybe just hire a professional stranger so if you strangle someone it won't be anyone you know.