If you're engaged and asking your mom for some solid advice on planning a wedding, prepare for her to be extremely confused when you wonder, "Do I need a wedding hashtag?" Even if your mom is totally tech-savvy, she might respond with something like, "Kids today!" or "Did you budget for a hashtag?" Silly mom. Hashtags are free for everyone.
And that's the problem with having your own wedding hashtag. Hashtags are free for everyone. So even if you are dead set on having #JillAndBillForever as your chosen tag for Instagram photos, there are probably about 12 other Jills and Bills that got to it first. Hashtags are like e-mail accounts — the good ones go fast. But unlike e-mail, even if you've "claimed it first," there's nothing you can do if someone else wants to tag their pictures with it in the future.
Even if you have a super creative hashtag (such as, #JillAndBillForever2016LoveIsReal) it also may be challenging to get your guests to remember to use this hashtag as they're taking their photos. And if it's long, like that one, a lot of people would rather watch the wedding happen than have their nose to their cell, typing away. A few weddings I've personally attended noted the hashtag at places that guests would likely visit during the reception, like at the buffet line, or by the guestbook. Some even put theirs in their ceremony programs. So it can be done, but is it the be-all end-all of your ceremony and reception? Not at all.
My own wedding happened in 2012, which was the same year that my friend group discovered Instagram. This was also the year of my last non-smartphone. My friends decided to share their very best pictures, as well as a few blurry ones, and figured out a hashtag amongst themselves. In general, there were about 10 photos that were shelved away due to this hashtag, and while they were really fun to look at in 2013, when I finally got a smartphone and joined Instagram myself based on the fact that I finally had a camera on my phone worth caring about, I was already pretty pleased with the photos and personal memories of that day that I had already stored. No photos were better than my professional photos, and no memories were better than the ones I created myself. It was great to see my wedding from everyone else's eyes, but I never had that feeling of, "I wish I created my own hashtag for this shindig."
The pros? Well, again, hashtags are free. So you really don't lose much by having one. You just need to remember that it's not your personal property, and eventually it may get used by someone else, especially since the average person doesn't typically check as to whether or not a hashtag is symbolizing a special day before posting. If you have a cool, level head, and see a hashtag as just a way to check out additional photos while you're melting off the wedding planning stress on the beach during your honeymoon, it'd be a fantastic way to connect a little bit more with your guests. But if you're going to keep checking that hashtag a few years after the fact, it might add some additional stress over something you have no control over.
So in short, do you need a wedding hashtag? Of course not. Even without it, it's likely your friends will post some amazing shots of your fabulous day throughout their social media accounts. Should you have a wedding hashtag? It's up to you. Nobody will fault you if you don't, and it'll probably prevent your lovely grandmother from asking the question of, "what's that number sign thing?" Are wedding hashtags fun to have? Sure they are. If you're into photos, and don't mind your photos being publicly viewed among your guests, it's an added bonus to an otherwise well-documented day.
Just please, remember to think outside of the box and get creative with it, Jill and Bill.
Images: Unsplash; Giphy