In 2012—just two years after Instagram launched—wedding hashtags started taking the photo-sharing site by storm. And after eight years, it seems like this wedding trend has transformed into a tradition. Such a tradition that you might be considering it for your own wedding. According to The New York Times, more than 50% of couples create a custom hashtag for their wedding. Chances are, you even used one at the last wedding you attended! But choosing your wedding hashtag isn’t always easy—there’s a lot that could go wrong.
Wedding hashtags have grown in popularity alongside the increase of online photo sharing. Your guests are snapping pictures throughout your special day, documenting funny, romantic, and candid moments. But with an average of 120 guests per wedding, there’s no way you can track down every photo that each guest took. Unless you establish a wedding hashtag! Now you can see all the pictures in real time, or scroll through the day after en route to your honeymoon.
If you already have a wedding hashtag in mind—you’re almost there! There are just a few final steps for the extra-cautious to avoid wrong hashtags, or unfortunate typos. So, before officially choosing your wedding hashtag, see if it’s ready for your big day with these four steps.
1) Write it Out
Is anything misspelled? Is the hashtag easy to misread?
One of the biggest hashtag faux pas is capitalizing words. Sure, capitalization makes it easier to read. But those towering letters can also make it easy to overlook misspelled words. Or worse—inappropriate word combinations. Back in 2012, singer Susan Boyle took to Twitter to create buzz over her new album. And she sure did! Her PR team didn’t write the hashtag out in lowercase, so #SusanAlbumParty quickly turned into a “bum party” when the letters were all lowercase: #susanalbumparty.
You certainly want to avoid that misunderstanding when choosing your wedding hashtag! It’s okay to have capital letters—it will actually be easier for guests to read. Just make sure beforehand that all the words are spelled correctly, and no one can misread the sentiment.
2) Count the Characters
Is it too long? Will guests have trouble typing it out?
According to experts, the ideal Instagram hashtag is between 21 and 24 characters. That’s good news for couples with a long last name, looking to boost engagement with their Instagram wedding. But if you’re not concerned about likes and shares—keep your wedding hashtag short.
Bonus Tip: Try and keep your wedding hashtag under 20 characters.
First, guests will have an easier time typing it out. There’s a lower chance of error, and guests might even feel more inclined to use it. Second, it’s easier for guests to share with each other. Picture a group of your BFFs on the dance floor, taking selfies with each other. Someone asks, “Do they have a hashtag?” before posting online. Your guests are more likely to recite the short, sweet #WeddingHashtag2020 over the #JohnsonLivesHappilyEverAfterFeb14.
3) Remove Fake Words
Will guests understand it? Is it easy to remember?
Just like long hashtags are hard to type out, complicated hashtags are also bad news. No, we don’t mean skipping the cleverly worded pun when choosing your wedding hashtag. But we do mean avoiding any fake words, unusual nicknames, or inside jokes. (Unless, of course, everyone attending the wedding knows what it means.) Otherwise, you end up with confused guests who don’t really want to use a hashtag that they don’t understand. If you’re struggling to find an easy-to-understand hashtag that’s also personal, add the date or location to the end. (This also decreases the likelihood that someone has already used it!)
4) Check the Internet
Has someone used it before? Is it unique enough?
As always, do a little research before you etch your wedding hashtag into wood. Remember—it’s been a trend for eight years. A lot of hashtags have been used before! So hop on Instagram and search your hashtag. If nothing comes up—you’re all done choosing your wedding hashtag! But if there are results, you’ll have to decide whether you want to change it or keep it. Really old results, or results unrelated to weddings, might not bother you.
Keep in mind, however, that guests will also be looking at the photos. If there’s something offensive, or another wedding is already tagged, guests will be less likely to use it. After all, they don’t want their account associated with any of that. So think carefully about re-using a hashtag. (Or, just add a date at the end!)
Choosing your wedding hashtag is a fun way to hold onto memories and have guests participate in the celebration. The perfect hashtag should be a blend of personal and simple, so it’s easy for everyone to use. Otherwise, you risk losing out on special moments—because your photographer can’t be everywhere at once! And remember, dates are a great way to personalize your hashtag.
Was there a hashtag at the last wedding you attended? Did you use it? Share your experience below!