Your guests are at your wedding to help you celebrate one of the most memorable days of your life. Why not ask your wedding guests to post pictures on social media so you have even more photos of this special day?
Odds are, your guests already have their phones with them and are likely on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.
While your official wedding photographer can get some great shots, wouldn't you love as many photos of your wedding as possible? Besides, everyone loves taking pictures.
Why Incorporate Social Media
Your guests are already going to be posting pictures of your wedding to social media. If nothing else, they're going to at least post a selfie of themselves toasting or dancing at your reception. If they're going to be interacting on social media during your wedding, make it a part of the day.
Have you ever noticed the beautiful pictures many people post of the weddings they've attended? Yet, how often do they use the right hashtag (outside of something general like #wedding) or tag the couple?
This means the couple has to visit every single guest's social media profiles in the hopes of seeing some of the pictures that were taken. Of course, who knows when a person will get around to uploading all the shots they've taken. You as the couple have much more important things to be doing after you getting married.
By making social media a part of the reception, you'll get your wedding guests to post pictures throughout the day or evening. You'll have a custom hashtag for them to use so it'll be easy to find all the posts related to your wedding. Of course, there are also some other great ways to use these pictures, but more on that a little later.
Choose A Memorable Hashtag
First things first, you need a memorable hashtag. A weird hashtag that has nothing to do with your wedding probably isn't going to stick in your wedding guests' minds. It needs to be unique to your wedding and easy to remember.
Don't worry, it's not nearly as hard as it sounds and this is the hardest part, actually. All it takes is thinking carefully about you as a couple and how to mix the two of you with the word "wedding" or even the date of your wedding.
A few things you'll want to keep in mind include:
- Ensure the hashtag is completely unique. You don't want to have to dig through others' wedding photos to find yours. So, don't use something generic like #WeSaidIDo or #OurWeddingDay.
- Make it easy to remember. Using too many words or words that are hard to spell will ensure many of your photos won't use the correct hashtag.
- Use one hashtag so guests don't have to remember which one to use. If you're using a wedding planning hashtag, this can be different, but only give this to people who are helping with the planning part.
- Make sure your guests know about it. Unless it's made obvious, you'll have plenty of guests using whatever hashtag they think is best.
- Test your hashtag before your big day just to make sure everything is still okay.
- Use some wedding-related word in the hashtag, such as wedding, newlywed, hitched, I Do and love.
- Get creative so it's more unique to you. It's okay to use nicknames or cute couple names as long as they're easy to say and spell.
Of course, with all those things to remember, there are few things to make sure you avoid too, such as:
- Avoid adding any symbols or odd characters. These are more difficult to use and make it harder to remember the hashtag. Many of your guests will post without the symbols, such as dashes or @ symbols. If your hashtag is so similar to one that already exists, create something completely new versus just replacing a letter with a symbol or adding a dash.
- Avoid just using the word "wedding" and your wedding date.
- Also avoid using your initials with the word "wedding" or the date. These are commonly used and odds are, someone has already used it.
- Skip overly long hashtags. People won't use them.
- Abbreviations can work, but often times, guests forget a word in the abbreviation, such as WSIDO7819, which stands for We Said I Do On 7/8/19. Most guests would leave out at least one letter, leaving you scrambling to find their pictures.
For more help, Bride Story and Bridal Guide have tips for choosing the perfect wedding hashtag.
Design Hashtag Invitations
Getting your wedding guests to post pictures on social media means they need to know about the hashtag. So, make the hashtag a part of your wedding invitations.
Some couples prefer not to put the hashtag on the actual invitation, but instead add a business card or magnet in with the invitation that includes the hashtag and which social network(s) to use.
The more advance notice you give your guests, the sooner they can start memorizing the hashtag. Plus, it's a great way for them to have a reminder so they can go back and look at the pictures themselves later. This is also ideal to do for people who can't actually attend. Since they know the hashtag, they can still see your wedding in nearly real-time as guests post to social media.
Use Your Hashtag At All Wedding-Related Events
You've got that hashtag so start promoting it at every single wedding-related event. Holding a wedding shower? Make your hashtag a part of the event. Encourage shower guests to start using it right away. Memories don't just start on your wedding day, but throughout the entire process.
To make it easier, print out cards to hand out to guests at all events. Also, include the hashtag on place settings at any tables, such as at your rehearsal dinner. The idea is to keep the hashtag in the front of all the guests' minds.
If you want to get creative, do custom decorations such as vibrant posters at each event that feature your hashtag. A sign at the entrance to the event works well and it looks nice too.
Use Hashtag Reminder Cards
You'll definitely want to create wedding hashtag reminder cards for all your guests. Hand these out as guests enter for the ceremony. These should include your names, the date of the wedding, social media networks preferred, the hashtag and when to start using the hashtag.
It's important to specify whether or not you want your guests to start taking pictures during or after the ceremony. If it's during, ask them to please ensure the shutter sounds are off to avoid ruining this special moment. Many couples ask that guests avoid even having their phones out during the ceremony to avoid any incidents. The professional photographer typically has an easier time of getting perfect shots during this time anyway.
Utilize Your Hashtag In Decorations
You're going to have decorations anyway so make your wedding hashtag a part of the decorations. Have a large sign with Mr. and Mrs. along with your names and your unique hashtag. For outdoor ceremonies, wooden signs with each slate stating your names, the date and your hashtag work well and look amazing.
You can easily hang banners that include the hashtag and even place cards on tables. You might also consider having a board near the entrance of the reception area that has "Help Us Remember This Day" and include things like "Remember to say hi" and "Take pictures and post to Instagram using your hashtag".
These are just a few ideas, but get as creative as you'd like. The idea is just to make people aware of it and remind them throughout the entire event. It's easy for guests to get so caught up in the fun and the moment that they forget to post anything.
Make An Announcement
The easiest way for getting your wedding guests to post pictures to social media is to make an announcement. You'd be amazed at how often people mix the hashtag on decorations.
Before the couple is announced, having the announcer talk about the hashtag and how to use it.
Ask For At Least One Picture From Everyone
If it seems like people are being slow to get started taking pictures, encourage them a little. Ask that everyone who is on social media please take at least one picture. Ensure them that it doesn't need to be perfect or even of the couple.
Instead, ask them to take selfies or pictures of everyone at their table. Take random pictures of the dance floor or even their favorite decorations. There really isn't a wrong option.
Once guests start taking pictures, they won't stop at just one. While some may only take a few choice pictures, others will snap photos throughout your reception.
By only asking for a single picture, you're not putting any real pressure on anyone. Plus, you're showing them how much it means to you for them to participate with the social media side of your wedding too.
Have A Social Media Booth Or Corner
Sometimes, it's easier to get wedding guests to post pictures to social media if you have a special place for them to do it. Create a social media booth or a corner with a few fun props, masks, etc. Have a poster background with your wedding hashtag, wedding date and your names.
Guests won't be able to resist having some fun taking pictures in a place specifically made for pictures. This is one of the best ways to get fun pictures of all your guests, which is something professional photographers often have a hard time doing, especially with people milling around so much.
Send A Gift For The Best Photos
Everyone likes a little light competition. In your hashtag announcement, state that you'll be sending a few gifts out to the people who take your favorite photos.
It's important to point out that it's not about the perfect picture, but the ones you like the best. While the most beautiful shot of the two of you cutting the cake looks nice, you may love the one of the flower girl sneaking around the other side of the cake to steal icing while the two of you aren't paying attention.
Honestly, that's the entire point of asking your guests to take pictures and post to social media using your hashtag. Those candid shots are a once in a lifetime memory. By browsing through the photos, you'll see a completely different side of your wedding and it'll make you smile and reminisce even more.
Show The Photos In Near Real-Time
The only thing better than getting likes and comments on your social media posts is getting to see how people react to them face to face. If you create a wedding hashtag wall at your wedding, guests can see their posts within just minutes after they're shared.
It doesn't take much effort to set one up either. You'll need a social media aggregator to gather all the posts using your hashtag. Then, you just need to display them on an available wall using a projector. You can even use projector attachments for your phone or computer to make this even easier. An aggregator like Curator works with multiple networks so your guests aren't limited to just one or another.
For those who can't attend, also show the hashtag wall on your wedding website. This makes it even easier for them to see what's going on. They can also share their thoughts and well wishes using the hashtag so they can be a part of your big day too.
Getting to see their photos shown on a large screen for everyone at the reception to see encourages guests to take more pictures and also encourages those who haven't gotten involved to take a few pictures themselves.
A wedding hashtag gives you an opportunity to gather beautiful memories. Create your own photo albums, frame collages to remember favorite moments and so much more. It all starts with a hashtag, a social media aggregator and the biggest day of your life.
Image: Sweet Ice Cream Photography