The dawn of the age of the internet has brought with it many splendid things: humourous GIFs, searchable phone numbers, GPS service, wedding blogs, and – for the social media-savvy – hashtags. As you've planned your wedding, you've probably utilised the internet to help you pick out your wedding dress, choose a reception space, organise your guest list and perhaps chat with other brides about their plans and ideas.
You may have also encountered a trend that's left half of us crazy-excited, a quarter of us slightly nervous, and a quarter of us (usually those of your parents' generation) completely bewildered: wedding hashtags.
How it works
If you're unfamiliar with the concept of a hashtag (or you need a refresher), here's a brief rundown. You create a clever, short group of words and numbers – think #TandJSmith or #MyBigFatJonesWedding2015 – and advise your guests to use the hashtag whenever they upload content related to your special day to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
When your guests do this, they'll create a chain of Tweets, statuses and photos. You can search your hashtag later to see all the content they've posted. It's really a great way to get people talking about your event, as well as to capture a multitude of previous moments your photographer may've missed.
How to choose a hashtag
If we've sold you on the idea of creating a wedding hashtag, you need to make an important decisions: what to choose as your catchphrase. There are a couple of important factors you'll want to consider.
First of all, make sure your hashtag is bound to be unique. If, for example, you choose #MillerWedding, it's likely that a plethora photos from other Miller weddings will show up under your hashtag.
You should also choose a catch phrase people will easily remember. This will ensure they don't mess up the tag when they try to upload content.
Finally, don't forget the cardinal rule of hashtags: spaces, dashes and symbols break up the hashtag. For example, if you tried to use the hashtag #Katie-AndrewWedding2015, the hashtag that would effectively be used would simply be '#Katie'.
A note of caution
Before you formally commit to a wedding hashtag, don't forget to mull over the consequences of doing so. While this technological feature can be fun and convenient, it's also just like all other internet content – it's easily searchable and offers little control in terms of deletion.
This means that you may notice some unflattering photos of yourself or your partner being posted on social media. You might also take issue with photos of guests acting less-than-classy on the dance floor.
" … a photographer's finest asset might be deciding what photos to publish—and which to leave on the cutting room floor," Jamie Miles writes for The Knot wedding blog. "With Instagram? All are fair game. Including the shots where your eyes are closed or you're awkwardly wobbling on the dance floor."
You should also brace yourself for the fact that this technological integration could leave some guests confused. If you have an older crowd attending your wedding, you may find that participation is low, which could lead to disappointment on your end.
Finally, don't forget that setting your event up to be hashtagged will literally force participating guests to use their phones all night long. Some brides and grooms would prefer that their guests be immersed in the wedding experience, rather than snapping selfies from their seats.
All in all, there are both benefits and negatives to creating a wedding hashtag. But one thing is for sure: If you're a tech-savvy couple that wants your big event to live on in internet infamy, a hashtag is a surefire way to accomplish that.