Wedding Hashtags: #AwesomeIdea or #DoingTooMuch?
In the age of what some consider to be "over-sharing" and having instant access to, well, everything, it is no surprise that more couples are taking to social media to share the joy of their wedding celebrations. As I comb through Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and Pinterest, I almost feel like I'm a guest at weddings around the world. No longer do couples have to wait for their $2500 photography packages to be emailed and delivered; guests can now share wedding ceremonies with the world in real time. Technology is amazing in that way, but one has to wonder if this is innovative and engaging in positive ways or doing the absolute most when it comes to our most special moments.
Full disclosure: I have not attended a wedding since the summer of 2009. I do not have any close friends getting married any time soon, and the people I have known who have gotten married over the past 5 years have been more like acquaintances than friends. With the increasing costs of weddings and the tanking economy, I definitely understand why more couples opt to invite fewer people to celebrate on their special days. Of all of my closest friends, I'm the only one who has actually had a wedding ceremony in the last 10 years and I'm divorced, so there's that.
That all being said, I love looking at wedding photos, reading blogs about the planning and preparation, and keeping up with the latest trends. I am, after all, the Love & Sex editor here at BlogHer. As I perused Pinterest a few weeks ago, I noticed quite a few "One-day-when-I-get-married-maybe-when-I-find-someone-possibly" wedding boards with pictures of wedding hashtags. Couples were providing their guests a unique hashtag to use when tweeting and sharing pictures of the event as it progressed. I’ve been going back and forth over this idea in my head ever since and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
Image: regan76 via Flickr
On one hand, I think it’s wonderful to be able to share events as they take place. I’m big on live-tweeting conferences, panels, class discussions (#YOLOAcademics!), and even parties or birthday celebrations with my friends. Many of us enjoy capturing these moments not only for ourselves, but for others who are not in attendance for whatever reasons. Other times, we like to brag a bit about where we are and what we’re doing (Foursquare: I’m at Cipriani Midtown. #JellisMe) just for the cheeky fun of it. People are given to opportunity to peek into your daily activities as little or as much as you decide.
On the other hand, is everything meant to be shared? Honestly, I’m not sure any of us can ever come to a consensus on this; I’ve seen people live-tweet everything from giving birth to being arrested (until the phone was confiscated). So if we can’t agree on that, maybe it’s an issue of paying attention and being in the moment? How focused can we be on a ceremonial union of people in love if glued to our smart phones and tablets, focused more on taking the perfect pictures and uploading them to social media immediately? I’ve been asked that about my own live-tweeting and my response is that I can multitask like nobody’s business, but there are some things I won’t tweet about or put on Instagram.
Unless the couple makes it plain that they really want people to share their wedding, moment-by-moment, I think I’ll save the updates and sharing until after it is all said and done. There is something magical about being at a wedding and having the honor of contributing whatever positive energy I can to the beginning of their new life together. I can definitely see the value, though, particularly for those who cannot attend for health or financial reasons. The hashtag is a great archiving tool and the couple can go online, click the tag, and see what all of their guests were thinking and seeing in those real-time moments.
Ultimately, it is up to the couple to decide what they feel is best for documenting and sharing of their special day, right? Who knows? Those tweets can even be turned into a memorable souvenir book or something.
What do you think about using hashtags to send live updates about weddings?