Without the want for a wedding hashtag, my friend may have been a rarity among millennials, but love in the age of social media means the emergence of behaviour that would not have made sense a decade ago. As a twenty-something, my newsfeed is populated with wedding photos and punny wedding hashtags every other weekend.
A small but crucial detail of a wedding, a smart wedding hashtag is potent social currency. It is the millennial couple’s measure of cool, of how culturally relevant one is. Think of a successful wedding hashtag as that effortlessly stylish friend who just gets it. But like all things on trend, obvious effort is the antithesis of grace – put in too much effort into creating a creative hashtag and it can fall flat.
When social media influencer Melissa Koh (@melissackoh) got engaged to her fiancé James Chen, she enlisted the help of her followers to brainstorm a hashtag for their wedding. She received a few good suggestions such as #MelrryingJames and #Mel梦Chen真, the latter a play on the Chinese phrase for “dream come true” (美梦成真 mei meng chen zhen), and some that made me cringe, such as #HolyMelJamony.
Perhaps the pressure, unspoken or otherwise, on creating a witty wedding hashtag often a pun on the couple’s names, reflects our obsession with curating our most perfect lives online. Even if we’re not remotely witty on a regular basis, a witty wedding hashtag lets us appear to be. For one night, at least.
“A smart and creative hashtag is like showboating and akin to how couples show off what they wear at weddings. It’s as important as the wedding dress, the flowers and the wedding gifts flatlays. But in all seriousness, a creative hashtag actually makes the wedding more fun,” shares digital communications manager Ronald Wan.
Whenever he travels with his equally social media savvy wife, Rachel, they hashtag their travel posts #RachRonicles. The couple have yet to hold a wedding ceremony, but when they do, they understand the pressure they may face to create a wedding hashtag that is just as creative and social media successful as their travel hashtag.
This pressure may be self-imposed, but it’s not unfounded. Photographer Melvin Lau of Multifolds Photography, who has been in the wedding industry for six years, has seen an increasing share of memorable hashtags. He recalls: “At a wedding where the bride’s surname was Tai and the groom’s was Fong, the hashtag was #taifonglaile. I loved the creativity because it tells us the couple is about to get married, yet it also translates into a typhoon (tai feng) coming, indicating something strong and epic.”
I’m not a fan of the hashtag Melvin shared, but taste is subjective. It’s not a stretch, however, to admit the wedding culture’s obsession with puns is overwhelming, and a hashtag’s success is largely based on how well the guests understand the couple’s personality. Is it really hyperbolic to say the couple that first used a wedding hashtag in 2008 created a monster?
In fact, from wedding hashtags placed on placards at every table to emcees reminding guests of the hashtag throughout the ceremony, the trend has taken off so much within the last five years that US-based magazine editor Marielle Wakim started her own side gig generating wedding hashtags for clients. Her company, Happily Ever Hashtagged, has received requests from Canada to Singapore, proving that the need to stand out on the interwebs is universal.
it takes a lot of effort to appear effortless
He makes a fair point. Married couple Deborah Tan and Simon Pink’s creative wedding hashtag took on a life of its own, living well past their wedding. Three years later, friends still use #partywiththepinks in casual conversation to refer to the fun-loving couple.
“I didn’t go out of my way to come up with #partywiththepinks. It was just a play on ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’, since our friends always comment how our antics are so hilarious that we’d make a very good reality TV show,” says Deborah.
That said, there are those who appreciate the mere functionality in wedding hashtags – it is the most effective method of seeing all the photos taken by guests. If the hashtag happens to be smart, that is simply a bonus.
Leanne Lim, who got married this year, admits she tried to come up with something witty before realising there was nothing that didn’t make her cringe. She went with #AlexiusLeanne in the end, a straightforward combination of her and her husband’s names.
“When some people try too hard to come up with something novel just to follow trends or be something they’re not, they end up with some really weird or cheesy hashtags. I decided it’s best to go with something simple and easy to understand. No doubt about who is getting married with mine!” she says.
Ultimately, trying to perfect the art of creating a wedding hashtag only reinforces a social media mantra any true millennial knows by heart: it takes a lot of effort to appear effortless. But with so much seemingly unnecessary thought put into one tiny aspect of the big day, perhaps it makes more sense to follow another mantra: you do you.
After all, social norms and trends be damned, Leanne learnt that her direct and pun-less hashtag was a hit for this exact reason.
“Guess when you are past trying to be cool, you become cooler.”