Weddings, eh? Such excitement and fun after eye-watering amounts of planning! But unless yours is to be an unplugged affair, you’re probably thinking about how to use social media for your big day.
Well, here’s some inspiration on how a hashtag can help, how to factor in Facebook and sort out your live streaming to make the most of your wedding day imagery…
Create a Hashtag
Are you surprised that around half of all couples are considering a hashtag as part of their wedding? Whether you’re a social media pro or just dabble now and again, a handy hashtag can enhance your big day by helping you to find ‘hidden’ photos posted online that you may never have seen otherwise!
But how to create a winning wedding hashtag? Well, it goes without saying that for it be be successful, it needs to be unique – and this can be achieved with just a little bit of planning and research.
A great starting point is to begin with a mashup of your names. Popular names are likely to have been nabbed already ie. #mrandmrssmith but by adding capitals and a date #MrAndMrsSmith2017 just might be available (or you could try something like #teamsmith).
Another idea is to use your childhood nicknames – or a pun for a bit of humour. Once you have crafted it and checked your spelling to avoid embarrassment, you need to Google it to see if it’s a go-er. The aim is to create something that guests can recall – even after those (hic!) celebratory Proseccos!
Once you’ve sorted the wording, you need to work it, baby!
Detail your hashtag on invites – and explain to guests that you want them to use it when they post up pics to social media so that you can find them after the event. It’s good to know that there are some online tools which can help you with collating mentions/photos but don’t forget to back-up the photos once you find them.
You can put that hashtag on directional or welcome signage, as well as coaches and cars to make the most of it! Remember that your order of service cards are likely to be kept as a memento of the day, so putting it here works well – as does a wee mention on menus, placecards and favours to keep reminding your guests of it throughout the day.
It’s not just for the kidz. Nope; Snapchat is hot right now – and that includes for weddings. A lot of people think that the photos just disappear quickly but the Snapchat stories feature means that videos and pictures can be saved by guests to tell one big story of the event. Added to that, a custom geofilter can help to up your Snapchat game, because only people at the wedding will be able to swipe and add a special overlay to their images and videos. Think of it as the passport stamp of weddings!
You can create a filter yourself or have one professionally built. But there are rules, people.
- No trademarked images, website URLs, ‘phone numbers, or “@” names
- The background must be transparent
- Any imagery should cover only a small percentage of the screen
- There can be no images of people
Don’t know about you but we think it’s still pretty awesome that guests who can’t be there can ‘virtually’ attend with live streaming from their ‘phone, tablet or laptop. The type of audience you’ll have will influence your choice of media but there are other considerations, too.
So, your Aunty Janet can Skype in or use Facetime to get in on the act, however if you need to reach lots of people across the globe, you can consider specialist websites such as UStream and Livestream – or you could use Google Hangouts or Facebook Live. But which one to go with?
Skype and Facetime offer free, private one-to-one video calls so they’re great for reaching out to one person at any given time. You can pay to upgrade your Skype if you want to speak to people on up to 10 devices but Facetime is one-to-one only and works solely on Apple (iOS) devices, so it’s handy to know in advance if your rellies are Android users. That said, you can make video calls using Facebook messenger on Android.
Sites such as UStream, Justin.tv and Livestream mean that weddings can be streamed live and saved as a recording for later viewing. Some even have Twitter and chat capabilities, so virtual guests can have a proper chinwag in real time about what’s happening before their very eyes. When choosing a provider, it’s an idea to check whether you can make your stream private – or if this is a paid for service – and always ensure you know how long the recording will be accessible for, especially if you want a copy for posterity.
This function offers Facebook users the chance to broadcast for free – allowing friends (depending on settings) to view and comment on the stream as it happens. The stream is then saved as a video which can be viewed later. In order to get the most from this, the couple can decide in advance which guest should be in charge of broadcasting their wedding day – and which parts of it are to be put out live on air.
Google Hangouts on Air & YouTube Live
These offer a great, free option because they marry the benefits of video calls and live streaming. Up to nine people can join the hangout itself – and the video is simultaneously streamed to YouTube. You can set your event to public, private, or unlisted; when it’s public, anyone can watch your stream; if you prefer to manually invite anyone you want to watch you can opt to make it private (make sure those people have a Google account); if you set it to unlisted, anyone you give the link to will be able to watch the stream live on YouTube. It’s great that YouTube Live saves the broadcast as a video and posts it automatically to your YouTube page (you can set the privacy for this, too).
To stream and make video calls you’ll need an internet connection and a laptop or device with a webcam. If you’re using a smartphone, you might like to invest in a tripod mount to avoid shaky recordings and to ensure you disable any sleep functions, so that the recording isn’t interrupted! Think also about the angle and whether you’ll need a table or seat for your phone or laptop. A word of warning: be careful of including copyrighted music to avoid a slap on the wrists! It is also a good idea to use signs to let guests know that they are seated near a webcam so that the words recorded and replayed are the ones you want people to hear ie the vows, not moans or swears – or worse!
Avoiding technical hitches
You will definitely want to avoid these on the day you get hitched yourself, so plan ahead and test the equipment and the wifi several times before the wedding and delegate the task of streaming to someone highly capable, so you don’t even have to think about it. And share the link well in advance with the people who will need it.
Some couples set up their own private mini-network with WedPics. Guests are given login details by email, text or on physical cards included with the invitations – and they can then post to a photo album, as well as view the itinerary, registry, accommodation information etc in a personalized wedding dashboard. WedPics will host an unlimited number of images forever, but you can also download photos at full resolution or have them printed. At the end of the year, the app plans to roll out a chat function so guests can interact with one another directly, opening up the possibility of cutting Tinder out as a middleman for amorous guests!
So, we hope you’ve enjoyed the Fairytales Photography guide to using social media at your wedding. Infact, to thank you for spending the time, here’s how to grab your very own free hashtag poster, courtesy of us!