From helping to plan the event to preserving memories, social media has made quite the impact on weddings. Instagram, in particular, provides a platform to engage everyone involved in the celebration in a visual way. More and more modern weddings are incorporating the app to display picturesque elements and keep a photo journal of the entire experience.
With the convenience of smartphones, Instragram offers a super easy way to supplement your traditional wedding photography and wedding photo booth. Not only is it a free way to get more photos of your wedding, but using Instagram at your wedding allows you to crowdsource photos, capture small details and personal moments, and create an interactive element for your guests.
Here are some tips for maximizing Instagram at your wedding.
1. Use a unique wedding #hashtag
Create a unique hashtag for your wedding and ask your guests to include it with the pictures they post photos throughout the event. Each time anyone snaps a shot, it will add to an ongoing, live feed of the event from everyone at the wedding.
The more creative, the better! The hashtag should be something that’s easy to remember to encourage more guests to take part. It can be your names, nicknames, wedding location or date, or a phrase that’s reflective of your special day- as long as it’s unique, the Instagram feed will remain personalized to your event. Here are some formulas to help you find the perfect hashtag:
#last name + wedding date
#last name + “wedding”
#bride + groom + “in love”
#bride + groom + “xoxo”
#last name + “Tie the Knot”
#last name + “Party of 2”
The combinations and ideas are endless!
2. Create a fun sign to let your guests know
Once you’ve landed on what will be the catchphrase for the day, find a creative way to share the hashtag with your guests. Create a fun and unique sign that’s consistent with the style of your wedding, and display it in a prominent place where all guests will see it more than once. Think by the bathroom, at the bar, or near the food – and leave it up all night.
Having a rustic, barn wedding? Have a calligrapher design the message on a chalkboard. For a city loft wedding, choose a print by a graphic designer to display the phrase in a more modern way. Incorporating the message into your décor will draw more attention to the idea of posting to Instagram.
3. Remind your guests in other ways, too
In addition to a decorative sign, find other interesting ways to prompt your guests. There will be so much to take in throughout the day, so it’s important to remind your friends and family to share it through their eyes.
Include the hashtag throughout your stationary- each time someone glances at their programs or handouts, they will be reminded to snap a memory. For the party, include the message on drink stirrers, throughout centerpieces or on photobooth printouts to capture the moments later into the evening.
Here’s a few more ideas:
- on personalized napkins
- on a sign near the photo booth
- incorporated into favors
- incorporated into napkin rings
- have your DJ announce it throughout the night
4. Get the ball rolling
Where do you want the feed of the day to start? From hair and make up to the ceremony and cocktail hour through the after party, there will be so moments to look back on.
Start by posting a few yourselves, or designate someone in the wedding party to upload photos with the selected hashtag. After seeing how you and your wedding party have started the day, your guests will be inspired to share their moments worth preserving.
5. Store the photos
With all of these images connected by a hashtagged phrase, you’ll need a way to download them altogether. Connect Instagram to a virtual storage space like Dropbox.
There are sites to create the channels necessary to integrate all of the photos with the hashtags seamlessly onto your computer. These virtual “recipes” will create a chain reaction to automatically put everyone’s individual pictures into one album for your viewing.
6. Wish you were here! Involve guests who can’t attend
Share your hashtag with guests who can’t be present at your wedding. This will allow them to follow along the events of the day in real time. Seeing the moments captured on Instagram will get them as close to physically taking part with you as possible.
Instagram can also provide a platform for guests-in-spirit to display a message to the bride and groom in their absence. It’s the next best thing to an RSVP!
7. Create an Instagram Scavenger Hunt
Our personal favorite idea! Give guests a list of fun things to capture throughout the day. It can include anything from hidden elements of décor to the look on his face when he first sees her in her dress. Think of all the extra special moments you can capture when hundreds of people, instead of just one photographer, are snapping away on your big day.
A scavenger hunt will keep guests engaged with prompts like, “Take a pic of your favorite item from the menu” and questions like, “What are you drinking? The more guests have to respond to, the more you will have to look back on in the wedding feed!
Get creative – here are a few more ideas for prompts:
- take a wedding selfie
- show us your wedding outfit
- you and your date
- you, bride, and groom
- selfie with someone you just met
- the most fun thing about the wedding
8. Project your instagram feed in real time
Use a streaming service like Eventstagram to display the instagram feed live at the wedding. A large screen TV or projector can make the smartphone screen visible to everyone there, and even explain the uploading process to those that may be unfamiliar. Some wedding vendors even offer this as an add-on service.
The slideshow will invite your guests to take photos and then display your hashtag. As they upload to their feed, your guests will see their posts appear on the screen straight away. Seeing instantaneous results is another way to keep the party engaged and the photo stream flowing.
9. Gather, print and share
Want to preserve some of the Instagrams permanently? After you’ve gone through the selection of images from the day, submit your favorites to be printed or framed. The candid moments can create some of the romantic photos to put on display.
Supplementary apps like Printstagram and Stickygram make it possible to get the Instagram imagery on products like magnets, phone covers and even apparel. To keep the virtual journal together, these services can also convert the stream of pictures into a photo book. They provide lots of different, creative ways to materialize the memories forever.
10. Continue the fun into the honeymoon
The fun continues for you and your newlywed, but it’s back to reality for everyone else. Be sure to give them a few snapshots from the honeymoon as the finale of the entire experience. These are your first memories as husband and wife, and a time you will want to look back upon for years to come!
When all is said and done, the Instagrams from the wedding are the perfect sneak peek while waiting for your professional photos to develop. Your hashtagged images will serve as treasured reminders of the event as it happened, crowdsourced from all of your loved ones. It’s also likely your vendors will utilize your Instagram feed to show off their work from your wedding and add to their portfolios for future brides and grooms to peruse.
Have more tips or stories about Instagramming weddings? Share with us in the comments! Or, check out more wedding posts or our Chicago Wedding Vendors Guide.