Yesterday morning I was sipping on my coffee and nearly dribbled on myself in disgust when I came across this garbage:
So apparently the W Hotel is offering someone who will “livetweet” (a term that always makes me laugh, as all tweeting is live) your wedding, as well as “[curate] a unique wedding #hashtag” and
harangue remind your friends and family to use it on the big day. They will do all this for three thousand dollars. Are these people serious right now?
Even if you don’t know a thing about modern weddings, you know that they are obscenely expensive. According to The Knot, in 2012, the average wedding cost $28,427–more than many folks’ salaries! Even if you consider an arguably more accurate view of what most weddings cost by using the median rather than the average (which can be largely skewed by the weddings on the higher end of the range), the number is still no drop in the bucket at around $18K per wedding. And now we're going to add the additional cost for someone to do the thing that our friends and family members are perfectly capable of doing (and do in excess! I don’t know about you, but during wedding season my Instagram feed is filled with snapshots from wedding guests!). For $3,000.
There are plenty of valid criticisms of the wedding industry: it’s a complete racket that is based on a questionable foundation (hello creepy patriarchal traditions that largely perpetuate the idea that women are chattel!). Whether it’s the increasingly prohibitive costs or the societal pressure for a wedding day to be the most important day in a woman’s life (second only to the inevitable procreation that is expected to follow), it’s understandable while some folks balk at the concept in its entirety.
That said, I don’t think weddings should be eradicated for society's sake and I don’t cast even a bit of judgment on folks who want to drop hella cash (even hundreds of thousands of dollars) on their extravagant celebrations. Nope. Really! How other folks spend their money and what they value is their business, and I can definitely understand wanting to throw a bitchin’ party that will be presumably one of the only (if not the only!) times in your life that 90% (at least) of the people you adore will all be in one room, together. It's not what I would do, personally, but a lot of that also has to do with being poor. Plus, who knows what silly shit I would buy if I were astronomically wealthy? I'm sure my entire life would be one giant impracticality (and I bet you yours would too).
Although all of the wedding junk is largely overpriced for what it is, there still is a service being offered that is something that the host cannot necessarily provide directly. For example, while wedding photography is obscenely expensive, it also means that you will have guaranteed high quality photos of the day taken by a professional (and someone who is not a guest at the wedding, which means that they can focus on the job at hand, rather than multitasking and potentially missing out on important moments).
Even while valuing social media (fist bump to all my social media manager friends out there) and the work put into it, we cannot say the same about a “social media concierge”. The ubiquity of smart phones (which are literally COMPUTERS INSIDE OF YOUR POCKET THAT YOU CARRY AROUND WITH YOU and are owned by NEARLY EVERY PERSON) and social media (even my eighty three year old grandmother is on board with Facebook) means that you will have at least (at LEAST) half of your wedding guests capable of serving this need for you. For free. This service is patently ridiculous bullshit, and just an attempt to grub more money from insecure, panicked people who worry that their big day won’t live up to their expectations without paying for every bell and whistle. Let me reassure you: If you really need to do up the social media thing at your wedding, you can do it yourself. You can even pick your own hashtag. Yes, you.
It’s not that hard! Here are a few tips that, if you have half a mind between you and your future Prince/ss Charming, you’ve probably already figured out: Using initials will work, names are good as long as they are short (nobody wants to type #AlexVandhisblowupbride2014* with every photo), and hey, if you want to include the year, sure, go for it. You can also always go for something fun or funny if that’s more fitting (my boyf’s cousin’s wedding inspired “#circlekirk,” as Kirk is their last name and they are a buncha wankers)**.
Put up a big Pinterest-inspired sign (painted with your very! own! homemade! chalk! paint!) with your chosen hashtag on it and recruit your social media savvy friends to encourage the hashtag use. You know that friend who thinks that Facebook is actually a diary for every event in their day or that tech nerd with a heavy Twitter following or the aspiring photographer who doesn’t seem to take any photos that don’t go directly from iPhone to Instagram? Those are the people you can ask to step up and share some moments for your special day. They’re going to be glued to their phones anyway (haven’t you seen every picture of every meal that they eat? #cleaneating #sopaleo #righteousstuffingmyfacehabitsdude #blessed), and you know that if they are in attendance, they’ll be happy to do a little documentation. The only real risk is frenemies who will post the embarrassing video of that one drunk-as-fuck uncle grabbing one of your bridesmaid's asses and captioning it with their own own wedding-inspired hashtag: #weddingfail.
See it as a way to get your loved ones engaged in the action (and be sure to send them an extra big THANK YOU in a follow up note for their help), and spend that $3000 on your honeymoon, or put it toward some new furniture, or put it in a savings account, or spend it on the hand massage you’re gonna need after writing all those post-wedding thank you notes. Or fuck it–get a social media concierge because you want it, but remember: Some actions deserve ridicule, and we will be laughing at you. When it comes to weddings and social media, follow my advice: Keep it simple, stupid, and try to resist the temptation of excess thrust upon you by our advertising overlords.
***Not that sorry.