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Relationships #WeddingPrep: Planning your ceremony’s social media strategy

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When Kate Buitenhuis and Matthew Gibbons said their "I dos" last August, they were joined by 300 family members and friends from around the world who flew to Whistler, B.C. for the ceremony. Creating a fun-filled weekend for their guests was a top priority, and one the couple wanted to be a part of, even when they couldn't actually be there in the exact moment.

Enter #GibbonKateARing, the couple's wedding hashtag. A personalized, custom label for images related to nuptials makes it easy to keep track of all the posts shared on social media. For her bachelorette, Buitenhuis's maid of honour came up with the hashtag #GibbonKateAway, a play on the groom's last name and the word "giving." When it came to the wedding day, Buitenhuis says #GibbonKateARing felt like a natural extension.

Crafting the perfect wedding hashtag may not yet be as much a priority for couples as finding the perfect invitation card stock, but given our growing engagement with social media (as of December 2016, Instagram had 600 million users), it's becoming increasingly important to keep track of these candid moments while also saying something about ourselves and our relationships. Are you quirky and clever? #CharMagweddon. Truly, madly, deeply in love? #TimandAnneinWonderland. Or stylishly romantic? #ForeverlyHills.

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The web offers a bevvy of form-based services from sites, including www.ewedding.com and www.weddinghashtagwall.com, that create generic lists of hashtag suggestions based on a couple's names, but they lack a personal touch and, as Buitenhuis points out, "practically implode" when presented with a name more unusual than, say, Smith.

For those seeking a more specialized hashtag for their nuptials, Marielle Wakim, the arts and culture editor at Los Angeles magazine, founded Happily Ever #Hashtagged after receiving invitations to five weddings in 2015 and 14 last year. For a fee ranging from $40 to $115 (U.S.), Wakim will propose between one and five custom hashtags to use at your wedding and related events.

"Frankly, I was surprised that so many people were trying to farm it out," Wakim says, estimating that she's created upwards of 400 hashtags since starting her service last November. "In the same way that you pick out the flowers that you want, it's a way to inject personality into an otherwise very formal event." Wakim's wordsmith services are in such high demand that she's had to temporarily suspend new orders. It's proof that something like #johnandjanegethitched just won't cut it anymore – you need a hashtag with a nice ring to it.

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