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#kissthebride: A guide to using instagram at your wedding

The photo sharing social network has exploded in popularity in the last few years, going from niche hipster app that everyone loved to hate, to the second most popular social network on the planet - recently surpassing Twitter.

It's likely that you, and a large number of your guests, use Instagram on a daily basis to share everything from your trendy brunch to your holiday snaps. Despite its widespread use, many couples fail to even consider it as a potential tool in your wedding arsenal.

The concept is simple: think of a hashtag, (don't go for something too common that could get hijacked or used by others inadvertently) something like #lucyandjoshwed18feb, #pkksmithwed or #samlovesmike. If you are really struggling then there's always handy wedding hashtag generator.

You'll want to search Instagram for your proposed hashtag to make sure that no one else is already using it! Don't make your hashtag too complicated or hard to remember. Stay away from long abbreviations if possible, also bear in mind that your combined initials are almost certainly not as unique as you might think.

Even if every one of your guests is a professional photographer with at least 600k followers each, I still think the use of Instagram at a wedding should supplement, rather than replace a wedding photographer. A good wedding photographer, much like a wedding DJ, is simply too invaluable to go without! Letting your guests share their own photos is the perfect way to get another perspective on the day, in a personal and light-hearted way. The other benefit of course of Instagram is that everyone can view the photos immediately instead of having to wait for the official photographs to come out.

Now all you have to do is think of some way to let your guests know about the hashtag. You could put your chosen hashtag on the wedding invite, not a bad idea if it's not too late. Another great and probably more effective way is to have some signs around the venue to remind people.

Another good idea might be to put your own teaser shots on Instagram in the lead up to the big day. That way people are made aware of the hashtag before the wedding and you will also have a nice visual diary of not just your wedding day but the build up to it. You may want to dissuade your friends from tagging your stag and hen party antics though if you suspect things might get a little messy...

If you do choose to let your wedding guests Instagram your wedding I think the number one rule is to keep it fun, trust your guests to post appropriate images and don't try to impose any rules. If you are really worried about what might crop up then it's probably best to abandon the idea altogether. There are plenty of other things to worry about without adding drunken Instagram snaps to the mix!

20/02/2015
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