By Tommy Waters, Emily Hastings, and Emily Loxtercamp with The Renaissance

In today’s world, we all check our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts more than a few times a day. Social media has undeniably become a huge part of our lives. So why not use it on your wedding day? Instead of just posting a few pictures of you dancing at the reception or of the amazing cake, get fun with it and provide a hashtag and a Geofilter and let your guests share memorable and unforgettable shots of your wedding.

Here are a few ways to keep track of your guests’ posts and see your big day from their perspective!

Renaissance social guests hashtags geofilters lenses richmond wedding level
Paige Stevens Photography

HASHTAGS
This is by far the most popular way to get your guests to share their pictures and experiences through Instagram. By giving your guests a hashtag to use, you can keep track of every photo taken. These photos are usually a little more candid and give you special moments aside from what your photographer will take. Not only is it just fun, but it’s also very engaging for your guests, especially the younger more tech-savvy crowd. Remember to try to choose a unique name, and if it’s made up of several different words, capitalize each one. Since no spaces are used in hashtags, doing this will make your hashtag easier to read and understand. For example, #SheSaidYes or #FromSmithToWest. Also, the earlier you create and start using your hashtag the better. It can be used for ring shopping, dress shopping, bachelorette parties, and just about anything that has to do with your planning right up until the day!

Renaissance social guests hashtags geofilters lenses richmond wedding level
Hayes & Fisk Photography

Once you have chosen a few possibilities for your hashtag, you’ll want to do a quick online search to make sure that it hasn’t been used before. So, the more unique the better. And don’t worry if you feel you are not creative enough to come up with a hashtag on your own, there are FREE online wedding hashtag generators that can help you. After you have created one, be consistent and use it for every wedding-related social media update. Remember, not everyone will use your hashtag but with their increasing popularity, you will be sure to get some great pictures and moments from your guests.

GEOFILTERS
Geofilters are used directly with the Snapchat app and are gaining in popularity at wedding receptions. If you have Snapchat you have more than likely already used a Geofilter of some kind. The app tracks your location and knows when you are at the venue. It will automatically pop up with a custom border/filter that has been created for your guests to use. You can even create a Geofilter that will display your hashtag so you can use both of them together. Similar to hashtags, if you decide to create and use a Geofilter, make sure to advertise it at your wedding reception in a few different high traffic areas so your guests will know to use them. Places like the bar, the photo booth area, or even right outside of the dancefloor so you can get those dancing shots!

Renaissance social guests hashtags geofilters lenses richmond wedding level
Nicole Vance Photography

To ensure as many guests use the filter as possible, keep it simple. If the filter pops up with a lot of artwork and text, it may not be an appealing picture, and guests most likely won’t use it. Creating Snapchat Geofilters are very easy too, as most of them can be done right in the Snapchat app! If you want a completely unique and fun Geofilter, you can go through an outside source (some small fees apply) giving you other options that require minimal effort to create. Also, it’s a good idea to have more than one.

Why not create a romantic one and then a fun one to use as well? You can also utilize Bitmojis and/or illustrations to make it more appealing and fun for your guests. Snapchat generated filter prices vary on the number of hours you make them available and how wide you set the GPS “fencing” around your wedding and/or reception venue. Overall, the cost is minimal!

LENSES
Something that is incredibly popular to
use directly in Snapchat is “lenses.” They are a collection of augmented reality
3D enhancements applied to real-world environments. You have undoubtedly received texted pictures or have viewed Facebook or Instagram posts where your friends have perfect flawless skin, puppy ears, or stars floating over their heads. You may have even seen some posts where your friends have different color hair, fun hats and glasses, and alien eyes. These are all lenses in the Snapchat app.

Renaissance social guests hashtags geofilters lenses richmond wedding level
Paige Stevens Photography

Once you’ve opened up your Snapchat app on your Smartphone simply turn the camera back to your own face and touch the screen for 2-3 seconds. A long list of lenses appears on the screen and you will be able to create lots of fun effects. They can be utilized in conjunction with your Geofilters, making for some seriously fun moments at your wedding!

Using some or even all of these interactive social media opportunities will engage your guests and take your reception to another level. So be sure to explore the possibilities and start creating your hashtags and Geofilters for your wedding!

Thomas (everyone calls him Tommy) Waters is with The Renaissance, an all-inclusive wedding ceremony and reception venue based in downtown Richmond’s exciting Arts District. Emily Hastings and Emily Loxtercamp are both interns at The Renaissance and both attend VCU respectively. To learn more about The Renaissance, please visit www.renaissanceva.com.