Advice: Wed Tech
Two Seattle wedding pros share tips and trends for going digital on your big day
Owner, Clutch Events (Instagram: @meganwithclutchevents)
Does your dream wedding planner have an obsession with Cher, two hula-hooping championships, and a Fiat 500 dubbed Frank the Tank? Well, Megan Clark ticks all those obscure boxes, and more. The laid-back event pro pours herself into every project for shindigs that feel unique, vibrant, and, above all, fun. And her digital know-how? If there’s an award for online mood boards and cloud-based bridal organization, she’s a shoe in. #hostesswiththemostess
Q| Starting from the beginning, how do you feel about sending digital save the dates and invitations?
A| Electronic invitations are an efficient, eco-friendly, and economical way to send out your invites. I’ve had couples that just weren’t “paper people” and would prefer to allocate funds to other wedding elements. Others stress the importance of having a green wedding. Plus, it’s a great way to digitally manage RSVPs, guests’ dinner choices, and transportation needs. The downside is that online invites are often considered more casual and so they tend to decrease the level of formality. If you’re having a black-tie affair, emailing announcements might send a mixed message if not done properly.
Q| #Hashtags. How can they be used and what makes a great wedding tag?
A| I’m quasi-obsessed with wedding hashtags right now. I love that couples can see their celebration through the eyes of their guests. If you’re trying to build momentum for the tag, the key is to post it somewhere public right away—whether that’s in a framed sign on the guestbook table or on the bar. A solid wedding hashtag is logical, personal, and ideally one that hasn’t been used before. Start with #names+ wedding or #names+year until you find a free tag. For example, when I checked #meganandsean it was already in use, but #meganandseanswedding was available.
Q| What are other ways to factor in social media?
A| Look up specific business accounts or their hashtags for candid photos. Also, search things like #seattlewedding on Instagram, which pulls up over 8,000 images, many linked to local.
Q| How can a couple work with their planner to use technology to help manage the process?
A| Sharing Pinterest boards with my couples allows us to get on the same page quickly when it comes to the look and feel of the wedding. I can pin an image of, say, a chair that I like for them, and they can comment, add, or delete photos so the board stays current to their vision. It’s also helpful to share boards amongst vendors like their florist, who we can invite to see what the duo is inspired by. Another online tool that has been very interactive for my couples is Google Docs. I keep their timeline, checklist, and budget up to date throughout the year so they can always check in and see the current status.
Q| When it comes to etiquette, is it cool for guests to live-Tweet a wedding?
A| My general rule is that if you are sensitive about social media at your wedding, “use your words.” Our social norms are to post or Tweet whatever we’re doing, no matter how mundane or grand the occasion, so you should expect some online chatter unless you specifically request otherwise. It’s typical in ceremonies for the officiant to ask that guests silence their phones. They can easily add a social media statement in that phrasing, as well: “Lacey & Steven ask that you be present and in the moment with them during this celebratory event. Please silence your phones and enjoy a Facebook-free evening.”
Clark favors the following tools for your high-tech nuptials:
Electronic card site that emails stylish invites with all the wedding details, plus a guest-list management program for staying in touch and overseeing RSVPs; greenvelope.com
Planning app (available on iOS) that assigns tasks based on your wedding date, stores vendor contact information, and allows you to export documents to share with friends; weddinghappy.com
All-in-one online registry allowing couples to add gifts, experiences, honeymoon finances, and cash funds; zola.com
Consider Barbie Hull your bubbly best friend of a photographer. She’s witty, uses hashtags like #catswiththeirmouthsopen, and (most importantly) will make you giggle through awkward engagement photo sessions that result in beautifully natural images. She’s also exceptionally savvy when it comes to social media outreach—as a founding member of Seattle nonprofit Get Hitched Give Hope, she has united the local wedding industry to help raise over half a million dollars for worthy causes in the past seven years. #gogirl
Q| What are some guidelines around the use of digital cameras and cell phone cameras at weddings?
A| This is a fun and very popular topic lately. I have been the guest at three weddings this past month and it was so hard for me to leave my camera at home and my phone in my purse. But it’s more important that as guests we’re present to enjoy and celebrate with the people we love—not playing with our phones or posting online. Enjoy the ceremony and speeches—let the professionals capture those moments—then snap away during cocktail hour and the reception!
Q| How can couples use technology to communicate with their photographer before the wedding?
A| Pinterest has been a great tool. Brides often send over a board of pinned images and then we talk about what it is that appeals to them. Is it the specific location and lighting? We’ll then decide if it will be a realistic goal at their wedding. Or is it the feeling and emotion in the image that they are going for? It takes time and patience to get beautiful images. In real life, I find that an engagement session before the wedding is the best way to get an idea of what the couple is looking for and also for them to get used to being in front of the camera.
Q| What should they expect when it comes get getting digital copies of their wedding photos?
A| Each photographer is different when it comes to delivering digital images: some prefer online downloads, others mail a USB of files, and some have you wait until your album is completed to deliver everything together. No matter the method, be sure you back up your files. Computers fail, hard drives die, and technology changes so fast it makes my head spin. Most importantly, though, make prints of your favorite images. Years from now when your kids (or grandkids) are going through boxes, they’ll love to see photos of you on your wedding day.
Q| What are some photographers offer for sharing photos with friends and family?
A| Personally, I use Pixeset to share files with my clients. The online galleries have one-click buttons to post any image to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram—or couples can share links for viewing the full gallery.
Q| Do most people still want a photo book and hard copies of their images or are you seeing any trends towards digital-only files?
A| Most people do choose to have an album. It is a nice, tangible way to share the story of your day, highlighting 50 or so favorite photos versus having to scroll through 500 wedding images. My clients often still choose to print canvases or large frames of their most stunning snaps to hang at home. Who doesn’t love seeing a beautiful displayed image of their good friends from their wedding day?
Here are Hull’s choice tech tools for editing and sharing your snaps:
“It’s such an easy way to share a sneak peek of your day with friends and family, and hashtags are great for seeing what everyone’s posting in one place.”; instagram.com
Photo editing app (available on iOS and Android) for fine-tuning exposure, contrast, fade, filters and more; vsco.co
Use this app to give any photo a square frame without cropping and share directly to Instagram (available for iOS)