Social media has been a game-changer in nearly every major industry. One of the industries most transformed is the process of modern wedding planning.

It wasn’t so long ago that brides did little more than flip through magazines, searching for the details that would lead to their dream wedding. Nowadays, brides-to-be pinning that perfect dress on Pinterest or sharing news of their engagement on Facebook is the norm. Below, we chatted with Michelle Lewis, a wedding planner at Ever Weddings, about some of the biggest impacts social media has had on the industry.

The hashtag trend is everywhere

Hashtags are probably one of the biggest social media trends. Coming up with a creative wedding hashtag (a clickable link someone puts in the caption of a posted photo that makes it easy to see a consolidated gallery of images with the same tag) is seen as one of the many milestones of wedding planning, if not the first thing newly engaged couples cross off their to-do list. It allows all wedding photos to be seen in one place on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Wedding hashtags also allow guests to take their own photos and share them with the couple so that they can see their point of view of their beautiful day. “The best part about (hashtags) is that they allow you to find photos from a wedding that you might not have otherwise seen,” Lewis said.

Online inspiration is endless

Pinterest (AKA the wedding planning app) is a social media platform offering seemingly endless inspiration when it comes to all things wedding: from the dress to the decor, signature cocktails, flowers, and everything in between. “I haven’t had a bride yet who hasn’t had one (or more) Pinterest boards dedicated to their wedding,” said Lewis. “It helps them create a look and feel for their wedding… all on their own time, for free.” Pinterest allows users to create multiple digital inspiration boards where they pin images and articles from around the web or from saved items on their desktops. Brides, their bridal parties, and planners can create boards for cakes, venues, dresses, decor, and much more. The search function lets users simply type in the name of an image they’re interested in seeing (such as “wedding cake”) and instantly view hundreds of related pins before “pinning” the ones that they love.

Professional wedding vids and DIY projects abound

A wedding video was once just an unedited VHS tape that was given to the bride and groom. These days, with the rise of video sites like YouTube, you can now upload your digital wedding video instantly and share it with all of your friends and family on platforms like Facebook. Social media has also likely helped usher in the rise of brides and grooms hiring professional videographers to film “wedding trailers.” These are heavily edited short videos (often between 4 and 8 minutes) that take viewers on a journey before, during, and after the ceremony, with artistic establishing shots and a musical soundtrack. However, these wedding videos will take a chunk out of your budget — the 2020 average national spend on a wedding videographer ran a cool $1,800.

Another advantage that YouTube has brought to couples planning their big day: cost-saving DIY tutorials. From table centerpieces to invitations to gift bags, almost any how-to can be found on YouTube and created at home.

Venues are more accessible than ever

If your event venue hosts weddings, it’s likely that you have a Facebook page. (And if not? We recommend you create one!) This allows couples to easily search for venue options that fit their needs and read reviews from past clients. On a venue’s page, potential clients can see pictures from past weddings you’ve hosted, which helps illustrate different ways that your space can be transformed. Facebook has also made venues more accessible through its Messenger feature. This allows interested parties to instantly message the venue’s Facebook admin with any questions they have about your location.

Promotion and reviews are encouraged — and noticed

Social media has given a lot back to vendors working in the wedding industry. When brides or grooms work with a photographer, planner, venue, or another vendor that they loved, it’s easy (and often encouraged) to tag that vendor in their social media posts. This allows their friends and family to see who they worked with — like digital word-of-mouth. There are also a plethora of sites, from WeddingWire and The Knot to Facebook and Google, where clients can leave reviews and photos of their experience. “Brides find me through hashtags, tagging people in the photos I post, and by being tagged by other vendors from past events much more now,” Lewis said. “I’m thankful for social media in that it helps small businesses like me find their way into the public eye.”

Get more from your marketing

Put these tips into action by creating the right marketing plan for your venue and events business by downloading our Events Industry Handbook, The Event Professional’s Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan. This guide will allow you to take a good look at your marketing activity, make some crucial changes that will help you drive more business, and become a marketing master in 2020.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the Gather blog and written by Holly Edwards.

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