Blush and Bashful: Why Am I So Stressed About a Wedding Hashtag?

feature image photo by mtreasure via Getty Images

I guess every bride has that One Thing.

Or maybe every bride like me has That One Thing.

Or maybe some brides have Many Things.

I don’t know, maybe some brides are extremely chill and have Zero Things!

All I know is that despite promising myself and my fiancée I wouldn’t get too stressed out about any aspect of the wedding, I somehow found myself fixating for hours over (and yes, definitely stressing)… our wedding hashtag. I want to roll my own eyes into the back of my head and then walk into the sea when I admit it, and yet! It is a truth! For some reason, deciding on the hashtag we would use at our wedding was the thing that kept me up at night for weeks. WHY?!?!

Well, for those who don’t know, wedding hashtags became popular more than a decade ago (I know, because I spent a lot of time in 2013 complaining about how stupid having a wedding hashtag was) as a way to organize the wedding photos people posted to social media. It was also a branding gimmick, a way to give your wedding a theme, so to speak. People tried to be punny; they rarely succeeded. (I’m sorry! It’s true!) I used to hate wedding hashtags. Then I accepted them as a necessity; it made sense to use a hashtag to keep all your photos under one general “link” on social media. Then I became fixated on creating the perfect one for my wedding. Except… I couldn’t.

Listen. When I say people rarely succeed at being punny (or creating a good hashtag at all), I am including myself in the offending parties! As a general rule, people getting married are people, not brands. Perhaps you work in copywriting or advertising and are a genius when it comes to creating snappy slogans and cute headlines, but most of us are mere mortals (yes I am the kind of writer who has a terrible time generating my own headlines and naming my own projects). So the hashtags inevitably end up being long, unwieldy, easy to misspell, and completely defeating their purpose, if we can argue they ever had a particularly useful one.

But instead of admitting defeat, I doubled down. I’m a writer! I’m a thinker! My partner is funny and creative! My friends all own small businesses and have learned to market themselves on the internet! I grew up on the computer! I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS. That’s how I felt. Amid practical to-do list items such as “get wedding dress altered” and “meet with caterer to confirm menu,” I kept stubbornly writing: “CREATE WEDDING HASHTAG.” And then I would feel embarrassed about wanting to create a wedding hashtag, and embarrassed about not being able to, and so! stressed! out!

I learned some weird things about wedding hashtags while fixating on this. Did you know there’s such a thing as a random wedding hashtag generator? Or that you can pay someone to create a custom wedding hashtag for you? I did not know such things! I was not stressed enough to partake in these options, but to be totally honest I considered it, and that in itself was stressful to me! WHO HAD I BECOME?!?!?!

When my best friend finally suggested that maybe we actually didn’t need a wedding hashtag, I was so high strung about it I fought her for a while before realizing what a gift she was offering me. Oh yeah. It was like I snapped out of a haze, came back to myself. I’ve never wanted a wedding hashtag. I don’t want a neon sign with a punny phrase that isn’t actually punny combining our names together for a photobooth. I promised myself and my fiancée that if any aspect of planning the wedding became too stressful, I’d trash it. (For example I’d been really dead set on hole punching heart-shaped confetti out of dried leaves and thank goddess I swiftly talked myself out of that before ever taking a heart-shaped hole puncher to a single leaf, bless my heart, because the mere thought of it stressed me out.) But somehow, the wedding hashtag had snuck into my brain. I like to think of myself as a chill bride (lol, okay, no one is fooled, but I am fairly low maintenance compared to many!) but the truth is, Planning A Wedding is laden with preconceived notions and societal expectations, and it’s easy to fall into those holes even if you’re careful about keeping an eye out for them. For a reason I don’t fully understand, I chose to fixate on a tiny detail of our wedding that I truly don’t give a fuck about. I let it stress me out, I let it upset me, I let it consume a lot of my time.

And then, I let it go.

My fiancée and I always agreed not to do shit we don’t care about for our wedding — we aren’t having a bachelorette party because we don’t want one, we didn’t have a bridal shower for the same reason, we shan’t be wearing garters or anything borrowed or blue because we don’t find those traditions meaningful… this is our vibe. And so finally, after letting it become A Big Deal in my mind, working through it, and letting it go, I have accepted that a wedding hashtag is one more thing we won’t be doing for our wedding. Because I think they’re silly, sure, but mostly because I can’t think of a good one and I no longer care enough to try.

What was your One Thing that you inexplicably let ruin your life / stress you out beyond belief when planning a wedding? What do you imagine your One Thing might be? (Weirdly, it’s rarely what you think it will be, but fun to guess regardless!) Did you have an amazing wedding hashtag and want to yell at me because yours was punny and it’s rude to imply all aren’t? SEE YA IN THE COMMENTS XOXO.

Blush and Bashful is a biweekly queer wedding planning column.

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


    • hahaha yessss i’m so glad someone is doing it! honestly it initially sounded amazing and then i slowly realized i was dreading it and i was like “oh ok this has to go” — i hope it brings you much joy! i know it’ll be beautiful.

  1. I love this line, I have lived it so many times, over so many things:
    “It was like I snapped out of a haze, came back to myself.”

    It’s been long enough (20+ years) that the details have faded. But I do remember obsessing over vases for flowers on the tables at our reception. Until I realized that I didn’t actually care and that the venue’s suggestion of using candles as the centerpieces would be just fine. And it was.

    My mother lost literal sleep over my wedding dress, specifically how to tie up the train for the reception – neither of us were totally happy with how it looked but it was not very high on my list of things to worry about (like, if fastening up my train so I could dance looked a little bulky in the back, well I wasn’t going to see it). But after a couple sleepless nights my mom came up with the perfect solution that looked good and was also practical and easy to do. Which is very typical of my mother.

  2. This series is the gift that keeps on giving. As someone planning a low key wedding this September but who is herself not very good at not hyper fixating on details, this was a very important reminder to let go of the things causing disproportionate stress.

  3. We had a vow renewal for our 10th anniversary and part of that was having our friends and family from all over the world congregate for the first time ever, in one place. We had moved cities, traveled the world, and each have huge families, so I was dead set on creating little pins for each attendee with a little icon on them designating how they knew us. Picking the icons was easy, making the pins (with alligator clasps as well as pinbacks for those who didn’t want to damage their clothing) was a huge process, but the worst part was the smallest and stupid-est. I needed to create a legend, to explain what each icon meant, and for some reason this piece of the puzzle about did me in. I couldn’t get it sized right, the icons wouldn’t center, and the frame I bought for it kept breaking.

    My brother-in-law took one look at me and was like “it isn’t this important and no one is going to care as much as you do” and that really helped me to just finish it and be happy with what we got. It ended up being a huge hit with everyone and folks really enjoyed taking them home!

    I’m so glad there are folks like our friends and brothers to help us get outside the funk and really look at where we are.

    I hope you have the most fantastic wedding, being married really is the best!

  4. My partner and I had an agreement that if either of us had an idea that would be more effort than benefit we would let each other know. At one point my now wife was convinced she would personally knit table runners for every single table that she could then make into a blanket – we compromised and she knit us both socks.

    For me I was obsessed with our first look brunch details and *convinced* I had a certain look in mind and had to find every single perfect thing. We thrifted dishes for the brunch and two weeks before the wedding I freaked out and kept going to different thrift stores to find “the right ones”, which I never did. Months later we used the plates for a new year’s brunch, they are perfectly cute and good. It’s so funny to think about now.

  5. Two come to mind. One was bridesmaid dresses, where in retrospect I would have been better off just having them 100% pick their own but for me reason thought I needed to coordinate stuff in a way that got really stressful (even though we weren’t having them all wear the same thing). *sigh*

    On the other hand, finding cake with frosting I liked turned out to be *way* harder than expected, but was totally worth it. Not only did we get to enjoy the leftovers, but that bakery is now our go-to for birthdays and other celebrations.

  6. Hey Vanessa! I’ve loved this column thus far, despite me not being engaged (one day!). I wanted to share an “aha” moment I had when reading this particular article, that I think you might appreciate.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about intentionality – doing a lot of soul searching to determine what is meaningful and then consciously doing it (as best one can). It’s something I’ve been doing in life in general, which has often been inspired because my partner and I have very different backgrounds and approach life very differently, which is beautiful and also the first time I’ve really stepped back and evaluated my values, upbringing, etc. (Growing up in a homogeneous NYC suburb did not help this!)

    I’ve also been thinking about intentionality a lot in regards to Judaism, which, from reading your Jewish-themed articles over the years, I believe is something you think about, too, or would at least appreciate. I am a post-denominational Jew raised conservative, and I work at a pluralistic Jewish community center and love love love thinking and creating personal, meaningful, intentional, intersectional, and interdisciplinary Judaism through reimagined ritual and beyond….and helping others do it! (If I ever became a rabbi, this would be my niche.)

    Here’s why this article gave me an “aha” moment. My approach to Judaism is not unlike your approach to wedding planning, which is based in personalized intention and meaning over rules and in Judaism traditional “halacha” (Jewish law) – the latter of which often feels pretty autopilot for me (“here are the rules, follow them, the end.”).

    And here’s where the magic moment came in: that’s what queerness means to me. Queerness is living with intention, not simply following the status quo. I’ve often wondered if I’m “queer enough,” which is a whole other conversation, and I think the answer is that I am queering my life and queering my Judaism by creating it for myself. That’s the essence of chosen family, right? That’s what a wedding *should* be IMO – intentionally creating a day that is meaningful, not just following tradition. And if that involves certain traditions, that’s valid! Ie. There are many Jewish wedding rituals I love and want in my eventual wedding, like the chuppah (canopy that symbolizes the home) and my favorite: yichud (where the newlyweds spend a few minutes *alone* right after the ceremony before the chaos of everything and everyone, which stemmed from it being the first time a couple would physically touch but now can be a beautiful opportunity to take a breath and be with your newly beloved[s]).

    That was a disorganized ramble (thanks ADHD) but TL;DR: queering means living with intention, not following tradition/rules/etc by default, and this article helped me realize that. Thank you, Vanessa. Mazal tov!!!!

    P.S. As I mentioned, I am not engaged or married, but I’m happy to talk about Jew*ish* weddings with you at any point. Or queering Judaism in general. I’m leading a workshop on DIY Judaism next month (which I will now include the frame of Queering it!), so I’ve got a lot to say. :)

  7. I recently read and loved Something New by Lucy Knisley, which is a graphic novel memoir of her experience with DIY wedding planning (she’s queer, but married a man). There was some discussion of letting go of projects which made me think of it when I read this column.

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