Ask Una is a satire column in which we ask those burning wedding questions we know you’re thinking about but are too afraid to put in writing. So we did it for you. Seriously (we’re not serious).
I want a unique wedding hashtag, but all of the good ones are taken! My fiancé and I both have super common names (I’m Heather Johnson; he’s Ben Jones), and I’m seriously considering committing identity theft, or just marrying someone else to avoid the shame of anyone not being able to find our wedding photos online. #why #stressed #ugh #HELP
—Hashily Ever After
I got married a long time ago—in the Mesozoic Era before Instagram was invented and when hashtags were called “pound signs”—but I feel your pain. There’s a lot of pressure now to create a wedding brand across multiple social media platforms, whereas when I got hitched I was still updating my Friendster blog. There will always be something new to worry about when it comes to chasing the ever-elusive perfect wedding, but I’m truly sorry that making a witty pun out of your admittedly unexceptional monikers has you feeling too #stressed to be #blessed.
I put your names into an online generator, and some of the results were questionable at best. For example, I would not recommend using #HeatherLovesBJ or #BenFindsHisJohnson unless you have the kind of job that lets you wear sweatpants to work (I once had a friend use #KimGetsTheD in reference to her fiancé, Derek, but her bachelorette party involved a an ornate crown made of tiny phalluses, so if that’s not your idea of an acceptable #ootd, beware). On the other side of the spectrum, #JohnsonAndJonesMerger sounds like the world’s most boring law firm news.
Pop culture references are always fun if you can make them relevant. There’s an actor named Ben Jones—possibly your future husband, if you like 76 year-olds—who played Cooter on The Dukes of Hazard, although you probably want to avoid the word “cooter” to sidestep any unfortunate instances of Instagram misdirection. Using #LoveJones, on the other hand, will bring up approximately 5,000 images of Larenz Tate—a much safer bet.
The best hashtags, like the best ceremonies, are short and sweet, with just a touch of whimsy—too much and everyone will hate you. For example, you might think twice before forcing a play on words such as #AMarriageMadeInHeathBen, but #HighwayToTheDangerJones could work, especially if your fiancé is a terrible driver, or a Kenny Loggins fan.
In the end, of course, no one will remember your hashtag past the champagne toast. It will recede almost instantly into the digital abyss—alongside the fallen soldiers you presumably envy, such as #HeatherLovesBen (8 posts, one of which features a man in a fireman’s helmet, dancing while holding a beer) or #BenAndHeatherForever (1 post, a selfie of a wedding-goer’s aggressive tan). Someday in the very near future you will wonder why you spent any time at all worrying about it. Your wedding will be unique not because of how you tag a photo, but because of who you are. It will stand the test of time not on Instagram, but in future family lore about which guest got so drunk that they fell into a tray of mini spanakopita, or the fact that your mother-in-law will complain about her overcooked steak every chance she gets for the rest of her natural life.
So I suggest taking a breather and not forcing the decision right now. Maybe the perfect hashtag will come to you, but if it doesn’t, consider joining the ranks of the many happy couples who decided to accept defeat with a good sense of humor instead of hashing it out. You can find them online; just search for #ThisIsOurWeddingHashtag.
Una LaMarche has written four young-adult novels, Five Summers, Like No Other, Don't Fail Me Now, and You in Five Acts, as well as a comic essay collection, Unabrow. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Observer, Allure, and Parents, and online at the Huffington Post. The New York Times has called her writing “surprisingly seductive,” which she plans to use on her tombstone.