Brainstorming a wedding hashtag? Good luck finding one that hasnt #beendone.More than a decade of wedding hashtags have flooded social-media sites to help couples curate guests photos on their special day. But soon-to-be-newlyweds are finding it harder to identify a clever, distinctive phrase. An overused hashtag#HappilyEverAfter, say, or #WorthTheWaitcould leave them scrolling through wedding photos on social media that arent theirs.

This is how Katie Johnson, a 27-year-old speech therapist in Washington, D.C., found herself perusing wedding



groups to unearth hashtag ideas for her coming nuptials with her fiancé, Tevin Cummings. Their fairly common last names made originality a struggle, and she wanted a creative phrase. She offered the group a prize: Will Venmo the author of the winning hashtag, she wrote in August.

I wanted something that was cute and catchy but not super cheesy or lame, she says. Im not the most creative person in the world.

Within hours, more than 50 suggestions rolled in. She chose #TwoBeCummingsOne and says she sent the winner $5.

Facebook wedding groups show dozens of couples soliciting ideas from self-dubbed hashtag helpers by providing names, wedding dates, locationsand sometimes interests, careers, astrological signs and more.

These communities, such as the Wedding Hashtag Connection group on Facebook with nearly 30,000 members, lend a hand to brides and grooms with writers block.

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Tarah MacGregor, 29, in August posted in a group called Wedding Hashtag Experts offering $15 to whomever could provide the best hashtag before her engagement party a few months out. We didnt want a hashtag that five other people used, she says.

Within hours, she had 48 suggestions. Among them: #TarahnUpTheDancefloorWithTheLucianos, #LUCIANOoneElseButTARAH and #TARAHghtTimeToBeLUCIANO. She didnt end up using any ideas from the post, she says, but Its just cool to have a space where you can post to other people who are in the same position as you.

Ms. MacGregor, who is planning to take the last name of her fiancée, Marissa Luciano, landed on an idea based on some elses post: #LucianoAtLast, reflecting their shared name and an engagement that the pandemic extended, she says.

Between 2017 and 2019, more than 50% of couples surveyed by wedding-planning website The Knot set up hashtags for their weddings. That dipped to 40% in 2020, the site says, because of fewer wedding parties during pandemic shut-downs; the site doesnt have 2021 data yet.

Wedding hashtags have historically often combined a couples names and wedding year or date, says Marielle Wakim, Ms. Wakim, founder of hashtag-writing service Happily Ever #Hashtagged.

Its so beyond #JimandPamWedding2016 at this point, she says.

Ms. Wakim launched her Los Angeles-based business in 2016 as the wedding-hashtag trend was booming. Her prices range from one hashtag for $50 to five for $125. Some couples prefer having options or multiple hashtags for different events, such as a bachelorette party and wedding ceremony.

Clients want personalized, tailored, creative hashtags, she says. Some have had specific requests, like


-themed hashtags or ones that incorporate specific Chance the Rapper lyrics.

Some people might look at a hashtag and be like, $50 for a hashtag? she says. Theyre not really paying for the hashtag. Theyre paying for my brain.

Jalissa Carter, 32, a wedding planner and author in Springdale, Ark., started selling her hashtag skills in 2020 on


a network connecting customers with freelancers.

She had helped come up with ideas on Facebook groups free of charge, she says, and I was like, Oh, wow, Im really good at this. She started offering one hashtag and letting brides know they could negotiate prices if they wanted more.

It worked. Mrs. Carter found clients in brides with long or complex names that arent easy to pronounce or rhyme with other words, she says. Like many others offering hashtag services, she asks potential clients how to pronounce their names, whether they are looking for a punny or sophisticated hashtag, and a little about themselves.

Examples on her page include rhymes and puns, including #HappyChiHappyLife for bride-to-be China Henderson-Peters. The couple are already married but held off on their ceremony because of the pandemic, so Ms. Henderson-Peters says she still has time to select a winner from the six options Mrs. Carter provided. The most difficult part will be choosing which one, she says.

Theres a little bit of a competitive spirit there, too, says Lauren Kay, The Knots executive editor. Its one way to distinguish your wedding from the sea of weddings.

Hashtags are becoming more advanced as brides opt to keep their last names, says Caryn Sandoval, who leads a team of 11 hashtag writers at Wedding Hashers, a service based in San Diego. More customers are asking for hashtags that include both names, she says, or shared interests.

Thats always a fun challenge, Ms. Sandoval says. Its not just a silly wedding hashtag. Its like, how can we summarize this couple?

Stacy Ashton, 41, wasnt impressed with the hashtag options she paid for in July in a Wedding Hashers package giving her five for $35.

That included #AllAboutThatStace, meant to evoke lyrics of a 2014 pop song, All About That Bass, and #AlwaysBeMyBabyStacy after Mariah Careys Always Be My Baby.

Ms. Ashton, an Amherst, Mass., real-estate broker, says she isnt a fan of either song. I have no clue why they did that.

Instead, last month she chose #MyHeartIsSoldToDembinske, a reference to her career in real estate and her fiancés name, Eric Dembinske, which someone on Facebook suggested after she posted pleas for help.

Wedding Hashers Ms. Sandoval says the service offers rewrites and refunds for couples who dont like their hashtags. Ms. Ashton says she got a rewrite and didnt request a refund.

Jordan Youngdahl, 24, who works in marketing in Rock Hill, S.C., founded one of the largest hashtag groups on Facebook. She says many who join the group say I need help, I paid $30 for a few hashtags and theyre terrible.

A bride and groom named Sara and Tim sought help in 2019 after paying $30 from such a service for, among others, the hashtag #SaraHavingTheTimOfHerLife.

Im learning how expensive weddings are now, Ms. Youngdahl says. In that process, it has kind of taught me that not everything needs to be monetized.

For her own wedding in April, she doesnt plan to have her own hashtag at all.

Write to Alex Janin at [email protected]

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