In a world full of avid Tweeters, Facebookers and Instagrammers, it seems nearly every event finds new life on World Wide Web. So perhaps it's no surprise that, when it comes to weddings -- for many, the mother of all events -- someone has found a way to monetize that.
For couples who want to share their nuptials with their online circles as well as in-the-flesh guests, "social media wedding concierge" is an actual service now offered at a handful of wedding venues. On Tuesday, W Hotels started offering the service to clients who choose to marry at one of their New York City hotels.
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The cost is $3,000 and includes the “curating of a unique wedding #hashtag,” “live tweeting of the ceremony and reception” and a “social media recap for the couple,” according to an e-mail from W Hotels.
The e-mail -- and the existence of this service -- surfaced after this tweet went viral, with hundreds of folks criticizing the idea.
HLN spoke with Alyssa Kiefer, the Global Social Media Strategist for W Hotels, to learn more.
Kiefer says the concierge does more than just live-tweet a wedding: He or she would also capture behind-the-scenes moments of key planning stages, like cake tasting or taking engagement photos, as well as set up and maintain a wedding blog, curate a registry wish list and create a Shutterfly book from all the social media posts.
HLN: Why did you decide to offer the social media concierge service for weddings?
Alyssa Kiefer : We’ve been noticing a huge trend among our wedding clientele to integrate social media into the wedding experience. Think about it -- every milestone event, whether it’s a wedding, engagement, graduation, etc., is documented through guests’ personal social channels. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have become the status quo. So many of our couples are asking guests to use a specific hashtag when uploading photos and we even have guests update their Facebook status while standing at the altar! That got us thinking… we at W pride ourselves on our “Whatever/Whenever” service, so what better way to stay ahead of the curve than to offer social capabilities as part of a wedding package with W Hotels? It’s one less thing a bride or groom has to worry about.
HLN: Does this service replace the guests posting to social media?
AK : Not at all! Guests are more than encouraged to post -- it’s their memories too! Our job is not just about posting to social media -- we’re consulting with couples from the day you book your wedding. We can help capture shots of the engagement photos, the cake tasting, finding the dress, and everything in between. Guests can and should feel free to post and interact as much as they wish. If a bride wants the opposite experience, our on-site wedding planners can accommodate and even “check” cellphones at the door. Whatever the couple wants for their big day, the couple gets.
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HLN: If guests are allowed to post, what are your dos and don’ts for using social media at the wedding?
AK : The standard social media etiquette guidelines applies: Don’t overshare, space out the timing of your posts, keep your hashtags minimal, be courteous, and perhaps most important of all, have fun and don’t forget to be in the moment.
HLN: Have you had any clients who have used the social media concierge service?
AK : We just launched this offering yesterday, so no guests have used it yet. However, we are already seeing tremendous response through our social channels. We even have people asking us how they can apply for this “dream job.” It’s amazing the power of social media.
HLN: How did you determine the price for it?
AK : Similar to a traditional wedding planner, the Social Media Wedding Concierge will be involved in all aspects of the big day. Our concierge is involved in every step of the planning process, from the day you book your wedding to after the celebration. Think of it as us helping to craft your “I Do” social strategy. A huge trend we’re seeing from the bride and groom is wanting the capture all of their guests’ photos in one place. With a social media consultation, we’ll be able to help craft a strategy and personalized hashtag for guests to ensure they’re tagging all photos appropriately for your special day. In this day and age, everyone at your wedding is a glorified photographer -- let’s make sure the memories are captured and chronicled correctly.
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HLN: Have you gotten any feedback, positive or negative, about this service?
AK : People have been very vocal about the service and it has sparked some interesting online dialogue.
HLN: We’ve seen a lot folks tweeting about this service, some defending it, but the majority questioning it or calling it “over the top.” How would you respond to the critical comments?
AK : W is all about what’s new and next. We’re innovative and sometimes that means pushing the envelope to deliver the ultimate experience for our guests. To some, this might seem a bit over the top but we’re sure people balked at the idea of traditional wedding planners years ago. Now [a lot of] couples wouldn’t think of planning a wedding without one.
HLN: We know social media plays a huge role in wedding planning, but do you think hiring a social media concierge will eventually become the norm, like hiring a caterer or a photographer? Where do you see the role of social media in the wedding industry going next?
AK : The typical wedding has transformed over the years and has certainly become a large production with so many different elements at play. With social media now integrated into every aspect of our lives, it’s not too hard to imagine how big a role it also plays at important life moments, such as your wedding.
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