Commemorate your big day with a custom filter on Snapchat. (Image: Courtesy of Snapchat)
Weddings have been making good use of hashtags to gather their guests’ Instagram posts for a few years, but now there’s a whole new level of social media customization growing in popularity: Snapchat Geofilters. Even if some of us are still getting the hang of posing with flower crowns and dog ears on the app, this use of its features makes a lot of sense for parties with enough savvy attendees. It’s a way to encourage guests to make silly faces and take beautiful shots, all in the name of celebration.
Since February, Snapchat has offered the ability to design your own filters — a 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high image — for use within a set area (20,000 to 5 million square feet) for a limited period of time (half an hour to 30 days). The pricing starts at $5 and goes up based on the size and population density of the “geofence” (rural areas are cheaper than Times Square) and how long you want the filter in use. Then, once the event rolls around, anyone within that area using Snapchat with Geofilters enabled will see your custom filters. All they have to do is snap a photo, swipe on the filter, and share.
Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Mushnick
“My husband and I love Snapchat; we document all of the fun and funny things that happen in our lives with it,” recent bride Samantha Mushnick told Yahoo Style via email. “Because of this, we knew we had to incorporate it in the wedding.”
Of course, some celebrity weddings have also been quick to jump on the trend: Stylist Jamie Schneider used a filter for her star-studded April wedding in Aspen, Colo., and as a result, fans of Kate Hudson got to see snaps from the weekend adorned with “Congratulations, Nico & Sweet Baby Jamie, Aspen 2016.”
Snapchat offers some downloadable templates to customize yourself, but if you’re not confident in your own graphic design skills, there are already plenty of vendors offering to design Snapchat filters. Some invitation and event designers are adding this option to their packages, and specialists have been advertising their services on Etsy. A source from Snapchat said it’s best to submit the filters at least one business day in advance of the event, to allow time for the approval process. Any filters that violate the community guidelines will be rejected, which means no hashtags, social media handles, contact info, or copyrighted names.
Image: Courtesy of Snapchat
As with everything else at the party, the style of filter should reflect the couple’s personality. Wedding planner Danae Johnsen of Perfectly Posh Events in Seattle has seen two weddings with very different approaches to their Geofilters.
“In April, we had a couple, Norleen and Joe, who had their own custom-designed caricatures, complete with realistic features, like Norleen’s glasses and Joe’s suave hair,” Johnsen told Yahoo. “The filter had their cartoon couple holding hands with writing above them that read, ‘Congrats, Norleen + Joe!’ … If couples want a little more simplicity to their Geofilter, you can do what Karissa and Alex did, where they had their names written in a pretty script for guests to swipe and snap to celebrate.”
As with hashtags, you can get creative with how you encourage guests to use the app. Place a sign by the guestbook or seating cards, have the DJ announce it, or ask friends to help spread the word in person.
Mushnick’s cousin who works in social media hired a graphic designer to make her filter as a wedding gift, and though she doesn’t know exactly how many people were using the app, her cousin gave her the stats (available on the dashboard of the filter buyer) later: “The filter was used 102 times and viewed 4,081 times,” she said.
Snapchat couldn’t offer stats on how many people have created On-Demand Geofilters since February, but a spokesperson said that about 60 percent of the filters have been for commercial purposes and 40 percent for personal use, including weddings, proms, and birthday parties.
Half the fun of Snapchat is that it’s designed to be ephemeral and experienced in the moment — kind of the opposite of what you want in your wedding memories. If you’d like to save the pics, which are set to disappear in 24 hours, you have to plan for it. Mushnick said she screen-captured her friends’ snaps the day after her wedding, and she asked her close friends to save their “stories” and send them to her.
Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Mushnick
Now, how do you make sure your guests put their phones down eventually and party with you?
“The reality is, in the end, you can’t control how much or how little folks will use their phones on your wedding day,” Johnsen said. “There are things you can do, like request that they refrain from taking photos and posting them during the ceremony, but we live in a connected world. … The way I see it, if people are going to use social media on your big day anyway, you might as well have a fun outlet for people to celebrate your day in a unique way!”
Mushnick had her own strategy in place for making her friends look up once in a while: “I made sure the party was awesome, fun, and filled with alcohol!”