5 MIN­UTES WITH… A WED­DING HASH­TAG GEN­ER­A­TOR

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Mag­a­zine ed­i­tor Marielle Wakim has turned cus­tom hash­tags into a thriv­ing business – Hap­pily Ever #Hash­tagged.

HOW DID YOU TURN WED­DING HASHTAGGING INTO A JOB?

If there are two things I love, it’s wed­dings and word­play. So, when hash­tags for wed­dings be­came a thing, it felt nat­u­ral to marry those two loves. In 2016, I was in­vited to 16 wed­dings. Be­cause I’m in­sane, I at­tended 14 of them. Nearly all of those cou­ples asked for help in com­ing up with per­son­alised hash­tags. As a full-time ed­i­tor work­ing at a wed­ding mag­a­zine, I pretty much pun for a liv­ing. It made me think there could be a business here.

YOU CHARGE US$50 PER CUS­TOM HASH­TAG. HOW DID YOU COME TO THAT PRICE?

I took a poll among friends and fam­ily to come up with a rea­son­able pric­ing struc­ture. Some thought I could charge more; oth­ers thought I was over­charg­ing by a mile. But, in the grand scheme of the In­dus­trial Wed­ding Com­plex, this is prob­a­bly the cheap­est thing a cou­ple will pay for dur­ing the plan­ning process.

WHAT IS YOUR CRE­ATIVE PROCESS BE­HIND COM­ING UP WITH THE PER­FECT HASH­TAG?

That’s a trade se­cret! But I can tell you that I rely heav­ily on rhymes, puns and id­ioms. I al­ways ask if a cou­ple have spe­cial in­struc­tions – like, please don’t use my maiden name; make it Dis­ney-themed or we want to in­cor­po­rate Chance the Rap­per lyrics! It’s yet an­other ex­ten­sion of a cou­ple’s per­son­al­ity. Like the cake or the flow­ers or the dress, they want ev­ery­thing to be tai­lor-made to them.

HOW BUSY HAS THE BUSINESS BEEN GO­ING SO FAR?

I’ve had more than 300 or­ders so far, which is more than 1000 hash­tags when you con­sider peo­ple are or­der­ing pack­ages of three or five. I also have a wait­list that hov­ers around 150 peo­ple. Most of my cus­tomers are mil­len­ni­als, but I’ve had or­ders for 60th birth­days, sec­ond and third mar­riages and fam­ily trips. A hash­tag, at its most ba­sic level, is a sort­ing mech­a­nism so they can see all the pho­to­graphs they missed.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE HASH­TAG CRE­ATION TO DATE?

I loved #Mol­lyPick­sUpTheTempo (the groom’s sur­name was Tempo) and #JessCaseS­ce­nario (for a bride named Jess). To come up with five good ones I of­ten have to come up with 10 bad ones. But I love that I’m part of peo­ple’s spe­cial day.

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