Before you read this article, take a moment to open Instagram and search the term “wedding”. As you’ll soon discover, the tag #weddingphotography includes more than 17 million posts. Similarly, #weddingdress rings in just over 20 million, while the tag #wedding appears in nearly 128 million posts. While some of these posts come from soon-to-be brides and grooms, many of them are, in fact, the work of wedding Instagram influencers.
Those tags represent only three out of hundreds. The pressure on soon-to-be-married couples to have an Insta-worthy wedding is sky-high, and that’s exactly what wedding Instagram influencers want. By subtly marketing stunning, awe-inspiring wedding photos, social media influencers effortlessly reel in loads of faithful followers. Dress sales and new trends inevitably follow. Whether or not we care to admit it, the wedding industry is inarguably under the sway of social media influencers.
The shift in marketing tactics didn’t happen overnight. Before the current age of technology, wedding inspiration was found in magazines, bridal shops, and pushy bridesmaids’ advice. Few others would see a couple’s wedding photos besides family and friends. But when the internet and social media entered the scene, users eagerly said “I do” to digital wedding planning.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Facebook is the most frequently used platform to share wedding plans and discuss details over group chat. In contrast, Pinterest and Instagram are overwhelmingly the most visited resources for wedding inspiration. Where once we had airbrushed bridal magazine covers to tell us how to get married, we now have an entire platform of wedding influencers and experts at our fingertips.
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Instagram has undoubtedly become a popular resource to influence those with upcoming nuptials, but how does it work? While Instagram offers a host of popular features, eye-catching posts are the bread and butter of wedding Instagram influencers. When Instagram users document their weddings and seemingly perfect lives, their idyllic images become inspiration for all soon-to-be-wed couples. In other words, influencers shape wedding trends to the point that the industry itself undergoes massive change.
Even performing a simple Google search on “wedding influencer inspiration” returns pages of results directing users to listicles of the top wedding influencers to follow. As newly-engaged couples begin to hunt for wedding ideas, the online repository leads them to the vast category of influencers who are more than prepared to offer tips and tricks.
Once users decide to follow wedding Instagram influencers, they can be exposed to sponsored content that celebrates benchmarks during wedding preparation, or helps wedding planners by giving pointers on which products to use or brands to consult. Popular wedding planner, Mindy Weiss, showcases Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label in a paid partnership post that encourages her audience to choose the celebratory liquor when they say yes to the dress.
Jess and Emily, the two DIY wedding inspirers behind Bespoke Bride, offer their audience a glimpse into DIY inspiration from another Instagram creator’s book. As wedding influencers specializing in the DIY space, the partnership presents naturally to an audience already primed to accept DIY brand recommendations.
Both examples only scratch the surface, but they support an understanding of the sheer influence of wedding tastemakers. What trends in a wedding influencer’s world and within the digital landscape soon begins to set trends within the wedding industry.
The power of hashtags is indisputable, but their influence is not always positive. Quite literally, Instagram has enabled future brides and grooms to “brand” their wedding with the use of hashtags. According to WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report, creating a wedding hashtag has grown 10% compared to two years ago. Tradition has it that weddings are about creating priceless memories, but the pressure to share like-worthy moments has diverted attention from the wedding itself to the portrayal of the wedding.
Social media trends are also prone to creating unrealistic expectations. The recent Royal Wedding is a perfect example. After the regal union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last May, searches for “wedding” across main social media platforms spiked enormously, demonstrating the ubiquitous interest online.
As if keeping up with the wedding online weren’t enough, searches for copycat wedding dresses and hairstyles boomed +80% more the week of the royal wedding. Inevitably, social media coverage of the event influenced wedding fashion interest.
Unfortunately, what’s feasible for Meghan Markle and highly touted Instagram influencers is not realistic for most people. While this discrepancy can lead to some envy and disappointment, when taken with a grain of salt, Instagram remains a valuable resource for wedding planning ideas. Not to mention, a highly useful marketing strategy.
With influencer weddings plastered all over the platform, Instagram influencer marketing has become a go-to source for wedding inspiration. The data shows that each year, newly-engaged folk are increasingly turning to social media to help plan their special day. So long as brides and grooms continue to plan weddings, wedding Instagram influencers will sustain strong influence within the industry hotbed.