Although weddings are not exactly private affairs unless happening at the Attorney General’s office or mafefeine (come we stay), they are occasions that only the couple’s relatives, close friends and colleagues get to attend and celebrate with the couple. For most couples, they would never imagine disclosing to the world even their close relatives where they will be spending their honeymoon or the gory details of how many times they made love or in what positions.
That is soon changing.
The first live tweeted wedding & honeymoon in Kenya was done by Marcus Olang’ and his wife Njeri who brought sponsors on board for not just their wedding day but also for their honeymoon. Part of the contract was to make the event trend online hence brand visibility.
— Marcus Olang’ (@marcusolang) January 16, 2015
The couple decided to have a public 100-day countdown to their wedding on Facebook and Twitter. Each day, as they disclosed to the Daily Nation in an interview, the couple shared posts about their upcoming wedding. “We wanted the public to be part of our journey,” said Marcus. A special hashtag #HouseOfOlang was set aside through which which all preparations leading up to the event, the ceremony and the honeymoon there after were shared with Kenyans online. Within just 4 months of their wedding, Njeri Olang’ underwent pre-nuptial depression and had to undergo professional counseling, it is not clear if the two were related. Today, social media has been ablaze the whole day with shares of the wedding between two TV news anchors Dennis Okari & Betty Kyallo under the hashtag #BettyWedsDennis From the updates shared, it was quite clear that several brands were sponsoring various aspects of the wedding such as the Jaguar cars which RMS confirmed via a tweet, were their sponsorship to the media personalities wedding. Darling Kenya the makers of hair weaves and extensions were also some of the sponsors.
Kenyans online reacted in different ways with many congratulating the couple. There are those who chose to make light hearted humor about sponsored weddings.
Wedding has been sponsored for yeeeears!! Kwani what are wedding committees for??
— Social Experiment (@MediaMK) October 2, 2015
You can’t win with miros. You want a grand wedding. But don’t want to pay for it yourself. And also don’t want it to be sponsored. — Raden Wijaya (@roomthinker) October 2, 2015
Lmfaooo @Gishuvski : Wedding ya Mbunde itakuwa sponsored na Kiwi.”
— Kijana Wa Polisi (@HizelMutahi) October 2, 2015
A few of the discussions that I found interesting were those on the privacy of such personal event such as weddings, honey moons and family milestones and if there the word ‘privacy’ still exists in this digital age where people quickly share photos of places they are and events online.
Am very happy for Betty and Dennis.. also I am equally mortified at the idea of a wedding hashtag… — Kikuyu Somali (@bettywaitherero) October 2, 2015
a hashtag for a wedding?? mmh. It’s all fun right now until they break up and tweeps be all over their case. Let’s hope it wont come to that
— Ole Kuntai (@samkinah) October 2, 2015
we live in times that even a wedding is a top trending hashtag — brian kuira (@kuirab) October 2, 2015
A lot of things have changed since the prevalence of smartphones and affordable internet and having a hashtag for a wedding is only the begging of what we can expect in future.
There are however a few questions that a couple considering inviting the whole world to their wedding via a hashtag should ask themselves like;
-Are we ready to open up our lives to total strangers for them to either celebrate with us or ridicule?
– Is having a hashtag for our event that important?
– Are we strong enough emotional to deal with all the attention
– What lines should we draw regarding our privacy as a couple and as a family
As a friend of mine put it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a hashtag for your wedding or having a brand sponsor a part of it. However, its the dealing with the fame online and the high that the likes and trending gives one that is tricky, not to mention the low that you hit when those likes, follows and mentions start dwindling.