When Happily Ever #Hashtagged founder Marielle Wakim found herself sorting through over 15 wedding invitations last year, she decided to turn the momentum from the nuptial chaos into a hashtag business that was far from the norm. "There's an old adage that says necessity is the mother of all invention," recalls Marielle, who before starting her moniker-based business focused her creativity as a full-time magazine editor. "Nearly all of those couples asked for help with their wedding hashtags because of my line of work," explains Marielle. "They were all like, 'Hey, you write words for a magazine! And you love puns! Can you help with our wedding hashtag?!,' and those who didn't ask, got ideas from me anyways (because it's true, I do love puns)." Relying on her love of word play, Marielle found a missing link in the wedding industry and recognized the need for a business that could help engaged couples formulate an added piece of whimsy into the biggest day of their life. "I created a website on a whim and launched it in November of 2016 thinking I'd get maybe one or two orders a week. A month later, my story was told in The Cut, and then on 'Good Morning America,' and it's been totally bonkers ever since."
In breaking down the tactful process of forming each hashtag, Marielle relies heavily on rhymes, puns, and idioms, in yielding a creation that's truly one-of-a-kind. A special list of instructions from a theme-loving couple can also lend a hand in the creative process. "It depends on what the couple is looking for—I always ask if they have special instructions, and many times they do: please don't use my maiden name, can you make it Disney-themed, we want to incorporate Chance the Rapper lyrics...the list goes on."
VIDEO: What Makes A Wedding Gown So Expensive?
Having seen her fair share of traditional names like Smith, Jones, and Roberts, Marielle discloses that the more unconventional the surname, the more unique the pun. "Half of the difficulty of my job is coming up with hashtags for people that have never been used before, or only used once or twice on Instagram, because seriously, it's impossible to keep tabs on the entire Internet," she explains. "Imagine how many Smith weddings there are vs. Trautwein weddings or Nordhus weddings or Rahman weddings." In reminiscing on some of her most prized hashtag designs, Marielle confesses that she's completed over 300 orders, and formulated over 1,000 hashtags since starting her business last year—a sky-rocketed number since some couples request up to five hashtags for their event. As for her favorites, the charm and resourcefulness is truly unrivaled.
Tres Penny and Katie Smith: #PennyFoundHisDime and #WithoutATres (Bachelorette)
Jessica Kennemer and Case McCoy: #JessCaseScenario
Lauryn Buza and Brennan Best (Cabo Wedding): #fiBESTa
Molly Goldbach and Chad Tempo: #MollyPicksUpTheTempo
Lexi Baltazar and Suleymaan Choudhry: #ChoudreamTeam
Realizing the uniqueness of a hashtag that's been customized for one of the biggest celebrations of their life, couples have applied Marielle's creations to platforms extending far beyond just social media. "Hashtags, like flowers, the cake, or the dress, are just another extension of a couple's personality," explains Marielle, "people love incorporating them into their party "merch," if you will: save the dates/invitations, coasters, balloons, and even on the side of a bus." For one bachelorette party, the bride had her hashtag printed on koozies that read #MissusSippy, as an ode to her love of the southern state. "The possibilities are seriously endless, and the creativity never ceases to amaze me," states Marielle, who continues to generate her whimsical, wedding word play for couples on their big day.