How to Use Instagram to Plan Your Wedding

It’s no secret that couples can use social media when planning their wedding. But one site that stands out for its utility, wedding planners say, is Instagram.

“Wedding planners, vendors, photographers, florists and venues all use Instagram to promote their services, so couples can easily find wedding inspiration by following these types of accounts,” said Antonia Baker, an event and wedding planner in Fredericksburg, Va. “From hairstyles to wedding venues to design ideas, Instagram has it all.”

Here are expert-recommended tips to help you use Instagram to plan your wedding and seven Instagram accounts full of inspiration for your special day.

Search Using Hashtags

To take a targeted approach, Shannon Leahy, the founder and owner of Shannon Leahy Events, a wedding planning and events company based in San Francisco, recommends searching hashtags that fit the kind of wedding you’re envisioning, such as #barnwedding or #vintagewedding. “Now because of Covid, #microwedding, #tinywedding and #smallwedding are trending hashtags with lots of relevant wedding planning information for 2021,” Ms. Baker said.

Searching by hashtag can also allow you to find vendors in your area, said Frank Andonoplas, the owner and creative director of Frank Event Design, a wedding and events planning company in Chicago. Search for your city and the type of vendor that you’re looking for (#atlantaweddingphotographer).

Bookmark Your Favorites

To stay organized you’ll want to keep all of the photos that you like in one place, which you can do by clicking the bookmark icon below each post. “Just flip through, let your mind wander and save every wedding photo you find beautiful, even if you don’t know why,” said Ms. Leahy. “Going back and looking at your saved photos all together will give you a good indication of the color palette you are drawn to and the wedding style you like.”

Bookmarking your favorite posts will also come in handy when you meet with vendors to discuss your ideas. “We like seeing photos of a couple’s vision for their wedding,” said Ms. Baker.

Message Vendors and Other Brides and Grooms

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other Instagram users, such as brides and grooms that recently got married, to ask for referrals. You can also reach out to vendors on Instagram directly to inquire about their services, fees and availability. “I love it when brides message me with a question or ask for wedding planning advice,” Ms. Baker said. “Even if they aren’t ready to commit to hiring me, it gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge and help however I can.”

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Follow Accounts That Inspire You

When you find an Instagram account that you like, follow the account so that its future posts will appear in your news feed. The accounts that you follow “don’t even have to be wedding related,” said Katie O’Malley Maloney, the owner of Katie O’ Weddings & Events, a boutique wedding planner based in Latham, N.Y. “Think of artists, interior designers or influencers who share your style.”

“If you find a vendor you like, click on the arrow next to the contact box in their profile and Instagram will show you other vendors like them that you can follow,” Ms. Leahy said.

Look at Vendor Credits in Captions

Photo captions can provide useful information. “There’s an unspoken rule in the wedding world that when anybody in the industry — wedding planners, photographers, florists, etc. — posts a photo of a wedding they did, they credit all the other vendors involved by tagging their social media page,” Ms. Baker said. “This makes it easy for couples to reach out directly to the vendor they are interested in, even if they aren’t the vendor that posted the photo.”

Vet the Vendors That You Like Before Hiring Them

According to Ms. Leahy, “it’s easy to buy followers, likes, and repost pretty content, but you want to make sure the company has a solid website, reviews online and experience before you hire them.”

Mr. Andonoplas, the event planner in Chicago, recommends couples also read reviews of vendors on Google, WeddingWire, and the Knot.

Here are seven Instagram accounts to follow for wedding inspiration:

Maggie Austin

There’s no shortage of Instagram accounts featuring stunning wedding cakes, but this one shines by highlighting the owner’s unique sugar flower work, which uses an array of colors to turn wedding cakes into pieces of art. “Recording and sharing my process helps me better define my path as a creative person,” said Maggie Austin, a designer and the artistic director of Maggie Austin Cake, a company that offers sugar flower and cake design workshops in Alexandria, Va.

Pantora Bridal

Andrea Pitter Campbell, a wedding designer and the founder of Pantora Bridal, a Brooklyn-based bridal brand that specializes in selling wedding dresses that complement an inclusive range of body types and skin tones, said her company’s Instagram account “has allowed us to celebrate our brides before, after and during their weddings” by sharing photos of brides wearing the retailer’s wedding dresses.

Chris and Ruth Photography

Chris and Ruth Schmidt’s Instagram account may be the perfect cure for a case of wanderlust. The husband-and-wife destination-wedding photographers are based in Mallorca, Spain. They post picturesque photos from weddings they shoot around the world. They say Instagram has helped them attract customers. “Almost all of our couples found us through Instagram, and most of them followed us for years,” Mr. Schmidt said.

Empty Vase

Saeed Babaeean, the president of Empty Vase, a luxury floral company in West Hollywood, Calif., said his company uses Instagram to see what types of floral designs resonate with clients. “Our passion for flowers has always been palpable in our space, and Instagram has given us an excellent opportunity to share that online,” Mr. Babaeean said.

Equally Wed

This Instagram account, which posts photos of L.G.B.T.Q.+ proposals, weddings and honeymoons, “helps us stay true to our mission, which from the very beginning has been to showcase L.G.B.T.Q.+ love in an authentic way that proves its value and validity,” said Kirsten Ott Palladino, the editorial director and a founder of the Equally Wed website.

Beauty Asylum Hair & Makeup

Brides can find hair and makeup inspiration for their wedding looks on this Instagram account from Beauty Asylum Hair & Makeup, a company based in Charlotte, N.C. “We are able to use our Instagram feed as a look book for brides and potential clients,” said Jessica Lyness, the company’s owner.

Papel & Company

Natalia Otálora, the founder of Papel & Company, a boutique wedding stationery company based in Hallandale Beach, Fla., uses Instagram to demonstrate her design method, which involves using printing presses from the early 1900s. “Our product is not only aesthetically unique but it also involves many processes that can only be easily explained with images or videos,” Ms. Otálora said.

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