On Tuesday, Starwood Hotels
(NYSE:HOT) announced that its four W Hotel properties in New York City will now offer a "Social Media Wedding Concierge" to couples booking the spaces as ceremony and/or reception venues. The bride and groom can "say goodbye to shameless wedding selfies," claims
the press release, and instead leave the Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) like-baiting and Twitter
(NYSE:TWTR) favoriting of the big day to the professionals.
"From live tweets and #hashtags to Vine videos and Instagram filters, W's Social Media Wedding Concierge will document the 'I Dos' and encourage guests to utilize a dedicated wedding hashtag for every one of their posts," says Starwood. Also included in the service's $3,000 price tag is a wedding blog, a registry wish list, and a Shutterfly book and collage of all the best-of moments from Facebook and Twitter.
Presumably, a hired photographer and separate videographer are already in attendance (and seemingly freeing up the bride from snapping pictures of herself with her smartphone), but the W's service isn't just about capturing the event; it's about getting it seen online, in real time, and by as many people as possible.
But who? Not the wedding guests who, as luck would have it, are bearing witness to the glorious affair happening live, in front of them. That leaves the poor saps without an invite. All of this raises the question: Does the couple really want to rub their #AwesomestWeddingEver! in the noses of every person in each of their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram networks who didn't make the guest list? And doesn't that scream #Bragzilla?
Or, at the heart of it, is it really about #LowSelfEsteem? Writer and entrepreneur Ben Parr put the dependence, er relationship, between the psyche and social media sphere this way: "Validation is the crack, Internet is the crack pipe and Facebook [and] Twitter are the dealers."
The wedding industry has long banked on our collective human insecurity, convincing American couples alone to shell out $51 billion on the public pronouncements of their personal life commitment to one another, lest the legitimacy of that stride down the aisle be thrown into question. It's not a surprise that the hospitality corporation has managed to up the nuptial anxiety ante by brilliantly tapping into yet another source of inadequacy -- our cravings for validation from social media -- to tap into the cash cow of wedding panic.
Being that a couple's wedding day is already all about them -- a down-payment-on-a-house-sized celebration of them, from the monogrammed napkins to the tiered cake topped with a miniature model of themselves -- needing to throw extra cash at a hired thumb to solicit even more kudos is one serious monkey of unlovability on their newly-joined back.
Meanwhile, three grand could go a long way toward therapy.
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