Imagine a world where hardly anyone has a smartphone. Where there are maybe 20 people on Twitter and they're using it not to broadcast a running play-by-play of life, but to curate nice memories.
It was 2008, and Jon Bohlinger was getting married. He'd also just signed up for Twitter, having stumbled upon some story buried deep on Slashdot while procrastinating at work. He started discussing his upcoming nuptials. A guy he knew asked if there was going to be a hashtag for the event. Bohlinger just came up with one off the top of his head: #BohWed.
"It just seemed like the thing to do at the time. Why the hell not?"
It was a small wedding. There were maybe half a dozen tweets. If only he could predict the wedding hashtag boom to sweep Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest in coming years, Bohlinger says he definitely would have tried to make a business out of it.
Nowadays, they're a staple of millennial weddings, a creative challenge on par with choosing a color scheme or the exact posture of indie cake toppers. The punnier the better, generally, particularly for brides and grooms with common names. And while original hashtag real estate shrinks daily, online generators have stepped in cook up uniquely corny options.
Recently, Buzzfeed launched an investigation to find the original couple behind the phenomenon. When they singled out Bohlinger of Crystal, he was taken aback, and immediately apologetic.
"I'm truly, truly sorry that it's emerged in the way that it has," he says.
Looking back, he and his wife, Anna, didn't obsess about the wedding hashtag, but they obsessed about other minute details. "The story of weddings is always a story of chaos and over-planning. Do I think it's a bit much? Yeah, but I think weddings are a bit much. Do I think it's a bit strange? Yeah. But more power to everyone who's doing it."