Some time last year I joined millions of users and started using Snapchat. If you’re not familiar with Snapchat, it’s a visual messaging app where you can send photos and videos, overlaid with text or fun filters, to other users, or post things on your public “Story” for others users to view. Geofilters are area-specific overlays that become part of the image or video that you are sharing.
Snapchat is great for behind-the-scenes glimpses of the lives of other users; along with following friends, I also started following a few random people because they were attending bands on tour, or celebrities whose personalities intrigued me. So when Kate Hudson shared videos from a wedding she attended — with a custom filter — I had to learn more. “Is this only available to the rich and privileged?” I wondered. “Do you have to have some sort of influence with the company?”
The good news is that Snapchat started letting people submit custom geofilters for a modest price. The length of time that you want your filter active, along with the size/location of your geofence will affect the total cost of your filter. But! It’s a relatively small expense for something that will amuse your guests — considering, of course, if many of your guests are avid Snapchatters. (You may hang with a totally different crowd, and that’s great too.)
So here is what you need to know about making your own custom wedding filter…
Start by designing and uploading your filter
This is the fun part! You can design your filter to tie in to your personalities! For example, if your dog is the ring bearer, have a little sketch of him in the corner wearing a bow tie. Did you fold a thousand origami cranes? Draw a crane in between your names. Remember to include your names and the wedding date!
If you aren’t particularly artistic, reach out to designers (Etsy has a bunch!) or creative friends. Or, use Snapchat’s templates! Just be sure to follow Snapchat’s guidelines:
- files should be 1080 (width) x 1920 (height) pixels
- submit as PNG with transparent background
- no hashtags, social handles, logos, URLS, or photos
When you’re ready, submit it to Snapchat via this link. You should already have an account to submit.
Select dates for the filter to be active & Draw your geofence
The length of time it will be active will influence the final price, so play around with it. My recommendations:
- if you are getting ready at your venue (hair, makeup, getting dressed), start the filter when you will arrive
- if you are getting ready at a separate place (salon, home, hotel), set your start time for about an hour before guests arrive
The size of your geofence will affect the pricing as well. You can draw a fence around your venue (the map is pretty accurate; you can leave off driveways, venue offices, and so on). Once you’ve submitted your geofence for consideration, it can’t be altered, so pick wisely!
Checking out with Snapchat doesn’t automatically mean that your geofilter is approved, but they won’t charge your card just because you submitted a filter. If you’re approved, your card is charged 24 hours before the filter goes live. Snapchat will send you emails on the progress of your filter’s application process and when it goes live.
While Snapchat filters are an awesome way to amuse your guests and have a cohesive “look” to your friends’ snaps, there are some thoughts to keep in mind.
- It encourages cell phone snapping, which can get out of hand during the ceremony. Personally and professionally, I prefer that guests not photograph mid-ceremony, and suggest to all of my couples to consider an unplugged ceremony. That said, however, if you make your wishes clear, hopefully your guests will adhere to your request.
- Snapchat is ephemeral in that messages to other users are cleared after viewing, and posts to personal Stories are cleared after 24 hours. If you’d like your guests to save their geofiltered images, they’ll have to remember to do it! (Or, I suppose you could go home after your wedding reception and scroll through the images and screenshot them all — but that won’t help with saving geofiltered videos.)
- If you’d like people to use the filter, tell them ahead of time (maybe by sending out an alert on Facebook or on your wedding website) so that they know it’s there. It’s still a relatively new thing, so most people probably won’t be looking for it.
- Take your venue’s wifi-ability into account! This would probably be great at a downtown location where signal is strong, but out in Dripping Springs where many venues don’t have guest wifi and I get, at best, 1 bar (thanks, T-Mobile…), it may just be a frustrating user experience when snaps won’t post.
I hope this post was useful! Get snapping!
Credits for Snaps: The Getty from Jessica Schilling; DC from Sarah Ewing; Reykjavik by me; wedding snaps from Zachary Long, NY Wedding Photographer (used with permission)