As you may have heard, W Hotels in New York is offering its wedding clients a new service. For $3,000, the soon-to-be betrothed can hire a "social media wedding concierge" who will live-tweet their big day, create a wedding hashtag, set up a wedding blog, and even curate "registry wish list[s] and dream honeymoon Pinterest boards to inspire."
Commentary on the news, which emerged Tuesday, has for the most part reflected some version of this Huffington Post headline: "Please Do Not Pay Someone $3,000 to Live-Tweet Your Wedding."
But Alyssa Kiefer, W Hotels' global social media strategist, is unfazed. In an email (W Hotels declined to let me speak to her by phone, saying Kiefer was on vacation), she said the service—which doesn't even have its own web page yet—is based on behavior guests have already exhibited, such as updating their Facebook statuses at the alter and asking how to get their weddings to trend on Twitter.
"Perhaps a relative can’t make it from another country or you just want a modern day ‘scrapbook" of sorts,’" she notes. The service includes not only wedding-day support, but social media support at every step along the way, providing, for instance, "shots of the engagement photos, the cake tasting, finding the perfect dress, and everything in between."
Yes, Kiefer has heard the criticism, but she doesn’t think that it will stand in the way of the program’s success.
"To some, this may seem a bit over the top and we’re okay with that," she says. "We’re sure couples balked at the idea of traditional wedding planners years ago and now you wouldn’t think of planning a wedding without one."
Regardless of whether a social media wedding concierge is necessary, she may have a point. The typical American wedding has transformed over the last 100 years from a small, private event hosted at home into an all-night production that in 2012, on average, exceeded the median income. In this context, it’s not particularly difficult to imagine the leap from where we are today to when a $3,000 social media concierge doesn’t seem absurd. What that says about how we use technology, the consumerization of weddings, and the point of getting married is more difficult to articulate—and best left to someone other than W Hotels.