How to Plan a wedding in a pandemic
This is a blog post of reassurance, a post of faith and belief that things will be ok. To all couples who were supposed to be getting married during this global pandemic you should read this. This is a true account and my honest opinion of COVID weddings.
We all know how hard the wedding industry has been hit during this pandemic. Dreams have been shattered and hearts broken. Vendors have been left hung out to dry with little business financial support on offer, it has been incredibly tough for us all and as we all know its not over, however I write this blog to give hope to those who are no doubt feeling pretty darn low and possibly can’t even face the prospect of getting married. I bring you good news.
I’ve been lucky to be able to Photograph 10 weddings since September 2020. These weddings have been under various COVID restrictions and then being in county lockdowns so they have been extremely challenging times for the couples and venues having to deal with last minute or even next day changes but with all the stress and upset they encountered every single couple said at the end of their wedding day they have had the best day loved every moment of it. And it’s given me hope which I want to pass onto you for when and how to plan a wedding.
I know if you are planning a wedding it’s difficult to see how it is going to work out, with restrictions on guests 15 or 30 people, how will people deal with the restrictions, what if new guides or further lockdowns happen and effect our day these are all perfectly normal questions to ask because we are in the unknown, but as more and more weddings happen then we get used to the new normal for a wedding day, and its still beautiful. You have to remember what your wedding is about and always it’s about the two of you committing your love and life together being with your closest family and friends. For me this is not any different as I tend to see these kind of numbers when I’m photographing a luxury destination wedding, I’ve seen how well it works in the villas of Lake Como and suites overlooking the Caldera in Santorini. 30 guests for me is something I’m used to and is wonderful.
So now you have to plan your wedding during COVID restrictions, don’t despair most of your plans can still happen like before we even heard of COVID. It feels like weddings are being brought back to the core fundamentals of love and not glitz.
Don’t get me wrong, the glitz of a wedding is wonderful the sparkle and entertainment that we have been previously used to can still be there. But now the glitz and sparkle can still be there but this is your chance to make things so personal and unique to you it’s a breath of fresh air.
Music can be acoustic, the harpist can still play as you walk down the aisle and a string quartet can still play. Your vows are spoken loudly and clear and again are said mask free, you can kiss, you can put each other’s rings on fingers and you can still hug.
You’re still with your bridesmaids and grooms men in the morning, your hair and make up still gets done, the champagne corks pop and tears are shed as your father sees you in your dress for the first time.
The ceremony either in a church or a civil service is exactly the same, the only noticeable difference in a church is no one can sing and let’s be honest no one does anyway! Readings can still be spoken. The blessing of the rings can still take place but the rings are not be touched by anyone only the couple, no big deal. Masks don’t have to be worn during the vows for the couple. Confetti can still be thrown by the handful.
The reception still has fizz flowing, when you have a drink in your hand you don’t need to wear a mask. You socially distance. Every wedding I have recently photographed has been luckily enough to have the drinks reception outside so masks outside don’t need to be worn. I would encourage as much outside as possible, get the co-ordinated blankets out to keep guests warm if they need it, get fire pits or outdoor heaters. These are slight compromises but honestly they work.
One of the weddings decided to have the drinks reception a little bit differently. Instead of the normal canapés the couple loved the idea of afternoon tea being served. So the amazing team at Fairyhill jumped at the chance to offer something unique and special and every wedding bubble had afternoon tea served on the terrance in the glorious autumn sun looking across the expanse of landscapes gardens, just simply wonderful.
Your family group photos are done in bubbles and those who wish to wear a mask during these brief moments can and again these are taken outside and the hip hip hoorays are still called out
Your couple portraits are still taken on location and I do my thing, just like normal
Your wedding breakfast is served and the room is decorated equally as beautiful as it used to be before COVID. Or you may opt for a candle lit fine dining experience for two like Jody & Dan did. This time instead of tables of 8 or 10 they are 3,4 or 5 all set to your bubble table plan. The room still looks full and exquisite with the floral arrangements leading toward the wedding cake. Wedding breakfast is served and the corks are popped ready for the speeches, laughter and tears. The cake is still cut.
The evening party is the thing that is different but remember different just needs to be better….think first dance outside on the terrace under the stars, fire pits glowing, and sparklers flickering. You can still have your first dance indoors and set up the reception room for the evening. After your first dance you may want to do evening speeches, you have acoustics duo playing in the background, the glitz and glamour of a cocktail lounge rather than a raging party, magicians can still amaze your guests with their show.
When you plan your wedding remember the glory days will come back and when they do have your wild evening party then. Get married now with 30 guests and then in a year have a blessing on the same day and have the wildest party – You will be one of the lucky ones who can say you married the same person twice!
The biggest thing I’ve seen is how normal it has all been…Well sorry that’s not right and unfair to say. The weddings I have been part of have been amazing, they have been wonderful. Seeing people happy again. Seeing two people together surrounded by their closest family and friends is special. Seeing couples thinking beyond the norm on how to plan a wedding, seeing venues being creative with what they can do to make these COVID weddings the most magical days of your lives and do you know what?….It’s worked there is nothing wrong with a COVID wedding under the current guidelines.
You just have to think outside of the box and make your wedding day special to you. Be bold be brave and tackle it head on. This is a chance to create something truly unique within the wedding industry. Make your wedding day your own. Just make different better! It’s not always possible to postpone and you may not want to! But instead let’s see what magic we can create and make this day an incredible one.
Love always wins.