• Fiona Bielby

Well that was one to remember...CHEERS!

Where do I start? I’ve been thinking about what I might write for my end of year, annual blog for a while now. Usually, I celebrate all of the wonderful weddings and family shoots I’ve completed over the year and it’s all rosey and lovely, don’t get me wrong there’s been plenty of moments like that in 2020, it just didn’t pan out how I’d/we’d expected…

2020 was the year I’d been waiting for, with over 20 weddings on my calendar and bookings still coming through, the year was looking exciting and full of prospect: I was looking forward to meeting all of my couples and hearing about what plans they had made so far; I’d booked and carried out some photography training during February and was looking forward to putting my new skills in to action. Who could have second guessed what was around the corner, not less than a month away.

The news was brimming with stories of this new virus; alas, it was over seas and naively, I’d put it at the back of my mind. In the middle of March I captured my first wedding of the season, little did I know this would be my first and last of what we called normal weddings for the rest of the year.

Bride hugging groom
These two, got in touch in January to book their March wedding.

Photo time
Guests clustered together and grabbed every photo opportunity possible.
Guests at a wedding
Not a mask in sight, ironically this now looks strange!
Bride and groom portrait
Flowers for the bride
guest group photo
Group photos, they didn't take quite so much thinking about! "Everyone just pile in as close as possible!" This was one of my favourite instructions, maybe I won't use this one for while...
Portrait, of bride and groom
The meet and greet.
Ah, the traditional line up, to greet everyone, you wouldn't dare now would you! A sad truth.

The news broke that following Friday, weddings would be halted, pubs would be shut, school closures were imminent and we were warned NOT to go and visit our mothers at the weekend for what would be Mothering Sunday. New phrases like social distancing and isolating were being more frequently used and I received a heartbreaking phone call from my weekend’s bride to be, who was due to be wed the following day. It all seemed somewhat surreal, how could you be planning your wedding for the next day and then at 5pm be told you couldn’t go trough with it with less than 24 hours to go. Honestly, the scenario is and was unimaginable.

Engagement photoshoot.
This is the couple who had to postpone their wedding with just hours to go. They tried again to have a 2020 wedding, now they're aiming for a 2022 one instead and I don't blame them!

The kids went off to school the following Monday to then be told one would be closing on the Wednesday and the other on Friday, a few weeks were mentioned to begin with and the weeks turned into months. The postponements came in waves, firstly, the spring/summer weddings, then the autumn ones, followed then by the spring weddings of 2021. At first, as an industry we thought we might receive help, maybe the wedding insurance would pay out or the government would pass us a grant; nevertheless, in my case and in many others’ this help never arrived. Our contracts were ripped to shreds and we were told our time was unaccountable, it didn’t matter. It was infuriating and at times made you feel a little worthless, like your efforts didn’t count. Then from nowhere you’d get a lovely email, from a couple or a client being grateful for your time and understanding, for as they put it “bending over backwards” to help them and it all seemed worth it, what else were we to do other than help, after all in my mind the couples had suffered enough, it wasn't their fault. I had past clients and new ones wanting to support my business, by buying gift vouchers for birthdays or booking one of my doorstep/mini sessions. This was what lifted my spirits in what sometimes felt like a dark hole with no light, so thank you for everyone on of you would took the time to do one of those things.

Family portrait
I loved doing the doorstep sessions over summer.
Newborn family portrait
There were so many babies born over lockdown and Mums and Dad worrying about capturing their arrival.
Lifestyle photography
This is what this family had been doing over lockdown...
Family fun
I loved getting my friends involved too!
Family portrait
This family were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new baby.
Family portrait
My gorgeous friend broke her hip during lockdown, just to keep things interesting!
family portrait
Another awesome doorstep session, who later planned their wedding in a few weeks and became Mr and Mrs in December 2020. I got to capture it too!
Family portrait
Welcome to the world Angelica, not quite the world Mum and Dad had planned...
Doorstep session
Capturing the essence of lockdown, families became closer than ever.
Newborn session
Thanks for supporting my business yet again, Becky and Andy! I loved meeting Everly.
Family photo session
Outdoor adventures are my favourite thing anyway, so this just got better, I took this family back to where I grew up!
Family portrait
Getting dogs involved, is a must!
Family photoshoot
This was one of the hottest photoshoots I did in 2020 it was near 30 degrees by the time we finished.
Mother and daughter
This is the windiest!
New material
My bestie acted as a model with her family, so I could get some new material, this was my first trip out after lockdown and advertising for my doorstep sessions..
Family shoot.
Sometimes I get to capture families on a regular basis, this is the third time I've captured Kimberley and Kieran with Lorelei , now they have Connal.
Family shoot
Someone bought these three a voucher during the first lockdown, I shot their family during October in the autumn sun.
Engagement session
My friend bought her brother a voucher to celebrate his engagement, thanks Aimee!
Family session
Another awesome shot from my Crambe session, I used to love riding through these woods as a child.
Mini shoot
One from my winter mini sessions, I was super busy!
Loads of people opted for family photos for Christmas presents in 2020.
Lifestyle shot.
A winter, mini session with yet another dog! So much fun.
Family photo
My friend Heidi supported my business by doing photos for family presents too, thanks so much!
Family shoot
Lizzie bought her parents a voucher for Mothers Day, as they were bubbling, we were able to get some fun shots in October.
Maternity session
I'm looking forward to capturing their baby this year!
Mother a daughter
Heidi, my friend, and her daughter..
Leafy fun!

As the restrictions lifted, a new era dawned: optimistic couples crept out of the cracks wanting to make the most of what they could still do; some of them just wanted to be married and decided they could party afterwards, at a later date; some of them only wanted a small gathering anyway; others decided they could really treat their nearest and dearest with luxury meals and drinks because there were fewer mouths to feed. Not only did I keep bookings that had been made, but I got new bookings too from brides and grooms who could afford to do something more glam due to not having to cater for as many. My first post-covid wedding took place between Tina and Clairewyn at The Star Inn where they turned everything on it’s head just to represent the times they were tying-the-not in and had canapés and champagne before their ceremony, it was a wonderful day, getting to see people enjoying one another company once more, be it from afar, it was just like the start of a new chapter- happiness again.

Star inn
The Star Inn at Harome, I love this spot, the staff are great as is the food.
photo of the dress
guests waiting for the celebrations to begin
Documenting the 'stuff'
Bridal prep
They got ready together, I love this shot of Clairwynn getting Tina in her dress.
Bridal prep
Wedding Photography
The guests mingling from a distance, all before the ceremony.
wedding photography
Wedding Photography
The Star have just added this new extension on in their gardens, the bedrooms are amazing and it's all so fresh.
wedding photography
It looks a little different, but still, it's a lovely setup.
wedding photography
The new 'norm' guests in masks.
wedding photography
Happy smiling couples are just the best bit of my job.
wedding photography
wedding photography
wedding photography
My portraits are very relaxed, little posing goes on.
wedding photography
This is as posed as I get!
wedding photography
Clairwynn's pride and joy. (That's the camper van!)
wedding photography
Tina's Dad surprised her with a speech.
wedding photography
Well, how could we not!! I had to get them in masks!

I got to see couples reinventing their day after that!

Rebecca and Iain enjoyed afternoon tea in the grounds of the Church...

wedding photography
Rebecca got ready at her friends.
wedding photography
Obviously, everyone was masked up!
wedding photography
St Lawrence's Church in York. Ironically, the place where my last 'normal' wedding took place!
wedding photography
Last time the guests wore no masks, this time, everyone wore them.
wedding photography
The speeches took place in the Church Hall, it's very clear to see who came with who here.
wedding photography
wedding photography
The afternoon tea took place in the church grounds, this was the last weekend of being able to have 30 guests-little did they know.
wedding photography
The afternoon tea hampers were super, one for each person.
wedding photography
We went to Monk Bar for photos and created our own sign language so we could communicate for what they would do in each shot. Very funny! So many peeping horns.
wedding photography
wedding photography
wedding photography
wedding photography

Rachel and Karl planned their wedding in weeks and enjoyed a meal with their family around what looked like a medieval banquet table.

wedding photography
Rachel's emotions caught her off guard as she was delivered to Karl, her husband to be, by her Dad.