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.
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.
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.
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.
I got to see couples reinventing their day after that!
Rebecca and Iain enjoyed afternoon tea in the grounds of the Church...
Rachel and Karl planned their wedding in weeks and enjoyed a meal with their family around what looked like a medieval banquet table.
Sandy and Graham had a beautiful church service, they listened to hymns instead of singing them and then got caterers to deliver a meal for their immediate family, I couldn’t photograph this as it was in their home.
Sophie and Morgan, shaved their 40 guests down to 15 and enjoyed time with them at their venue, they did quizzes and designed linen square so they can make it in to a patchwork quilt.
Hannah and George moved their wedding forwards fro the end of November to the day before Lockdown 2, they enjoyed games and live music as they are all very gifted and took in in turns to play the piano. They live-streamed their wedding service and video-called guests who were unable to attend.
Kelly and Steven enjoyed getting married in there dream venue with delicious food and drink after planning their day in just weeks.
Hannah and Tony planned their wedding in days after being given a wildcard date off the registry office, they said their I dos and then went for a meal with their witnesses afterwards.
My point is, it may not have been what they’d planned, but they achieve their ultimate goal, to be man and wife or wife and wife. They enjoyed every minute, had time to chat and laugh with their guests and none of them felt their day had been impacted for the worse. There were no rules or expectations just people, happy to be in each others company. The venues dealt with the scenario perfectly too, ok, they looked different, but not for the worse, 2020 will be a year that goes down in history, these weddings will be talked about in the future they’ll be used as examples of what we had to do to get by and protect the ones we love. The sacrifices we made to save others. My business my have been effected by the covid ways, but the time made way for me to spread my wings in other areas of photography, that have interested me in a longtime too. I launched an equine side to my business and bought my own equine friend too!! This has all been very exciting.
For those of you who haven’t met April, here she is, she’s 2 years and 8 months now, she’s a Welsh Sectioned D and was wild living on the Welsh mountains, until June last year. We’ve met some challenges over the last few months with her; however, at the moment we’re making steady progress, she’s stopped launching herself at me and trying to kick and bite, as I walk her in and out of the field. Haha 😂
We can now pick all her feet up properly, saddle and bridle her; plus, this week it would seem I've managed to crack lunging and last Saturday Natalie sat on her back for the first time. We are looking forward to backing her properly this Easter. I’m enjoying learning as we go and watching tutorials in natural horsemanship ways. I will keep you updated on My April and her progress.
I also worked LOTS in my local community, making some awesome connections with other small, local businesses during my advent calendar project and Malton blog that I started before lockdown 1, because of which I now have some very exciting projects to look forwards too this year. It’s going to be great to feel part of a team again, whilst working with them.
So all in all, 2020 wasn’t a total waste of time, I met some amazing people, made great connections, expended my businesses horizons and I gained two work mates too. Lewis and Natalie have been working from home, they have been fantastic working super hard as have their teachers! I hope 2021 is a little smoother ride nevertheless. Check out my packages for family photo sessions, weddings, equine shoots and commercial photography, if you're a local business who would like me to work with you on a more regular basis, I offer a reduced rate too, so get in touch.