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  • Writer's pictureFiona Bielby

ZERO TO ONE HUNDRED | A whirlwind of a year, but here's the best of 2021

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

Ask any photographer what their year was like in 2021 and they’ll all say the same thing, "It went from zero to one hundred, overnight!"

It was absolutely true; as 2021 began, our trade lay dormant, nothing happened.

Once again, we were unable to work and the process of rescheduling dates began, with some weddings having to postpone not for the first or the second time, some their third and maybe even their fourth, since setting their original date. It was devastating for the couples affected and by now, some of them were so fed up by the dreaded process of changing dates, that they were opting to push their dates back to 2022 and beyond in the hope they’d be able to have their dream wedding.

So I began the year, with a diary full of red marks, scribbles and countless names moved from A to B. It was pretty nerve racking if I'm honest, there had been so many moves as I've previously mentioned, that I was just hoping a praying to God that I hadn't made a mistake somewhere along the line.

There were a lot of emails going about with dates, double checking, they were right.

Now let's rewind 8 months, to where we went from 0-100...Things were so different to how they look now, I know we aren’t out the other side of this just yet, but we are a lot further on than we were. So eight months ago, I shot my first 2021 wedding, yes in May and no it isn’t normal for the first wedding in a photographers diary to be in May. What did it look like? Well the bride looked like a princess and the groom scrubbed up well too, but when it came to their day, things were still far from normal.

Amber and Rob had booked their day just after the Pandemic began back in 2020, thinking that they’d be absolutely fine by the time their date came around 14 months later, they were; however, to be wrong. Looking back some might say people using the first ever 2020 lockdown to book and plan weddings were crazy; but believe me, so many people did this. It goes without saying, back then anyone in the wedding industry was pleased to still be receiving bookings-the deposits really helps us keep ticking over! Venue's even went as far as offering virtual viewing, it was this stage of initiative thinking that saved people in our industry for sure.

Bride and Groom kiss outside of church next to the car, in Old Malton
Amber and Rob got married in Old Malton and went on to the Castle ruins in Sherif Hutton for their reception.

Nevertheless, Amber and Rob later told me they wouldn’t have changed a thing, they had loved every minute and had enjoyed quality time with their guests that were still able to come. I had another five weddings with the same limitations as the first following their wedding, where the guests had to wear face coverings, no singing was permitted and they were limited to 30 guests. It seems slightly surreal now: just like that, on 19th July, it changed and things returned to the most normal they had been in a long time.

Just in time for the summer holidays my diary was mental with at least one wedding a weekend and countless family shoots being squeezed in mid-week, along with a bit of commercial work too.

Walking between a tunnel of guests as confetti is thrown over them, the couple are laughing and holding hands.
Justine and Chris had the sunniest wedding at The Sun Pavilion, in Harrogate. How very fitting.

The couple embrace and enjoy a hug infant of the Porche at The Star Inn, in Harome.
Jeremy and Louise shared their day the The Star Inn at Harome, they had their nearest and dearest around them.

Resting the elbows on the gate, the couple look happily at each other with the Talbot Hotel behind them.
Phil & Cath planned their day at The Talbot Hotel, even though they're from Birmingham, because Cath is a Malton girl through and through.

The sun is setting in the background and the couple a kissing, you can only see their silhouette.
I travelled to Cornwall to capture Kai and Charlotte's day, we got the most amazing sunset and everything went perfectly.

Jane is wrapping her arm around Nick neck and is touching her forehead on his.
Jane & Nick have been together for nearly 20 years; they chose to tie the knot with just their best friends watching.

Leaving the Civic Hall, the couple are showered with confetti, they look excited and really happy.
Sarah and Sean got married at the Civic Hall in Leeds and then walked through the city centre to their favourite restaurant for food.

Through the green vegetation you can see the groom carrying his bride across the grass.
Chris and Fangqin celebrated their English wedding at Thicket Priory, they planned to have another wedding in China soon.

Between Pickering Castle walls and the tree line, the couple walk hand in hand towards to camera.
Heather and Warren enjoyed getting married in the same church that Heather's Grandparents had tied the knot in, they then enjoyed a lovely meal and party at The White Swan in Pickering.

The groom is messing around pretending his finger is a gun, his bride is laughing at him.
Drew and Pippa enjoyed a little road trip with me to Duncombe Park grounds for photos.

The happy couple are saying their vows, whilst standing on the platform at Pickering railway station.
Karen and John enjoyed a day on the railway, after saying their vows on the platform at the MYMR in Pickering.

The bride and groom are looking in to each other's eyes, their dog is sat in front of them.
Nadine and Dave got married because their grandchildren asked them to, they enjoyed a day at The Crown Spa Hotel in Scarborough.

Stood in front of the Christmas tree at Burythorpe House the bride  and groom are smiling at each other.
Jen and Matt got married at Burythorpe House, just before Christmas-it's their favourite time of year and they love the venue because of it's home-from-home feeling.

Blimey! It was like riding a hurricane at the time, stuff everywhere and so much to remember, after all I'm capturing weddings and people put so much in to them! I didn't want to miss anything or get it wrong. I also felt like I was so busy I couldn't spare any head space to see my own loved ones. I was terrified if I did social things myself, I may risk getting covid and then would have to let couples down and deal with the rearranging another photographer when everyone was already so was a tad mind boggling when I look back. I muddled through though, I did it and I’m pretty sure everyone was pleased with their end product too.

Did I enjoy it? I loved being with everyone at their weddings and while I was out shooting, that bit's the best, but the editing, oh my goodness and the unrealistic idea of blogging every wedding myself 🙄 what was I thinking!? So what did I learn?

  1. Expectations-I keep them very high, if I want to keep them there, I'm going to have to learn to delegate 🤔.

  2. My couples are 100% fabulous.

  3. That I love capturing happiness, it's my fav thing to do.

  4. Weddings, they're so much fun, you'll never get two the same.

  5. People are unbelievably kind, wonderful and more patient than I realised when I needed them to be.

  6. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved during the 2021 madness.

  7. I really, really want a cleaner! 😂

The bride wipes away tears of happiness after her husband shares heartfelt words about his new wife during the speeches.  He is kissing her on the cheek.
This is happiness in it's truest form, Kamilia and T's love was plain to see and absolutely adorable.

Artist is signing his name on the bottom of the painting he's just completed of the bride and groom.
Weddings are becoming more and more unique, Justine and Chris hired an artist to paint their guests during their reception party.

Fire thrower is holding a lit baton above his head, it's dark.
Ollie and Ros booked a fire thrower to entertain their guests in the evening.

Bride and groom are opening their cards on the train.
Carol and Hanus took their guest for fish and chips at Whitby on their wedding day.

A pink wig is thrown above the crowd of people dancing outside whilst wear crazy hats.
This dance floor had to be outside because of COVID restrictions, not one questioned it, they just enjoyed it!

Guests are paying quoits, dad is crouched down encouraging his son.
Outdoor games are a great way to entertain guests and help them get to know each other easier.

All of the groomsmen at a wedding are dancing and sining like they are in a boyband.
This wedding had the surprise of Singing Waiters, they made the bride's dad get up and pretend to be part of a boyband. He was such a good sport!

The groomsmen are playing croquet in the castle ruins, whilst wearing matching grey suits.
Croquet is always entertaining when you have very competitive groomsmen involved.

Groom kissing his bride whilst she is sat on his tractor.
Transport to and from the wedding can literally, be anything you want it to be.

The couple share a kiss in the yurt, surrounded by the freshly set tables.
Yurts and tipis can be decorated so differently, you'd never see two the same.

Horse had been converted and decorated beautifully with green tiles to make a stylish cocktail bar.
Who said a cocktail bar couldn't be mobile? This horse box has been converted to a stunning bar.

The bridesmaid is sharing her speech at the wedding.
People are kind, especially during the speeches- it always gets me at every wedding.

The bride is moved by what her bridesmaid had just said about her, she looks emotional.
Louise's reaction is honest, Frankie, her bridesmaid, had some wonderful things to say about her.

This year, I have decided we do need a family holiday and that ideally I’d like 1 free weekend a month so I can see my friends and family too. I haven't forgotten you all!

Although, even with the crazy year we've had, I was really pleased to get April backed properly after breaking my wrist in the spring. 🙄 It turns out, I don't bounce like I used to and it really was a long time since I had ridden a newly backed horse and couldn’t really remember anything about the process, so I invested in some lessons and I learnt so much! This was such a great focus for me during the busy period, we all have to stop and rest at some point so we don’t burn out, this was my relaxation time and I loved every minute! (Even if Steve found it boring 😂).

My sat on my bay horse, she is looking interestedly at something over the field.
Here I am with my girl, I couldn't leave her out!

So what's next for 2022?

I have a really-really busy diary yet again, with my first wedding of the year is this coming weekend, which is super exciting. I'm looking forward to meeting my couples in the near future and hearing about all of their fabulous wedding plans. I'm also getting to grips with off camera flash this year! 📸😱

I've dabbled, I know it looks great, but still there's so much riding on the shot that you draw so much attention too-I apologise in advance, to any of my couples who may have to bear with me for a minute of two longer. I promise, it won't be for long and I hope it'll be worth your wait 😘 by the end of the year I hope to be a dab hand at it! 😂

If you're still looking for a wedding photographer or family photos then get in touch and book as soon a possible so not to be disappointed.

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