I'll be honest. I was one of those people sitting at home back in February, slating all those who were panicking about Covid-19. I told myself that people were making mountains out of molehills, that we would all be fine and only minimally affected and I would carry on into 2020 as planned with a full calendar of weddings in my diary and a year full of parties, holidays and fun.
Well. How wrong I was!
As it stands now, my wedding diary is completely empty up until the beginning of September. I have postponed 19 weddings to either later this year or to 2021 with a further 3 pending new dates. I have cancelled my 30th birthday party and my trip to the USA. My pending house sale is on hold.
Like many others, my year has been flipped on it's head because of Coronavirus and there is nothing we can do about it apart from make the best of it, focus on the positives and come out stronger when it is all under control.
I'm OK with this. I've accepted it.
I'm thinking positive and planning ahead for better times.
Having dealt with my personal life, now, as a wedding professional, I'm focusing on helping my couples through these difficult times, working with them as closely as possible to minimise stress and to help them make decisions about their wedding. I have actually felt very humbled and honoured that so many of my couples have turned to me for advice when it comes to deciding what to do.
I'll probably get slated by other wedding suppliers who really want to get back to work for writing this, but I feel it is important to be honest with my couples and that's what I have done from the very beginning. When I thought things would be back to normal by September, I told them that. When I started to believe otherwise, I told them that too.
Do I think weddings will be going ahead in September?
Yes sure I do. But not as we know them.
When I think of a wedding day, of what I love about them and why I enjoy photographing them so much, I think of the people. The love, the emotions, the celebration, the togetherness. Unity, friendship, family. When you look at the six photographs above, what do you see? If this is how you see your wedding playing out - if this is what you want, lots of people together - then you may want to consider postponing your day.
Because, I believe, weddings will not look like this (or shouldn't anyway) for quite a long time. It's such a sad thought, but we will have to be careful. We will have to conform to social distancing. Perhaps group photographs will have to be done in household groups only. The days of huge groups of 120 guests with the bride and groom surrounded by their most loved, those may well have to wait a while. Perhaps we will be advised to wear masks. Hey, maybe I could get one of those ones with cameras printed all over it!
Food for thought...
I came across this blog yesterday in a wedding group, which was equally interesting and scary - it outlines the potential future of weddings until we can come up with a way of controlling the spread of this virus. Whilst some things in there are, in my opinion, a little OTT and a lot of things are of course still pure speculation, I think it gives important food for thought to enable you to make a decision that works for you.
You can create the perfect compromise. Maybe this could even be a good thing...
So we are potentially looking at more outdoor ceremonies, fewer guests, daytime entertainment rather than big evening gatherings, home weddings, PPE in venues. Let's face it, none of this is disastrous. In fact, it may even make us focus on what weddings are REALLY all about, getting your nearest and dearest together, having fun, celebrating love and, above all, two people officially joining their lives together. Do we really need all of the excess that comes with so many weddings nowadays?
Maybe simplifying could be a good thing. Invest in the memories.
If the intimate ceremony is the focus of your day, this can easily be done. If a huge party with all of your friends and family is what you want, that's great too, but that may well have to wait a while. Maybe you could still get married on your original date in a smaller ceremony, then have the big party next year...maybe as a first anniversary celebration.
What would you do, Kate?
So how do I answer this question? My heart breaks for my couples, and everyone else out there hoping to get married soon. There is such uncertainty surrounding everything and I think the not knowing is the worst part. I've had brides-to-be in tears because they feel so stressed now knowing whether their wedding will be allowed to happen. Or because they feel guilty wanting to still go ahead when others are cancelling.
You know what? There is no right or wrong answer here. It's just a case of knowing the facts, understanding the implications of either going ahead with your wedding day or postponing it, and making a decision that feels right for you.
Above all, I'd say don't let this ruin your wedding journey. Have the wedding that you want, that you have dreamed of. But don't forget what it's really all about. Stick together with your partner and get through it together. Stronger.