Can weddings still take place in the uk?
2020 has been an absolute whirlwind of a year, with sudden changes to the rules, masks being worn, not being able to see our families, politicians visiting castles and going on around the UK trips. This has caused great disruption to the wedding industry creating the questions including: can weddings go ahead? are wedding venues open? can wedding receptions go ahead? are wedding numbers likely to increase? and so on. In accordance to the government guidelines it is very difficult to give a firm Yes or No answer to the title of this blog, as we have now realised, the virus is here to stay and infection rates are oscillating throughout the UK potentially influenced by visits to Barnard Castle…. and as such, we need to learn to live with it, so please keep reading to see our views on weddings moving forward. But rest assured, we will not be following government advice of finding more “suitable jobs”, we are definitely here to stay! with many weddings to capture!
Please note that the information within this blog post is specific to Wales and based on the current guidelines on the 17th of November 2020, we should expect changes to these guidelines. However, similar rules will apply to England following release from their national lockdown on the 2nd of December.
Here are a few of the many events we have photographed during the COVID-19 pandemic, abiding by all the social distancing rules, mask wearing, hand sanitising and not travelling from Scotland to Parliament or taking a scenic trip to Barnard Castle during National Lockdown…. But still ensuring all of our clients are happy and receiving the same standards of service we provided before the pandemic!
Couples have had to postpone their wedding dates creating much stress for them and their suppliers trying re-organise and accommodate any changes. I will take this time now to ask all couples reading this who currently have a date set, to create a “Plan B” and to contact your suppliers immediately if this plan comes into fruition to create the best possible outcome and ultimately the least stress. It is our duty as wedding suppliers to take a personal approach at all times, as the wedding industry is far more than a profiteering scheme, we actually care about our clients and have had many restless nights hoping that you can enjoy your big day as originally planned.
We have also taken the time to tackle the question of “Can wedding photography still take place?” by ensuring we formulate different techniques to still get the same shots that we would have in a normal, non-covid, situation. This has involved utilising bigger zoom lenses and photoshop to ensure group shots, intimate couple shots and everything in between can still be taken. Now of course it would be wrong of us to suggest that weddings are going to be exactly the same and we should expect to see social distancing, masks/visors being worn and hand sanitiser bottles everywhere. But this shouldn’t deter you from getting married in a non-lockdown location, with first hand experience of a COVID-19 wedding taking place in the heart of Cardiff.
Maria and Marek postponed their original wedding date a grand total of 6 times before tying the knot at Cardiff City Hall and enjoying a lovely wedding reception at the Jury’s Inn. We had a brilliant time photographing their wedding day with Maria looking stunning in her wedding dress. We can can honestly say that it didn’t feel any different to a non-pandemic, non-lockdown, wedding with the only addition being that of masks and hand sanitiser. So our question to those couples concerned is this… Is it really worth postponing again and creating yourselves more stress? We understand that this is a very abrupt question and doesn’t factor in the restricted amount of guests (a maximum of 15) permitted at your venue (Check with the venue as each venue is different in regards to spacing) but if you are happy with reduced numbers then we say to embrace the pandemic and enjoy your big day. Just look at some of the selfies we had with Maria and Marek!
Notice much of a difference apart from the masks? Oliver recons he looks quite fetching in his mask…. atleast his glasses aren’t fogged up haha. We ensure that all of the guests at your wedding are involved on the big day and that they are not left out. This requires some additional time to ensure everyone sticks to their Bubbles, therefore we do suggest you taking the time prior to the big day to strategically plan and allocate an additional 10 minutes to every activity to allow your suppliers to provide you with the best service.
Now that is the big question really. Can we have wedding group shots? now the general answer to your question is YES!! they most certainly can and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Group shots are a massive part of the wedding day, as it allows you to cherish images of your loved ones around you in years to come. However, the pandemic has introduced complexity regarding this but don’t panic, we have a solution. If you have a large wedding venue such as Cardiff City Hall, Court Colman Manor, Hogs Head and so on, then we can utilise the outside space to separate bubbles and create a lovely group shot. However, if you have a smaller venue such as Lanelay Hall, Castle Coch, Jury’s Inn, etc. Then we will utilise clever Photoshop techniques whereby each group will be allocated a section of the ground (marked by an X made of tape) and we will photograph them individually to then piece the image together later in photoshop. This will look no different to that of a normal group shot but will unfortunately lack the raw intimacy with family and friends on the big day.
The Pose Guidance – ” Show COVID-19 you’ve just rocked it”
Can wedding receptions still go ahead? Yes, wedding receptions can still go ahead but as mentioned above, venues designate the number of guests/vendors you are permitted to have based on the social distancing guidelines currently in place. Your food will unfortunately be unavailable on a self-service basis (e.g. buffet) at the moment but a dedicated member of staff will be there to aid any requests and serve you your main meals directly to your table. Now speaking of tables, this is where it gets confusing on the .Gov website, your venue must ensure that tables seating households that are not in the same bubble are 2 meters apart or 1 meter outdoors.
Now we thought ourselves that this would create a poor atmosphere but with some quiet chit chat amongst tables and even a few interactive games such as the now popular Mr & Mrs there is still plenty of moments to cherish.
We even engaged our clients friends and family at the first dance by asking them to stand by their tables and shine their phone torches, creating not only stunning images but a sense of true connection for your guests. Current guidelines also state that couples should expect to have no dancing by guests on a dance floor due to increased risk of transmission but you are allowed your first dance. However, there is no rules regarding dancing at your tables and we all know the moves to YMCA.
In addition, you can still have those amazing suppliers with delicious goodies including but not limited to Cake Cwtch, The Crepe Escape, Miniyaki’s, Bella’s Hog Roast etc. But they also need to be restricted to service by staff members with no self-service permitted. Just treat it like you’re being waitered on hand and foot, just like true royalty.
But importantly to us, wedding photos are not limited in our books. We have developed methods in which we can still photograph your wedding day and get shots that are almost identical to a non-pandemic wedding. As we said earlier, just plan an additional 10 minutes for each event taking place and there shouldn’t be an issue. We offer all of our clients zoom meetings prior to the event to allow all concerns/questions to be accounted for and to generate a plan of action for the big day. We ask all of our current and potential customers that you adhere to and respect the current guidelines, together we can get through this. Here are just a few examples of what a COVID-19, pandemic wedding looks like, which we had the privilege to be a part of.