A Socially Distanced Wedding


A socially distanced wedding complete with confetti, cake and Zoom!

It’s something of an understatement that thanks to Coronavirus, getting married in 2020 is up there with the toughest logistical challenges of the century.

Many of my lovely couples have postponed their wedding celebrations until next year, but if you are set on getting wed in 2020, take heart from Nick and Claire. They were absolutely determined to make it work – and make it work they did with a uniquely memorable outdoor wedding ceremony.

Getting married in lockdown could still be your reality – so long as you’re prepared to adapt your plans. Nick and Claire’s back garden wedding is proof that a socially distanced, virtual wedding can still be beautiful, personal and choc full of love.

Nick and Claire’s lockdown wedding challenge.

Nick and Claire were due to get married in Hitchin this May. Like many other couples, the pandemic put a heartbreaking stop to their plans. They managed to push back their celebrations to next year, but for them, the act of getting married signified more than a day of celebrating. It was to be the start of their life together, so waiting another year just wasn’t an option.

So these guys got plotting and with their church leader Dominic Long in on the plans, they hatched a great idea! They would hold a socially distant outdoor wedding over zoom. With lockdown restrictions eased, they were able to hold the celebrations in Nick’s parents garden in Milton Keynes with both sets of parents present. Dominic held the service over zoom allowing the rest of their family and friends to watch. They had rings, readings, music, prayers, speeches, cakes, confetti and kisses – all the ingredients for a truly unique wedding.

The lockdown rules meant Claire and Nick couldn’t go inside, so the bridal prep took place in the garden shed, while Nick used the conservatory reflection as a mirror to get himself ready.

The pandemic wasn’t the only challenge these guys faced, after weeks of beautiful sun, the weather decided to invite itself along to their celebrations. In three hours we had wind, rain, rainy wind, then sun, bright dazzling sun, followed by a moment of calm. In this moment we were able to get some beautiful couple pictures, but not before the skies said congratulations in the most spectacular way! An almighty thunder clap roared loudly above our heads and the heavens opened. Lightning and hail rained down on us, bringing our shoot to an abrupt end. I left Nick and Claire sheltering in the shed while their parents ate scones under a garden marquee with hail stones collecting around them.

I can honestly say this wedding was so beautiful and unique. What made it so very special was that Nick and Claire found a way to turn such a rotten situation into something truly beautiful. This year we have all had our plans thrown into the air, but if we can take a leaf out of Nick and Claire’s book then I know we can find a way to adapt and bring some much needed happiness back into our lives.  It’s been a hard few months and I think everyone should seize the happy times, so I’m going to join Nick and Claire again to document the ‘paperwork’ and then the party next year! Why have one celebration when you can have three!

This is what Nick and Claire had to say about their lockdown wedding.

“We were due to marry on the 8th May 2020 but sadly the Coronavirus lockdown put a major spanner in the works! Due to our beliefs as Christians, we weren’t living together and so that in itself presented us with challenges, not least in trying to plan a wedding that might or might not go ahead. Once we knew that large social gatherings weren’t able to take place, all we then wanted to do was to get married in a small ceremony at the church. Our initial wedding day came and went with still no government update, although we hoped it could happen from the beginning of June. However, this still didn’t happen so we decided to just take the plunge as we didn’t want to be kept in emotional limbo any longer! We ended up getting married on our 2nd anniversary which was perfect!

 Nick’s parents have been shielding and it was important to us that our parents were there, so we decided to do a Christian ceremony in Nick’s parents back garden, broadcast live over Zoom to all our wedding guests! We made this decision on a Sunday, informed our guests on the Tuesday, Zoom details were sent on the Friday and then we married on the Saturday! It all happened very quickly but we had so much help from friends and family with getting technology sorted, flowers arranged, gazebos pitched (can’t trust the British weather!), and of course a cake made!

 The wedding for us wasn’t about the signing of a register or having a big party, but the promises we made to each other before God. The day was so memorable for us because it was so different and unique, but that made it so much more special. For us, to capture the day and look back on it in the future is so important, so to have Erica there was perfect. She was so encouraging and supportive which just made it all so much more comfortable, plus she was just great fun to have around!

 We’ve since had so many kind messages from family and friends saying how much they enjoyed the ceremony and how touched they were by it all, so this has really helped and encouraged us in our decision to get married in this way. We were really blessed and wouldn’t change a thing!”

It looks like smaller weddings could become the new normal for a little while, so if you are eager to tie the knot this year and want to talk about relaxed documentary photography that will fit your day (or days!), then I would love to hear about your plans.

Here are a few more shots from the day (the last one is the moment the weather loudly said hello!)