Intimate and Unique Weddings – The New Normal?

Intimate and Unique Weddings during the pandemic. It’s your time to embrace small weddings!

Has the pandemic made you think differently about your big day?

It’s really hard to plan anything in life at the moment! Shall we get dressed or stay in our pjs? Coffee or gin? Homeschool or Netflix? The pandemic has put a giant pause on large gatherings in the UK, knowing when we will be given the green light to party again can make wedding planning pretty stressful. My social media feeds are full of discussion and questions like when weddings may be allowed to take place again? How many people can attend? Can you have a wedding if all your guests stayed 2 meters apart? And would you want a wedding if guests had to keep 2 meters apart? How will venues adapt? Lots of questions and not many answers.

In truth, no one really knows when big gatherings will be allowed, this will put those who are planning a traditional wedding into a frustrating limbo land. But maybe you hadn’t quite decided what your day was going to be like yet or maybe you had always been toying with the idea of a more intimate wedding day but didn’t quite feel brave enough to go through with it. If so, then maybe this a good time to explore some other options. The pandemic has given a little golden ticket to those couples who may have not felt comfortable trying something new. whether it be the expectation of others, a guests lists that seem impossible to keep small or just the fact that you didn’t really think there was an alternative. Well, I’m here to tell you there is, and now is the perfect time to embrace an alternative wedding day.

I understand that it’s very easy to get swept up when planning a wedding, when we first got engaged I wanted a small wedding followed by a party at a local pub. Before I knew it we had booked a very traditional wedding venue (all be it an awesome one) with 100 day guests to help us celebrate. I don’t have any regrets about our day, it was perfect in many ways, but had we been a little more confident about exploring the other options, I now know we could have pulled off a day that was more inline with what we originally wanted.
For me, the reason I ended up with a larger wedding day was I was so concerned about offending people who I cared about by not inviting them to celebrate our day. I knew most of my family and friends probably would have been understanding about us wanting a small wedding, but the guilt of not inviting some guests over others weighed too heavily on our shoulders.
The pandemic has handed couples who may have wanted a smaller intimate wedding a massive ‘guilt free’ pass. Larger gatherings are currently not allowed to take place, so people will understand an intimate wedding being planned off the back of the pandemic. Right now you can enjoy a glorious guilt free feeling allowing you to plan a small wedding without offending people!

So, for a limited time, the pressure is off, now is the time for small weddings to shine!!

If you need more convincing about intimate weddings read on, as I have pulled together a list of reasons that I believe make small weddings simply smashing!

  1. SO. MUCH. LOVE. What you lack in numbers you make up for in LOVE. When you are a guest at a small wedding you feel ‘knocked off your feet’ honoured to be there. And this love fills the room, oozing out of every guests with you on that day.
  2. Quality time with your guests! You’ll actually have time to enjoy your guests company. A common pit fall of a larger wedding is not having enough time with guests, often just a quick hug and a few words before you greet the next eager well wisher. Smaller weddings mean you can really indulge in good quality chat with everyone and lets pray hugs are back on, so you can really make those squeezes count!!
  3. Way more venue options. If you are happy to have the legal service before hand (or after), you get the pick of anywhere!! Look at local pubs, restaurants, pavilions, parks, village halls or even your parents garden! Many venues have smaller rooms available for more intimate weddings, so its worth asking if you have a traditional wedding venue already in mind.
  4. Budget. It’s easy maths, less people to feed and water will give you a decent saving. But a small wedding doesn’t need to be stripped back or simple, you can still stamp your personality all over your day, you just will have more money to do so if you don’t need to factor in food and drink for your cousin and their 4 children!
  5. Mix it up. Weddings generally follow an order, there is nothing wrong with this, it works well for larger numbers. Simply put it goes like this – get ready, get married, get fed, get drunk, get dancing, go home. But with a smaller group you can really mix it up, take your guests away for a weekend and book a celebrant to come perform a service, have a party on a boat or a field, get married in the morning then go for an afternoon tea around London, or take your guests to the cinema! Your day, your way and smaller weddings really allow you to rewrite the rule book!
  6. A more relaxed day. Weddings can be stressful and sometimes a little hectic. No matter how on top of all the planning you may feel you are, coordinating all that detail and plans for a large numbers is not easy. When your numbers are small the stress is easier to manage.

As a documentary wedding photographer I think the emotions captured in those real moments are especially important at small weddings. There will be people who care about you that won’t be able to see you get married and they will relish the chance to view your day as it actually was. The pandemic has certainly been horrible for the wedding industry but maybe weddings will find a new way to flourish. I for one am excited to see unique intimate weddings rise from this crazy situation and I can’t wait to dust of my camera and get shooting again!


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!)

 

 


I STILL LOVE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY!!!
I’m sorry I’ve been quiet. I’ve lost my wedding voice. In truth, I lost this voice at the start of January when some other scary news hit my family (I’ll save that story for another time!). This whole year my social media has been dominated with photos of my family life and very little wedding talk. I worry it may look like I’ve lost my passion for my craft. But I promise you I haven’t. Life under lockdown leaves very little time for me to wear my business hat, so this blog is to remind everyone that I still love wedding photography. Actually I’m not just writing it down I’m shouting it loudly and proudly (which in blog form is writing in capital letters with lots of punctuation marks) “I STILL LOVE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY!!!!!”
Human connections are at the heart of my business. Connections between the couple but also between their friends and family. We have been asked to physically disconnect from each other and it goes against everything that feels right and good about life.
My heart goes out to my poor couples who’s weddings have been postponed and those who are living with the uncertainty of how their special day could be effected. The only words of wisdom I can offer in this scary situation is this, hold tight. Your day will come and when it comes it will be AWESOME!!!!. Know in your heart that this situation will pass and just think of the celebration when life is finally unpaused! What better way to put this behind us than with a wedding, re-connecting with your family and friends who you will so desperately have missed, the forced time apart only reenforcing that strong connection to those you love.
I like to imagine a wedding day after COVID 19, every part of that day will feel like a blessing. Getting ready surrounded by your squad, the thought of 8 people being squeezed into one room seems almost criminal now. But this will be a thing of the passed, you won’t fear this moment, you can relish in the proximity of each person in that room. Make up artists can lean in nice and close, I’ll be crouching in some unthinkable space between you and them, while a bridesmaid swiggs from a champagne bottle (OK, you might worry about the champagne you drink after the bridesmaid has had her gulp, but you’re the bride, you get the first glug!!)
Then I imagine your guests arriving, embracing each other maybe for the first in a long time! I will indulge in these hugs shots just as I do now, but I won’t need to be as fast on my feet, as these hugs will be lengthy, wrapped in relief and joy. Re-connecting, with each guest feeling the magnitude of that moment.
Then you will finally get to marry that person by your side, your isolation infatuation, COVID companion, lockdown lover, pandemic partner in crime! You guys made it through the toughest of times and it will make this moment all the more sweeter. You will then get to party like it’s 1999, no even bigger than then, this is a ‘post pandemic’ wedding and you will hit that dance floor with gusto and gratitude. You may even get to show of your TikTok family dance routine that you have been perfecting during this time.
And I will be there, gleefully capturing every moment, my creative soul once again fulfilled doing a job I so proudly cherish.
So, until the world hits play on life, my wedding voice will probably stay quiet, but not lost! I will keep unashamedly documenting my children so they remember what life on lockdown was like, and I hope my passion for creatively documenting real moments is evident in these pictures.
Stay Safe
Erica

Covid 19 Photography Journal

11th June

5th June

31st May 2020

25th May 2020

24th May 2020

22nd May 2020

14th-21st May 2020

8th-13th May 2020

7th May 2020

5th May 2020

4th May 2020

2nd May 2020

 

April 29th 2020

28th April 2020

 

27th April 2020

26th April 2020

25th April 2020

23rd and 24th April 2020

22nd April 2020

20th and 21st of April 2020

19th April 2020

18th April 2020

 

17th April 2020

16th April 2020

15th April 2020

14th April 2020

13th April 2020

12th April 2020

11th April 2020

10th April 2020

9th April 2020

 

8th April 2020

7th April 2020

6th April 2020

5th April 2020

4th April 2020

3rd April 2020

2nd April 2020

1st April 2020

March 31st 2020

March 29th & 30th 2020

March 28th 2020

March 27th 2020

March 26th 2020

March 25th 2020

March 24th 2020

March 21st-March 23rd
Schools closed, lockdown implemented.


Wedding Photography Yearly Highlights

Wedding Photography 2019 Highlights

2019 was a good one! I honestly feel so lucky that I get the honour of capturing weddings for such amazing couples. I’ve shot at some awesome venues, second shot for some fellow togs (for the very first time!), made a wedding video and I won 9 wedding photography awards, including two ‘This Is Reportage’ awards, which was a real highlight for me.

I shot at the following venues (some more than once!) – Offley Place, The Farmhouse Redcoats, Priory Barn, Hunters Hall, Ealing Abbey, Houchins, Three Lakes, Milling Barn, De Vere Latimer Estate, Lanswade Hall and Tewinbury Barn. I have worked with some wonderful suppliers, some that deserve an extra special mention would be Videography by – I will Video, Flowers by – Heaven Flowers, Makeup by – Louise Jackson – Music by – The Nameless Three,  Roadrunner, Ceilidh – Licence to Ceilidh, 

I can’t wait for 2020, as my little ones get bigger I’m looking forward to having more time to devote to my business so I’m really excited to see where the year takes me. I’ve also got some amazing weddings lined up with some great couples along with some new projects that I can’t wait to get stuck into.

So, thanks again to all who made 2019 so very special. I wish you all a wonderful new year.

x

Wedding Photography 2018 Highlights

Oh 2018, you have been so good to me!

Thank you to all my lovely brides and grooms who trusted me to capture their big day. It’s an honour that I will never take for granted, and I genuinely hold a little place in my heart for you all.


Winter Wedding at Lanwades Hall.

Winter Wedding at Lanwades Hall.

Wow! I could not have asked for a better wedding to end my year. Kevin and Farrari booked me way back in 2017, since then they have busy making sure they pull off and wonderful winters wedding day with their friends and family. Theses guys knew exactly what sort of day they were after and they pulled it off with true style. They picked one of my favourite wedding venues, Lanwades Hall, the perfect setting for some festive fun. But what I loved most about the day was the stars of the show, Kevin and Ferrari, they were an absolute joy to photograph and real fun to be around. Congratulations guys!