Like many other people I have spent the last couple of weeks getting used to ‘the new normal’ (again, like a lot of people simultaneously trying to be a professional, a mother, teacher, fitness instructor, cook, cleaner….the list goes on….24/7!) I have had a chance to reflect on lots of things….including my own work, my clients, couples trying to plan their weddings and what the current situation might mean for the wedding industry as a whole.
Things seem to be changing on a daily basis and can feel very uncertain for everyone, but I have had a few thoughts about navigating through these tricky times if you have a wedding booked for this year or are still planning your wedding.
What if you already have a wedding booked with me?
I have already been in touch with all my couples getting married in the next 6 months to see how they are doing and discuss what impact the coronavirus may have for them. Most people getting married between now and the end of May have already had to postpone their wedding until a later date (with several venues giving you up to 18 months to do this which is really helpful). I know some people are still trying to find out what their venue’s policy is on this and that may become a bit clearer when the Government reviews the lockdown and social distancing measures over the coming weeks.
I am working with those couples who are in the process of postponing their Spring or early Summer wedding to the Autumn or next year to make sure I can be available and I have simply moved their deposit to the new date without anything else changing. I plan to do the photographs for every wedding I have booked, even if it happens a bit later and I will continue to do that if the lockdown is extended and affects weddings later on in the year.
What if you are trying to plan your wedding?
If you are still in the planning stages and wondering what to make of it all then it may be helpful to bear a few things in mind.
If you haven’t yet booked but it is important to you for whatever reason to get married this year, there is a general feeling in the industry that, by the time we get to the late Summer or Autumn time, things will have calmed down and weddings will be able to go ahead again. Once venues and suppliers have rearranged their current weddings, there will still be dates available for later on in 2020 and 2021, even if there is less availability than there might usually be because of rearranged weddings. Lots of people will want to use their wedding as an opportunity to get together with those people they haven’t been able to see over the last while and, so far, the evidence from other countries is that normal life is returning after several months of tighter restrictions.
There may still be some level of travel restrictions in place even later in the year, so weddings involving friends or family who live abroad may not be possible and this could also affect some UK based guests. This may mean a smaller event than you might otherwise have planned. If you do not already have an insurance policy, all the main insurers will not provide cover for coronavirus related cancellations going forward. Even most existing policies may not cover the virus as it is so new. If this makes you understandably concerned about the financial side of things, you may find that suppliers are understanding and a little more flexible with deposits for weddings later on this year and next year, perhaps requiring a reduced deposit or payment closer to the date. If you want to be sure you are covered just pay any deposits on a credit card and then you are protected anyway.
You may find it takes longer to have some things delivered, for example China and Italy are two of the biggest exporters of wedding dresses to the UK and the pandemic has slowed this down. The British Bridal Suppliers Association (BBSA) is advising brands to alter their standard delivery times so it will help if you build in more time than you would usually.
Even later on this year, we may all still be concerned about the virus, so some common sense steps will mean it is easier to relax and enjoy your day. As well as the obvious hygiene related things we are all doing at the moment, you might decide not to invite anyone who might be high risk and asking people not to attend if they had any cold or flu symptoms. If you can accept that your wedding may not look exactly like you had planned, you can use some of the downtime to carry on with your wedding planning, so you are prepared once the restrictions are lifted.
If you are planning for a wedding next year you will have more certainty that things will have returned to normal and of course more time to spend on your planning. One of the things couples often say to me is that they wished they had had a bit more time to be able to slow down in the time before the day and enjoy to planning their wedding together. Not everyone will be able to, but if you are able to do that over the coming months it might be a good distraction from what is going on and a welcome reminder of things to come and to look forward to.
What about me personally?
The way I am looking at it all is, I may have ‘pressed pause’ on going out and actually taking pictures for the next while, but otherwise it is business as usual. Anyone, who runs their own business knows how many tasks are involved so, in fact, it is quite nice to be able to spend a little more time on those things I can’t normally do at the start of a wedding season. I would like my business to be in the best shape it can be by the time the restrictions are lifted and I have a few little projects I am keen to get on with. I have been a professional photographer for nearly 15 years so, in the scheme of things, a little while concentrating on other aspects of my work and taking bookings for future weddings, even if they are in the Autumn or next year, just means I will be really appreciative of being able to go out and take photographs again when that happens.
Your wedding is still important
One thing that has struck me is that, compared with people being ill or potentially losing their lives, a wedding might not seem that important. That may be true to some extent and weddings, like other ‘non essential’ events, have to be viewed with an appropriate sense of perspective. However.. for most of us that have got married, your wedding day is usually right up there as one of the most important days. Not only is it a huge legal change, a formal commitment to that one special person, one of life’s big milestones and of course a big celebration. Significantly, it is a statement to each other and your friends and family that you are in it together, through good times and bad. That sentiment surely has to feel particularly apt right now.
So, whilst you might have to do things in a slightly different way or at a different time, you may have to put your dream day on hold… but you can keep dreaming and that is ok. Obviously none of us have ever been through anything like this before and we don’t know exactly what the world may look like when we come out the other side. But, we will come out the other side and people will still want to get married and I have always enjoyed weddings as one of the greatest celebrations of life. What could be more important than that?
I really hope this has helped make things a little clearer and put your minds at ease somewhat. If you do have any questions or would like to chat things through please do get in touch and I will do the best I can to help. As I am lucky enough to have a studio at home, the best number to contact me on at the moment is still the studio number: 01275 3331910 or you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My very best wishes