Couples getting married during Covid times have been forced to make very difficult, personal decisions. For some, choosing four guests was simple, but for many, it was an unpalatable compromise and they decided to delay.
A while ago, I was the photographer at a wonderful wedding of six. The couple wanted to marry before they started work in America.
Weddings streamed online
The service was streamed online, and the bride’s mum logged on from Australia, along with scores of friends and relatives. A remote guest did one of the readings and the vicar was clearly glad to have an audience again because he had plenty to say. And at the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom addressed the online audience, thanking them for their support.
Following the service, we decamped to a nearby forest for more airy photos taken from a distance. I captured the bride and her mum, both full of emotion, speaking online, and also the couple’s two dogs larking around. It turns out that wearing a wedding dress doesn’t exempt you from having to clean up after your dogs.
And then the couple and their guests simply drove themselves home.
There was no wedding breakfast, or first dance, or ties around heads. And this meant the photographs from two locations took on huge importance. They were going to be sent around the world to relatives and friends who hadn’t attended, as a lasting memory of a very poignant, trimmed down day.
Best wedding review
When the bride saw her photos, her review was one of the best I’ve ever had.
“Last week, Adele Williams Photography captured my tiny Covid wedding, and my experience with her was phenomenal. It was so easy being photographed by Adele, she is kind, creative, patient and encouraging! The photos themselves are stunning. Our shots from the ceremony capture our key moments and are all gorgeous, beautifully framed and clearly show our happiness. The photos after the ceremony are joyful and fun. It was a delight to get some stunning, posed shots, but also, Adele grabbed a bunch of candids where we look relaxed and happy. I cried when I saw the photos, I love them so much. Adele’s price for capturing our little Covid wedding was fair and reasonable, and that was especially true after I got the photos back! If you’re a potential customer; talk to her and hire her! You will be thrilled that you did! I can’t emphasise enough what an excellent, joyful experience this has been. Adele, you made it all so easy, and the images are really stunning. Thank you.“
On that day, it struck me that, once the couple had chosen to go ahead with their wedding, they were freed up to make decisions purely for themselves.
It was a far cry from my own experience. My husband and I love the outdoors and big, sweeping landscapes. We wanted to do the deed in a windswept, distant Scottish location but there were too many things to consider. How would we get everything there? Would the dogs be alright on the sleeper train? Who was going to share a room with my mother-in-law? And was there a heli-pad? Yes, that really was a question from one of the potential guests.
And so, it was decided that Henley-on-Thames was much more convenient.
I won’t lie, my job is easier in some ways at the moment. There isn’t an exhaustive list of wedding groups to get through. Cousin Tom isn’t delaying the list of family photos because he’s holed up in the bar. Little bridesmaids aren’t climbing trees and swapping shoes when they should be smiling for the lens.
But it’s a more intense job because photos have a higher currency on a day loaded with extra emotion.
Socially distanced photographer
Restrictions have changed now, and last weekend I was the mask-wearing, socially distanced photographer at another beautiful wedding attended by 30 people.
The bride supplied a pared-down shot list which felt more like old times. Photographing people standing apart brings its own challenges, and my longer lenses are my best friends these days.
Like couples who cherish their wedding photos, the images I’ve taken in these extraordinary times are some of the most important of my career. All weddings are significant, but these have taken on extra meaning because, for whatever reason, the couples have decided to do away with the frills, stand side-by-side in the depths of a pandemic, and take the plunge.
Covid newlyweds, I salute you!