Wedding planning during Covid-19: what are our options?
Are you a couple currently in the difficult position of navigating the postponement of your 2020 wedding? If so, we have written this post with you in mind! As Scotland wedding and elopement photographers, we have captured so many different kinds of weddings over the years—from big Scottish castle weddings, to intimate outdoor wedding ceremonies to adventurous elopements all over Scotland. We’re here to offer you advice, support and some uplifting ideas and inspiration.
First of all, we just want to say how much we feel for you and the difficult situation that you are in. We got married ourselves back in 2016, so we know how much emotion, hard-work and organisation goes into planning a wedding day, and how long you spend dreaming and getting excited about it. To have those long-held dreams and plans changed by something completely beyond your control is unbelievably tough. Take a moment to hold each other close and acknowledge everything you are both feeling right now.
Please know that whether your wedding day goes ahead just as you had envisaged—just a year later than planned—or whether you decide to sit down with your partner and contemplate a different, but equally beautiful, vision for your wedding day, your wedding will still be a joyful, heartfelt and memorable celebration of your love.
We know this, because amidst all this craziness and all this uncertainty, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the love that you have for each other—and that, at heart, is what your wedding day is really all about. It’s truly all that matters.
POSTPONING OUR 2020 WEDDING: WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?
Perhaps the most difficult thing for couples facing the postponement of their 2020 wedding is the sense that this incredibly personal and poignant day has been taken out of their hands. But please rest assured that while the wedding day that you had been planning may not be able to take place at your original venue on your original date, there are a multitude of possibilities! Don’t stop dreaming and don’t stop feeling excited about saying ‘I do.’
Holding a large-scale wedding in an indoor venue while also adhering to social distancing is going to be problematic while Coronavirus is prevalent. Several summaries have been published that explain why this is important in the context of large gatherings, such as this useful perspective piece by Dr Erin S. Bromage, ‘The risks – know them, avoid them’. Unfortunately it is hard to say exactly how long we will be living with these risks. The UK Government plans to start looking at how to enable people to gather for small weddings, but with no clear timeline, and large gatherings will certainly be an issue in the UK for the remainder of this year.
If you feel that you can’t bare to wait another 12 months to get married, have you considered an intimate outdoor wedding with just your very closest family and friends?
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have been approached by a lot of couples who had initially been planning quite a large-scale wedding, often with a lot of the guest list being dictated by their parents! They are viewing the current situation as an excuse to scale-back their wedding day to include just their very nearest and dearest.
Focus on what’s important
An intimate wedding allows you to surround yourselves by the people who have truly loved you, supported you, lifted you up and really known you over the years. Imagine how intensely heartfelt and personal that will make the atmosphere on your wedding day!
More quality time
Opting for an intimate wedding also means that you can spend quality time with your partner, enjoying each other’s company and soaking it all in. When we shoot larger weddings, we notice how little time the couple actually spend in each other’s company, it’s often just the 15-20 mins that they spend with us doing couples portraits. The rest of the time they are working their way around the room, trying to have a short conversation with everyone, which can feel quite exhausting and often doesn’t make for ‘quality time’ with anyone.
We shoot small outdoor wedding ceremonies in Scotland all year round (including the winter!) We can honestly say that these are some of the most joyful, fun, amazing days that we have had the privilege to be a part of. They are also very do-able in a socially distanced way. With the ceremony, you simply need to make sure your guests are standing 2 metres apart. For your meal, how about gathering around a camp fire, with cosy rugs? There are plenty of awesome catering companies who will be happy to feed you al fresco.
An intimate wedding doesn’t mean that you have to miss-out on all the traditional wedding elements: have your first dance under festoon lights in a courtyard or under a tree; have your wedding speeches as you cosy-up around the fire; have a socially distanced sparkler exit to end your night with a bang.
See the current situation as an opportunity to have a really awesome, unique wedding day that isn’t part of any venue’s ‘package’. How cool will it be in 10 years time to look back and know that your wedding day wasn’t like anyone else’s; it wasn’t off-the-peg; it was unique and special to you.
There are some amazing intimate wedding location options in Scotland for small groups to gather, whilst also remaining within socially distanced, separate groups. Below are a few of our favourite Scottish venues that would lend themselves to a socially distanced, intimate wedding (when restrictions on travel within Scotland open-up):
Going ahead with a small, outdoor wedding may mean that grandparents or people considered at risk will be unable to attend. This is heartbreaking, we know. But we have included some suggestions further down this blog on some lovely ways to include any much-loved family and friends who couldn’t be there on your wedding day.
We also 100% feel for any couples who absolutely could not image celebrating their marriage without their original guest list at their side. We get it! If this feels like you, skip down to our advice on postponing.
If you feel that putting-off getting married in 2020 is not an option: if you can’t wait any longer to marry the love of your life, the good news is that with a Scottish elopement wedding, you absolutely CAN get married this year! Elopements are THE easiest way to have a socially distanced wedding. Just you, your partner, a celebrant and the great outdoors!
One of the best things about being Scotland elopement photographers is that couples can legally get married outdoors, ANYWHERE they like – as long as they are accompanied by a registered celebrant. What could be more beautiful and moving than exchanging your personal vows in an awe-inspiring natural setting? Could there be a more beautiful way to start the adventure of your shared lives together?
We LOVE elopements! In our experience, elopements are completely relaxed and intimate, and also very unique and personal. Elopements are a beautiful option for couples who want to spend ALL of their wedding day in each other’s company and be free to focus on each other, in a completely unselfconscious and uninhibited way. No pressure, no stress, no distractions—just two of you, and your love.
When you choose to elope, you throw-out the whole wedding rulebook and you start completely from scratch. Eloping means your wedding can represent who you truly are as a couple. Sit down with your partner and put together a list of all the things that make you happiest and most alive as a couple – and the things that have been your most special memories. How many of these could you weave into your elopement wedding day?
Perhaps you’d like to wake-up early and go for a sunrise hike with your dog, or make your wedding ceremony the highlight of a mini-road trip in a camper van. You could go wild-swimming, take a boat ride, have a BBQ on the beach, play the guitar and sing at the tops of your voices round a campfire, snuggle up and drink champagne in a blanket-tent and have your ‘first dance’ barefoot by moonlight under the stars. The day is yours and the possibilities are endless!
It goes without saying that, if you would like us to accompany you on your elopement wedding day adventure, and capture some beautiful images for you, we are down for anything any everything! The sunrise hikes, the icy dips…we’ll help you light the beach BBQ… Bring it on! We’re here to help you to have the most awesome, celebratory day (and to be your witnesses, if you like).
More than anything else, your elopement wedding day is about the two of you, celebrating your unique and special connection and setting the tone for the life that you’re going to build together.
So many of our elopement couples decide to break their wedding down into three stages:
- Stage 1: A really personal elopement wedding in a beautiful location (either with us as their witnesses, or inviting a small number of family or friends to witness the ceremony)
- Stage 2: A family meal a month or two later—this is your Dad’s opportunity to make that embarrassing speech!
- Stage 3: A celebratory party with your wider group of friends and family, maybe 6 months to 1 year further on.
It’s a great way to have the best of all worlds: a very personal, stress-free wedding day, an intimate family occasion… and also a kick-ass party. So, essentially, all the ingredients of a traditional wedding, without trying to cram everything into the same day. Our couples have found this approach really takes the pressure off, plus you get to have 3x the fun!
Family and friends are important. Really important. So it’s only natural to want to include them in this super-special day of your lives. Some couples bring parents, siblings and/or their very best friends along to witness their elopement ceremony.
However, if you have chosen to elope just the two of you, there are some lovely ways to include your friends and family. It’s really nice to invite them to write you a letter or card for you to open on the morning of your wedding (you can write one for them too, if you like). It’s a wonderful way for them to show their love and support on your wedding day.
Some couples like to call or Skype with friends and family either before or after their wedding ceremony. There has been more than one occasion where champagne corks have been popped up and down the country, as loved ones joined the couple in a simultaneous, multi-location celebratory toast!
One of the reasons that we feel elopement photography is so important is that the photographs we take will be one of the key ways that our couples will not only remember their wedding day in future years, but these images also enable our couples to share the story of their elopement day with their friends and family. We offer both fine art prints and albums, which can make a beautiful gift for your nearest and dearest. Or you can gather friends and family at a later date, for a celebratory evening that includes a slide show of your elopement adventure, so that they can experience it too!
Much as we love, love, love elopements, we completely understand that some couples have a really big group of much-loved family and friends without whom they couldn’t imagine getting hitched, and for them a small wedding or elopement just wouldn’t feel right. We totally get that!
If this feels like you, read on for our advice on postponing your wedding….
If you have made the difficult decision to postpone your 2020 wedding, then this part is for you! We know how much work you will have already put in to organising your wedding, and how many different suppliers are involved. Please don’t worry about how your suppliers will react to the possibility of your postponing. There are many other couples in the same boat and your suppliers will have already been dealing with couples who have already had to postpone dates earlier this year. As wedding photographers we have been working with lots of couples to find a new date for their wedding; we’ve found a new date that works for both their venues and for us and simply transferred their deposit to the new date. Here’s what we have learnt so far about how to postpone your wedding due to Coronavirus.
STEP 1 – CHECK TO SEE WHAT DATES YOUR VENUE HAS TO OFFER YOU.
Every venue is different. Some will be part of a chain, some will be small family run affairs. So some venues will be able to be more flexible than others, and each one will have a slightly different approach to postponing. Your first step should be to contact your venue and see what their protocol is. This is obviously a time for everyone to be as sympathetic and understanding as possible. Do be aware that your venue will be trying to help a lot of couples all at once, and there may other couples with dates earlier than yours who are first in the queue.
Please don’t feel disheartened! The key is to be flexible: perhaps a Saturday wedding in mid-summer will not be possible, but if you are open to going for a mid-week date, or another time of year, there is every likelihood that you will be able to work something out! As wedding photographers, we shoot weddings throughout the year and each month is beautiful in its own way! Plus, the British weather is so notoriously unpredictable we’ve shot gloriously warm and sunny weddings in October and November… and have been caught in the most torrential hail storm ever in August! If you would like to see some wedding inspiration from different times of year, take a look at our Pinterest.
STEP 2 – ONCE YOU HAVE SETTLED ON A FEW POSSIBLE DATES, CONTACT YOUR SUPPLIERS.
Communication is key here! It’s super-important to keep your wedding suppliers in the loop when discussing a potential date change. We always connect with our couples on a personal level and we are always so excited to capture their day. It would break our hearts if we weren’t able to be there for your new wedding date! Make a list of 2-3 potential new dates, and contact your suppliers to find out their availability. They will be doing everything in their power to make the complicated jigsaw puzzle of fitting all their postponing couples into their diary work!
STEP 3 – SIT DOWN WITH YOUR PARTNER AND COMPARE THE PROS AND CONS OF EACH DATE
Make a list under each of your potential dates of all the suppliers who are available on that day. Also check-in with your closest family and friends (the ones that you couldn’t imagine getting married without) to see who is available for each day. Do bear in mind that your wedding suppliers will be receiving new emails daily from couples looking to postpone. With this year’s postponing couples combined with couples already planning weddings next year, 2021 is shaping-up to be incredibly busy for wedding suppliers. Their diaries will be filling-up fast—so act quickly!
STEP 4 – CONFIRM YOUR NEW DATE WITH YOUR SUPPLIERS
Once you have decided and confirmed with your venue and celebrant, then it’s time get in touch with your suppliers to confirm your new date! Give yourselves a high-five, it’s time to let go of the stress and start getting excited about your wedding day again!
STEP 5 – ANNOUNCE YOUR POSTPONEMENT AND DATE CHANGE TO GUESTS
Lastly, announce your date change to your guests! There are so many beautiful designs on Etsy for your ‘save the dates’! These designs can work as for cards to be mailed, or can be sent digitally.
When the day that you were to be married dawns, it’s only natural to feel a little sad and wonder how that day might have been. Hug each other. Tell your partner you love them. Then do something positive to mark the passing of that day:
- have breakfast in bed
- pack a picnic, go for a walk, play ‘pooh sticks’ and allow yourself to let go of the wedding that was to have been on that day
- light sparklers, close your eyes and imagine your new wedding day in all its joyful detail
- cook your favourite meal, or order-in your favourite take away
- dress-up and eat your dinner by candlelight
- have a dance around the living room – sing at the tops of your voices!
- give each other a massage & enjoy your would-have-been wedding night.
For all couples facing the postponement of their 2020 weddings we are so sorry that this is happening and we are sending you all our love. We hope this blog has been of use, has lifted your spirits and has given you some ideas and inspiration. Remember that your wedding day will still be awesome, romantic and full of love, whenever and however it takes place.
If you are planning an intimate wedding or elopement, do take a look around our website. Our blog has lots of beautiful love stories that we have captured over the years, which might give you some ideas for how you want your day to be.
If you are a couple who have not yet been in contact with us, and you feel a connection with our work, do get in touch! We would love to hear from you.