As we mark a year since Covid-19 began to dramatically shape life in the UK, I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve learned about weddings (and myself) in 2020…
1. Little Is Lovely
Deciding to hold a smaller ceremony allowed some folks to have a wedding day in 2020, despite Covid restrictions causing merry heck for most. The relative safety of Summer, meant groups as large as 15 were welcomed into Covid secure venues, to celebrate life and love.
Folks were so glad to be there that the energy at these events was rich in joy, acceptance and celebration. We have all gained a deeper appreciation for the humans who are show up in our lives, this past year. On your wedding day, that gratitude is the icing on an already scrumptious cake.
What these smaller ceremonies lacked in size they made up for in detail. Fewer guests makes your giving stretch further, with more time and funds to treat everyone to an extra special experience.
Whether that meant more time to chat to everyone over incredible food at a sit-down reception, providing personalised gifts that were meaningful and of the moment, or even sending loved ones who couldn’t make it a bottle of fizz to toast you from their lockdown. Couples and wedding services began to invest in the little things, knowing that these that would be most appreciated and remembered after the day itself.
2. Local Is Lovely
With travel bans and restrictions limiting where we could and could not go, many folks had no choice but to turn to their local suppliers and venues, to build their special day.
This much-needed boost for independent businesses who were struggling to survive the pandemic, also gave celebrations a local touch that really resonated with a much-needed sense of community spirit.
Building your wedding with local suppliers means working with individuals who really understand your needs and can realisitically provide for them. They might have local connections and knowledge that you can make use of and you don’t have to worry about things or people travelling long distances (sustainability win!) or arriving on time (anxiety win!).
Lots of independent suppliers joined forces during the lockdown months, when weddings were banned, to keep their creativity flowing and to keep offering their clients new possibilities when weddings returned…
Bespoke wedding stationer Paper Willow began creating unique personal stationary with gorgeous results; giving you the chance to buy wedding invites and gifts that are all designed with the same loving care and attention to detail that she always brings.
© Paper Willow
Doncaster based photographer Hannah Shearman worked hard to create as many styled shoots as she possibly could, coming up with some incredible inspirational content for weddings or elopements of the future. Her style is wild and tells a story; perfect for folks looking for photos that really express who they are and how they got to the Big Day.
© Hannah Shearman Photography
The Allotment Bride kept me smiling with her bright and beautiful images of the flowers they were growing and arranging for special days, in lieu of weddings themselves. Her arrangements are, as much as possible, seasonal and many of the blooms come straight from her own garden and allotment. Perfect for any seasonal and sustainable folk!
© The Allotment Bride Florist
And Folky Dokey continued to make my jaw drop with her dried arrangements for styled shoots and weddings of the future. These beautiful pieces are quirky and always make a statement. They will likely last well beyond the wedding, becoming a wonderful memento of your special day.
© Folky Dokey
I also learned just how supportive and vital our industry networks can be and am grateful to everyone at the Celebrant’s Collective for keeping me sane enough to still be here writing ceremonies a year on!
3. Love is Lovely
This situation got a lot of people asking questions about how weddings should be handled, what options should be open to those wanting to get wed, and how we might handle these better in the future. All of the conversations, whether in agreement or not, pointed to one thing: that weddings matter and how we show and share our love for one another is not something to be taken lightly.
Seeing folks take the time and space to acknowledge their love for one another, when everything else seemed unsafe and unstable, has been truly inspiring.
For some, this meant a smaller ceremony squeezed into those few Summer months when they were possible.
For some, this meant a ceremony undertaken suddenly, at the precipice of illness or loss.
For some, this meant choosing to postpone their wedding entirely until they can once again be surrounded by friends and family.
For some, it was an opportunity to slip away and make intimate promises at a time when commitment and care were sorely needed.
For me, it meant turning inward, thinking about the kind of woman, Celebrant, and human being I want to be. It’s been a long time since my last blog post but I am glad to still be here, still writing about weddings and ceremony, and still dreaming of all the wonderful wild wedding and naming ceremonies I’ll be holding in the future.
Learning to love yourself, your partner and your fellow humans with tender care and wild abandon is perhaps the most vital lesson this lockdown has taught me. As we emerge into 2021 and beyond, as restrictions change and shift, quicker or slower than we might like, I hope we can all remember that.