Wedding Industry abandonment, covid-19 and positivity.

modern bride wearing blue velvet at small wedding in bath

In late October I sat in my office not editing a wedding. October is normally a super busy time for me, catching up editing amazing weddings from over the summer, then setting up my kit for winter weddings. I had come to an understanding emotionally that since March, 2020 was going to be a different year. All my wedding couples had postponed to 2021, some even to 2022 and all on top of exciting new referrals for 2021. 2021 is going to be busy! As a self employed photographer you are always prepped to a certain extent to adapt. That can be an absolute joy of being your own boss.

I have asked myself over this worrying period, is this a time for change, should I look into what I do and perhaps rethink my career. I mean with nothing to shoot wedding wise, it had crossed my mind several times! I already have a second job but thought about perhaps actually stopping shooting, making 2021 my last year, I have to say it was an absolute low point. My business brings me such joy. Then I asked myself, why do I shoot weddings? It is totally for that connection. It’s beautiful to watch, its beautiful to be a part of. Not only that, its one of the most creative industries I’ve seen and have the pleasure being part of. Imagery is my thing, it always has been. I started my working life as a graphic designer (a long time ago, in a far off galaxy), with photography as an extra skillset. Creation, colours, brands and photography is just my happy place. The wedding industry is absolutely booming. Why? Because so many people are creatives, it offers you flexible working hours and brilliant relationships with like minded people. There are so many fantastic artists out there (nearly 400,000 to be precise in the wedding industry) contributing to an annual income of £14.7 billion. Being part of several industries including hospitality, events, and the arts is just a great combination for all my passions. Over the summer I have got used to saying in my head, its ok, we just need to stay healthy and adapt. We can get through this. 

But how difficult is it to remain optimistic without the support to ride this pandemic. The self-employed have been hit hard. With the insulting words by Oliver Downen, which then followed an even more degrading advert to retrain, I just felt so sad that the arts and creative industry was being represented in that way. It made me so angry, how dare he! It was sad enough that so many couples have had to alter their well made plans to get hitched, most within a short notice of 24-48 hours. The inconsistency with the rules has left so many so frustrated within the industry, especially failing to take into consideration the effort businesses have gone to to ensure they can deliver Covid-safe events. What a hot mess! I just don’t understand how we can be pushed aside so easily. We are not expendable. The wedding industry feels totally abandoned. These are people’s livelihoods, the strain on loosing your income without any support is just gut wrenching; yet there are strangers getting drunk in a pub, but as long as you’re back by 10pm you’re good.

It. is. not. ok. 

But of course we are resilient. And I had to try and overcome my own bitterness! So many business have adapted and in our own ways we have stood up and tried to make ourselves heard. A lot of businesses have successfully navigated smaller weddings and events that absolutely blow traditions away! Seriously some of these smaller weddings and elopements have been totally bad ass! So going back to October, where I wasn’t sat editing a wedding, I FaceTimed my loveliest friends Saffy and Verity (The Bath Flower School) to discuss a shoot idea stuck in my head! I work with these awesome two teaching photography to the florist industry so I knew they would be on board! We discussed my idea at length, including the practicals of the day and completing 6 page Covid risk assessment to ensure we could do this. Photographers often see magic in the mundane, but often those shots have numerous suppliers behind them. We always shoot connections, moments, simple touches, but these are being more and more treasures as we are all lacking such physical reach and interactions. The word abandonment, around self-employed awesome individuals desperately paddling to keep their heads afloat was a hard hitting emotion. Totally yearning to shoot and left feeling abandoned; an emotional state, which people feel undesired, left behind, insecure, or discarded. This seemed to hit the mark with how I and many others were feeling. We are many, we are often small but boy are we feisty!

I needed to create. With my camera sat there gazing into my eyes on a daily basis, I just couldn’t take it anymore! I mean how many more photo’s of my animals and garden can I take! From that initial chat, two weeks flew by and we were ready to go, I couldn’t believe how many people on contacting instantly replied and said yes yes yes. The commitment was amazing! Two weeks and my vision came to light, it was intense! I could have cried when we finished, I was so happy! Hold it together Emma, hold it together! Yes, yes I am meant to be doing this. The shoot was an explosion of flowers against an established Bath venue, local suppliers in full flow, with a twist on an editorial wedding shoot, where statement fashion pieces were key. Shorter smaller weddings are often not what couples had planned, I get that, but this seems even more of a nod to do as you please within that right now and party later when it’s more realistic to do so! I am so excited to share these images, this day was just a joyful outburst of colour, collaboration and love for the wedding industry. In a time were adaptation is the key player and the wedding industry may be not be recognisable, just don’t forget us, we’re also here for the ride trying our best to work with a huge change and remain safe. We are all here ready to take on the challenge!  Thank you so much to everyone for all your enthusiasm and excitement to bring this together. 

Here’s to the next! Watch this space!

Photographer & Concept – HEART FULL OF TEA @heartfulloftea
Florist – THE BATH FLOWER SCHOOL @thebathflowerschool
MUA – CHRISTY WATERFALL @cmwaterfall
Hair – LEANNA BIGGS @lbmakeupandhair
Model – OLIVIA WEBB @oliviahamerwebb
Veils – BRITTEN WEDDINGS @brittenweddings
Hair Crown – BRITTEN WEDDINGS @brittenweddings
Hair Slide – TESSA’S TIARA’S @tessastiaras
Teal Dress – THTH @thth_bridesmaids
Pink Dress – HOPE & IVY @hopeivylondon
Blue top & Trousers – ASOS @asos
Black Cake – RELISH VEGAN @relish_vegan
Food & Table Styling – THE FREE RANGER CHEF @beththefreerangechef
Ceramics – JANE SCOTT CERAMICS @janescottceramics
Signage – URBAN FRAME @urbanframe_
Venue – PRIOR PARK BATH 

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