By now we’re all aware of the severity of Coronavirus, and probably exhausted from the worry of it all. I know I am! Most of my couples know that I am a Heart Failure Nurse Specialist. I am also a Wedding Photographer. I have had lots of messages regarding advice and I really don’t have all the answers. Therefore I have put together this article with advice on Corona and Weddings. I am giving this advice from both perspectives of my life with awareness of the impact on small businesses and the scientific guidance I can offer. If you’re getting married this year you’re probably worried how the Coronavirus pandemic could impact on your wedding and more so on your own health and the health of those around you. Currently the guidance is changing daily from the government so there are no absolute answers, which is frustrating and frightening. We are dealing with a pandemic, where we don’t understand the final outcome and we are learning as we go along.
As of March 16th 2020, the government announced stricter guidance on social gatherings, which are closer inline with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. As a reminder though, they are exactly that, guidelines. They are currently not enforced but should come with a serious warning. These updates are coming from scientific and mathematical equations of the trajectory of the virus, they also come from trying to strike a balance on a functional economy. What we do know about the spread of any disease, is that we need to devote our attention to “flattening the curve”, a statement I am sure you have all heard. This simple and historic method of dealing with outbreaks by epidemiologists is proven to limit the spread. Obviously this is to prevent more people becoming infected but also allows healthcare professionals logistical time to plan and allow for research to advance to possibly provide a vaccine. Covid-19 can’t spread exponentially forever. There are upper limits to the population and over time, people start to build immunity to the disease and the infected start to recover, there will be a natural ceiling. As with many other disease outbreaks, there will likely be a peak and decline in the number of cases.
With regard to your health, this obviously comes first. Symptoms of Corona Virus are:
A NEW persistent cough
A fever (which means above 38C)
Shortness of breath
Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include frequent cleaning of hands and wrists, (we should all be singing happy birthday TWICE) using alcohol-based hand rub or preferably soap and water. Covering the nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing; and avoiding close contact with anyone that has a fever and cough. Including maintaining at least 1 metre (3 feet) of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Easier said than done! You need to remember that you may be immune to the virus completely, or have the virus and be asymptomatic. We will never know the true numbers as we simply don’t had the means of testing the infected on mass and there is no method for testing recovered subjects. This is about the bigger picture and thinking about those who are at risk and what we can do about it.
With regard to those who are at risk; this means anyone who has underlying health issues, which does not always correlate with age. Diseases aren’t ageist. It is just our biological time clock means you are sometimes more at risk of having an underlying health issue as we age. For example, Diabetes Type 1 & 2, Heart Failure, Renal Failure, Respiratory Disease, Cancers that are being actively treated, High blood pressure, Arthritis where you are taking drugs that suppress your immune system, Pregnant Women; I could go on. Therefore, make sure you are rested and you have all the medications you need, a lot of GP surgeries are giving out email addresses if you need your prescriptions. There is no need to order more medicines than you need, as this will affect the supply of medicines to others, and there is no disruption to the supply of medicines. Pick up the phone and do some life admin for the next few months. Help those who need it, to sort out their health ready for potential self isolation. Think about how you can be in the best health possible. For example I have asthma, everyday I take two inhalers to make sure my health condition is controlled. Exercise by walking, eat well, reduce your alcohol intake, stop smoking, general lifestyle advice that you have heard for years from the NHS still remains. This is one of the biggest self-help tools you have got. Be sensible and don’t panic.
If you think you have symptoms please follow the NHS advice – especially on self isolation.
With that out of the way I wanted to put together my own thoughts with what that means on how to deal with different eventualities if you have a wedding booking or shoot with me in 2020. With phases such as social distancing (the government has issued an article on this) and reducing non-essential travel, what does that mean for your wedding? None of us, scientists or medics included, know what is going to 100% happen over the next few months, including the impact on the economy and small businesses who often don’t have the same protection or income backing to survive cancellations. This element is probably more worrying than the virus itself! We could certainly see further restrictions on gatherings and more enforcement in the coming months. This is being realistic to what is happening and the measures you need to take to protect yourself and others.
IF I AM SICK
I wanted to give you all some reassurance that I will never put you or your family at risk. In the last month I have formed a triangle of local photographers that could potentially step in and shoot for me if needed with regard to my own exposure of COVID-19. An obvious reminder, but all photographers are in the same boat. As are florists, cake makers, bands, wedding planners etc. Surprisingly, I am at just as much risk as the general public regardless of being a healthcare clinician; this is due to how strict our infection control procedures are in hospitals and I’m afraid to say how poorly people wash their own hands in the public population and are not taking the warnings seriously enough. I am taking all the appropriate measures required. Plus I love the new greeting of toe taps and elbow pokes! In the event I do need to find cover, I will give you as much notice as I can, depending on the circumstances. Which would be exactly the same if I was ill with a gastric bug or I broke my leg. The procedure is no different. If an appropriate replacement cannot be found, or you would prefer to find your own replacement you will be given a refund of the remainder of what you owe HEART FULL OF TEA. As a reminder, regardless of the virus, deposits are non-refundable.
YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR BOOKING
If your 2020 wedding is postponed for any reason, regardless of whether it is due to any anxieties about the current state of affairs, due of illness, due to family or key people that cannot get there due to travel issues, or because of a ban from the Government; HEART FULL OF TEA, will happily transfer your booking to another date, if possible. I will try where able, to accommodate your new date, without impacting on other bookings. The package that you have booked and the monetary value of that will be carried over to the new date. I don’t want to lose working and shooting with you, so therefore I am keen to make sure we can agree to make your postponement as stress-free as possible for you.
There is a lot of incorrect dare I say it, fake news out there currently from our delightful media that is causing a huge amount of scaremongering. Having difficulty getting hold of loo roll? Yep, that will be thanks to the news. It causes people to be fearful as there is so much misunderstood advice, this causes panic. Be calm, do not bulk buy. Be creative with your stocks you already have and think about those who are at risk right now, where panic buying and emptying the shops is devastating for them.
Right now, I can completely understand how frightening and devastating these changes are towards your wedding day. Weddings are expensive, I get that. You don’t want to get sick, you don’t want your family to get sick and you don’t want your day you’ve been planning for to get ruined and loose money in the process. One of the first things I would do, is understand the T&Cs of all your hired help and then also what your Wedding Insurance states. What do these contractually say to support your plans? Cancelling your wedding now because you ‘fear’ something ‘could’ go wrong will probably have financial implications as this often won’t be covered by insurance.
Remember that I am here to help with your wedding, I want to work with you. I want your wedding to ahead. I am a small business and I work with awesome small businesses that will also want your day to happen. I am championing for you both! We can do this. Stay rational, keep excited about the fact you are getting married this year and just be sensible. Write your questions down, use your phone when you’re out and about to make lists etc and just be systematic in how you are going manage your anxieties.
Emma from Coco Weddings also wrote an excellent piece regarding advice following the Corona Virus. Definitely give that a read and please just email me if you have ANY concerns.
Look after each other, support those around you, we will be ok.
“We both hate being centre of attention and feel awkward having our pictures taken. Therefore it was important for us to have a photographer that had a laid-back style, a good sense of fun and one that was able to capture the setting, atmosphere and important moments perfectly. Emma (Heart Full of Tea) was the ultimate choice. We didn’t give Emma much direction in the build up to the wedding as we felt we could trust her completely, she gave us loads of tips for our day. Emma made us feel so relaxed about the whole Wedding from our initial chat to stepping out of the Wedding Car and seeing her massive welcoming smile. We couldn’t be happier with the finished pictures they are stunning”
___________ ” EMMA MADE US FEEL SO RELAXED – RICHARD & CRAIG ” ___________
Here are a few top tips and a little bit more about me and how I shoot to help you relax. Nobody wants to feel awkward on their wedding day, you need to be slaying all day long!
TIP ONE – JUST BE YOU
All the couples that book me as their photographer, feel super awkward in front of the camera. That is definitely the first thing I hear from all of you! Yet with my experience, I know how to get people to relax and to let your guard down so I can get the best from you. I’m pretty laid back and I really won’t get you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. Most people who don’t model for a living aren’t comfy in front of a lens – selfies don’t count! Oh and just because you aren’t comfortable being draped all over your other half doesn’t mean you don’t love them through and through. I will capture you two at your best, naturally. An FYI I did not like my wedding photo’s, this is why I am a wedding photographer now. I get it. I get insecurities, I get wanting to have an awesome day and feel comfortable.
TIP TWO – TRUST ME, YOU HAVE HIRED ME TO DO A JOB
I love doing group photo’s! I’m probably the only photographer that does, or in the minority at least. Although no weird heart shapes please! I will always limit how many we do as I don’t want you both standing around, but equally I have a fun approach to them and help you create a legacy from your day and make your family happy. I get lots of people advising me when it comes to this about positions and light, trust me I don’t need your Uncles advice to make you look awesome!
TIP THREE – MY PRICES ARE PRICED TO GIVE YOU THE BEST COVERAGE
I charge the price that I do as I am an experienced photographer, you can read about my packages here. Most photographers price themselves on demand, skills and experience. The price of my tailored packages have been worked out by the hour, that includes being available to the lead up to the wedding with plenty of advice to make your day epic! If you’re struggling whether or not to decide on that taco van, or if there is time to squeeze in an evening shoot? Just ask me! I tend to do a couple of planning sessions about 8 weeks before your day. I like to be super organised so on the day you can ask me, “Emma, what’s the time, where should we be…”
I absolutely LOVE working with local suppliers and wanted to make sure I shout about them to my couples who are looking for recommended Hair & MAU Suppliers. The excitement of the morning is an awesome time to be part of as a photographer and one where a lot of your preparation comes together for the look you want. If you want to feel relaxed all day long and not worry about your hair or makeup you definitely need to check out these amazing suppliers. Its doesn’t matter what kind of look you want to create, whether it’s dramatic, natural, or that gorgeous boho look these amazing creatives will be sure to work with what you’ve already got. I’ll be regularly updating this post as this industry is constantly on the go and I’m always meeting new people, so keep coming back to find out more! Oh and if you’re doing your own hair and makeup (which a lot of my couples do) then just remember you can still do a makeup class for example, to help you on your way!
Ok, here we go! I have been meaning to write this for AGES. I’m pretty sure most people that know me well know about my obsession with Japan. Then there are those that don’t know me, but within half an hour of speaking to me I’m pretty sure I’ll have mentioned Japan! I’ve been lucky enough to visit and travel fairly extensively there not once (5 weeks) but twice (3 weeks) and I wanted to share why this creative destination should be on your honeymoon list! Japan has so much to offer everyone. This post is lengthy, but bear in mind I probably have about 2000+ photo’s from Japan so be thankful I’ve trimmed it down!
I was thinking how they hell am I going to do this. Where do I start. There is just so much I can share with you, plus this post will take on a slightly geeky element as I love video gaming and so does my husband. Therefore we did spend a large portion of our time indulging our passion, in particular Dan! BUT we also saw so much more than the dizzy heights of Akihabara and certainly more than enough to give you some inspiration for a honeymoon. I thought the best way I can do it is as an exploration of different locations we visited rather than an itinerary, but there are parts that I’d suggest as an itinerary. Like a pick’n’mix!
I’ve picked out the locations that I would definitely revisit and assigned photo’s to those areas. There are a few places that we went that I haven’t included, so this isn’t a limited list. I’ve tried to do it in an order of easy reach within each location, although most of Japan is pretty easy to get around so it doesn’t overly matter. Especially as the trains run to time, within the second I’ll add and to where your feet are as the doors of the train stop where your seats are. I also don’t want to give you an overload of information so I’m going to try and keep it snappy to each area. With regards to hotels, we stayed in a real mix of hotels, but the first time we used Toyoko Inns a fair bit, as they are relatively cheap and uber clean if you want to save some money; think of them as the Japanese version of Premier Inn! Then we splurged on where we wanted a bit of luxury.
I would highly recommend getting a SIM care whilst you are out there, so you can use data and google maps to get directions. I honestly don’t know how visitors or tourists get around Japan without that! It can be a tricky lace to navigate in terms of street directions. Alongside that I would also consider staying close to the main JR stations as it makes transport much easier and you will need to get a Japan Rail pass before you go. Like a multi-pass from Fifth Element! Start the day with a coffee and a hearty breakfast and plan your route! If you don’t already use FourSquare, then download it before you go, it will help you with food and restaurant recommendations. Although you can’t really go wrong in Japan, it’s pretty common to have smaller meals, so if you don’t like the place you’re in just move on! I don’t think we’ve had a bad meal either time we went, which is pretty impressive and says a lot about Japan.
I think the other thing I would say, is that you have to be fairly fit on your feet. There is a lot of walking involved which may seem obvious, even though it’s fairly flat you can easily walk 5-7 miles a day as a minimum if you’re sight-seeing. Plus a lot of the temple sights are surrounded by steps from being generally raised up. Get used to taking your shoes off too, I hope they don’t smell after all that walking, clean socks are a must! As a last cavet, this is literally just me saying what I thought of our two trips there, I am fully aware (thanks internet trolls) that there are other places to explore and that some of my knowledge might not be completely factual, but I love Japan and I just thought I’d share! With that said, I’m going to crack on and talk to you about these amazing destinations.
“Thank you so so so much for our INCREDIBLE wedding photographs!!!! Looking through them was such a special experience and it really helped us to relive the day. We’ll be looking at these memories for the rest of our lives. We can’t wait to share them and we honestly can’t thank you enough. You absolutely captured everything we could ask for and more, the whole story is there. Thank you!”
When Max and Sonnie first got in touch with me about their fun filled wedding in Gloucestershire at Owlpen Manor, I was so excited! They were planning the craziest quirky filled festival wedding with a magician, a fireworks display, home-made lawn games and even an axe throwing competition! Max and Sonnie are the sweetest people, really easy-going and have great easy conversation; the closer their date dawned, the more I couldn’t wait to shoot their wedding! I talk so much in my pre-booking literature about how important it is to get along with your photographer and these guys just made that a breeze. I rocked up at Owlpen Manor, where the boys were relaxing before the big event in one of the many cottages. I love the fact that you can all stay on site at Owlpen Manor, it’s always one of my favourite things about a venue. It takes away a lot of stress and hassle! Plus if you get your timings right I can do a bit of groom preparation before I see the girls. Max and his mates, were pretty chilled playing music, drinking champagne and Woody (their dog) was loving life!
The wedding took place in the church on the grounds of Owlpen Manor and it looked beautiful with candles lining the aisle, really glamorous. They have an amazing bunch of talented friends (most of them being actors) and one of Max’s usher played and sang on his guitar at the ceremony. What a voice!! I think nearly everyone was brought to tears. Especially as their dog was sat on Max’s best man’s lap throughout just looking right at me, I’m pretty sure he was the one that got me going!! Woody is adorable and was loving all the attention he got on the day, plus a few snacks too! Keep scrolling to see and read more about their day…
It’s another week, another wedding blog. This one is changing direction a little and I’m sharing some of my commercial work. I love the Wedding industry, there are so many like-minded businesses that want to attract their ideal client and Commercial Photography can be just what you need to show the world how fab you and your vision can be.
I’ve had the upmost pleasure to work with Dewsall Court back in 2017 on a Winter Event and it was great fun! With snow, a cracking fire and home-made bread smell wafting in the background honestly, whats not to like! The whole team are just a delight to work with too. They’ve worked alongside Erica from Mr&Mrs Unique to ensure they are setting their brand apart and it’s been a wonderful process to get to know this amazing human along the way!
We collaborated and revisited Dewsall Court once again, but this time focussing on the main house and venue as a whole to refresh their website and marketing photography. I sometimes think as a prospective couple I would always be thinking how can I make my day unique, how can I not be another couple on a conveyor belt. There are lots of great venues that achieve this, but this is why I want to give a shout out to Dewsall, as it really is a special place for creating a unique feel for your day. Plus I always think the toilets at venues say so much about a place, and this one has them to die for!! Ahh the amazing Timorous Beasties wallpaper (https://www.timorousbeasties.com). Keep reading to see what I mean! (more…)
When Jeni and Dan first got in touch with me about their cool wedding in Quantock Lakes, I was so excited! They had loads so ideas planned for their day and when I heard about the surf machine I was totally sold. A surf machine, I mean c’mon! This was just a part of their day, which was super sunny and really refreshing to be at Quantock Lakes, which is a pretty amazing location. They are pretty laid back and the loveliest loveliest people. Jeni wore an AMAZING dress with pockets, who doesn’t love this feature in a dress nowadays, and Dan looked so dapper. The wedding took place in the Barn at Quantock, and had a total beach theme. The flowers from Sarah, at The Petal Shed were just so pretty. You know when you’re on holiday and you get that fresh sea smell, the flowers totally reflected this, a spray of summer! Oh and I’ve never seen or heard a bride shout “look at me” when they get to the end of the aisle, it was hilarious and super cute! Jeni you rock!! Dan is an amazing graphic designer by day and had put so much effort into creating amazing stationary and posters, it tied the whole seaside theme together, I kind of fell in love with Boozy Suzie the Seal!!
I’ve been waiting to share this one, are you ready, it’s quite long which I make no apologies for, go get a cuppa and sit and read through their amazing woodland inspired wedding at the Curradine Barns; loads of delicious food, real ale and RSPB pin badges. Jenny and Matt have just been on-going friends since they booked me a good 18 months in advance of their day. This one was super lovely as well as I got married at the Curradine Barns too. This year is my 10th Wedding Anniversary and I still get goosebumps thinking about our day. “We know Emma through mutual friends and our hometowns are just a few miles apart – instant connection!! Her photos are stunning but always so natural, never staged, full of life, colour, fun and charm. Just what we wanted. She was the one and only photographer we approached – thank the lord she was free! Our wedding photos are just perfect! They’ve immortalised the love we felt from friends and family on the day forever. They capture the fun and carefree feeling of our wedding wonderfully.”
Ahhh the delectable Matt and Jenny, what amazing people you are! I’m pretty sure the sun moved closer to the earth that day by how hot it was and the amount of sweat I lost… it was SO HOT and a bit tricky with the blazing sun (us photographers are never happy!!)… but their wedding was just incredible. I’m a total sucker for details and their day was full of personal touches that expressed them both and elements that had stories behind them. I loved the fact that when we went for a walk in the evening golden sun on their wedding day, Jenny could tell me the the names of the birds we could hear singing. I love that they love a pint of ale, that Jen made her own wedding cake and sent me photo’s of it in the fridge, that they are their best in each others company and that Jenny stood up and not only did a speech, but also talked about her mental health and what a positive effect Matt had had on that. So proud of you and hooray for teamwork! Jenny has done a fantastic write-up so I’m totally letting her take the reins on this one! Enjoy! (more…)
Richard and Craig got married at The Roman Baths and it was super stylish. I’ve been so looking forward to blogging this wedding, I LOVE it. Hugely steeped in history, with its origins dating back 2000 years, it really is a truly magical setting that will definitely make your guests go wow! Richard got in touch a couple of years ago and saved their date in advance. Richard said, “Our plan was to have a small and simple wedding in a city we love. We wanted a venue that would create ever lasting memories for ourselves and our guests. There was only one location in the historic City of Bath that would do. The Roman Baths with its history, architecture, unique atmosphere and the option to have a twilight ceremony made it the perfect setting.”
Ahh look at them, so incredible, that photo that I shared of Richard and Craig on instagram (the one above) has had the most likes, shares, views and enquiries from a wedding I’ve ever shot!! Emma from Coco Wedding Venues also featured this wedding so I’m pleased to finally share it too. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Roman Baths too; having got to know this place pretty well over the last couple of years, the venue is pretty versatile. Upstairs in the Pump Room, there is a choice of rooms, and the venue can therefore cater for intimate groups as well as much larger wedding parties for up to 200 guests. It can be a pretty tricky venue to photograph, as its quite dark and once you lose the light it really does need a bit of flash here and there. I think if that is the kind of look you are going for though, over sun drenched fields for example then that’s fine. I always make sure that my couples understand this though, as I like to be able to shoot creatively and if you’re up for that it’s a fantastic place to get some really cool shots! Plus, what could be more romantic and impressive than exchanging your vows amid the flickering torchlight and rising steam from the waters of the Great Bath?
This wedding is still a firm favourite, I know you are going to LOVE it and it’s perfect for inspiration! The lovely Kelly from Boho featured this wedding and I think the way she describes it is just perfect “It’s a Festival themed wedding held at the brides parents home, with the ceremony in the front garden and the reception in the back! It’s a real celebration of love, colour, vibrant patterns, DIY, and so much fun and laughter! Lauren and Jay really made their wedding a family and friends affair, with so many people pitching in and helping make their day a wedding to remember. From the amazing rag bunting, to the tie died table clothes, the whole look and feel of this wedding is bang on! With a glitter bar, dressing up area, Pizza ovens and a hot dog stand, everything about it is cool, relaxed and full of joy. Even the dogs got in on the wedding action.”
I’m totally starting from the beginning with this one, as I think it gives you a huge insight into how I work and the relationships I form with my couples. So, are you ready!! (more…)