Well, this year has been one heck of a rollercoaster! Not least for all those wonderful couples who planned to get married in 2020, not knowing that their plans would have to change quite drastically. For a small business in the wedding industry, an industry hit quite hard by the Covid pandemic for obvious reasons, it has also been a crazy year. However, ever the optimist, I have embraced the small joys this year has brought. And when I say small, I mean small weddings!
As a wedding photographer, whose diary full of weddings throughout the summer months was completely diminished, it has been quite a different year. However, as summer turned into autumn, and small weddings were permitted things started to look up. I am incredibly lucky to attract the most awesome couples to my photography! And I say that quite genuinely. For some reason, all my couples are amazing, down to earth, roll with the punches, “bring it on!” kinda people. And Hannah and Joe are no exception.
Hannah & Joe
I first met Hannah and Joe at Hannah’s sister’s wedding in 2017. Since then I have also photographed Hannah and Jenny’s mum’s graduation portraits. So having met the family on multiple occasions, I really do feel embedded officially as the family photographer. And quite frankly, if any of them has kids and don’t invite me to take their family photos, I would be bitterly offended! 😉 So, Hannah and Joe are awesome. They had planned their wedding for July 2020 but when the pandemic struck they moved it to the end of September, hoping by then we would be in a better position to celebrate at their chosen venue with all their guests in attendance. As we all know, things didn’t quite pan out how they hoped. So they postponed the big do once more for March 2021.
However, they decided although they wouldn’t be getting married at the big venue they had booked, they would still like to get married and have a small celebration with just 30 people in attendance as per the restrictions. As they were getting married in Norfolk, they decided to celebrate with ice creams on their favourite Norfolk beach afterwards, and would I be willing to capture some of this for them? Anyone who know me can imagine my delight at this! I mean, it sounds pretty much like my dream wedding. Come on then small weddings. Let’s do this!!
Ice-creams on the beach
It was a beautiful sunny September day. So after a gorgeous intimate ceremony at Norwich Castle, we all headed down to Sheringham beach and Dr. Kay kindly bought ice creams for everyone! After that we headed down to the beach and I got to paddle in the sea! I absolutely loved taking pictures of everyone on the beach. It could not have been more perfect! When I was preparing for this blog post (and others that will be coming soon) I decided it would be really great to get some perspective from my couples about their experience of small weddings under the new Covid guidelines. So I posed a few questions, and this is what Hannah and Joe had to say about small weddings from their experience:
“I would describe our wedding as nothing we had planned and yet still everything we wanted. It was an absolutely perfect day and we were so thrilled you were there to help us celebrate it. The photos you took are so precious and perfect and we will cherish them always!”
What were the benefits of having a smallwedding?
Being able to co-ordinate a smaller group made the day a lot more relaxed for us. I (H) was always worried about having to rush to keep timings of a large, traditional wedding to fit everything in; but on our day everyone rolled with us and went along for our fun adventures at the beach with ice cream! The best people suffered two flat tires on the way from the ceremony to the reception; yet because we were a smaller group it made it easier to just relax and enjoy the day whilst they caught up, instead of having to hold everything back whilst waiting for them to arrive. Also just being even able to suggest taking everyone to see the sea was possible with a smallerwedding, and it was an unforgettable part of the day!
It was also really special to us to be able to have our closest family and friends there. We got to spend time with each and every person there and not feel rushed in talking to them all. By the end of the night everyone knew everyone, and we all enjoyed sitting around a fire pit together under the stars like we’d all been just one big family all along.
Which parts of your day did you enjoy the most?
It’s very hard not to answer this question by just saying: All of it! However highlights definitely including paddling in the sea, the intimate ceremony with just our nearest and dearest, and relaxing and celebrating around a fire pit into the small hours.
Which parts surprised you that you thought would be different or awkward or strange with less numbers but actually felt good, better, no different?
Our main answer would be the wedding reception, held as a barbecue event in my parent’s back garden. We had worried without a DJ and big groups of people for everyone to be mingling within that there could potentially be a lot of awkward silences and people relying on us for conversation. As it turns out, with a smaller group it was easier for everyone to all chat together and enjoy what was going on! No awkward silences at any point, even without the usual dancing and revelry that occurs at a wedding reception. It was definitely a lot more chilled than anticipated, but if anything that gave us time to enjoy it more and talk to everyone there.
Can you pick a photo that brings back a memory that makes you laugh?
The photo we’ve gone with is this photo with us and our cake (Made by the super talented LJ Bakes). There was a joke that maybe I had ordered a touch too much cake (I’d really misjudged the sizing chart) and we ended up stood, in my parents kitchen with the two biggest knives of their collection. We look like we’re about to have a small knife battle to decide who gets to cut the cake first. The Pokemon toppers (the least traditional cake topper I’ve ever seen, and we love them dearly) just, well, top it all off!
Can you pick a photo that makes you happy you went ahead with a smallwedding?
We’ve chosen a photo from our ceremony to express how happy we are that we went ahead with our smallwedding. From the moment I walked through the ceremony doors we couldn’t take our eyes off each other. This photo captures pure emotion of how we felt in that magical moment; excitement for the future ahead, a little bit of disbelief that it was finally happening after postponing and multiple plan changes, and overall so, so happy. This was so unlike what we initially envisioned; a serene summer day outside surrounded by woodland and around 80 guests. Joe isn’t wearing a fancy new suit, I’m not even wearing the wedding dress I’d bought for the big day. And yet this moment was everything, we were getting married and we had each other and that was all that mattered. We are so happy that we had the wedding day we did, our nearest and dearest surrounding us and the rest of our days lying out ahead of us. We are just so happy to be husband and wife, finally.
If there are any other photos you like that bring back fun/happy memories or feelings, please let me know.
So as a bonus happy photo we have one of us in the sea at Sheringham. The time at the beach was already incredibly fun, the mantra “Get in the sea!” Being shouted at every guest as they arrived. The best man Sam taking this very literally and instead of gently paddling in Sunday best like the rest of us, deciding instead to come prepared in trunks and dive in for a quick swim. The inevitable water fight between myself and my sister Jenny. Joe’s nephew Albert, getting more and more sodden the longer he was paddling for (such is the way when you’re only three) Joe’s trousers, so neatly rolled up at the start of the jaunt becoming also absolutely soaked. It was a feeling of very unique celebration.
We never dreamed when we started wedding planning that we would get to incorporate Sheringham beach, our absolute favourite place in the world into our wedding day. Originally it would’ve been out of the question, too far away from our venue to take 80 or so people. But with our small intimate group, a little trip to the seaside was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate our day. We did it! We got married!
“One thing I will definitely say to other couples in a similar situation: no matter what, you’re going to marry your best friend in the whole world and nothing compares to that.”