staffordshire wedding photography

Planning In A Pandemic: Simon and Hayley

COVID – 19 has had a tremendous impact on the wedding industry. Couples are stressed and upset because of hard compromises and suppliers are struggling to keep their heads above water as further restrictions are put in place. One of the positives of this whole situation is that I am building even better relationships with my couples and i’m getting to know them as friends as we try and navigate this really tricky situation.

I wanted to give one of my couples the opportunity to speak out about how this time has been. Simon and Hayley are just brilliant. We got on like a house on fire during their engagement session. Here is their experience.

I’d just had my first dress fitting with my Mum & Sister.

The weekend before I’d had my hair trial.

We’d just seen the Venue to confirm the final details.

The Hen & Stag do’s were two weeks away.

Everything was finalised and we were ready to go.

We were just about to pay all of the remaining balances.

We were 7 weeks out. Just 7 weeks away from becoming Mr & Mrs Alexander when everything went into lockdown.

Now, before I start explaining our story, I just want to begin by saying that we were incredibly lucky. I’ll never be more thankful to our suppliers for the compassion that they showed us each time we’ve had to move the date. We didn’t have demands for money or any price increases for rebooking. Every single one of our suppliers made a horrible time, easy, while going through their own struggles.

Simon & I have known each other for 8 and a half years after meeting at work.
We started seeing each other nearly 7 years ago and have been engaged since November 2018. I’m obsessed with him. From the start, we had exactly the same idea of what we wanted from the Wedding Day. Simple. Minimal fuss. Natural. Easy.

We had visited our Venue, Primrose Hill Farm, a couple of weeks before lockdown. We’d already started having conversations about “what if”. As things started to progress quickly, the Venue started to keep in regular contact with us, informing us of Government guidelines and what could happen, but most importantly that they were there for us.  As the biggest financial outset of the Wedding, knowing that the Venue, food & drink were taken care of, a little bit of anxiety subsided.

We knew it wasn’t going to be a fight. They all wanted to help us.

Four days before lockdown, the inevitable phone call from the Venue. ”We should probably move the Wedding.” The decision was essentially taken out of our hands. It was a relief and a disaster in equal measure.

We had to push aside any emotions and act fast to get everything sorted and rebooked.

We quickly started contacting all of our suppliers, along with the Registry office, once a second date was confirmed. 16th September 2020. 6 months away. Easy. That would happen. Loads of time…

The digital “Change of Date” was created and all of the guests were contacted.

Each of our suppliers were fantastic. It felt effortless. We were so lucky. I think because we were in March and everything was just developing, suppliers weren’t yet being contacted left, right and centre. We quickly checked each supplier off the list and it was sorted. Luckily we hadn’t booked our Honeymoon yet, but we had booked a trip straight after the initial wedding day, to Greece, which was also cancelled. THAT WAS A BATTLE AND A HALF!

Then, everything stopped.

I felt a massive weight fall away, but a dark cloud appeared. That was it. It wouldn’t be happening. I had been utterly consumed for 18 months about this one day. It felt like the ground had disappeared from underneath us.

I had, and still have, an overwhelming feeling of guilt for being upset about a Wedding. I feel guilty for being heartbroken that we weren’t able to have the day that we wanted. I felt guilty for being upset about something so insignificant while the world suffered. I stopped talking to my friends and family because I didn’t want to be upset around them about something, that in the grand scheme of life, was stupid to be upset over.

I felt selfish. Selfish to be so consumed in something that was only about myself & my partner. We’d already had a very difficult year up until this point, and the Wedding was just what we, and our family, needed. Something positive. I’d gotten myself into a really deep pit and I struggled for weeks, if not months. I’d been furloughed so I felt like I was spiralling. I had nothing to keep my mind occupied. I was at home, everyday, with my own thoughts.

As we adjusted to this new life, I had to get back on track and start being productive and focus on the 16th September.

Once the second date was in place, we started contacting some of our suppliers to see if they would prefer to be paid now. As we’d been saving for so long, we had the money ready to go and we knew that we wouldn’t be the only postponement/cancellation that they had. If they didn’t want to be paid earlier, we tried to increase our spend with them.

With Laura, we added on an engagement shoot, which we weren’t initially going to do. It is easily one of the best decisions that we’ve ever made!

6th May rolled around and we celebrated at home. We both dressed up and got really drunk! Simon had recreated our “Wedding main course” and we laughed and danced. It was an amazing day and the sun was shining….of course it bloody was!

So things started moving along. Our Maid of Honour & Best Man had reorganised the Hen & the Stag for the UK. I had my first dress fitting booked in again and we started getting a bit excited…we had months…

DUM DUM DUMMMMMMM.

At the start of July, Weddings were announced for 30 but with social distancing. We sat down and had a realllllly long conversation. We had 2.5 months to go. We could wait…..but what were the chances that we’d be able to have 100 people with no social distancing…..

DID WE REALLY HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN?

Venue. Guests. Hen. Stag. Food. Drink. Photographer. Videographer. Make-up. Hair. Registry Office. Musicians.

We desperately didn’t want to have restrictions. I wanted to walk down the aisle with my Dad and to hug our family & friends. We wanted to dance the night away and enjoy the best day of our lives with the best people in our lives.

I’ve heard and read a lot of people saying “well, if you really wanted to get married you just would” but that’s not fair. Of course we want to get married, but why should we give up on one of the best days of ours life? Something that we’ve been planning for so long. Surrounded by all of our friends and family. Why should we have to cut corners, reduce numbers and not have the day we want, yet everyone else can in the future?

If I said to you – you can’t hug your parents the morning of your Wedding, how would you feel?

The whole process started again. Venue. Registrar. Suppliers. Guests.

Give me strength.

It was a lot easier the second time. The suppliers were incredible and they have all moved again with us. We’ve also inherited two new suppliers as we’ve been able to add some elements to the day!

The emotions were there but not in the gut wrenching way of the first time. It became a military process. We knew who would take responsibility for which element and it was done. In less than 24 hours, the new date was set. 6th May 2021. I don’t believe in fate, but there is something magical about the new date being the exact date it was set to be in 2020.

Third time’s a charm right?

The 16th September came and once again….another beautiful day….of course. I can guarantee that the third date will be a horrendous storm, just to shit in our faces.

We’ve already had a chat about what could happen, but we’ve got 7.5 months….loads of time, right?

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