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Planning a wedding during lockdown. Love will find a way. How one couple had their dream wedding during lockdown while still following all the rules.

Can’t decide whether to postpone your wedding, power on ahead with the original plan or even if carrying on with planning a wedding during lockdown is a good idea?

There are a million things swimming around in all of our heads right now and it is hard to know what to do for the best.  Should we even be thinking about planning a weddings at a time like this?  I would say a big fat “yes, we should”.  Weddings are such joyous occasions,  they celebrate LOVE!  If anything, I think that the situation we have found ourselves in right now has solidified the importance of human connection and love.  We are all missing being with each other.  Remember hugs?  Oh my goodness I miss hugs!!

I was lucky enough to photograph a very small wedding during lockdown last week. It was very different from what the couple originally planned because of the circumstances that we all find ourselves in right now. That doesn’t mean it was any less of a wedding for this. If anything it made it even more special.

Before I go on though. I want to say: You do you. If that means taking a break with the planning or if it means continuing on with planning a wedding during lockdown, it’s up to you.

Let me reassure you that however you decide to proceed with your wedding planning is OK.  It has to be right for you.  If you don’t feel like you can think about planning a wedding right now – fine!  If you are getting stuck into the wedding planning during lockdown – also fine!   You decide how best for you to go ahead.  Don’t let anyone tell you what to do.  (Apart from, you know, the doctors, other health professionals, governments and all the people making the rules.  Obviously listen to them and stick to the rules!!) 

Photographing a beautiful wedding during lockdown. Love will find a way.

As I mentioned before, last week I was lucky enough to photograph a wedding during lockdown and it was just so perfect.  Even during a pandemic the fact that two people found a way to get married. To tell each other that they are each other’s favourite humans and that they will be forever was very moving.

These two had been planning their wedding for a year.  Who knew, 12 months on, that we would be in the midst of a pandemic. One that is shaking the very core of our previously presumed freedoms?  Things are not like what they were before.  We all know this and we all feel this.

Instead of cancelling or rescheduling their wedding plans right away.  This lovely couple decided that they would wait it out and see what would happen before making any decisions. Knowing that if restrictions didn’t get eased in time for the wedding date, they would postpone.  They had been looking forward to their date and held onto hope that it would happen.

I asked them how it felt not knowing whether the wedding would go ahead.  Naturally, this must be such a stressful and upsetting time but they knew they wanted to get married as close to their original date as possible.  They said that “in this time we have learned a lot as a couple. First of all, we have learned that there are times in life, that we are not able to control a thing.”  The only thing they could do was hope and trust that everything would turn out well in the end.   Maybe not the way that was originally planned for the wedding but in a new way.   Possibly even a better way.  

“We learned to be thankful and satisfied with even small things.”

They have such a beautiful attitude and outlook and the wedding really did turn out to be perfect.

Luckily for them the restrictions were eased in time and just enough to have their wedding.  At the time of the wedding it was lawful to congregate in groups of no more than five people.  It was possible to get married in the Standesamt with just the bride, groom, registrar and one other person present. I was the “plus one” on this occasion, as the photographer.  

Now they had a glimmer of hope, nothing was going to stop them.

One thing that is apparent for most people facing this situation is that having a wedding during lockdown means that you are most likely not going to be able to have your wedding the way it was originally planned.  This could be seen as a problem but how about if you flip it on its head?  You could choose to see this situation as giving you a chance to do something completely different.

Over to the bride:

“The first thing I personally learned is that this situation gives you the opportunity to be creative. Finding out what is really important for our wedding, was one of the key points we had to figure out. For us it was important to have prime-time with our witnesses and our families. That’s why we split up the day.  After the civil wedding we had lunch with only our witnesses and after church we had family time.  What I really liked about the day was we planned it exactly how we wanted to. (Chinese-food out of the aluminium bowl, minimal decoration and a relaxed atmosphere).  Even if we thought at first, how can we marry in these circumstances, it was our dream wedding.”

Figure out what is most important to you.

Although it was very different to their original plan, Marion and Phillipp decided it was most important to be with their family and closest friends and to celebrate in the church where they first met.  This couldn’t happen as one big gathering so they had to think creatively about how to overcome the obstacles safely and within the rules.  They chose to split the day into two and had a picnic with their close friends followed by a small ceremony in the church with their family.  And it was just beautiful.

So if you’re planning a wedding during lockdown, what is most important to you about your wedding day?

Really drill down and strip back from all the plans you’ve made so far. If the most important thing is that you celebrate in front of all your family and friends – the live band, maybe a bit of crowd-surfing – you might want to wait until we’re back to some kind of normal. But if you just want to be married as soon as possible, spending as much time as you can on the day with your other half, you might want to think about eloping. That way, you can move away from all the traditions and norms that are often expected at weddings (whether you actually want them or not!). It’ll be your wedding, your way. Just the two of you treasuring those precious moments together and making memories of a day that will last a lifetime. 

This is your chance to rethink “weddings” – Have you considered an Elopement?

When I talk to couples who have had the huge everyone-your-parents-have-ever-known-on-the-guestlist weddings, they often say that the day flashed by in the blink of an eye, with little time to sit down and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes without a moment to properly talk to each other; to really drink it in. They had a great time, sure, but was it what they really wanted? I mean, really wanted? Planning your wedding during lockdown might just be your chance to do this how you really want to. When you choose to elope, it’s just the two of you and your very nearest and dearest (or not?!) without all the things that are expected of you. Just a day full of love, precious moments and joy.

Make a list of your must-haves; your non-negotiables.

If the thought of eloping doesn’t appeal to you, maybe you could still go for the more traditional wedding with just the bits that are really important to you as a couple? Make a list of your must-haves, your non-negotiables, the guests you simply can’t do it without and see if that can work within the current regulations in your area. That way, you still get to have your wedding during lockdown, when you had originally planned. And this can work for weddings during lockdown and beyond; if this whole situation has proven anything to us, surely it’s that we can pare things back, keep it simple and stick to what’s really important to us in life.

So, wipe the slate clean. 

Back to the drawing board and start afresh. Find a new way to get married.  You can still have and plan your dream wedding during lockdown.  It might just be a little different to how you had first expected.  But it will still be the two of you declaring your love and devotion to each other, conquering everything else. 

I read an article about a doctor and nurse couple who recently had their wedding during lockdown in a chapel in St Thomas’s hospital in London, where they both work. They had a private ceremony in the chapel which one of the witnesses broadcast to guests, who could join remotely to watch. They even had speeches, a first dance and a drinks reception!

Check the rules.

Before deciding on an elopement now you should check the latest rules in your area by researching a reliable source such as the government website in your country. Requirements can vary from country to country and some places are easing the lockdown restrictions differently to others. 

I’ll leave you with what I’ve already shared from the lovely bride, but it is so good it’s worth repeating.  After all the waiting and hoping that the restrictions would ease in time for their wedding, they “have learned a lot as a couple”. That none of us can control a thing. But they also “learned to be thankful and satisfied with even the small things”.  And you can see the love and pure joy etched on their faces; that their wedding is finally going ahead.

The article about the doctor and the nurse marrying at the hospital chapel:
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-52814401

Wedding Photography Switzerland, Hochzeitsfotograf Basel. Planning a wedding during lockdown.

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Creative, informal documentary Wedding photography for stylish couples in Basel, Switzerland and the rest of Europe.