In a year where we have seen the wedding season decimated by the impact of restrictions forced by the global Covid-19 pandemic, it looks like only 5 of my planned 30 or so weddings will take place. Understandably, even after the full-lockdown of the spring was eased in July, most couples elected to postpone their wedding days into 2021 in order to have the full wedding day they’d dreamed of with all their friends and families present. I’ve been hugely fortunate to be able to accommodate almost every one of my 2020 weddings into a now completely packed 2021 wedding season (and at the time of writing keeping everything crossed that some degree of normality has returned to the world of weddings in time for the 2021 season to go ahead). Assuming 2021 weddings are able to go ahead normally, or close enough to normal for most couples to go ahead, I think that 2021 has the potential to be a monumental year for weddings and of course all forms of social gathering that have had to be put on hold for so long.
Below, I’ve included a few images from only my second wedding of 2020 and one that was delayed from April this year as it’s a perfect example of how perfect a small wedding day with restricted numbers can be. This wedding took place in Southwold on what was one of the most gorgeous Autumn weekends imaginable and was an absolute joy to be small part of. Dominic and Rachel were guests at a stunning wedding that I was fortunate to capture back in 2016 and since then I’ve be privileged to capture a number of weddings for the friends and families who were a part of that day in 2016. For me, these are the very best wedding days. Wedding days where I know quite a few of the guests and where the couple already feel like friends are very special indeed. Of course, this particular wedding was even more special given the events of this year and the heartache and stress associated with cancelling the original plans and building plans for a new day that worked around the ever-changing restrictions that were applicable at the time.
As you’ll see below, I covered a fairly short period, shooting a little prep before the ceremony at the St Edmund King & Marty Church in Southwold and a short reception afterwards. While I love long summer wedding days, shooting for only 4 hours or so means the energy levels stay high and I’m home in time to put my feet up and catch up with the family at the end of the day. Dominic and Rachel chose to rent the absolutely stunning Cannons in Southwold for their wedding weekend. I’ve often walked past and admired this beautiful building right on the seafront and it was great to see its interior really doesn’t disappoint. It’s such a wonderfully light and spacious building with neutral tones, I don’t think I’ve captured wedding preparations in a more perfect setting and building. The church was equally stunning, quite possibly with the best light I’ve found in a church to-date. They didn’t build churches with light and wedding photographers in mind so many are extremely dark and awkward to work in – I’d work in Southwold Church every weekend if I could!
After church, everyone strolled through Southwold and along the beach to a spot in front of Cannons where a few drinks were had and some ‘formal’ group photographs taken. It was so nice to see so many people out enjoying a lazy autumn afternoon on the beach, basking in warm sunshine and paddling in the warm sea. As I’ve seen so often when walking through public spaces with brides and grooms, it’s genuinely heartwarming to see clapping and so many cheers and cries of congratulations. Southwold really delivered on all fronts.
Before I headed home, I spent a little time on the beach with Dominic and Rachel, enjoying some incredible golden light and just watching these 2 so lovely people enjoying finally being husband and wife. It may have been a painful journey to get to this so special day in Southwold but I can’t help thinking this was actually the day that suited Dominic and Rachel best. They were able to spend a lot of quality time with their absolute closest friends and family across a whole weekend in a place that means so much to them and in the most incredible of settings on the most perfect of autumn weekends. If I was to marry again (while I really hope I don’t!) I’d want it to look at lot like this. Although so many weddings have been cancelled or put on hold this year, Dominic and Rachel were determined to get across the line this year and they absolutely nailed it.
Small weddings like these have some benefits over the grander ones. While not everyone important to a couple may be present, they are of course more affordable; by renting a place that’s not a ‘wedding venue’, there’s no need to move out for the next couple to move in and the costs are of course also likely to be much less; wedding venues also tend to necessarily have strict and fairly rigid schedules to work within and building your own day around your own passions and priorities leaves you free to enjoy the day in a completely relaxed way and to make detours as you fancy on the day. I could go on but I’ll handover to a few images from this most special of days in Southwold. While I won’t get to enjoy many wedding days in 2020, this would be a wedding highlight in absolutely any one of my 8 wedding seasons and will live long in the memory for all the right reasons.