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Icarus Blog

OUR FIRST COVID-SECURE WEDDING, ICARUS PHOTOGRAPHY

News, Uncategorised Posted on Sat, November 28, 2020 11:52:18

2020 has been an unprecedented year for the wedding industry and photographers, as we all adapt to life with COVID-19.

Of course, we at Icarus Photography have been no exception. We have had first-hand experience of honouring a wedding booking that was thrown into uncertainty by the pandemic. Our own experience reflects those of the wedding industry at large.

The wedding in question was booked in 2019, months before the first signs of Coronavirus would alter all our lives. Our clients, Theresa and Rob, planned for a modest wedding at Swindon Registry Office in Wiltshire.

The wedding was booked for 26th September 2020. The couple asked us to cover the photography for the ceremony itself and family and friends afterwards. This fell within our Emerald package.  Photography for up to several hours, with the option of the wedding breakfast or afternoon reception.

Then the pandemic and the first lockdown happened.

This was an unprecedented situation, and we worked our way through it. Staying in touch with our clients. Theresa and Rob were understandably anxious that they may have to postpone or even cancel their wedding. We reassured them that if that were the case, we would honour the new date if there was a postponement.

Fortunately, restrictions eased, and we soon realised the wedding should be able to go ahead. Although a wedding which must be COVID-secure. No more than 30 people would be allowed to attend. Including the two officials, myself and my business partner Jon. The two photographers.

Swindon Registry Office would institute social distancing, sanitising and mask wearing at all ceremonies in the COVID-secure environment. We had a zoom meeting with the couple. We made some suggestions for photos and they provided us with requests for family and friends.

We all had one last moment of anxiety as the government announced, due to rising infections, that weddings would be reduced to a maximum of 15 from 28th September. Fortunately, the wedding fell on 26th September, just before the new restrictions came into force. There would be no more than 26 of us in total.

The wedding would be one of our most memorable, despite the restrictions. Saturday, 26th September was a pleasant autumnal day with mixed cloud and sunshine. We arrived at Swindon Registry Office and met some of the guests as they arrived in the car park. We began to take photographs, looking for those natural shots that have become much of our style.

We spoke to Rob after his arrival and went through the ceremony. When Theresa arrived with the bridesmaids, we took reportage shots as the bride and bridesmaids left their car and walked to the entrance.

Once we entered the Registry Office, we checked in using the NHS app for test and trace requirements. This is now a requirement at all COVID-secure venues. The Registrar briefed us on the rules for ceremonies. We could not take photos until the ceremony had finished, when we would be able to take posed shots.

As we entered the Garden Room where the wedding would take place, we took some posed shots of the bridesmaids. The Garden Room, well-lit and spacious, normally takes up to 65 guests. Due to restrictions, some seats had been removed to create social distancing. We all wore masks as we entered the room. The only exception the bride and groom and the officials.

The ceremony itself was conducted swiftly and Theresa and Rob were very soon man and wife. Jon and I took posed photos of the couple after they had signed the register. Then the guests were asked to take their own photos. The entire ceremony was conducted in a professional manner. A balance between fulfilment for the couple and guests and minimising time inside. 

We went outside following the ceremony to the adjacent Rose Garden. The weather stayed dry with glimpses of sunlight and we were able to get a whole range of posed and natural shots of the bride, groom and wedding party.

Once we had finished, we left after confirming with Theresa and Rob they had no more requests. We were not required for a reception that they may hold next year. Once they saw the edited photos the couple made plain how pleased they were and gave us a positive review. Despite restrictions, the wedding was a success and gave us valuable experience of a COVID-secure event.



How Coronavirus and lockdown restrictions are affecting weddings. A personal view from Icarus Photography

News Posted on Sat, November 28, 2020 11:38:30

Icarus Photography will always do our best to accommodate you and your family during these uncertain times. Of course, your concerns will be for health and safety and when your wedding can safely go ahead.

We will follow all government guidelines at the date of your wedding. We appreciate the situation may change and will adapt accordingly. Our aim is to honour your new wedding date if for any reason the ceremony is postponed. This may be due to a lockdown, or self-isolation.

During the national lockdown in England which runs from November 5th-December 2nd, wedding ceremonies and receptions are banned except in exceptional circumstances. Once the lockdown expires, England will revert to a strengthened three-tier system. Previously, under the rules of the tier system, weddings could take place with a maximum of 15 people. This will still be the case.  The tier system was brought in as part of new restrictions on 14th October. Weddings and receptions were reduced from a maximum of 30 to 15 people on 28th September.

Please bear in mind the current total of 15, once lockdown expires, should include officials and the photographer(s). The venue must meet all the safety guidelines of social distancing, mask wearing, sanitising, test and trace. Ceremonies should be as short as possible with no group singing or playing of musical instruments. The venue should keep a record of visitors for 21 days in case they need to be traced.

The tier system and levels of restrictions are of course under constant review. We will monitor any changes that could affect your wedding and please we would ask you to do the same. We would recommend the GOV.UK website where any changes to restrictions for weddings can be found.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

With current guidelines in place, if your wedding date is outside any period of lockdown, we will photograph your wedding. In the interest of all parties we will ensure the venue meets all safety and social distancing guidelines. We will take precautions such as wearing masks and regularly sanitising.

We would endeavour to work with you if you are forced to move your wedding to a new date. This may be due to a national or local lockdown, self-isolation or a close relative becoming infected. Our aim is to photograph your wedding. Rest assured we will aim to cover the new date at no extra cost.

We are happy to provide a full refund if a postponed wedding causes a double booking or we ourselves are forced to self-isolate.

We understand some of our clients would rather postpone their wedding until a time when the restrictions maybe eased. We also appreciate there is the risk of a wedding being cancelled. As we have already stated, we will be as flexible as possible. The last thing we wish to do is leave our clients feeling aggrieved or disappointed.

We will do our best to find the best solution with our clients as we work through these unprecedented times.