2020 started out with so much promise. I went straight into the year with a wonderful wedding at Top Meadows in Essex. From there the diary was packed for the rest of the year. Of course we know what happened from March onwards and one by one all my weddings had to postpone to 2021. However, Corinne and Pedro were lucky. Although their wedding celebrations were cancelled in Kent, their ceremony could go ahead thanks to changes to the guidelines in July albeit with a lot less guests and scaled back celebrations. Did it spoil their Hampstead Heath Wedding?? Of course not.
So on a hot sticky day in July I made my way to Hendon in North London to meet Corinne and Pedro at Hendon Town Hall. This wedding had a lot more preparation than normal. The new guidelines relating to Covid-19 hadn't long been out. These guidelines and changes to the rules around social distancing meant that the wedding today could go ahead. I was in close contact with them, Hendon Town Hall and also constantly checking the government website on Covid.
The wedding industry has been hit hard as a result of Covid-19 so I felt very fortunate to finally be able to shoot a wedding. The staff at Hendon Town Hall were fabulous with their advice and guidance on social distancing. Only 4 guests would be present, plus the happy couple and myself. But it meant these two could tie the knot.
I arrived at the Town Hall. I knew I had to wait outside until the rest of the wedding party arrived but I still knocked on the door to double check I was at the right place.....I knew I was but my wedding day OCD kicks in. A security guard answered the door.
Me: Am I at the right place for Corinne and Pedro's wedding?
Me: You sure? I'm shooting their wedding.
Him: This is Hendon Town Hall.
Me (Double checking the booking): Well it says here the wedding's taking place here.
Him: Is it a wedding?
Him: OK. Just wait over there.
Confused? Yup! Anyway, eventually Pedro arrived which was a relief. So as everyone had to go in together tradition went out the window to be replaced by new traditions. Corinne arrived in her parent's car and Pedro got his first view of his bride to be. This was gorgeous! They greeted each other, hugged, giggled and chatted about their respective preparations that morning.
Corinne's parents arrived closely followed by her sister and her boyfriend. Assembled we made our way to the door. I had been told I didn't need to wear a face mask but I opted to wear one just in case. The registrar greeted us and directed all 7 of us to the hand sanitiser before ushering us all upstairs to the room where the ceremony would take place.
In the room, the chairs were grouped in pairs over 2 metres apart. I had been designated a chair and instructed not to move about from that spot. The room was baking. So I was glad not to move about. The ceremony was part of the new norm. A very short version containing the minimum required. For those guests who couldn't attend as a result of the restrictions and isolation which included Pedro's parents, the whole thing was streamed live on YouTube! Thank goodness for social media and technology.
We were given a few minutes after the ceremony to do a few photos in the room before being ushered out to allow the staff to clean everything ahead of the next ceremony.
We headed to the park outside the Town Hall where we had a mad confetti toss. With the amount of confetti in the air you'd have thought there were 50 guests present.
After some groups shots, which didn't take long we headed to the Pergola Gardens at Hampstead Heath. This was the first time I'd been there and I wasn't disappointed. What a stunning place. I could have happily stayed there for 4 or 5 hours! Instead we spent an hour strolling around the gardens, laughing and just generally having fun after being couped up for so long. There were so many places to go in so little time. I definitely need to go back.
Before we finished we took the opportunity to acknowledge the times we are in with a few fun shots using the face masks which led to some curious looks from passers by.
Before I "clocked off" for the day we headed to Corinne's parent's house where the 6 of them were having a meal. There we popped some champagne, had a toast and a bit of a natter before I made my way home.
After 6 months away from weddings it felt so good to be back. I have one more wedding going ahead this year. Look out for that in the near future.
But for now, stay safe everyone!