Today we are doing a recap of 2020; Virginia Photographers Behind the Scenes. Much like last week but this week we are talking about the business rather than our personal year in review.
So 2020. It was nuts. If you were in the wedding industry this year you know this. It was explosive.
In March we had a field so many phone calls and emails and messages from people. We had to try to help them navigate this craziness. Which was very hard because we don’t know. No one did.
It was really tough is that it was so consistent. We had a few people reaching out all year and it felt like it was never going to end.
In March we would have never imagined that we would still be dealing with this.
So here’s my question for you. If you were a groom. If we were scheduled to have gotten married this year. What would you have done?
I probably would’ve done what a lot of our couples decided to do. Which is get married and have a small ceremony and push the party till the next year. About half of our couples decided to do that. And I think that’s what I would’ve done.
I wouldn’t have wanted to push back starting my life with you. I’d have thought at the time that there would eventually be a vaccine, so I would have just pushed the party.
Agreed. I think I would’ve just done ceremony. Family and one or two friends and then a big anniversary party. Which is what a lot of our couples did.
OK follow up question.
Some of our couples decided I’m gonna wear my dress and do the whole thing. While others decided to do a less formal outfit and said he will just do this in formal ceremony and I’ll wear my wedding dress next year.
Would you have wanted to wear your wedding garb? Or would you have been informal about it?
I probably would have worn my wedding outfit. That close to the wedding, I would have already had it, so I guess unless I was renting it, I would have chosen to wear it.
So, I would wear it for the small ceremony. And I would expect that you would do the same for your dress.
I just think it’s such a good opportunity to get two uses out of your wedding dress. I’m just looking at these brides saying, “man, you get to wear your wedding dress twice”!!!
It’s the best outcome. Essentially your favorite thing you’re ever gonna wear. The most expensive piece of clothing you’re ever going to own. And you get to wear it twice. So I would definitely wear my dress!
It was raining for Annie’s wedding and she still decided to wear it. And I applaud her for it.
How fun that you get to wear your dress AGAIN!
Now I have a question for you. For all these people who are breaking up and doing their ceremony and then a party… would you make your party seem like a wedding day and that you have a getting ready. And all that kind of stuff like you were going through a wedding day or not?
I would do a full wedding day. I’d have my ceremony be a little vow renewal. I think that once you’re married for a year you understand SO MUCH MORE about marriage than you did. You don’t know what you’re talking about when you say your vows initially. And then especially going through such a crazy year.. you definitely understand so much more.
So I would want to do the whole thing. I wanna get ready with all my friends. No one wants to miss out on the mimosas and cute robes. So I would want to do the whole thing.
I agree with you. You still get it have it feel like a whole wedding day with none of the pressure or stress. Exactly. You’re already married.
But honestly I think there are no expectations. No one knows what’s going on. This is so unprecedented.
It’s kind of fun, do what you want, no one has any expectations.
Which I think is the greatest thing that has come from this. I think so much about weddings is “what you are supposed to do?”. We get asked all the time “what am I supposed to do?” In the getting ready room I hear that 5 to 10 times every wedding day.
What am I supposed to do? Do I put my engagement ring on my right hand or do I not wear it until after the ceremony? Which leg is the garter supposed to be on? Am I supposed to wear my veil for the first look? So many people are constantly asking what are we supposed to do?
I think that it is so great that will be removed from the conversation of weddings a little bit. It’s not going to be that this is what the expectation of the wedding is. It’s going to be well “what do you want to do?’ And I think that it really should be like that.
So reflecting on 2020
Despite how horrible of a year was, it was pretty great. Even professionally. Yeah I would agree. So many of her couples decided to have a small ceremony and decided to push their party back. So we still got to celebrate with them and we get to do it again next year.
It has pretty much worked out to be able to reschedule everyone’s weddings who wanted to push to 2021. Which definitely has not been the case for everyone in the wedding industry, so we’ve been blessed in that sense.
What was the highlight 2020 business wise for you.
This isn’t necessarily business related but we had a lot of extra time with Niles. He was born in November and we didn’t have our first full wedding until September. We had planned some maternity/paternity leave but certainly not that much.
I would still say getting to shoot a full wedding in September. I think that was a big deal. At that point we had had so many conversations and there had been so much change. And even though this wedding was only 20 people. They still did the full day.
When I was at their wedding I thought to myself I feel good I feel better about this whole situation. Before that it had felt like there was no end in sight. Like we wouldn’t get back to being able to celebrate and have a party and dance with people celebrating their wedding.
It was perfect. It was all outside they were very few people there. People are respectful and safe. Certainly they had to make changes like putting everything outside. But it was still great being able to shoot a whole wedding.
And there wasn’t a whole lot of loss. They had their favorite people there and it was an awesome party. It was a really awesome celebration which is what it should be.
Our couples who decided to go ahead and have a full wedding. It went really well. I was very nervous for each wedding after hearing from so many people in the wedding industry that they attended a super spreader event or whatever. And all of our weddings had no issues. Which was a huge blessing.
I also think that the mini weddings we shot were a highlight. I’m able to actually go to an event where there could be a small ceremony and couples could start their married life together was awesome.
Honestly I adore the system. I love the idea of having just 20 people who you love most, and celebrate with you and pray with you. For it to be really small and connected and then have a huge party later.
Looking back, even taking away coronavirus, maybe I would do that. I just think it is really sweet. I know when we were planning our wedding we talked about eloping which I guess is kind of what that is.. but then also having a big wedding. It’s like the best of both worlds.
I love shooting the elopements.
I think another big bonus they came out of this was that because we weren’t shooting so many weddings we were able to work with small businesses doing some branding photography. Being able to support another local business feels amazing.
We have always thought of ourselves just wedding photographers but this year sort of out of necessity I guess have branched out into other things. So we shot more families than we normally do, more newborns. But definitely doing small business stuff has been a highlight.
I love the headshots and product photography has been so fun. I agree with you I think that that has been amazing and hopefully that’s not a 2020 thing and we can keep doing that.
It’s just a cool way to use a different side of your creativity. It’s just so different than a wedding day. Which after 10 years of shooting weddings we know exactly what to expect. So being able to exercise a different part of our creative brain by doing small business stuff has been really fun. It has been energizing in a time when we really needed it.
Being able to sit at some thing and try it for two hours and I think oh my gosh we’re late for the first look has been great.
Yes exactly! The only thing on our wedding day that is sort of like product photography is shooting the details. Which you are under a super time crunch. So being able to take your time and get everything just right is amazing.
And it translates back. So what we’ve been working on and trying out with product photography allows us to be better at different things on the wedding day.
I for sure thought you were going to say going full-time. Well I thought that was an obvious one.
It has just been honestly crazy. I was a teacher in my previous life. So it has been a really insane year not going back to school and seeing what teachers have been going through. But it has been so nice to be able to focus on our couples and love and serve them in a time where they really needed it.
So per usual we will share some behind-the-scenes pictures. I feel like that’s what I take for beside the scenes pictures. It is basically just you running in front of me.
And like always we will promise to try to be better with shooting behind the scenes pictures next year. Although this year will probably have the least amount of Virginia Photographers behind the scenes pictures. Well least amount of weddings.
So enjoy a few of our favorite of Michael running in front of the camera and our embarrassing faces.