2020: The Year That Never Was

Bride and groom cuddling on sofa
© Photographed by John Knight

To be honest, I’m not really sure where to start with when thinking about 2020, especially after the announcement this weekend… Obviously the last year has been completely overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but let’s not forget that there were over two and a half months at the beginning of the year that were COVID-free for us here in the UK. There were many weddings in Kent that took place in January, February and early March before we were plunged into lockdown on 23 March, and I’m sure that all of those couples are counting themselves unbelievably lucky that their weddings were (relatively) unaffected by the pandemic. There were also numerous styled shoots that happened around Kent that provided an array of inspiration for anyone planning a wedding.

The first lockdown impacted countless weddings and as I watched the news being announced and then new updates unfolding each day, my heart broke for all the couples who, after months and sometimes years of planning, would not be able to say ‘I do’. Finally, in July, wedding ceremonies were allowed to happen again, although with strict conditions in place and maximum numbers of people allowed to attend. It was undoubtedly awful to see weddings reduced in such a way, but it was necessary, and it did at least mean that couples were able to get married. Planning a wedding is often quite stressful, but having a pandemic affect your day is almost incomprehensible; I can’t quite imagine what every single couple went through trying to decide how to resolve their individual situation. In August, wedding receptions were also able to take place, but, again, they were limited in terms of numbers allowed to attend and certain conditions that had to be adhered to.

During this time I also worried about myself, as I had my own wedding planning business, which unfortunately became another victim of the pandemic, and I had to close it in the summer. Unfortunately, my business was not the only one to be affected; hundreds of wedding suppliers have been unable to work for most of this year, and many others have either had to close or are about to, with no alternative work available. Fortunately, some businesses have been able to diversify and create new business avenues, such as wedding cake makers who now make biscuits and hot chocolate bombs and sell them online, or wedding photographers who now offer family photoshoots.

In November, all weddings were cancelled due to Lockdown 2.0, and many couples who had rescheduled from earlier in the year were in the exact same position again of having to rearrange or amend their wedding. Other couples, who might have assumed they would be safe from this situation with it being so much later in the year from the first lockdown, also now had to cancel and reschedule their special day. In December, the Tier system was introduced, with Kent being in Tier 3 and wedding ceremonies were allowed to happen once more. Now, we have been moved into the newly instated Tier 4 and weddings are again cancelled, apart from in exceptional circumstances, such as a ‘deathbed wedding’.

It can be difficult to find something good to focus on when it has been such a depressing and difficult time, but if there is one thing we can all take from this year, it is the idea that ‘love wins’. Weddings did still happen, albeit not necessarily as and when they had been planned, but couples were able to say ‘I do’. Even those couples who had to postpone their weddings until next year, or repeatedly change their plans, will still get married at some point. The couples I have heard from who did get married during this time have all said how special, personal and intimate their days were, in spite of the dire situation. They also often said that although most of them had originally planned weddings with over one hundred people attending, their actual weddings, where there were sometimes only six people present, in some ways meant even more to them. Some also said there is the added bonus of having a second celebration when the pandemic is over, with one bride saying ‘how many women get to marry the man of their dreams twice!’ - definitely a positive way to look at things!

On a personal note, I did get something good out of the pandemic - this wedding blog! I’d always enjoyed writing and had wanted to do a wedding blog for so long, and now I finally had the chance to give it a go, and I’m so pleased I did; it seems to be going well, with readership and views increasing month-on-month. I am really enjoying sharing the real weddings that have taken place in Kent, especially the lockdown micro-weddings that fill my heart with so much joy every time I read them and look through the photos. I also love the styled shoots that have been arranged by Kent-based wedding suppliers, who have fabulously creative and unique ideas and can give such eclectic inspiration to couples getting married in Kent. Thank you so much to everyone for taking the time to read and share my posts, and submit weddings, styled shoots and news, I really appreciate all your support!

And finally, I know it will be a difficult time for so many people, but I hope that you all have as good and peaceful a Christmas and New Years as you can; I, for one, am going to try to focus on the future, what 2021 and beyond will bring, and remember… we will get through this… and love is not cancelled.

Love and hugs to you all,

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