Wow. I think you’ll agree, that the world is going through a very strange moment in history right now.
We’re in uncharted waters and for many of us, we’re dealing with something we’ve potentially never experienced before in our lifetimes.
The news is changing day-to-day too.
With talk of war-time rationing and curfews, it’s all a little scary and uncertain right now. Due to the lack of clarity and no one really knowing what the hell is going to happen, I can imagine you’re feeling a little uneasy about everything too.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s all about being sensible and approaching this logically.
At the time of writing this, in the UK, everything is still more relaxed than other countries such as Italy for example. There’s a very good chance that may all change and could do so even in a matter of days.
As wedding photographers, our primary concerns at the moment are:
- Everyone’s health (including our own); and
- Every couple who has their wedding booked, regardless of who it’s with.
There will be a lot of unsettled brides and grooms out there who are due to tie the knot in the next few months, and since none of us know what’s going to happen, I wanted to write this blog to provide you with some assurances and direction moving forward.
We’ve been wedding photographers now for a long time and while this is a new situation for all of us, we feel that we’re able to help provide some guidance moving forward.
On Monday 16th March, we sent an email to all of our couples getting married in 2020 to provide them with an update. We’ve used that email as the basis for this blog.
While this email was meant for the couples booked with Chocolate Chip Photography, even if you’re not booked with us, you can still see what actions we are taking and then take this information to help you moving forward with your own suppliers.
First thing is first… DON’T PANIC!!
- Panicking about something like this is not only going to stress you out but it will stress everyone around you. Oh and stressing about things won’t do you any good.
As things stand today:
- First and foremost, we want to assure you that as your wedding photographers, we care deeply about the health of you and your guests.
- We are taking every precaution we can to keep ourselves healthy for your wedding day, including lots and lots of hand washing and staying home whenever possible.
- In the absence of any instructions to the contrary, it is business as usual for us and I imagine it will be for many others, unless we’re told otherwise by the government.
- As always, everyone should be complying with statutory law, just like we do.
Precautions we’ll be taking:
Here are some of the precautions we plan to take going forward and it would make sense for others to do the same:
- For the foreseeable future, we will be wearing N95 WHO approved face masks/respirators throughout the wedding days as of this Thursday’s wedding, 19th March (providing they’re delivered when promised).
- Because of the nature of COVID-19, we want to protect you, our couples, and your guests in the unlikely event that we could be carrying the virus, but asymptomatic during your event.
- We will be sanitising our equipment and bags throughout the day, as well as taking more frequent bathroom breaks to wash our hands in between wedding day events.
- We will not be hugging or shaking hands now on weddings days (or any day of the week for that matter). Please don’t take this personally. It’s not ideal and goes against our usual way of working but given the circumstances, it’s just the way it has to be to reduce the risk.
While these methods may seem overboard to some, for us they are absolutely necessary to help with containing this virus. Speak to your photographer if you have any concerns to find out if and what they’re doing to be proactive.
What if I need to move my date?
- With schools shutting down, some countries are starting to ban large gatherings and travel is being discouraged throughout the country, we understand that some of you may choose to postpone your wedding day to a later date when you wouldn’t need to worry about you or your guests’ health, travel plans, etc.
- We also understand the financial burden of rescheduling a wedding day, particularly if your wedding is within the next couple of months. Because of this, we are expanding our rescheduling policy to make it more flexible for all of our couples during this pandemic and to help ease stress related to this.
- We have said to our couples that if they choose to reschedule because of COVID-19, then we can provide them with a list of available dates for 2020 and 2021. We have plenty of availability and flexibility for dates in 2021, so they don’t need to worry about losing us as their photographers.
- Furthermore, any amount paid towards their invoice will be applied to their rescheduled event date and they will not incur any fees for rescheduling.
This is what I would deem as being a reasonable compromise for all parties. Speak to your wedding photographer about this to see what they can do.
We’re all aiming to make everything as stress-free as possible for everyone.
What if your photographer catches the Coronavirus and cannot attend your wedding?:
- We’ve always believed that it’s been the responsibility of any professional wedding photographer (or supplier for that matter) to have a backup plan. This is no different.
- We all need to make sure there is a plan going forward and while every effort will be made to minimise disruption, it will be realistic to presume that some sacrifices may have to be made along the way.
- Double check the terms of your contact and speak to your photographer. They will hopefully be able to send a substitute so you’ll still have someone capturing your day.
- For ourselves, we’ve told our couples that if both Shazia and myself (Chris) contract COVID-19 and we have to self-isolate together, then we have already made arrangements to draw upon the extensive resources of photography colleagues throughout the North East of England.
- We will do everything we can to send a backup photographer in our place. The backup photographer will send the images files to us so we can still be editing images in our usual style. We’ve proactively put a group together of fellow professional photographers and everyone is on the same page to help each other out.
- If we are unable to provide our couples with a replacement photographer, therefore meaning we are unable to fulfil their contract despite every possible effort, then our couples will be entitled to a full refund, although this would be the very last resort.
Speak to your photographer and find out what plans they have in place moving forward. It will hopefully help provide you the reassurance you need to calm your nerves.
If you choose not to postpone your wedding:
Providing that the government doesn’t stop weddings and you decide to continue, it would be wise to make some sacrifices and be sensible about how to go about your wedding day.
- I know you want to hug and greet your guests, but under the circumstances please be mindful that this may not be possible. We advise that you don’t do receiving line ups into the breakfast rooms as this is primed for handshakes, hugs, kisses and passing on viruses.
- Please ask your guests not to attend the wedding if they feel unwell or have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild. Yes, that might mean your immediate family, but as hard as it would be to have important people missing, it would be a lot worse if they came and infected other guests, potentially causing a further widespread of the virus.
Like I said, sacrifices may need to be made so it would be wise to prepare yourselves for this notion. We have to be selfless in this situation and do what’s best for everyone, not just for ourselves.
Moving forward from here:
- With regards to any meetings, we have suggested to our couples that we carry out meetings and appointments over the telephone or skype/facetime for the time being. I’m sure your photographer could do the same.
- This may be preferable moving forward anyway, just to reduce the amount of time we’re all out in public or coming into contact with others.
- For the weddings due to go ahead between now and May, it’s very much a day by day approach at the moment.
- We have advised all of our couples to study their wedding insurance and check the terms and conditions regarding wedding cancellation cover. I suggest you do the same.
Oh, and remember this…
- Remember, your wedding suppliers are going through as much uncertainty as you are right now, so BE NICE to them. They want to make this work as much as you do. Be kind and don’t put your stress and panic onto others. Work together to find a solution to the problem.
- Everyone is going through the same thing right now and while your wedding might well be the most important thing in your world, there are much bigger things at stake in THE world. While that may sound deflating and hard hitting, I’m just telling you the truth. People are dying and panic is spreading. Your wedding will happen, even if you have to wait a little longer.
- You will get married eventually. That we can be sure of. Weddings are just another part of the journey and it’s not going to make a difference if you have to delay things.
- Lastly, everything is going to be okay.
WHEW! That was a lot to take in, I know.
Hopefully this will all be smooth sailing but something tells me we could be in for a bumpy road and the best way to handle that is if we all work together. After all, we all want the same thing which is to see our brides and grooms walk down the aisle.
Let’s be calm. Let’s be sensible. Let’s do the right thing.
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out. We want to have an open discussion about this with all of you! We are all ears and ready to help in whatever way we can.
With that all said, it’s time for us all to go and wash our hands again.
Sending love and good vibes,
Chris and Shazia