Looking back at this highlight video, it’s hard to believe all these moments happened in 2020.
It feels like an eternity ago that we were able to gather and celebrate as normal. We only had a handful of full-day weddings as planned this year; the remainder were postponed to a hopeful 2021 date or scaled back significantly to back yard afternoon celebrations or elopements. But this gave rise to a shift in focus: away from the trivialities and added expenses that make a wedding look just right, and more toward the commitment, the love, and the people that make it feel right.
This year was an adventure—in wedding photography, you have to learn to be a ninja when it comes to changing conditions, and roll with the punches no matter what happens on the day. Usually this means being prepared for things like unexpected downpours, rings being forgotten, or awkward speeches from well-meaning relatives, not global pandemics, but the spirit is the same: focus on what’s important and what’s within your control, and you’ll be okay.
The year began with a series of thoroughly Winnipeg winter weddings. As temperatures plummeted (hey, at least we managed to avoid -40 this winter so far!), joy soared, and we were lucky to be part of a few celebrations with champs and adventurers that braved the Arctic conditions for some amazing shots. March brought the beginnings of 2020 as we know it, and though we were lucky to shoot a full wedding the weekend before lockdown, it also brought about the first travel cancellation for an overseas wedding—a week before departure. This cancellation was the first of three: this year we were set to capture weddings in Mexico, the United Kingdom and Vegas, but as the pandemic took over the globe, plans began to change drastically. We had one couple bring their scheduled 150+ guest wedding forward to an intimate, immediate family-only ceremony at home so a beloved relative in poor health could still witness the union. Everything in May and June, typically prime wedding months, was rescheduled, and at this point in order to make ends meet, I had to return to finding a day job once again. Luckily I landed somewhere I get to still be creative, and though it’s been an adjustment working a set weekday schedule again, I count my blessings I was able to find something I enjoy when so many are out of work. Balancing the admin side of rescheduling, drawing up new contracts, re-staffing dates and keeping in contact with my amazing couples, all of whom were dealing with the heartache and frustration of having their big days completely up in the air, while working full time and trying to squeeze in mini sessions and engagements in the evenings was a challenge, but after a couple of normal (ish) weddings in July through September, my passion for capturing big love stories was refuelled, and I was ready for a holiday season like no other.
Until that got cancelled, too. My inaugural Santa Sessions were booked solid, and I was so excited to offer two gorgeous setups (and a real Mr. Claus!) capturing the magic of the season. We were lucky to get two days in before Winnipeg went to Code Red and all photographers were ordered to cease operation, indoors and outdoors. It was pretty devastating, but then what I’d planned on being a celebration of holiday magic moved toward taking on the government, and in November, I got to work alongside our entire wedding/live events industry in fighting for financial support recognition, to be included as legitimate businesses that contribute to the economy. I was proud of my fellow business owners, and it was inspiring to see us all working together for such a strong cause. Getting some local MPs on board to speak up for us as well as a few news segments helped the cause, and despite things being in a state of uncertainty right now, we were successful in having the grant program expanded to include home-based small businesses!
To the couples I was privileged to serve this year, you are amazing. I will remember your wedding days forever, and have no shortage of admiration for your resilience in the face of the pandemic. Some of you had gathering restrictions lowered to fifty a week before your big day; others were advised they were only allowed ten just days prior. But you did it. You put love first, and you have a story to tell for the ages. It was my sincere honour to capture these images this year, especially with so many loved ones unable to be present at such special occasions. This year has definitely reaffirmed the importance and value not just of wedding photography, but of capturing moments in general.
This year was difficult for all of us, but as 2020 ends, let’s not forget the good that still exists in the world (or make decisions to be the good in a challenging time). Let’s not forget gratitude for our health, the wellbeing of our nearest and dearest, and appreciation for any love bestowed upon us by a partner, by friends, or by family. Let us look forward to a brighter chapter.
Thank you to those who’ve helped shine a light in 2020, and I wish you a beautiful, safe, happy and healthy new year. (And I hope you like my 2020-inspired intro/outro song choices!)