It might be an overused word, but watching Catherine & Jason calmly navigate the unprecedented obstacles of 2020, and finally celebrate their beautiful marriage – my first COVID wedding since restrictions were lifted – was truly awesome. Despite having to postpone their wedding back in May, and then contending with the ‘on again, off again’ regulations, they finally tied the knot, a couple of weekends back, in the stunning Lantern Hall at Farnham Castle. Masks were worn, the guest list was shorter than envisaged, but the key ingredients remained – fine frocks, sharp suits, family, love, and above all, the unmistakable joy that’s unique to the moment when you marry your best friend. Importantly, it felt like a wedding, rather than a ‘COVID wedding’.
I can’t say enough good things about Cat & Jason. They are bloody lovely and utterly chill. I’m mystified how anyone could stay calm through all of this planning tumult. But they more than managed it, and took it all in stride. Chapeau!
I rarely talk much about group photographs on the blog. They are an important part of nearly every wedding and I believe in doing them well. I therefore always plan ahead carefully. After all, they’ll likely sit on a mantlepiece for years to come. Yet, as a documentary photographer, they are rarely something I discuss. They’re not the sexy bit.
One of the most interesting challenges of a COVID wedding has been how to handle group photographs. Guests must respect social distance and stick to their household bubbles; given that requirement, how can the need for family groups be met? The answer I came up with is a ‘scatter’. Most photographers have used something similar over the years to bring interest to otherwise uncreative lines of people, but the idea has now taken on renewed value. Rather than bunching everyone together, the solution is to spread them out, with much of the space inserted front-to-back. The result is what I’m calling a ‘scatter’. Viewed from above, the 2m spacing is there, but head on everyone feels fairly close together.
Aside from this, the unusual circumstances had some genuine upsides. Firstly, with no seated wedding breakfast to get to, the time pressure was off. Weddings are usually busy and fairly hectic affairs! Rather than rushing around for pre-dinner portraits, we were able to take things a little slower and explore Farnham Castle at our leisure. In addition, the smaller guest list meant that Catherine & Jason had a much better chance to chat to everyone. Therefore no missed conversations and time to take it all in.
Marry Now, Party Later
Cat & Jason are planning to hold their main celebration in 2021. They are thinking of this as ‘The Marriage’ with ‘The Party’ to follow when regulations allow. It’s worth remembering that while a postponement is far from ideal, we will get back to full-scale weddings eventually. For all those of you who’ve had to delay things, keep faith, we will get there, and when we do, it’s going to be monumental!
It was such a pleasure to get back to shooting and I’d like to take a moment to thank all involved in this marvellous day. Thanks to everyone at Farnham Castle for being wonderful – as ever. To Amy Turk for being the most reliable and talented Harpist I know and especially to the registrars who took the regulations and new situation and made the whole experience very smooth.
Some of my favourite images are in the slideshow below. Turn the sound on, go fullscreen and enjoy the photographs. This is love in the time of corona!
Farnham Castle COVID Wedding
Are you considering booking me for your own COVID Wedding at Farnham Castle? Take a look at my portfolio or get in touch. I am available for short-form coverage like this all the way through to full-scale, all-day weddings.