Unless you've been living in a Tibetan monastery (not the one in that movie that had wifi) you'll know we have all been enormously affected by the global pandemic currently grinding large parts of the world to a halt. Hopefully though that impact on you has been limited to being stuck at home for seemingly endless days. Frankly I'm not sure what day it even is today, I think it might be Thursday but I wouldn't bet my on-hold mortgage on it!
I want to keep this as lighthearted as possible but as a former NHS worker of almost 15 years it would be remiss of me not to mention those people who've done what they always do and stepped up when needed. Thank you to all key workers.
Now though, I work in the wedding industry. A sector that in 2016 was worth an estimated £911 million in Scotland, which hasn't so much come to a sudden stop as found itself face-planting a patio door it'd assumed their kids had left open because they'd previously never closed a door in their entire lives. Including when they were using the toilet. I can only imagine how many weddings have been postponed or cancelled in the last six weeks and sadly there will likely be more to come before we're out of this horrible situation. Though it has to be said, how many of us now realise how difficult it is to teach literacy to a ten year old and fractions to an eight year old? Probably won't hear the old complaints about teachers holidays anymore, well at least for a while anyway! You've got ten sweets to share between you and your four friends, how many sweets does each friend get? No, you don't get to give them one each and eat the rest yourself! It doesn't matter that Jessica is glucose intolerant, well it does but not in this case! Makes me love my job even more.
I'm not sure if we can claim to be uniquely impacted by coronavirus, though there's a joke or maybe just some irony to be had there about the number of bottles of a certain brand of beer that are drank at weddings. What might be unusual about the wedding industry is just how many vendors are small businesses, self employed folks who work with maybe one other person or by themselves. All of that impact stems from the disappointment experienced by couples up and down the land, who've seen their plans drift by like they've found themselves in the outside lane and blocked from their exit by a dozen angry drivers (and by god are they not letting anyone in!). Thankfully though there are other routes to take and other exits to find.
If you have had to change your plans I hope you've been able to postpone rather than cancel. What might be just as important though is how we move on from here. Do we have to rethink weddings for a wee while or even longer term? I'm not entirely sure what that would look like to be honest. Weddings by their nature are events whose main purpose is to celebrate closeness. Whether there's 2 people and an Elvis or 200 guests in a giant marquee, it's all about celebrating connections.
So for the sake of couples, guests and vendors alike we're all stuck in a state of limbo. Something you don't see at many Scottish weddings (not a lot of beach weddings in Scotland) but absolutely could be done and responsibly distanced as well. In the meantime we're all just either putting on weight or claiming to run 5km in under 20 mins but probably not both.
There is however some light at the end of the tunnel!
According to several news sources the province of Wuhan has seen a 300% increase in marriage registrations since their lockdown was ended. Be honest, you probably thought there'd be a boost to the divorce figures didn't you? Me too. By all accounts the sheer volume of requests to the city's online system for registering the intention to marry has crashed the site. It should be pointed out that the service also offers the ability to check what baby names have been used as well...
So maybe, just maybe, once we get beyond this awful pandemic Scotland's couples can start looking forward to their big day, our wedding industry can get back on it's feet and us photographers can look forward to a double bonus of newborn sessions too!