Bridal portraits from the Royal Penthouse Suite at The Corinthia Hotel London
Dominique and Dan had originally booked their wedding for June, and then of course because of COVID-19 their date was changed to a Sunday in October. As so many clients were rearranging their weddings, I was actually booked for their date in October, however, they were more than happy to have Kabz photograph their big day.
Then a few weeks ago, Dominique called me to say that they wanted to have a 30-person ceremony in August, as per the new guidelines, and then have a party in October.
Now I love a small wedding, and a small Jewish wedding under COVID guidelines got me really excited.
As a photographer, I am always looking for unique moments. Something to make your wedding photographs different from your friends. Now a lot of that is achievable just by the way I approach each wedding. To me, every wedding is unique, just like everyone is unique. I don’t photograph a wedding as a template, like some, instead, I let the wedding flow and let these moments happen naturally.
So, a wedding under strict COVID-19 guidelines, with face masks, sanitizers, 2-metre distancing, etc., was just the wedding to get me out of lockdown. The photo opportunities would be endless, the images would be unique, iconic and certainly when, in 20 years' time, we look back at them, will always be 2020.
I arrived at Dominique's parent's house for bride prep and things were clearly different. I like to get close. I like to show my client's personality and the 2-metre distancing was obviously going to change that.
From the house we went to the synagogue, a quick temperature check before entering (my temperature was fine BTW), face mask donned, and into the synagogue, we went.
OH MY GOD, IT WAS HOT. London was 32 degrees and humid, I had sweat dripping down my forehead and humid hot breath going up, and it all met around my eyes. Uncomfortable to say the least, claustrophobic, but essential. The rabbi went a step further and wore plastic gloves and even sanitized his hands with the gloves on…Figure that one out.
The ceremony was different, with plenty of great opportunities for photographs as well as some you wouldn’t expect to see at a wedding.
From the synagogue, we all went to The Corinthia Hotel where all 30 people, including me, dined in the Kerridge Bar and Grill, at separate tables and socially distanced and bubbled… The Corinthia staff were fabulous. Of course, they realize that this is not what the couple had planned, but they went out of their way to make it as special as possible.
Is this the way weddings will look in the future? It’s certainly not to be sneezed at. Having 30 of your nearest and dearest at your wedding ceremony must be so rewarding. I won't speak for Dominique, but she certainly seemed less stressed than a lot of brides that have large weddings. Most brides are petrified of walking down the aisle with everyone looking at them, but when it's your nearest and dearest it must be so much easier.
From my point of view, I am able to get more images of those that are closest to the couple and the images become much more personal. I thoroughly enjoyed and thrived on the whole experience. I have images that I love, that are unique, and iconic of the times we currently live in.
My advice to any bride would be to have your ceremony now, and then have a party later when the guidelines allow.
The bride is having her makeup done at her parent's home, along with the family dog.
The bride and her father enter the synagogue and walk into the ceremony location.
Evidence of the new COVID-19 guidelines in force with the caution tape, masks, and social distancing of the wedding guests.
Wedding image from a Central Synagogue Jewish ceremony of The groom veiling the bride during Bedekken
The groom veils the bride during the Bedekken ceremony just prior to the actual wedding ceremony.
Great Synagogue, London England wedding picture of The groom holding the cup of wine for his bride during ceremony
The groom holds the cup of wine and offers it to his bride during the ceremony.
The groom taps elbows with a family member, the 'new handshake'.
The ceremony has concluded and the bride and groom begin their exit.