There’s no doubt about it – last week was tough and really quite mentally challenging for the many thousands of people who work in the wedding industry and for so many engaged couples who’d been planning to marry this year, regardless of the pandemic restrictions.
Reducing the maximum number of people who can attend a wedding from 30 to 15 was a huge blow to the many couples who had planned on going ahead with a wedding for 30 guests this year – and it was an emotional and financial strike to the heart for many thousands of businesses in the wedding industry.
Just like that, plans, hopes and dreams were pulled like a rug from beneath our feet. It felt like 1 step forward, 10 steps back. I don’t say any of this lightly and my heart truly goes out to everyone struggling with this right now.
I’ve done a lot of digging real deep these past few days, working out how we can remain a hub for positivity and inspiring content, whilst not overlooking or sugar coating the desperate situation so many of my colleagues find themselves in. By the time the working week had ended, my heart was heavy. I felt totally spent trying to figure it all out. And as I looked across the landscape of the wedding industry, I saw a sea of business owners sharing in my despondence.
But this weekend, something happened. I began to sense the teeny tiny beginnings of something different. An energy, a curiosity, a rebellious vibe arousing within.
Whilst the wedding industry was adjusting to the shock of new restrictions and lack of adequate financial support last week, my husband and I had visitors over – our dear friends Zach and Grace – who we started collaborating with last year.
Zach and Grace, who are together both professionally and personally, were staying at ours whilst working on a very important project for a local client. The work they were over to fulfil meant shooting long days from morning until night. However, in the middle of it all, they somehow managed to fit in the hours drive over to York for an afternoon of creativity with several members of the Love My Dress Directory.
The visit to see Hayley had been planned for a little while as Zach and Grace knew they’d be passing through York to get to our house. But, as they made their way up to our home in North Yorkshire last week, it occurred to them that they could spend a couple of hours being creative, whilst visiting Hayley.
Turns out this little idea had legs and within hours, Zach and Grace had secured a model and hair and makeup artist. They then reached out to our Little Book members Freya Rose London (footwear) and Ashley Wild (accessories) to see if they wanted in. It was a no-brainer for everyone involved.
These images you see are the result of that last minute idea to get creative. And I can’t tell you how much I adore them, not least how absolutely perfect they are for the bride looking to wear something super cool, stylish and ethical for her 2020/21 micro wedding.
Whilst all this is going on, it’s a time for creatives to create. Zach Dodds, Zach & Grace
As Zach and Grace arrived back in the evening and shared these images with me, we spent time talking about how despite these being such difficult times for so many, how very important it is to try to stay positive through it all by being creative.
“This is a manifestation of our attitude towards the whole pandemic thing. We can’t do anything about this, no matter how much we want to. We’ve had to relinquish control to this and accept that this year is what it is. But it doesn’t mean we’re going to stop being creative and striving to create beauty and inspire people through what we do.”
And hearing those words was like Angels singing, I swear.
We went on to talk about how as creatives, they – and many others like then, had felt frustrated over lockdown – the confusion and lack of clarity, the not knowing what any of it meant or what our future held. The panic led to a pause in creative activity whilst people tried to adjust and make sense of it all. Now, whilst they can’t fulfil the weddings they so desperately want to be working on, our industry is full of creative individuals with more time on their hands.
Creatives will create.
Because they need to. And no pandemic or any kind of almighty lockdown will stop them.
I am here to support creatives like my friends Zach and Grace, as they set out to produce beauty like you see here today – content created purely to inspire you and support other wonderful, small, creative businesses. Businesses, I need to stress, whose livelihoods depend entirely on this industry, and who have sacrificed so much to pursue their own creative dreams of being self employed.
Creativity will be key to so many businesses in our industry and couples planning a wedding in the coming weeks and months. We are a creative industry, and we will not take this situation lying down. Those in power may be able to stop the wedding industry working, for now, but they will never be able to stop us being creative, and using creativity as a tool to inspire others and help find our way through these difficult times.
Zach, Grace and us – we have plans to get very creative in the coming months. We’ve been cooking up ideas that I’ll be sharing in due course – a little project that will enable us, and thereofr you, to enjoy how weddings intersect with fashion and art. Please know for now, that we’ll be coming at it from a place of love, generosity and understanding that creativity will help see us all through this pandemic and it’s impact on weddings.
We will not take this lying down.
My love and thanks to the brilliant team involved in creative these sublime images (links at the end of this feature).
I’m deeply proud that most of them are our Little Book members. I’m humbled that Zach and Grace are our creative partners and I am inspired more than ever, thanks to these images, to doing everything I can to supportive this industry in it’s survival, and recovery.
If you are reading this now, please do as much as you can to continue to support small, creative businesses like the ones you see listed beneath this gallery, throughout this pandemic.