With so much uncertainty continuing with Covid-19, it’s understandable that couples are looking for new ways to plan their weddings for the next few months – and possibly beyond.
While it still seems quite uncertain as to when normality may return, we do know now that it makes sense to plan for a range of different scenarios where possible. While wedding ceremonies can still take place, larger weddings with groups and ceilidhs may be a little further off.
Based in Inverness, one of the great advantages is the close proximity to some of the most beautiful landscapes. It would be fair to say Scotland has many stunning landscapes and cityscapes to photograph in, but the Highlands are certainly up there at the top of my list! This makes it a great place to be based to shoot small weddings, your plans may not be what you had first thought – but you can still celebrate with a great day!
Many of the couples and families I work with each year come to Scotland from across the world to get married, to celebrate an engagement or celebrate an anniversary. The landscape of the Scottish Highlands has always been a popular draw for tourists. While it may be difficult for some of those couples to come in the next few weeks, there are plenty of opportunities for Scottish couples looking to make the most of other original dates, albeit in a slightly different form.
I have produced this blog post to help couples who might be thinking about how to make the most of their original wedding date. I’ll walk you through what options are available for wedding photography on a smaller or different scale than you may originally have had planned.
WHAT CLASSIFIES AS AN ELOPEMENT/SMALL WEDDING?
An elopement means lots of things to lots of people. Historically, they were often thought of as two people running away to get married; while that is sometimes still the case, more often than not it is actually a much simpler way to get married and make the most of some time with just the two of you.
Small weddings are much like elopements, but they usually have a group of guests as well. A small wedding can involve anywhere from 2 friends or family as witnesses through to larger groups of up to 35-40 guests.
WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES TO SMALLER WEDDINGS?
If it’s not what you had originally planned, then a smaller, scaled-back wedding may feel like a downside, but it shouldn’t. Smaller weddings allow the most important thing to happen: you can have a ceremony, take your vows and get married. Anything else we can make work is a bonus!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ADAPTING TO A SMALLER WEDDING?
I get a buzz from a large wedding – when everything goes to plan and the mix of timetables, weather and large groups works together, it’s a very satisfying feeling. But smaller weddings have a lot of bonuses, not least the flexibility in being able to adapt to whatever gets thrown at you on the day, and being able to hold off the Scottish weather in ways that you may not normally get to.
When it comes to photography, smaller weddings allow you to have more flexibility over a timetable for the day. There aren’t as many other things (or people) competing for some of the wedding day timetable. It usually also allows the opportunity to go a little further to explore for your photography options.
Ultimately, the benefit of smaller weddings is the amount of time and personal space that it allows for the couple. It’s always my aim to make sure that you get to celebrate the day in a way that you would like to and with great memories made.
- It’s isolated.
- You can go where you want, when you want.
- It allows you to continue with some of your wedding plans and keep some normality.
- We can capture beautiful photos to look back on this unique part of history.
- It’s likely that when bigger weddings with guests can take place again, this style of celebration will fit perfectly into what is likely to be allowed.
IS IT POSSIBLE WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING?
While with most larger weddings, there is more risk of personal interaction in a smaller space, outdoor photo sessions allow for couples to be in a landscape environment, and usually multiple metres away from me as a photographer.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Covid rules aside, you can do mostly whatever you would like to do in order to celebrate the wedding day!
Smaller weddings usually operate with the ceremony taking place first, followed by some images with the guests (if you have them). I would usually then head off with the couple to celebrate on a road trip of sorts – stopping along the way for images. We can either head back to your guests at the end of the day, or end up with you being on the journey towards your honeymoon destination after we’ve shot some images.
If you don’t have guests, or you don’t have a timescale to get back to them post-photo session, then it would be normal for me us to stop along the way (in between photos) for a coffee shop stop, a distillery visit (for a celebratory dram) or pack up a picnic to take with you – the choice is yours!
WHERE CAN WE GO?
There are lots of good places to go and explore around Scotland. I have a range of routes that I normally cover with couples, depending on their preference and – quite often – the weather!
The benefit of road trip sessions is that if the weather doesn’t look great in one direction, we can head in a different route. As an example: for smaller sessions from Inverness, I quite often take a road trip around Loch Ness, occasionally heading up towards Clunie. For other sessions, we can head down towards Aviemore and the many lochs of the Cairngorms National Park.
Undoubtedly, my most popular route is towards the Isle of Skye and, with good weather, it’s possible to get mountains, glens and beaches all in the same day.
While couples sometimes ask to go to some of the most popular tourist attractions, I have a range of spots picked out through the Highlands that are both beautiful to photograph in but also in some of the quietest and most peaceful parts of the country.
Whether it’s heading north to take on some of the NC 500, or heading east into Grampian via Nairn beach, there are plenty of options to explore in the Highlands.
I’ve been shooting weddings for 15 years all over Scotland – so regardless of where your wedding is planned to be, I’ll likely have some good spots in mind.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO OUR ORIGINAL BOOKING?
If you’d like to keep your original date and make the most of the day with an elopement session, then your contract would continue as normal with a change of plans but for the same day.
The package choice can be amended for couples who are no longer looking to for a whole day wedding coverage. If you would like to retain your original date but make use of it for a smaller wedding, then the costs are £1,095 for a 6-hour coverage, or £1,395 for a whole day (8-hour) coverage.
Costs of deposit already paid contributes as normal. Mileage and travel costs are charged at cost, as per your original booking.
CAN WE DO THIS IN LOCKDOWN?
Yes! Small weddings of up to 5 people are currently allowed, and have been throughout the most extreme parts of lockdown. Smaller weddings of up to 20 guests were also possible last summer – and the couples who proceeded with smaller weddings all had a great time celebrating!
While we don’t know for certain what is likely to happen next, my best guess is that we would expect to see an incremental increase in numbers of guests as lockdown lifts.
If that’s the case, as seems likely, then this kind of celebration should be able to go ahead no problem.
Let me know – I’ll be happy to help.