2020 has changed the way we think about weddings. And I’d like to think that, in the best kind of way, they’ll never be the same again.
I think we’re going to learn to really appreciate how special it is to have all of our loved ones under one roof, how lucky we are to have 50/80/100 people we want to share our happiest days with, and dare I say I think we are going to party 50 times harder when this is over, am I right?!
For those that have decided to go ahead this year - whether they’ve had a simple ceremony now with the intention of hosting a bigger party in the future, or whether they’ve decided simply to be married and blow the rest - anyone tying the knot in 2020 has done it a smaller, scaled-down way. And, okay, they may have lost out on the big celebrations and the crowds and the dancefloor, but I think what they have had is a beautiful, meaningful, very moving mini-mony that speaks volumes for their love, commitment and endurance. And as they say... less is more, isn’t it?
Here I’ve put together a few pieces I’ve seen from suppliers during 2020. To me, this doesn’t say “empty” or “boring” or “global pandemic” but it is simplicity and sincerity and it’s all the more symbolic.
Maybe this will give some inspiration to anyone else who’s having to consider having a “Covid Wedding” - styling advice, flowers and more that can help you ensure your wedding still looks dreamy and feels fulfilling even when restrictions are in place.
Photo: Blooms by Charlotte
At the beginning of September, Blooms by Charlotte shared her first wedding bouquet in almost 6 months! I don’t think any florist could have imagined taking a summer off in 2020, but it made it all the more beautiful when she finally got to unite a bride with her blooms (albeit in a contactless, socially-distant way!).
The bouquet is stunning. Simple and understated but pretty, elegant and packed with love! If you’re having a smaller wedding, you probably won’t want to spend a lot - especially if you’re planning on having more celebrations later down the line - but there are some things you won’t want to miss out on, and doing it on a smaller scale doesn’t mean it isn’t going to look fabulous!
Charlotte captioned this perfectly on her Insta page - “Though she be but little, she is fierce”.
Photo: David Liebst Photography
The Orchard at Munsley is one of our fave venues, and back in June they gave away the chance for one special couple to hold a commitment ceremony in their beautiful grounds. This sort of things will have been hugely popular this year, both for those officially tying the knot but also for the many couples who have decided to postpone but who have still wanted to mark the occasion in some way, or celebrate their “would-be wedding”. This gave one lucky couple the chance to do just that.
All it took was some simple seating, a bit of clever styling and a lovely location to host it all. And just look at the naked tipi - simplicity at its finest. With the help of Wedding Creations UK, Amber Kingston and Alexandra Sylvester Flowers, they styled it up to create a perfect space for this lovely couple to share their story and celebrate their relationship. With just a few small touches (and a little bit of sunshine!), this was a simple but stunning way to mark what should have been their special day. With the help of Jennie Hermolle (The Natural Celebrant), Event Furniture by Tarren and captured beautifully by David Liebst Photography, this couple have a wonderful reminder of this whirlwind year, their original wedding date, but most importantly how strong and special their relationship is.
Photo: David Liebst Photography
Not able to host a ceremony like this?
You could go glamping in your own back garden, order a special foodie feast for yourselves and a couple of close friends or family, spend the day eating what would have been your wedding cake! We can help you think of some awesome ideas - and also find you the people to make them happen!
Photo: Princess Occasions
One of the first post-lockdown weddings I saw was styled by Princess Occasions, and oh my word it looked incredible! It just goes to show that you don’t need to go overboard, but understated is underrated and if you’re smart about how you use your space, it can look just as impressive as a full wedding setup! You don’t need to be concerned about the room looking empty or bizarre because of social distancing or Covid regulations - don’t you think the fact that the chairs are spread out just adds to the charm?! With a simple moongate, some dried pampas grass and a few candles lining the aisle… what more do you need?
Photo: Princess Occasions
If you’d like to chat to us about any other ideas - food, music, entertainment for your mini wedding, please do get in touch. Our suppliers would be so happy to be involved in your special day and make it super fun, super lovely and very, very memorable!
My best piece of advice for anyone going through this right now (except for the obvious “please stick to the guidelines” and “keep safe”!) is to do what feels best for you. There is no right or wrong answer. If you want to go ahead so that you can be married and/or so that you can be sure to have some of your nearest and dearest there, go for it! If you want to hold off until you can have the wedding of your dreams, we get it! Don’t do what you feel you need to do to keep everyone else happy. This is not an ideal situation but you can make the best of it. And hopefully this has given a little inspiration to those of you who were unsure about how to make it work.
Whatever you do - communicate with your suppliers, work with them and TRUST THEM. They are bloody amazing and they know how to take care of everything - I mean, if anyone is used to being thrown into the deep end and having to think on their feet, it’s us. We got you!
I spend a lot of time researching wedding and event businesses, and I try to share their wonderful work as much as possible. This year, that has been more important than ever. It has been a really testing time for many independents, most of whom have been wondering not only when they can return to work but if they will make it.
I have been using my time on furlough to write about these guys and support them as much as possible - and also encourage everyone else to do the same. There isn’t always much we can do, but even just a ‘like’ or a comment can go a long way and will give these lovely people the boost that they need. Besides, whilst we were holed up indoors with very little going on, some of these brilliant businesses were offering us some pretty sweet stuff.
We had doorstep deliveries of cupcakes and cocktails, food packages for family nights in, and bouquets for the besties that we couldn’t see ourselves. And needless to say, behind it all were our super suppliers who were loading up their vans, driving up and down our streets and posting care packages across the country to our friends far and wide.
But when lockdown came to an end, their story did not.
Those who work in weddings and events are still facing a very uncertain future - whilst many industries are now back to work in some way, shape or form, there are a lot of people in hospitality who don’t have so much as an indication of when they may be earning again. And it is heartbreaking to see. They cannot do the things they love to do. They have not had an income for the best part of a year. And there are sadly some who are shutting up shop, and there may be more to come.
So… what has been happening with some of our fave suppliers in 2020?
Caterers such as Wild and Brie were absolute life-savers in lockdown, providing the most gorgeous grazing boxes which were delivered to homes across Gloucestershire. The great news for ventures like this is that it can easily be scaled down and made smaller, safer and still look as sexy! So thanks to people like Jess who run these businesses, they’ve been able to keep going by offering safe deliveries and collections. When lockdown began to ease, there were some small (socially distant, I hope!) parties being arranged for birthdays, baby showers and even weddings. Bookings were coming in once again. But, with the changes that came in in September which meant gatherings over six were a no-go, you can imagine the nightmare of cancelling and postponing bookings YET AGAIN! But, we are so grateful that they have options which work at times like this and, although it’s VERY testing for business owners, it means they can try to stay afloat.
For someone like Richard Parsons (Gloucestershire Magician), not being able to perform at weddings and events this year has meant he has lost almost every single booking since March, and the income that goes with it. Again for a short time it looked like he would be able to take on smaller bookings again, but that has had to be put on hold to follow current guidelines. He is, however, still able to perform at Covid-safe weddings - and what a brilliant addition that would be to a small celebration!
Richard has been vocal about the effect this has had on himself and his work, as well as other performers in the trade, too. The impact of cancelling/turning down bookings is real, and the frustration of seeing people flouting the rules, making enquiries for bookings that are outside of the guidelines (and therefore legally not allowed to take place) has been a kick in the teeth for those of us in the industry who would love nothing more than to get back to work and see our diaries filling up again!
In the meantime, though, you should check out Richard’s social media - he has been filling his feed with some fabulous content such as Instagram lives and Q&A sessions with wonderful local suppliers (and I showed my face on there too…!). Plus, there have been some magic shows done via Zoom, so you have all of the fun and you don’t even need to leave the house!
Someone else who has been very honest about this difficult situation is Nadia from Jam Jar Weddings and Events. When this all began, it was quite clear that cancelling weddings was the right thing to do, even though it was heartbreaking for everyone involved. But as time has gone on and other industries have been getting back to normal, Nadia has shared her frustrations at the lack of guidance and support for the wedding industry. And, how devastatingly close she and many others will be to shutting up shop if things do not change. But, with some grit and resilience and a brilliantly creative brain, Nadia has created a couple of other projects to try to bridge the gap. Firstly there was the Jam Jar Flower Project, which saw Nadia delivering beautiful bouquets to our loved ones during lockdown (my parents personally benefited from that, and they were absolutely over the moon! Side note: when I couldn’t see my family properly for 3 months and I was at home all on my own, it was these little acts of kindness that made the world of difference to me and my family. And that is what it’s all about, right?!). Nadia has now set up Desperate Times Gifts - the name speaks for itself. Nadia has a real knack for creating, making, stitching and crafting and there will be some gorgeous bits and pieces for you to buy. Pop over to her page and give her a follow!
On a lighter note, since we shared the work of The Cupcake Queen Solihull, she has been going from strength to strength. Throughout this whole thing, she has been busy baking for gifts, birthdays and special occasions that may have been celebrated a little differently this year, but at least they haven’t had to go without cake! Even when Solihull was placed back under a local lockdown, it hasn’t stopped them!
Businesses like this lend themselves well to working under these new circumstances - if working from home or in a safe environment, and if willing to do deliveries, postals or pickups, caterers and cake-makers can find a way to keep going. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t working their backsides off to make it happen!
Take Bitsy’s Emporium - she was able to keep making her gorgeous brownies and cookies, and she both delivered them locally and posted them across the UK. Her little enterprise is doing so well, in fact, that she is opening up her own shop this September! So now not only can we order her gorgeous goodies, but we can visit her in person too (at a safe distance, obviously). If you’re in Leicester, get yourself down there when you can! And the rest of us can look forward to her online shop re-opening soon.
So, yes. It’s been a very strange time. We are so happy for those people who have been able to make something work throughout this crazy year - and we can’t say it enough, that it is due to their hard work, determination and resilience that it has happened! But please don’t forget about those who still can’t work as it’s not to say that they aren’t all of those things too.
If there is anything I can share that will help these businesses, I will. If there is anything you’d like me to post, please let me know! And from all of us: please stay safe, please follow guidelines and please help us to help things get back to normal as quickly and safely as possible.
It's been a pretty crazy year... right?!
I used to have a blog a long time ago - posts about books, music, food and travels and it was a lot of fun to write. But I guess I felt like I was running out of interesting things to share.
I love hospitality and events, and it would probably make sense for me to share the things I am most passionate about. But when you work in the field, sometimes it stops being your "passion" or your "hobby" and it just becomes your normal. It's easy to forget just how wonderful it really is when it's your everyday - it soon becomes about the early mornings, the late nights and the midnight missions on the motorway. And besides, who wants to go to work 12 hours a day and then come home and write about it?!
But this website is a fantastic space where I get to share all of the things I love most about this industry - creativity, inventiveness, love, fun, passion. And, now more than ever, I adore what I do.
My day job is in corporate catering, and for a lot of reasons I really like it. But talking about flowers, cakes, weddings... I love that in a very different kind of way. 2020 has taught us all, I'm sure, what really matters to us and over these past few months I have definitely learnt just how important this all is to me. It's not just about loving my job. It's about special moments, celebrating love and life and memorable occasions. It's about being a part of what is the most wonderful day of someone's life. It's about the suppliers who have the vision and the determination to actually make it all happen - small business owners who have turned their talent and their passion into a business that puts food on their table, but lights a fire in their bellies at the same time. And I really want to do what I can do help them, too.
The purpose of Chouette Events is to help those planning weddings and events make it as simple (and as fun!) as possible. My website is here to help them find the people they need quickly and easily - the most fabulous and most reliable people in the industry, all in one place. And at the same time, I get to work with these lovely suppliers and give them a space to tell their story. I've made some amazing contacts and friends in the industry, and being able to support them and try to bring new business their way is incredibly exciting and humbling.
I never expected the website to go down this road... I mean, honestly, I expected to get about 10 followers and give up after a few weeks! But having 6 months (and counting) off work has really given me time to focus on the website, get to know some wonderful suppliers and it's given me a chance to take a fresh look at this crazy world I work in! And in seeing the effect Covid is having on brides, grooms, families and the amazing suppliers I work with, it's made me want to do all I can to support.
I am so proud of the businesses who have kept going through this time - those who have worked night and day, driven thousands of miles delivering their goods, those who have had to think on their feet to adapt their business for 2020. But my heart breaks for those who, through no fault of their own, have lost almost 12 months' worth of work, almost a whole year's income, and who are watching the businesses they have worked so hard to build face collapse.
So, I thought this blog would be a good place to update you not just on what I am up to on the website but also what is happening in the world of weddings and events as a whole! I'll be able to post about Open Days, Wedding Fayres and post some positivity from suppliers who are absolutely smashing it! And also do some real time updates on where we are at with weddings, Covid and how you can support.
My features will still go up each week, and you will see the A-Z keep growing. And my Insta is getting a lot of love lately so I'll be all over that too. There are a few other little ideas I have up my sleeve, too! But in between times, I'll keep you all updated with website stuff, wedding stuff and general wonderings here.