What does it even mean? No bullshit micro wedding. The story is going to be straight out my heart – no bullshit, raw story about one marriage in pandemic time. It’s a damn personal.
It was a short glimpse of some normality in between one and another lockdown in UK. Last year at the same time, I was shooting as a second photographer, big fat wedding venue for almost 200 wedding guests. In the year 2020, I consider myself lucky to document the micro wedding for up to 20 guests. We all drained with the current situation. And by all means, I do understand and agree with all restrictions. I know it’s like a war. But we are all tired with the covid19.
This wedding day allowed me to see how much some of us went through over passing 2020 year. We lost close ones. We have holes in our life called trauma. I saw a brother in tears; I saw a brother trying to kill his pain at the bottom of the scotch whisky bottle. I saw a brother; the best man – a rescuer, a helper – uplifting soul. And I’ve seen Love.
Wedding against the odds
Weronika and Daniel managed their marriage and some small family and friends celebration just before the second tier 4 stay at home lockdown. I guess I can call it some normalcy, even with masks on and a limited number of wedding guests. Till the last minute, we didn’t know where exactly the wedding ceremony will take place. The bride had a back-up plan to have just a wedding ceremony in an old catholic church in Glasgow if the original goal of having Edinburgh ceremony and venue celebration will fall due to new, possible restrictions. Veronica was also tired of postponing her wedding date. No matter what, The bride was determined to have a wedding with Daniel, her beloved husband, to be. I consider the fact everything vent accordingly to the original plan as a lucky strike. And squeeze on the list 20 guests when the groom has five siblings and bride has four, takes half off the list. I imagine it was a tough decision who will be included or excluded as a wedding guest.
12.12.2020 – Edinburgh. It’s good to be back.
I arrived early at the hotel as a day needed to be started and ended early. Happy faces welcomed me. The hairdresser, lovely lady said it’s so good to be back, doing what she loves. I assumed under her mask was a big, bright smile. I feel her. As per usual wedding, brides and bride chatting, beautiful wedding and bridesmaid’s dresses waiting to look gorgeous on them.
Daniel, the groom – emotional, amazing man. – I sensed him a bit off. I did not know the dark truth revealed later to me. Weronika, the bride, had a morning surprise for him to let the stress off his back. A prank plotted with the groom’s best friend – kind of the first look before the ceremony, sold to the groom as one of the unusual traditions. And it was successful.
Then family, including myself, were helping out, and it was about time for the most important event of the day – time to leave off to the church.
There she goes – the beautiful bride in all the glory lead by her father. The ceremony took place in the lovely Parish church. Obligatory masks. Crazy when I think about a year back, unthinkable become an everyday routine. Except that, just a typical, traditional wedding. The big moment. Priest, wedding rings, sign off the documents, family photography session afterwards. Oh boy, I was missing this! I value family portraits as much as candid photos. I was feeling alive.
Tears and laugh – Kirknewton House Stables
A classic blue van arrived with freshly married couple arrived in Kirknewton, a beautiful estate with large garden located on west-south, outside Edinburgh city. Parents welcomed the couple with bread and salt. It’s an old traditional welcome ceremony with roots in European, Slavic culture as the wedding was a join between Scottish and Polish families.
The sad, heart-sinking information no one wanted to mention me earlier. Daniel’s dad couldn’t be there. The groom’s father passed away in May, earlier this year. An unobtainable loss. That one precious guest, everyone was missing so much.
I have my own story about my dad. I know what mess he left in my mind, when he died. Many words, I will not say to him anymore; many things don’t solve because he’s not here. He’s gone forever. I was an outsider, but also I felt connected on my own, personal level.
Heart-warming best man speech was so emotional, and it was difficult not to cry. The void left by a close one to the family. We all wish he were there – a heartbreaking moment. I had to go outside for a short moment, capture the best man speech outside the window as I was holding back tears. Get my shit together and back to the wedding guests. I guess I was taught in my childhood that man doesn’t cry. It’s an ongoing process for me, how to deal with human emotions.
After the best man speech, somebody brought a laptop to the wedding table. And everyone was watching videos from family and friends that couldn’t be there. One more time with feeling, making wedding guests shed a tear. Let’s have one more toast drink.
Fuck you Covid. Enough. Let’s forget about it. Let’s have a party. Let’s drink and laugh and dance. Let’s have a bite of the sweet wedding cake. It’s not supposed to be a sad day. It should be a happy day. And we want to be joyful against the odds. We’ve got holes, but we carry on.
I was holding tears for the rest of the evening. Hugged Daniel (yes, very unprofessional human essential thing) on the end of the day, still holding my tears back. I remember he said between the lines – look, how beautiful wife I have.
Is Love stronger than death? I want to believe it is.
I miss hugs by the way. I let myself go with emotions in the car, on the way back to Glasgow. I couldn’t hold tears anymore. Thank you, Weronika, Daniel and family for letting me be there. I was a photographer, a witness, one of your wedding guests.