Friday, 17 July 2020 15:41

Love and Innovation in the time of COVID. Featured

Written by Michael Nelson
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Love and Innovation in the time of COVID. Photo by Dave Bigler

Covid

I have sat down a few times to write this article, well, versions of it anyway. The previous versions were all about the impact of COVID-19 on the wedding industry as well as brides and grooms.

I asked for and received submissions from brides on how it has affected them. I spoke with vendors and conducted interviews to learn how this has affected their businesses. I took copious notes and sat down to tell you a tale of loss and hardship. Each time, however, I threw it in the trash. I was having a tough time reconciling the losses we were seeing with the losses that others were suffering. Yes, as an online magazine we were impacted negatively. Yes, almost everyone in the industry was hit hard in some way by the pandemic. Yes, many folks have had to postpone their wedding at least once if not multiple times. All things that are less than ideal. 

My challenge with it all is that our losses and setbacks sounded a bit entitled compared with the losses of others. Our ad sales being tanked because of the virus pale in comparison to those that have lost their life, or a loved one, or having been through a near death encounter because of COVID-19. So again and again I trashed the article. If I am being honest, I was also so tired of all the doom and gloom we are being exposed to recently and I did not want to add to it. 

Instead, I want to tell you about the triumph of love over adversity. I want to fill you in on innovation from hardship. With lines being drawn in the sand at every turn, I want to tell you about people coming together, working together, courage, and bravery. Afterall, I really do feel that that is what America is all about, not the division and derision that we are shown so often on Facebook.

Love

June was pride month and I had the pleasure of interviewing a few same sex couples to hear about how they met, their relationships, how the proposals happened, and what their plans were for their wedding. Now, for many of us, same sex couples and weddings is very commonplace and frankly we do not view it as any different than weddings consisting of men as the grooms and women as the brides. We forget that up until 5 years ago same sex marriage was not even legal in all fifty states. We forget that there are still many people that feel same sex marriage should not be allowed. We forget that men and women who are members of the LGBTQ+ community are still ridiculed, discriminated against, and sometimes worse, all because of who they choose to love. 

During an interview one of the grooms, a personal friend of mine, told me how at their wedding he was still uneasy about being so public with affection towards his new husband. He told me about how he was feeling very self conscious and uneasy during their picture session. It made me sad to hear this as no one should ever feel ashamed or self conscious or uneasy about showing love and affection towards anyone, ever. It made me think of all the people out there that have felt that way at one time or another. It made me think of all the people that have felt shame because of their sexuality. It made my heart break for them knowing that so many had felt that way at some point in their lives. Perhaps before they came out, perhaps during a job interview, or perhaps even at their wedding. 

At the same time I felt proud of my friend for being so brave and courageous. I felt proud of all of my LGTBQ+ friends who at some point had taken a stand for who they were and who they wanted to love. I thought about the fact that while I have known what Pride Month is, I think in that moment, for the first time, I actually experienced a new kind of understanding of how it must feel for those in the LGBTQ+ community. In that moment I truly realized what a triumph love had on June 26, 2015, and continues to have every time a same sex couple is married. 

Innovation

So as I said earlier the wedding industry as we know was hit pretty hard by the pandemic, and as I write this is still facing so much uncertainty. The looming question about whether or not there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall is a huge one. If this happens and we are forced into quarantine again we will be subjected to more cancelations, postponements, and in the end an industry still in turmoil. If there is no resurgence (fingers crossed) we are still not sure when we will get back to “normal”. Many folks I have spoken to have postponed their 2020 wedding for 2021 assuming by then we will be able to have gatherings of over 50 people, but we still are not sure. So for those of us that have planned our wedding, and re-planned it, or those that are planning their wedding for the first time, we are throwing darts in the dark hoping we can hit our target. The reality is we just cannot be sure.

So as they say, necessity is the mother of innovation and I would add that adversity must also be one of its parents. Adversity certainly has had a part in what comes next: the “mini-mony”. Mini-monies are a much needed change to the wedding industry in a time when there is a tight control on mass gatherings, travel, and 14 day quarantines. Not to mention the potential adverse effects to the health of those at risk.

The mini-mony was first brought to my attention by Melissa Brown of SBM Event Co., and most recently again by Dave Bigler of Bigler Photos and Films during a podcast interview for “Let’s talk weddings”. Dave spoke very positively about these new types of weddings having shot a few, and with a few more on the horizon. Melissa, one of the area’s premiere wedding & event planners, has really doubled down on these mini-monies with Sweet Petite Celebrations. Sweet Petite Celebrations is a project she is heading up with other local wedding vendors. So what is the mini-mony? You might have guessed it by now, but just in case here is a quick run down. Mini-monies are small wedding ceremonies that take things a few steps further than your typical justice of the peace ceremony. As Melissa explains it in a recent press release, Each couple will receive a beautifully styled ceremony site, floral installation, bouquet and/or boutonniere, beauty services (within the CDC guidelines), customized ceremony with an officiant, ceremony music, private photography, and videography, live streaming link for guests, champagne toast, first dance, mini cake with cake cutting, and delicious light bites depending on your venue choice.”

You can read the full press release here.

Personally, I think this is brilliant and exactly what the wedding industry needs. When COVID had really forced shutdowns and quarantines everyone was looking for ways to take their businesses virtual. I remember thinking that there was no way for a wedding to go virtual, yet here we are, and I must say Bravo! to Melissa and her team of wedding pros. They, and wedding professionals like them, are doing their part in helping love once again, triumph over adversity. 

 

Written by Michael Nelson

Cover Photo provided by Dave Bigler of Bigler Photos and Films. You can learn more about Dave at http://www.davebigler.com/

You can Learn more about Melissa at https://sbmeventco.com/ and Sweet Petite Celebrations at https://sweetpetitecelebrations


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