By: Kryselle Cabral
This year’s theme for the bridal industry is distance. The coronavirus pandemic has cost Canada's $4billion wedding market a lot in unreturned deposits and canceled flights. Freelancers face uncertainty as their calendars start to clear. It’s unfortunate to know that many couples this year will have to find alternative routes to tying the knot on their big day.
In order to learn more, we reached out to a few creatives in our network to hear what they had to say about all this. One makeup artist, Corrie Elle, shared her unique experience with us. “My experience as I’ve navigated through this pandemic has been one of extreme highs and lows. Many clients have conveyed such kindness. One client for example who I reached out to in March as a courtesy touch base, responded by asking if there was anything that she could do during this time to support me and my business. I was shocked and overwhelmed in the very best way possible. Unfortunately, not all experiences have been as such, yet, I’ve been doing my best to navigate through it all with a positive outlook. My goal since March has been to offer as much support as I was able to and hope that others followed suit. I believe that trying times reveal one’s true character and it is up to each of us to choose who we want to be during a crisis. Kindness always wins.”
Personal work from Corrie Elle's Portfolio
When talking about how the pandemic has affected bridal businesses, Corrie further elaborated on her experience. “The pandemic has of course transformed how makeup and hair artists are able to operate. Hygiene has always been a top priority, yet now incorporating masks, shields, and even gloves, changes everything. Something as simple as finding a mask that doesn’t impede vision, yet still comfortable is a challenge in itself. Luckily every day there seems to be further advancement on better, more comfortable, more protective PPE.
If you had asked me in March what the Fall season would look like, I would have thought it would be quite grim with regard to artistry bookings and weddings. I have however been pleasantly surprised; many couples have opted for smaller, more intimate ceremonies and even elopements! My team and I are thrilled to be a part of their celebration and help them look and feel their best. After all, it’s true when they say ‘love is not canceled’. It's uplifting to see the priority of love taking place and I think it’s incredibly romantic. People simply want to be married and start their journey of married life. LOVE for the win!”
We also spoke with Belinda Lui, the lead bridal photographer at AVANEW studios, who had clients rescheduling their wedding. "It was at this time that I just learned that I was expecting my first child as well. Understandably, I was a bit panicked, unsure of what the year ahead would hold and the financial setbacks it would entail. As the world sat patiently waiting for guidance on how to conduct ourselves and when to expect things to reopen in stages, I struggled with depression & anxiety (like so many others, I'm sure) and took some time to gather myself so that I could plan to offer my services in this new world that has taken us all by storm.”
Creatives like Belinda have had to offer lower prices and get creative with their marketing. “I offered discounted packages to encourage more bookings with lifestyle sessions—cognizant of the fact that many people have a new appreciation for time spent with loved ones, as well as working with existing wedding clients on navigating the restrictions put in place by the government. This year has [seen] a slew of unforeseen setbacks, to say the least, but it has also challenged me to adapt and grow in ways I never thought possible. I've done a handful of micro/intimate weddings this year and it has brought me back to why I love doing what I do in the first place—documenting raw emotions & love—and weddings, whether it's a small or big celebration, [we] have no shortage of that."
Personal work from Belinda Lui / @AvanewStudios
It’s quite uplifting to see people find new ways around this challenging situation. The new normal is truly looking up. We’re starting to see a new variety when it comes to remote weddings. It’s the start of a digital age of ceremonies presided over apps like Zoom or Skype. One example that comes to mind is of the Maryland-based couple—Susan and John—who were surprised by John Krasinski and the entire cast of “The Office” for an online “Minimony” of sorts on his YouTube show “Some Good News.” Small-scale weddings like these are adding a personal touch to an intimate event amid the chaos in the world.
Wedding businesses have also started to devise new ways to provide their services. An Australian company—I Do Drive-Thru—has introduced drive-through weddings to enable couples to comply with COVID-19 regulations. They also allow the ceremony to be live-streamed to their guests.
When it comes to fashion, masks and gloves are now gracefully making their way into bridal accessories, with some couples leaving the classic wedding gowns behind for sweatpants and shirts.
The future of the wedding industry, of course, would depend on what couples want for their big day. The other side of the pandemic may hold a massive boon for those in the wedding industry due to all the postponed receptions and ceremonies. At the end of the day, love will surely triumph over whatever a global pandemic may bring.