February 25, 2022
2021. What a year. It started off slow. The first five months of the year were sprinkled with engagement sessions. With all of the wedding postponements in 2020, I was protecting my heart and emotionally bracing for a similar story in 2021. I wasn’t expecting vaccines to roll out until fall and for all of the weddings before then to be postponed. Thankfully, I was wrong.
At the end of April, Thomas and I sat in our car – in a long, long line – at a closed down waterpark, waiting for our first dose. I was fighting back tears. It was hard not to think about what the last 14 months had felt like – and to feel this overwhelming wave of hope that things were going to change. I’ve never been good at relaxing and unplugging – but I was forced to do that during covid – and it honestly felt amazing to find new hobbies and activities that I was passionate about. And once that first dose hit – it felt like the world was ready to go again. The days of house projects and puzzles were behind me – and we hit the ground running back to photography in May.
While the pandemic was still raging, 2021 in the wedding world was full throttle ahead. We were still navigating a few postponements, but for the most part, everyone was ready to get married. Our schedule was entirely out of our control – as couples had changed wedding dates 3 or 4 times, and we did our best to accommodate them all. If we had the day open – we would take it – even if it meant going above our mental/physical capacity. I’ve never worked so many weddings in such a short time – it felt like we were photographing two years of weddings in a 6 month period. As hard as it was, it was amazing to be back to it! I remember at one wedding I just started sobbing after the couple shared their first look – of course it was a sweet moment for them – but I was emotional that this day that they had rescheduled three times was finally happening! We were doing it! We were all moving forward through this impossible time.
A highlight of the year was having my friend Ingrid from Molliner Photography join us for a double wedding weekend. We had a wedding scheduled for a Friday in October in Lake Tahoe, when one of our May couples decided to push their three day wedding weekend (thankfully – also in Tahoe) to the same October weekend. I asked Ingrid if she would be able to photograph the welcome party for the second couple while Thomas and I photographed the original Friday wedding. Thankfully – she was game! Ingrid tagged along for an epic weekend and handled some curve balls (ahem – like the power going out at the venue…during the event) for us with so much grace. She was so helpful and went above and beyond to make sure the couples we served that weekend had the best experience. I’ll never forget when Thomas and I came home from the final event of the weekend to a spotless airbnb (all of our shoes were lined up perfectly – dishes were done!) and the sweetest note celebrating us and how hard we worked that weekend. I’m so grateful to have her on my team – that weekend and (emotionally) every day.
This year also brought an extra layer of realization that what we do is so special. People were getting together for the first time in years. The world had gone through so much pain. And here we all were – resilient – and ready to celebrate. Speaking of resilient – one of our couples had to totally pivot their wedding just days before their celebration. They were originally scheduled to get married in Tahoe, and then, the fires hit and Tahoe was under emergency evacuation. The couple found a new venue, an almost entirely new vendor team, cut their guest list from 200 to 25 – and still got married on their original day. I was amazed at how well they handled that!
On a deeper level, two of my brides lost their father just days after their wedding took place. And it was incredibly humbling to recognize that I was the last one to document those men – I was able to capture those last, wonderful memories that those families have of their father. And that is not a privilege I take for granted.
At the end of the year, I was exhausted. I had been editing 400+ photos day after day after day to get galleries out on time. It felt so hard to know what to prioritize on any given day. Do I work on previews for the couple that just got married? Do I edit wedding photos so I can get that delivered? Do I focus on the timeline for an upcoming wedding? Do I book flights, rental cars, airbnbs? Do I send out galleries to the vendors and look up everyone’s email address and instagram handles? What about just taking some personal time and going for a walk with the dogs? I was working 14+ hour days in front of my computer regularly this fall. Don’t get me wrong – I’m incredibly thankful – but it was such a drastic change from 2020 that it was hard not to feel defeated some days as I stared at my computer.
The weddings we photographed this year were so beautiful! Truly, so many *pinch me* moments this season. And so many of our couples were so amazing. Thinking of them puts a smile on my face – and we were so touched by their kindness this year.
But – we did it! I’m incredibly thankful that I was able to take a month off at the beginning of the year and I finally feel reset and ready to tackle 2022. Let’s do this!