Unsung Wedding Industry Heroes of the Pandemicby Liz Gatherer
Throughout the pandemic I have been overwhelmed by the heroic efforts wedding industry professionals have gone to not just for their clients but for their fellow industry colleagues too. Here are just some of the inspiring stories of how these unsung heroes made lockdown and a pandemic memorable for others, for all the right reasons.
For putting a wedding together in less than 48 hours - Hayley Bathurst of Aviator
I spoke recently with Hayley Bathurst, wedding and events co-ordinator at the Aviator, Farnborough and Hayley mentioned in conversation how she had managed to put a wedding together in 48 hours, I had to find out more!
"It was a small wedding but it had already been postponed from March 2020. When the rumours of a November lockdown came into conversation I asked if the couple would consider moving it forward to avoid having to postpone again. The couple really just wanted to get married and were upset that the legal wedding wouldn't be able to take place.
The couple were due to marry on 7th November 2020, which fell into the lockdown period. On Monday 2nd November 2020 the couple asked if we could bring their wedding forward to the 4th, they asked if we thought we could pull it off. After getting the go ahead from the registrar we confirmed on that day that the wedding would take place on the Wednesday, that left us with less than 48 hours to prepare for their wedding.
The couple had a small intimate ceremony followed by a wedding breakfast - they had such a lovely, relaxing day.
As a bride who had to postpone/cancel my own wedding celebrations I was so pleased to be able to get it all arranged for them. It was a day full of love and laughter and it made me realise that it doesn’t matter how many people are there as long as the two of you are able to get married. I had to cancel my own wedding in June 2020 and we moved it straight away to May 2021. When the new rules came in we were torn with our decision but decided to keep our new date and hold the reception at Aviator. It isn't the norm for people to hold a reception at their work place but I don't think I could have trusted another team to look after my day, especially with all the uncertainties!
Our ceremony was held offsite at a Church and we then had our nearest and dearest come back for a meal and to celebrate our marriage. It was a stressful wait but looking back on it all, I wouldn't change a thing (except having to worry about Covid for 18 months!)"
For supporting and inspiring fellow wedding industry colleagues - David Harris, Magicman London
One man who continues to impress me throughout the pandemic is David Harris, aka Magicman London. David and I have known each other a few years now and it is not uncommon for us to have a chat on the phone every once in a while. David however, routinely phoned me throughout the pandemic, never deterred if I didn’t answer the phone on some occasions, sometimes it was because I was too busy, but sometimes it was because I just didn’t feel like talking as like most, the lockdowns have been filled with their highs and lows. I would always phone David back though if I did either miss a call or choose not to answer, because I knew as events people we were going through similar challenges and we would certainly make each other feel better. I found keeping in touch with David, and hearing his seemingly endless ways of keeping himself busy with creative plans and ideas was wonderful. We always had a good laugh, and bounced great ideas, and silly ideas off each other.
I believe David is a true unsung wedding industry hero because I know his cheery phone calls would have made a difference to so many people throughout lockdown and he was likely giving them a lot of mental strength to just keep going without even realising it. Let’s hear from David how the pandemic has been for him:
"When the restrictions first came in, most people I know in the events industry pushed all their events by 2 months, as we thought the pandemic would be over by then. It quickly became apparent that this was not going to be the case. Prior to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, I already had a good reputation and great contacts within the industry, so I continued to keep in contact with everyone as usual. I quickly decided that online magic was not going to suit me, so I thought about what I could do, rather than worry about things I had no control over.
Lockdown was horrible for everyone, but I feel that people who work in the entertainment industry were hit the hardest, as we need people in order to work. I'm one of those people who would rather pick up the phone than send out an email. When I called you (Liz) during lockdown for our usual chat you asked me if I had thought about recording a podcast, less than 2 weeks after that call, episode 1 of "Magic Talks" was released. I ended up recording one episode a week for 52 weeks. I learnt so much about myself planning each episode and recording each week. It gave me something to focus on during lockdowns, there were some weeks when I didn't feel like recording one, but the moment I sat down and recorded one, I felt so good.
There was also a group on LinkedIn full of event professionals that had been made redundant due to Covid, and we had weekly Zoom coffee mornings and talks by industry people, it was something to look forward to each week, and I have made so many friends because of it. There are so many people I spoke to during lockdown that helped me out, the list would be too long to write here. The events industry is like one big family that did whatever it could to help and support each other.
I also increased my Instagram content, I set myself a few challenges, my favourite one was releasing a trick a day for 30 days. It made me come up with some new methods, as I couldn't perform them on anyone face-to-face. Directing a camera for magic is not easy! It definitely put me outside of my comfort zone, but I loved it.
I also continued to practice my magic for between 3-5 hours every other day, I came up with some new routines and scripts, and also improved some of my older effects.
I wrote in a journal every day, I never put anything negative into it, so if I was having a bad day I could look back at what I had done and feel better. I also started my day off with a meditation which helped me focus on tasks I had for the day.
Words cannot describe what it feels like to be performing back in the real world again, it's like I'm myself again. Seeing the smiles and reactions makes me so proud to be a magician and part of an amazing industry. I am looking forward to 2022, I have lots of fun and exciting things planned!"
- Phone: 07950115438
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @magicmanlondon
For kickstarting a whole new revenue income for a fellow colleague - Kate Swerdlow Photography
Prior to the pandemic, Kate was a photographer who I admired but who I did not know personally. I follow her work on Instagram and was particularly blown away by her images of Bar mitzvahs and Bat mitzvahs. Kate is a well known photographer in the Jewish events industry and we both just happen to be on the recommended vendors list at Smashing the Glass, the world’s biggest Jewish wedding media platform. It was September 2020 and I have to confess, I was struggling. I had worked tirelessly over the first lockdown improving and widening my social media reach through blogging, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I had not been deterred by all my clients postponing, and I had not been deterred by the lack of new enquires coming in. But come September, reality hit, I still was not receiving any enquiries and I was fearful that I was teetering on the edge of having to close the business down (I would of course have honoured my current bookings even if it had come to this.) I was on a Zoom call with Karen Cinnamon (STG founder) and fellow STG suppliers when Karen asked me how I was doing during the pandemic. I burst into tears and said I felt like my baby (Wedition) was being taken away from me.
This is when Kate stepped in. Kate sent me a private message through the chat function and told me she would phone me the following day. And that’s what Kate did, not just that day, but every single day over the next two weeks, Kate phoned, texted, Whatsapp-ed, sent me Instagram messages, voice notes and emails, making it clear that she was available for me at all times. Kate was on an absolute mission to get me to launch Wedition’s little sister - L’Chaim!. L’Chaim! is essentially the same idea as Wedition, but it is for the Jewish Bar and Bat mitzvah industry. With Kate’s guidance and encouragement, I had around a dozen enquiries and one booking within 2 weeks. This was phenomenal. Kate was always on hand (and still is) to help me out with anything I was unsure of, from the meaning of various Jewish words and the pronunciation too. Kate’s constant encouragement meant that I was able to turn Wedition from teetering on the edge to being bigger and stronger than ever before and I am eternally grateful to Kate’s selfless support.
You can find more about L'Chaim! here.
- Website: Kate Swerdlow Photography
- Phone: 07809 771143
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @kate_swerdlow_photo
Florists pulling together
Sue Prittchard of Lavender Hill told me an incredible story of three fellow florists:
"When I was at my lowest with a broken back Christmas of 2020 and I had no hope of working, I received a stunning bouquet from three florists who could be regarded as my competition. These florists are now my dear friends and they offered to help run my business whilst I was away - I know they were genuine. The world is full of wonderful people."
- Website: Lavender Hill Flower Company
- Phone: 01252 711175
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @lavenderhillcompany
Get in touch with your stories!
We'd love to hear from you if you have a story of an unsung wedding industry hero that you would like to share with us, get in touch with email@example.com