Life and Love in the Time of COVID: Celebrations During a Pandemic

Seattle March 2020 Empty Freeway COVIDI was recently invited on a podcast by my friend Johnshen Lee, a photojournalist in Malaysia. His first question was what were some of the most historic photos I remember taking in my almost 15 years photographing weddings.

At first, I was stumped. I am, after all, a wedding photographer. I am not a photojournalist and could only think of the many, MANY couples and their celebrations I’ve had the good luck of being their wedding photographer. Memorable, sure. Historic? Seemed too dramatic a word.

And then it struck me, almost a sneaky smack back side of my head. Doh.

Every photo I’ve made in the last two years is historic because we’re living through a pandemic. I’ve not stopped shooting at all. In almost 5TBs of hard drive lives a small piece of life in my universe – and love – during COVID. The pandemic has been a stark reminder of what’s important, an awakening. It felt like Mother Nature decided enough was enough and hit the Hard Reset button. For millions, we had to deal with unimaginable loss – of our loved ones, of means, of our way of life. We were all taught a harsh lesson at once, one we are still trying to learn from.

And yet, despite worldwide pandemonium, millions still found a way not just to survive, but thrive. And in this thriving, many of us celebrated our small wins in small ways. In my world, these wins came in the way of elopements, family gatherings, quiet walks, intimate celebrations in forests, on beaches, in backyards and living rooms. And as the world began to open up, we found our way back into the loving arms of each other safely.

Thank you for letting my team be your “historian” during COVID, folks.

It has been our honor and pleasure.

Indian Shores Elopement in Florida Jordan and Matthew

Right as the world began shutting down in March of 2020, I flew to Florida to document Jordan and Matthew’s wedding which went from 100+ guest at a grand venue to an elopement at Indian Shores in Tampa, in the space of a week.

As they made their road trip across the States, it seemed like they were driving through time itself, a giant page to a story the likes of which we’d never imagined could happen in our lifetime. As physicians themselves, Jordan and Matthew were in the thick of it, finding time only to catch a breath, drive a few thousand miles, cry a few tears along the way, say their vows, hug their family and friends, not knowing at the time that it would be the last time in a while before they would be all together again.

Indian Shores Elopement in Florida Jordan and Matthew

Sam and Shannon Elopement Seattle

Back in Seattle, the live events and wedding industry began descending into chaos. Cancellations and postponements came slowly but surely, and then fell on all of us like a Jenga tower on its last legs. Pivoting became a thing. Zoom weddings also became a thing, like for my couple Sam and Shannon, who decided to elope with a couple of witnesses in a small private park overlooking an almost empty city. I dusted off my zoom lens and lamented my preference to shoot close. Like everyone else, I had to adapt.

Erin and Kevin's Kubota Garden Wedding During COVID

Rules and mandates came hard and fast, rules made as we stumbled along. Social distancing, masking, handwashing became a way of life.

Vicki and Justin masked kiss

Bruna and David Woodinville Lavender Farm Wedding 2020Spread Love Not Germs Covid 2020Camille and Faizal Wedding at Palisades Seattle 2020Victoria and Michael COVID weddingClaire and Evi Backyard wedding COVIDDiane and Harold wedding covidTeo and Tim Elopement COVIDJulie and Randy at Novelty Hill JanuikWillows Lodge wedding covid 2020Heather and Kevin's Gold Creek Elopement During COVIDBride Jessalyn making a cute face during her COVID wedding

And despite giving up on the wedding of their dreams, our couples made the best of things, like our sweet bride Jessalyn!

Alison and Farrokh Yacht Elopement Blake Island WA

Our clients Alison and Farrokh pivoted their wedding onto a yacht, eloping with their combined families and sailed off to Blake Island in WA.

Annie and Kelly Zoom Wedding Summer 2020

Our clients Annie and Kelly who had family in the movie industry helped them set up a full Zoom wedding. Present only was myself, Annie’s brother and his fiancee as witnesses. It was like a movie wedding on a set, for sure! It was pretty impressive.

Kira and Scott COVID elopement

And then there’s Kira and Scott, who not only had to deal with COVID but the smog from the forest fires last year. And yet, look at those smiles.

Veronica and Fletcher Mountain Springs Lodge Covid Wedding

Veronica and Fletcher, because of COVID restrictions, decided to be the servers at their own wedding for the buffet for their intimate wedding at the Mountain Springs Lodge.

Lake Coeur d'Alene Wedding Bre and Zac during COVID

Perhaps the most dramatic of all the pandemic weddings we shot was Bre and Zac’s on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene this summer when Zac, three days before the wedding, tested positive for COVID. As you can see, we made it work.

Because despite the constant upheaval and uncertainty with new variants, mandates, political ups and downs, we all made the best we could. We got vaccinated when we could, pivoted when we could, celebrated through it all with engagements, pregnancies, births, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations or simply just gathering together for a meal when we finally could safely.

Bella Luna Farms Nona's 80th birthday celebration Krajcer Family PhotosCovid baby 2020COvid graduation 2021Willows Lodge wedding fall 2020Lotte Hotel Wedding Geoff and AlexNatalie and Stephen at Olympic Sculpture ParkKeillan and Patrick Wedding CakeKay and Joseph Small Wedding

Our friends from Pink Blossom Events, BreeAnn and Andrea!

Graduation during COVID 2020I know I’m missing more than half the photos I meant to post (there’s 150+ of them) but please know that my team and I treasure all of them – all your moments, big and small. We are mindful of how lucky it is we get to do what we do, ESPECIALLY during this historic time we’re living in. And that we get to do them next year and hopefully for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for the memories, friends. And thank you, team!

Yours with love,
Brandon, Jenn, Kelly and Gelli. Contact us to shoot your celebration today!

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