I don’t think I have ever been more excited to ring in a new year than I was this year. Truth be told, 2020 wasn’t all bad. As a New Jersey wedding photographer, I was lucky enough to be apart of so many incredible elopements and micro weddings of all sizes. If you haven’t checked out this post (featuring real New Jersey and New York City weddings in 2020), please do! I felt so inspired reflecting on all of the incredible moments that happened at Mile Square Moments in 2020. Today, I want to share a bit about my experience as a New Jersey wedding photographer last year: from lessons learned to what I am most looking forward to now (2021 wedding trends!).
Lessons Learned in the Wedding Industry in 2020 (as an NJ wedding photographer)
Expect the unexpected in the wedding industry
Postponing your wedding was a rare phenomenon. It really almost never happened. Like many other wedding vendors, it took a while for me to come up with a plan to make it as easy as possible for wedding couples to reschedule. Once I had a plan in place (and accepted this as a reality for spring 2020 weddings), I was able to be proactive and reach out to all of my couples to check in, see how they were doing, and figure out how I could best help.
Be adaptable: micro weddings, weekday weddings, wedding day timelines
Being flexible took on a whole new meaning in 2020. Often, when you are planning a wedding, there are moments you are reminded that all that matters is marrying your best friend. In 2020, these moments seemed to happen daily. SEVERAL of the weddings I had a chance to photograph were planned within days/weeks worth of notice. Looking for inspiration? Check out this Long Island City Elopement that was planned within a week or this Columbus Square Park Elopement that was planned in just 4 days
What I really learned was how vital it is to get to the root of what is most important to each couple and use this as the foundation for planning the day. Before you create the timeline, decide on what’s most important. For many couples in 2020, they chose to get married on their original wedding date or a date that had sentimental meaning for them as a couple. When you have a small guest list, you can easily opt for a weekday wedding as well. I shot many weddings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays this year (with even more on the books for 2021). If you are finding availability to be an issue with wedding venues or other vendors, consider a weekday wedding!
For couples who still wanted a large celebration, most postponed the bigger wedding to 2021 or 2022. You definitely need to decide what works best for you and what you really want out of your wedding day. After that, you can be flexible with the rest!
Humanize the Wedding Planning Experience
When pandemic wedding restrictions started being put in place, I became more than just a New Jersey wedding photographer. I was a friend and resource to many of my couples and I am so grateful to have had the chance to make last year just a little better for them. It was nice to be able to reflect and be grateful for what I was able to do. I helped my couples stay excited about their wedding days instead of dread the planning. Although not every vendor was able to do so, I was personally able to drop rescheduling fees and work with couples who may have lost their jobs or sources of income.
I had the chance to plan a micro wedding for a bride to have a first look with her father, who was terminally ill and wouldn’t make it to her rescheduled 2021 wedding. It’s hard to look at something like that and not be so overwhelmed with gratitude. I also had the chance to work with a couple who got legally married on their wedding day without their wedding attire (it was delayed). When the wedding attire finally arrived, I got to photograph an intimate vow renewal with their family and friends so they still felt like a bride and groom. There were also smaller moments throughout the year, like rescheduling engagement sessions for couples who contracted COVID, that I was so grateful to be a part of.
Weddings come in all shapes and sizes
Weddings have become increasingly unique and personalized over the last 5 years, but last year was one for the books. I loved photographing weddings in all shapes and sizes. Although many weddings I had on the books were planned to be more traditional (100+ guests), couples downsized their guest list and created some of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen. When you don’t have to provide catering for 200 people, you get to invest in small touches and enhance your guests’ experience in ways you might not be able to otherwise. It was amazing to see couples give up big venues across New Jersey and New York and opt for weddings in backyards, restaurants, city parks, and piers.
I know I mentioned this time and time again, but when your guest list includes only your nearest and dearest, there is a special kind of energy in the air. It feels intimate and special. There is something that happens when you cut out the distant relatives and people that you feel you “have to” invite. If you’ve never considered a micro wedding, you might want to consider making it your first choice.
Love literally never fails
The most important lesson from 2020 was that Love literally never fails. Couples who kept their focus on marrying each other found a backup plan they could be excited about. Whether you elope next to the water or postpone so you can celebrate with all your family and friends. If you feel like you’re marrying your best friend, it’s going to be okay. The journey might not be easy, but it’s always worth it. All these cliches proved very true in 2020.
Wedding Trends in 2021 I’m looking forward to as a New Jersey Wedding Photographer
Although I hope I have reassured you that 2020 wasn’t all bad, I am looking forward to all of the magic 2021 will bring. I’m looking forward to more celebrations, less productions. 2020 taught us that we don’t have to have it all planned out. There is magic in spontaneous moments. More than that, couples often tell me the candid photographs are their favorites. We want your wedding photography to be incredible with more than just posed photos. Speaking of candids, I’m personally looking forward to reviving dance parties! Hopefully, with the vaccine, restrictions will loosen up and we can meet each other on the dance floor again. I want to be there to capture every hilarious dance move!
When I think about the wedding trends in 2021 I am most looking forward to as a New Jersey wedding photographer, I have to go back to the basics. I believe couples are going to continue to dig deep into what’s most important to them on their wedding days. Traditions will be thrown aside! My favorite weddings are the ones that make you feel like you really know the couple getting married. I see a continuation of personalization and I can’t wait to be there for it. In 2020, a lot of couples brought in sentimental touches over traditions, which I loved as well.
Mile Square Moments: NJ Wedding Photographer
Last but not least, I look forward to watching love continue to always win. To my couples of 2020, thank you for allowing me to play a role in your wedding day. I look forward to staying in touch and watching all your future adventures unfold. For couples planning their wedding for 2021 or 2022, I can’t wait to see what you choose to do for your wedding. As you can see, the options are really endless. If you are looking for a wedding photographer in New Jersey (or beyond!), I would be honored to be considered. You can get in touch here to ask any questions or save the date!
Mile Square Moments
Mile Square Moments is a New Jersey wedding photographer for the deep in love and hopeless romantics. We capture amazing moments and authentic love stories for couples in Hoboken, New Jersey, New York and beyond! Get in touch to inquire about our photography services or follow along with fun love stories on Instagram. For real weddings across New Jersey and NYC in 2020, visit this post for endless micro wedding and elopement inspiration.