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Elyssa Explains

April 4, 2020

Coronavirus (Covid19) and wedding photography

Bride hugs her grandfather before her wedding ceremony | by Raleigh wedding photographers

Coronavirus (Covid19) and wedding photography

Weddings for the near future – at this point up through May for us here in Raleigh, North Carolina – have been postponed and cancelled across the world because of Covid19. I know that it’s devastating to couples making that decision but it’s definitely the right thing to do. And since it’s my job/passion/life, I can’t help but think of the impact of this virus on wedding photography. 

Two things really stand out to me about this:

(1) Covid19 underlines the true importance of wedding photography, and

(2) the ripple effect of this pandemic on the wedding industry will last longer than the stay-at-home orders and the limitations on gathering sizes.

Wedding guests dance at a wedding reception at the Rickhouse in Durham, NC

What do I think will change about the wedding industry?

As a result of Covid19, I believe we’ll see a change in weddings moving forward. Even after life starts to return to some semblance of normal, I expect weddings to be different.

  • Weddings will likely be smaller overall, especially at the start, as people will be slow to return to situations involving large crowds.
  • Guests who are older and/or immunocompromised might elect to stay home.
  • More couples will consider elopement style micro-weddings (just them, their officiant, witnesses, and a badass photographer) in order to avoid the risks and stress that couples this spring have faced.

That might not seem like that much of a big deal to those of you outside looking in, but I can assure it will change the face and the structure of the wedding industry significantly.

Bride and groom look out at their guests at an intimate micro-wedding in Raleigh, NC

But what will *not* change about weddings?

If you’ve spent any of your quarantine time on social media, you’ve doubtless seen the cute, well-meaning lists of things the coronavirus can’t cancel: reading, music, hope, relationships, LOVE, etc.

And I know it’s cheesy (and I can assure I am very much not the cheesy type and I did not repost any of those memes), but it’s true. So here’s my version:

Covid19 will not change the following things about weddings:

  • The couple’s love for one another and their enthusiasm to be getting married
  • How happy their friends and family will be for them
  • How much they’ll want to share their celebration with their favorite people
  • The fact that they’ll want to look back fondly on the wedding day in 20, 30, 40, 50 years, and that they’ll likely also want to do this, if offspring are in their future, with their kids or grandkids

The most important things about weddings will not change. And of course I think wedding photography is one of those most important things 😉

A bride and groom are surrounded by their friends for a group hug on their wedding day

Why do we have weddings anyway?

Yes, for all the benefits that come with being a legal union, but I’m not SO cynical to think there’s not more to it than that. 

It’s about people declaring their love and commitment to one another. It’s about signifying a transition in their lives and celebrating that transition. For a lot of people, it’s about celebrating it *with* their loved ones. Because the big changes in our lives, ESPECIALLY the happy ones, are worth (1) remembering and (2) sharing with our favorite people.

That’s why weddings are such happy events, and that brings me to my point about wedding photography specifically.

Bride dances with the groom's grandmother at her wedding reception by Raleigh wedding photographers

The importance of wedding photography

Great photos help reinforce our memories

Think about it. Our strongest memories are ones that are connected to a sense – a particular taste, smell, sound, touch, or sight. So, when you **see** a photograph of a moment you experienced, you are transported to that memory, and you can relive it. 

And photos are a way for someone who didn’t experience a moment firsthand to be included

When we tell a story, we’re inviting our audience to live that story with us. And when we share our memories, and especially our photos of those memories, we’re inviting others into our experience and inviting them to share our joy.

Then, if they’re anything like me, they’ll experience vicarious joy. 

Grandparents of the bride process in to the wedding ceremony | Raleigh wedding photographers

So to bring this back to the changes facing weddings and why I think Covid19 is demonstrating just how important wedding photography is…

If there are people the couple would love to have celebrate with them, but who are not able to make it to the wedding (like those elderly and immunocompromised friends and family), having photographs to share with them is a way to include them in the celebration after the fact and walk them through the story of the day as if they were there. 

Yes, live-streaming a wedding is definitely an option and I’ll have to get one of our videographer friends to chime in on how that’s certainly going to be a big wedding industry change, but consider these two scenarios:

(1) You send your grandmother a link to a live stream of your wedding ceremony, which she watches while sitting in her house.
(2) You bring a photo album or a stack of prints to your grandmother and flip through them with her, telling her all about your wedding day.

I’m sure she’d love both, and I definitely encourage both, but walking through the memories together, experiencing them together, is on an entirely different level.

Mother of the bride looks on as her daughter gets ready for her wedding day


Finally, on a more somber note, any sort of tragic situation like Covid19 reminds us how short life can be. When we lose someone we love, we go looking for photographs of them. Why? Because those photographs help spark our memories and they allow us to revisit our loved ones. Having beautiful photographs of their favorite people at their wedding will give couples joyful memories of those people to revisit all the time. 

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite photographs from my own wedding (so this is not a Kivus & Camera photo – all the credit and thanks go to Beth Ely Photography!). This is my Uncle Leo, who passed away last year, dancing with his beloved wife Glee.

Older couple dances at a wedding

Photo by Beth Ely Photography

Stay strong my friends. We will come out the other side of this a changed world, but hold on to the positivity as much as you can!


We believe that love is bright and colorful, and your wedding photographs should be bright and colorful too.

Kivus & Camera are Raleigh Wedding photographers who create bold, colorful, magical memories of your wedding day with beautiful, artistic portraits AND enthusiastic, genuine moments. Your unique love story deserves to be told through unforgettable, breath-taking photographs that stand out from the crowd. Kivus & Camera love creating that magic. After all, as past bride Courtney says, we’re photography sorcerers.

And though we call ourselves Raleigh wedding photographers, we definitely photograph Durham weddings, Chapel Hill weddings, Cary weddings, etc. We’re all over the Triangle area, and we’re happy to head to the beach or mountains and even to places outside of North Carolina! Just let us know where your love story is headed.

Want to know more? Check out more of our images or learn more about our nerdy selves or just send us a note! Can’t wait to hear from you.

  1. Ashanta says:

    As a wedding professional, I totally agree. The wedding industry is forever changed. Covid-19 changed everything.

  2. […] As I predicted back in early April, Covid19 has really changed the way weddings work. It will be interesting to see how long-lasting the ripple effect is, but for now, I’m focused on my couples who have made the pivot to intimate, micro-weddings, like Meredith & Jason. They celebrated their love with a small group of family and friends at their Raleigh backyard wedding this weekend.  […]

  3. […] (and elopements) are going to be a trend that sticks around for a little bit. (I wrote about COVID and wedding photography here, if you’re […]