Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
Happy Turkey Day everyone! Undoubtedly, this Thanksgiving looks as different for you as it does for us. Maybe you’re gathering with a smaller group of family this year, and have had to add COVID-19 tests or mask-wearing into the mix. Or maybe you’re like us, and opted to stay home for Thanksgiving this year on behalf of elderly family. As wedding industry pros, even with all the best precautions, we still feel like we’re in a higher-risk category of catching (and potentially spreading) COVID, so we’re acting accordingly.
However, despite the difficulties and general weirdness of this Thanksgiving, we still wanted to take time to reflect and practice gratitude for all that God has given us in 2020.
And not only does the Bible tell us to give thanks in all circumstances, but studies have shown that gratefulness can improve everything from physical health and sleep quality to mental health resilience and self-esteem. So we try to practice thankfulness often, but today we get a chance to list just three things that we’re especially thankful for over the course of this last year!
Even though we had just moved into our new house this time last year, but we couldn’t possibly come to appreciate this new home until the pandemic hit and we were actually stuck at home for days on end without leaving. Although we LOVED our old apartment, “Shell Cottage”, it was only 355 square feet. Sarah and I love spending time together and didn’t mind 2+ years in those small quarters one bit, but even we have our limits! Two months into home-quarantine, we were beyond thankful for our new home!
Also, if you’ve been following along on Instagram or our blog, you know that we’ve done some pretty major renovations. Just a week after Christmas 2019, we broke ground on what turned out to be a $60,000 basement renovation 😲 Although it was a real beast of a project, and was pretty all-consuming for the four months that it took, by April 19th, we had an income-generating two-bedroom AirBnB just below our feet. To our complete and utter surprise, despite the global pandemic that we find ourselves in, it’s been booked (on average) 27 nights per month since the day we opened it up! Our bathroom reno was next, and is set to be officially finished next week!
If this isn’t your first Thanksgiving Blog with us, you know that in 2018 and again in 2019, we used this time to give a shout-out to our small-group Bible study through our church, Portico C’ville. Although we certainly meant what we said those years too, we appreciated our “Community Group” in an entirely different way this year. When things shut down this Spring, our group went virtual (along with most of the world), and those weekly meetings felt at times like the only thing keeping us sane. And when things began to re-open over the summer, our outdoor, masked-up, socially-distant meetings each week were often our only social encounter from week to week.
After the murder of George Floyd sparked protests across the US, we began helping each other process what was happening, not just with the pandemic, but also how we (a group of mostly white people) could be a part of working towards racial reconciliation within our church, our city, and our country. We supported each other in prayer and financially when some of us were struggling; we walked with each other through incredibly difficult life events. And we even got to celebrate a few unexpected joys as a community too! As we transition into the winter and cases are rising, we don’t know what group will look like from here on out. But I have no doubt that we’ll keep meeting, even if it means back to Zoom!
This year has been rough for everyone in the wedding industry, from venues and planners to caterers and photographers — and everyone in between. But no one has had it as difficult as our brides. On March 15th, gatherings larger than 10 people became illegal, and for the following four-and-a-half months, we walked through the process of modifying or postponing with 16 of our 2020 couples. Although this was a heartbreaking process for some of our brides, so many of them faced it with strength and resilience. As things got better in the fall, some of our brides were able to hold events similar to what they had once envisioned, and as things have taken a turn for the worse this winter, our couples are still rolling with the punches and making adjustments as they go.
Yes, weddings have been different this year. Some guests lists went from 150+ to 8. Others adapted by holding two seperate receptions on the same evening. Some brides even kept masks on the entire day, including during their ceremony and family photos. But one thing did not change: our couples celebrated their love and the joining of their lives together, while being cheered on by their loving friends and family. And we were there to capture it all! The days were different, but they were still wonderful in their own ways! Although I certainly won’t ever wish for a year like 2020 again, I’ll still look back on parts of this years’ wedding seasons with fondness.
Thanks for reading and once again, Happy Thanksgiving!
Hunter + Sarah