Pandemic forces wedding cancellations, postponements

 | May 19, 2020

Local wedding photographer’s schedule clears as COVID-19 impacts events

Some couples are making their guest lists smaller, eloping, or postponing until 2021. Photo Nancy Critchley

With governments placing restrictions on gatherings, travel and  physical distancing many couples are having to cancel or postpone weddings. 

Nancy Critchley is a photographer who is based in both Sun Peaks and the Edmonton, Alta. areas. She is a popular choice for couples getting married in Sun Peaks in both summer and winter, but what would normally be the busiest time of year for a wedding photographer has changed significantly. 

Critchley said she usually shoots 15 to 20 weddings each summer. 

“My summer has opened up considerably,” she said. 

One wedding  she is planned to shoot in Sun Peaks in August is still tentatively going ahead if restrictions change to allow gatherings of 75 or 80 people, Critchley said. Otherwise the couple will postpone it to a backup date in 2021.

She said she’s worked with couples to select a backup date for 2021, should their wedding not be able to take place this year Critchely will move them to the second date.

“I’ve been offering people new dates…there’s obviously no charge for this. We’re not all in the same boat, we’re all in the same storm…Fortunately this pandemic happened early enough in the year I had a number of dates still open for 2021.

“Because right now, nobody is booking weddings for 2021. In the middle of the pandemic when (nobody really) has money they’re not running out to book their stuff right now…everything is basically on hold.

“I don’t want my brides and grooms to panic, they’re already feeling awful about moving their wedding.”

Weddings in Sun Peaks and elsewhere are being cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Nancy Critchley

Some of those who haven’t cancelled are paring back guest lists to follow provincial regulations, but Critchley said it’s taken an emotional toll. 

“They’re torn up about this. This is something they’ve been planning for a long time, some have already been engaged for a year or two planning…the emotional toll it’s taking is mostly on the brides. They’re going through the stages of grief and making peace with it. 

Some smaller events are still planning to go ahead. One couple had planned a traditional wedding this fall but will now elope in June and host a reception in September if possible. 

Critchely said she will travel in her own vehicle, physically distance, only take photos outside and not touch the couples to pose them. She also has disinfectant, gloves and a mask to use. 

The cancellations and postponements impact more than the couples and their families. Critchley has now lost the majority of her income and is relying on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, currently in place until early October. 

“Financially it’s impacted me in a really big way…This is typically my busy time from now until November.” 

In the end though, she said, it’s important for couples to keep in mind it should be about the marriage more than the wedding. 

“We have to remember that we stay apart now so that when we do come back together nobody is missing, there’s nothing wrong with putting it off until next year. Most people come to terms with it being just a bump in the road, but not being able to have everybody there, that’s a pretty big bump in the road.

“We need to be really kind to one another.”