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Drenagh Wedding Photographer
January 14, 2021

Ciara & Michael – Drenagh Estate Wedding

Drenagh Wedding Photographer & the Moon Garden! One of my favourites and such a striking place to get your wedding photos taken. It’s part of the beautiful Drenagh estate in Co. Derry and definitely a wedding venue I would consider for your big day.

But before we get to it;

Masks, bubbles, hand sanitizer and social distancing.

What does this mean for the wedding industry in 2021?

I can only speak for myself during 2020 but its been a year of rescheduling, a year or compromise and a year of adapting to the ever changing COVID-19 situation. I really feel for all my couples who had to change their 2020 wedding dates. For many it was not an easy decision to make and now we have started 2021 there is no certainty for the year ahead. But, I have seen a dutiful wedding industry trying its best to adapt to the challenging situation that’s put upon it. This has brought about some new and interesting changes and trends.

  1. Smaller weddings, which allow for more control of who goes and tracing. This is not a bad thing as often weddings like this are so much more intimate and we photographers can really capture the entire essence of the day; it gives us much more time as observers to take in what is going on, the nuances of the day and the connections we see between people. Ultimately, I feel this makes for a more interesting and candid style of wedding photography. What I will miss is the massive parties in the evening and the colourful boisterous fun that is so much joy to photograph.
  2. Rustic smaller venues and natural spaces are getting a thought. As we are adapting to make weddings smaller due to Covid, all the lockdowns have given us a renewed appreciation for outdoor spaces and the beauty of nature. This is showing through in new wedding trends with people having smaller ceremonies in natural spaces. I am all for this as I have always felt a strong affiliation between my camera and the powerful imagery of raw nature. Bring it on Covid!

I could go on and on about COVID-19 weddings but I won’t get bogged down in this, I want to showcase Ciara and Michaels wedding at the stunning Drenagh Estate. This wedding was at a time when wedding venues were trying to adapt quickly to the virus and finding their feet. Drenagh did an outstanding job by erecting a large Covid space in the walled garden, equipped well with hand sanitizer and family bubbles at tables. One image that will stay with me was people having to remain at their tables, bubbled and dancing around the small space. It hit home that there was a cosmic shift and it was here to stay.

Now lets talk hats.

Hats are cool, and its not often you see a bride wearing a funky hat, I think we should all learn from Ciara and be rocking more cool hats. It melded seamlessly with this style of wedding and location.

Before I packed up my gear and headed home there was a part of the day I really enjoyed capturing; the first dance. As people were not allowed to group on the dance floor the first dance took place outside the tent under the fairy lights which just added a completely different dynamic to the photos. Low, soft and warm lighting just washed over two people and family members who loved each other a lot.

Lets wrap up.

Let’s keep positive, lets be smart and let’s make 2021 as good as we can. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how quickly humans can adapt to problems when we come together.

The wedding industry will not be the same, not the same as pre covid, but I for one am all about adaption and bettering ourselves during challenging times, it makes us stronger and more resilient. We must see the sliver lining to the dark clouds and think about how we can turn a crap situation into the best it possibly can be.  

For now, its going to be smaller weddings, more nature and more time talking and getting to know the people I photograph and that, in my opinion, is not a bad thing

James McGrillis

Wedding Photographer Drenagh Estate

Please feel free to contact me – I’d love to here from you

+44 788 2754 125 | jmcgrillis@gmail.com | 31 Sandown Drive, Belfast, BT5 6GZ

Copyright © 2021 James McGrillis Photography

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