Business not as usual.
Over the last few weeks New Zealand, along with the rest of the world has changed at a very rapid pace. All of a sudden we are fighting the spread of COVID-19 and have had to shut down our schools, business and our normal way of life.
Things started looking different in the wedding industry towards the end of February. We had brides upset because close family and friends were not going to be able to attend their weddings due to restrictions from other countries. There were also brides who fell in love with wedding dresses but were holding off actually putting down a deposit as events in the world were bringing uncertainty as to how everything would be when the time came to get married.
Only a couple of weeks ago we had a bride flying from Melbourne to have us make her dress, on the Saturday she was excitedly talking of all her wedding plans and how it was something positive to look forward to after the bush fires, then by Sunday morning the
wedding was postponed to an unknown future date. It seemed at the time like a very hard decision to make but in hindsight the decision would have been made for her anyway.
Everything went rapidly downhill from there for the rest of our brides. For a few days we carried on unaware that these weddings would not go ahead but heard of the awkwardness of having to tell some guests not to come to the wedding in order to meet the one hundred person quota.
We finished dresses and sent them off with happy brides not knowing that these weddings would not be happening.
One bride, Kaia, who was due to get married during the lockdown rang immediately after the announcement was made, to ask if she could come and get her dress the next day as she was planning on bringing the wedding forward to the Wednesday before lockdown!
At the last second they managed to pull together a simple ceremony in her celebrant's garden with a few friends and two little girls.
Later on they will have a big party to celebrate with everyone who would have originally come.
Kaia decided to look at the positive side of wearing her dress twice and although she can't get a booking for a later date at her venue, she sees it as opportunity to be creative and come up with a new plan.
(Photo of Kaia by Nature in Sync Photography)
But there is still a rack left of incomplete dresses in the studio representing hopes that were suddenly dashed and uncertainty as too what will come next as couples try to rebook venues for next wedding season.
I had initially thought that I would be able to carry on working alone in my studio doing online consultations and designing new dresses. On the Tuesday evening I discovered that restrictions were tighter than I had realised and I would not be able to go ahead with my plan or go on adventures with the family outside of our neighbourhood.
On Wednesday evening I drove to my studio to take what I could to work from home. I usually love being there at any time of the day but the night before the lockdown felt eery and creepy. All the cafes and restaurants, normally buzzing with customers, had their lights out and there was no chatter or laughter coming up the stairs. The only noise came from the bottle shop downstairs shutting up their doors and boarding them up. I was keen to get out of there and didn't end up getting much at all
I've decided now that I'm going to look at this time as being an unexpected holiday. Rather than cutting dresses when baby Oak is asleep I'm going to sit in my courtyard with a pot of green tea, discover new walks around our area and try out new recipes.
When all this is over and everything is back to normal, people will still get married, they will still want beautiful dresses and I will be glad that I took some time to rest while I had it.