Mick, overcome with emotion due to the whirlwind nature of worldwide events and the undying love that he has for his bride, gently clasps Sophie's hand during their wedding ceremony.
'Love in the time of Coronavirus' is how the lovely Sophie addressed her wedding, to her family and friends that were only virtually present at their celebration.
Their wedding plans abruptly changed in mid-March of 2020, when here in London — like everyone else in the world — we were facing the unprecedented experience of COVID-19 pandemic.
I was very surprised when a day before their wedding a number starting with 0031, clearly not an English one, was trying to reach me on my mobile. I nearly ignored the call. Thinking that yet again it was some desperate marketing company trying their luck. Curiosity got the best of me and I answered, it was Michael, best known as Mick, asking me if I was free to photograph their wedding the following day. They were moving it forward due to the closing of all public places for the risk posed by the Coronavirus. The entire country was going on lockdown.
I was perplexed at first. Is this a joke? Can someone really want to get married when everything is closing down?
Supermarket shelves are empty, streets are deserted, schools are closed, people are locked in their houses and everybody is advised to stay indoors.
I was genuinely in disbelief!
But then Mick explained, that his lovely bride Sophie and him were left with no choice but to rush their wedding as the government announced a three-month closure of all public places, and social distancing was going to be a reality.
Hotel du Vin, formerly known as Cannizaro House, is only 12 minutes by bike from my house, so Citymapper tells me.
A charming local wedding venue built in the 18th century, surrounded by the most beautiful park with rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas.
Sophie and Michael decided to hold their wedding at this venue because of its sophisticated beauty, and it was only walking distance from their home in Wimbledon village.
Attending their wedding was only Monique, the maid of honour, and her husband, with Sophie’s children, Mattia and Tallulah, making this a six-person wedding.
The atmosphere was quite surreal with more screens of iPhones and iPads than real people.
Because of the emergency social distancing situation, no friends or family were allowed to travel to attend the event.
Despite the reduced number of people the space didn’t feel empty, the couple’s energy filled the room with real joy. The wedding flowers by the remarkable Gardenia of London in Wimbledon Village added to the atmosphere!
It was indeed a very uplifting and emotional wedding so much so that even the registrar at one point couldn’t stop crying.
In a very weird way, this pandemic is making us all, a better and kinder version of ourselves. There is a very real and much stronger sense of community.
Thank you Sophie and Mick for reaching out and asking me to be there to photograph your lovely and very unique wedding.
Sophie, defying the general mood of the world at that time, smiles brightly in a relaxed and easy way as she prepares for her wedding ceremony.
The bridesmaid holds out the bride's wedding bouquet as she tiptoes into the room.
West Side Common, Wimbledon Wedding Reportage Photo of bride and son w virtual tablets and laptops for distant guests witnesses
In a scene that would have seemed unfathomable just weeks before, the bride and her son set up tablets and laptops for other family members to virtually witness the wedding.
Wimbledon Hotel Marriage Image from a London Venue of maid of honor and best man greeting bride and groom
The maid of honor and best man congratulate the happy couple, proving that even during the world's darkest moments there is brightness and beauty.
South West London wedding reportage image of the Bride and groom embracing after civil marriage ceremony
Sophie and Mick share a tender, genuine embrace following their wedding ceremony. They knew that they would need the love and support of one another — as well as the strength of their marriage — to begin the era of social distancing together.
Sophie's children shower the happy couple in confetti, giving them a grand entrance to their married life.
Wimbledon Wedding Picture from UK Venue in London of happy bride and groom with rings on virtual camera
The happy couple show their rings off to the cameras, allowing their virtual guests to see them sparkle and shine. Despite their distance, they are able to connect to the ceremony and experience the moment with Sophie and Mick.
Hotel du Vin, London Hotel Wedding image of children leading the bride and groom after England civil marriage
With Sophie's children leading the way, the bride and groom leave the wedding venue as husband and wife. They are walking into a world unknown, but they are ready to face the pandemic together.