Buckle up, folks. This is gonna be a long one.
I don’t know whether to cry or rejoice that we made it to the end of one of the most historical years in most of our lives.
I did not wake up on the last day of 2019 thinking we would ever face what we all did this year. I mean, no one did. No one could have seen this coming. This post is not meant to downplay the devastation of this year, or ignore that fact just because we’ve made it to the 365th day of this tragic episode. But rather, I want to take a moment to reflect and see that this year brought so much good alongside the bad. We all tried our best to make the best of the circumstances, and looking back and compiling a list of images from the joy my couples were able to find amidst all the chaos, heartbreak, change and worry… I really am thankful. Thankful for the work I was still able to do this year. Thankful for the people who I got to serve after weeks and weeks of not knowing when that day would come again. Grateful for the new opportunities that came from the lost ones.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this. By mid-Spring I was in full blown panic mode. I was stressed. To give you a little insight into what 2020 looked like from a vendors viewpoint — e-mail after e-mail, postponement after postponement, cancellation after cancellation, hard phone call after hard phone call… it was one jab after another. I didn’t know if my little business was going to make it out of this. I mean, I never could have seen this coming. I just couldn’t. WE as vendors couldn’t. There’s no planning for a sudden pandemic (I mean, now there is). Think about it from a bride or grooms perspective, right? You don’t start planning your wedding with the anticipation that the literal weight of the world is going to come crashing down on your shoulders, and you be forced to stare some really big decisions in the face and come up with a solution in the matter of weeks. Days even.
I found myself in some really hard moments thinking to myself, “Jess, what’s the best way to do this? How do I navigate this? What’s the right thing to do? Is there even one?” I cried. I cried a lot. I made spreadsheets. I made lists. I made notes. I sent emails trying to keep the positivity when really I was an anxious ball of mess just desperately wanting to know what the right thing to do was. But you know what I found in 2020 that I never had before? I found light in people I had never met. Vendors — THOUSANDS and thousands of vendors came together to work together. We put our noggins together and we fought hard. and friends. I can’t express to you how beautiful that moment felt when I realized I wasn’t alone. SO many of us came together and demanded from our states answers when the wedding industry as a whole nearly collapsed in on itself. Maybe not literally, but gee did it feel like it.
You see, it’s not just photographers like me who were grasping at air there for a moment or two. It was venues, caterers, videographers, JP’s, DJ’s, stationers, planners, florists… it was all of us. A lot of us aren’t able to write such a positive (I’m getting there) year end post. So many friends and familiar faces had no choice but to close their doors for good. And do you know how absolutely heart wrenching that is? Years and years of hard work that came to an abrupt and permanent halt in the matter of weeks, and there was just no coming back from it. That? That friends… could have easily been my reality. 6 years of blood, sweat and tears could have all been stripped from me. But it wasn’t.
So, I write this with as much gratitude in my heart as I could ever even try to explain. Despite the uphill battles, the tears, the frustrations, the questions and lack of answers, the change, the shifting, the sleepless nights full of worry and the still long fight to the end… little old Jess from little old New Hampshire made it through one of the hardest years I’ve ever had to face as a business owner (and as just a person) and I have so many people to thank for it. I don’t really know where to start. But I think a good place would be to start with you. The person reading this. Chances are you are someone I’ve had the pleasure to serve, or will be serving in the next year or two. Or maybe you’re a friend, family member, or silent cheerleader. If you’ve ever liked an image, bought a product or service from me, shared a post, wrote a sweet message or read one of my blog posts with one too many exclamation points….. none of it went unnoticed this year. Each of you kept me going. Each of you taught me something. And I am a whole new person this day in 2020 than I was 365 days ago.
Pandemic aside, I grew exponentially in many other areas. I’ve worked very hard on my mental health. I learned to listen and research more on topics I didn’t really understand. I took part in my very first protest and silently took a knee for George Floyd. I learned too many names of fallen black men and women who were so wrongly taken from this world. And I made my voice heard for the first time this election. A year of growth in so many arenas.
I want to take a moment to send my sincere condolences to those who have lost someone they love to COVID-19. While I want to share and celebrate the people below, it is not lost on me how many people have struggled and battled in more ways than I have. I am fortunate for my family and I’s health. This year could have been incredibly worse and we are so thankful to have made it this far. So if you’re here with me, I want to send my love to you and yours. A virtual hug that I am severely looking forward to being a real hug again soon. And a big thank you to every single person who had been and continues to be essential to our communities. None of us should be taking you for granted. This year, next year or in the next decade. ❤️
As I leave this wild year behind and trek forth into a new fresh set of days, please enjoy some of my top images from all the weddings, elopements and celebration sessions I got to photograph amidst all the chaos!! Despite the setbacks, these beautiful people got to celebrate and BE MARRIED!! ❤️ Let’s just say, I’m very much looking forward to the rest of year 7!
These two kicked off this year with no thought of COVID. TAKE ME BACK!!!!! This literally seems like it was a lifetime ago!
The last mask-less wedding of the year, and my FIRST wedding on the western side of America!!! I wish I could go back to Arizona in the worst way!
The first micro-wedding after the world started collapsing, and honestly, I can’t think of two better people to have spent that day with. Just look at the joy on all their faces, even though this day was supposed to look so different for them! THIS is what got me through this year!!
A year in review for Coral Compass Photo Co., a national wedding photographer. The obligatory SEO. SEO is how the internet returns Coral Compass Photo Co. as a result when you search on google! Wedding and all other portrait session photographer Jess with Coral Compass photographs good people. This NH based photographer provides a relaxed, personable, outside the box approach where the value is put on fun and efficiency. Wonderful, loving, quirky, sassy, laughing, fantastic, and often cheeky people like you. Lifestyle NH, MA, VT, ME, RI, CT, NY and NC Wedding photography. Genuine, bright, warm, airy imagery. We love the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, ALL humans! There are adventures to have and memories to keep so let’s get to it! Based in Southern NH, Coral Compass Photo Co. works in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Arizona and anywhere you’ll have me! You can see more of my work online here by scrolling around my website, or on facebook at facebook.com/coralcompassphotoco. If you’d rather contact me directly, please email me at email@example.com. I hate having to do this lame SEO stuff, it’s helpful, but so not natural! In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed this year in review post from Coral Compass Photo Co., a traveling national wedding photographer.
designed by Gillian Sarah; Photographs by Jessica Casey
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