I’m writing this blog on a break at one of the many weddings I’ve photographed this year. I’ve been too busy to even think about writing blogs or posting on social media recently – this is in fact the first blog I’ve written since May 2021. Our Instagram and website have been a little neglected over the last 4 months or more! So I’m sure you can understand why I’m writing this on a break at a wedding (as guests tuck into their wedding breakfast). And as I’m writing it at my last wedding of the summer season, I’m feeling in a reflective mood. I’ve decided to use this quiet moment to take a brief look back at my 2021 wedding season so far – a wedding season like no other.

First of all, it has been busier and more tiring than ever before, with so much extra work which is bringing new challenges, as I respond to so many postponed weddings – and it’s the same for all wedding suppliers. But more importantly, it’s been such an incredible wedding season to photograph.  So many emotions, so many unexpected and unique moments, so much laughter and romance. All framed by the poignancy of families and friends brought back together after so much time apart due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. I already know my ‘Best Of 2021’ will be be such a joy to curate. The images for this blog are complied from just three months, July to September 2021.

If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely you’re one of my couples; if I’ve recently photographed your wedding, congratulations again! And if I’m photographing your wedding soon, I cannot wait to do so. Last year, of course, I had to rearrange 95% of my weddings – and indeed, you might be one of those couples who sadly had to postpone your wedding day. I’m so pleased I was able to accommodate you. All 2020 couples were badly affected in their wedding planning, with some couples rearranging their wedding day as many as 5 or 6 times. It was such a difficult time for couples, their families and friends. Just as it was for everyone involved in weddings. Even those getting married in 2021 or 2022 who didn’t have to rearrange felt the strain of planning a wedding during the pandemic.

Of course, with couples being forced to postpone so many weddings from 2020 has led to 2021 being a bumper year. When rearranging 2020 weddings I made sure I was proactive in accommodating every couple and rebooking every wedding. I’m proud to say I received many emails saying how supportive I’d been during a difficult time. That kind of feedback kept me going through an incredibly difficult year. All this led to me losing only two bookings – and moving all other 2020 weddings to 2021 and 2022.

This in turn led to 2021 in particular being the busiest of years, with July to the end of October being the busiest months of all. In the last 14 days alone, I photographed 11 weddings (all beautiful!) That’s thousands of miles travelled, while working 10 to 18 hour days (including travel) and no time at home to edit or keep up to date with admin. When I have been at home over the last few months it has been a case of getting home, staying up late to save and back up work, getting ready for the next job, charging batteries (so many batteries!) – and hopefully seeing my family a little too. It has been non-stop. I’m certainly not complaining here – it’s been so good to be back photographing large weddings. Each one different to the last and each one full of amazing moments – some emotional, some funny, some romantic. When they are woven together they tell the story of an extraordinary year. Each wedding with its own feel and its own personality that permeates it – and that’s down to you, my amazing couples, and all your guests.

2020 and 2021 reminded me of this: people make weddings. Beautiful venues, amazing flowers, all the bells and whistles you can add are great, but it’s all for nothing without people having the very best day possible. After photographing so many beautifully intimate weddings last year, this year it has been wonderful to be back photographing bigger weddings with more guests present. We all missed our families and we all missed our friends over the last year and a half. And now, being there at so many reunions – it has been an honour.

It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions that has taken me across the country throughout the Summer – a summer I’ll always remember. It’s hard to convey just how wonderful it has been, but you can see for yourself, in the images on this page, all shot from July to September 2021. Really, how good is my job and how lucky am I being able to photograph such incredible celebrations? I’ve been so busy and feel so pleased to be back doing what I love – I really do love photography and I really love this job. I hope this passion shows in my writing and – more importantly – in the images I take.

And I must say, it’s not just me that’s busy – it’s all photographers I know, every venue, every florist and every supplier. The whole wedding industry is trying to cope with a year like no other – as I’ve seen so many peers in the industry say, we’ve gone from ‘0 to 100 in about 10 seconds’. More weddings than ever before in such a short time, when last year there was less than ever before. Last year was all about fighting fires and keeping businesses alive; this year has been a phoenix from the flames. Overall, the last few years have been full of so many highs and lows – I’m just pleased to say right now, we are all riding high on a wave of weddings.

So if you’re still planning a wedding and your florist isn’t being quick to respond to emails, or if you can’t arrange a time to chat to your venue right away, cut them a little slack – they’ll be exactly the same as me, busier than ever before. In fact, send them an email, telling them you appreciate all their hard work – and please don’t forget, leave them a five star review after the wedding. Feedback and reviews mean more than ever right now. When you’re not getting much sleep or time off work, a nice email or review really does put a smile on your face and gets you ready to go again. Next year, the wedding industry will be back to full strength. But for now, do expect us all to be a little slow to reply and respond. It’s not because we’re off the ball though. It’s just because we’re putting all our energies into making your day – and so many other wedding days – as special as they can be.

Looking more at my own year so far, Hollie and I have had a baby – Hugo, now 10 weeks old and perfect – so our life really has been more than a little hectic! You’ll see an image of Hugo with his two year old brother Harrison below. He also has a big brother, Xavier, who’s 7 years old. Life in our house, all weddings aside, can get a little busy! I’ve been away working for most of the summer and I want to say a huge thank you to Hollie – such an amazing mummy and such a wonderful wife. I can’t put into words how much I love Hollie, Hugo and my other two boys, so I won’t try – but I’m so looking forward to spending more time with them all as autumn turns to winter and this crazy wedding season eases off.

Also, a huge thanks to all the photographers who have worked with me this year – I really could not have done it without you. With Hollie on maternity leave, these incredibly talented photographers have helped me and Hollie immeasurably: Chelsea Cannar (image by Chelsea below), Dave Scholes, Karl Chester, Chris Pepper, Josh Moore, Dan Pahlen, Barnaby Staniland and George McConville. You’re all incredible artists in your own right and you all found time in your busy schedules to shoot with me. I’m so lucky to count you as friends and it’s so important for me to say thank you to you all – and to say what a fantastic job you have all done for me. Then, of course, there is Matt Godman who worked with me several times this year doing a wonderful job as he always does – second shooting, associate shooting, anything that I asked of him, without hesitation. We have both supported each other throughout our time working together and no more so than this past year. So such a huge thank you to Matt for all he has done for M and G Wedding Photography.

Also, a very extra special thank you to my good friend Adam Johnson. Not only did Adam offer to second shoot for me a number of times, but he also covered two weddings for me at the very last minute when Hugo was born a little earlier than expected. Hollie was in and out of hospital for a number of days and having Adam there to step in when we needed him meant so much to me and Hollie – and our couples too, as Adam really did do the most incredible job, just as we knew he would. So thanks again Adam. Also, I’m proud to say these remain the only weddings I’ve had to miss in my now 7 year long career as a full time wedding photographer. I’m sure you can agree – Hugo being born was a very positive reason for missing these weddings! Hollie can’t wait to get back to shooting weddings next year, but for now, she is loving being a mummy to a tiny baby again – and a mummy to Harrison and step mummy to Xavier too. Hollie’s year has been so busy too while I’ve been away photographing so many weddings. As I said earlier – Hollie is amazing.

Lastly, the biggest thanks to all my couples. Thanks for being so lovely, thanks for having such wonderful weddings, thanks for being so understanding and patient when I told you you’d have to wait a little longer than usual for all your images to be edited. Also, I think every one of my couples has taken time to ask about Hollie, Hugo and my family before and on their own wedding day – thanks so much for this everyone. Your weddings have been an absolute pleasure to photograph and 2021 has most certainly been my most memorable wedding season ever – and it’s not over yet, as I gear up for a busy October. I won’t deny that 2021 has been a most challenging year – but I feel I’ve risen to that challenge, just as all wedding suppliers have. By Patrick Mateer, co-owner of M and G Wedding Photography.

All the images on this blog were shot between July and the end of September 2021. 99% of these images were shot by me and taken on the Nikon Z6 ii and Nikon Z6 cameras. You can read my reviews of the Nikon Z6ii here and Nikon Z6 here. I’m delighted to have had a number of articles published over on the amazing ‘Shotkit’ website last year as a ‘featured writer’ – writing these articles for Shotkit helped keep me working creatively throughout 2020 and early 2021 when there were so few weddings to photograph. Thanks again to Shotkit for the opportunity, I really enjoyed my time writing for you.

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