Covid-19 update: We hope you and your families are safe and well. Our webshop is still open, and you can still purchase physical magazines and planners, but the dispatch of these products cannot happen until the lockdown period in New Zealand has been lifted. In the meantime, we are working on some exciting new digital content options for you. Stay tuned. Greta x

OPEN CONVERSATIONS: “You will need to be positive and nimble, you will need to make new plans, create events with new parameters, innovate and think about how you can support your clients, followers and communities

Jacinda Ardern made a bold decision at the weekend to shut our border to some, and to enforce a 14-day self-isolation period to anyone coming into or returning to New Zealand, which started at 1 am today. This is a strategic long-term move to protect our country. There is no denying in the short to medium term this will dramatically affect our businesses, our economy and our lives. But it’s a small price to pay if we can band together to protect those who need it and to help to control and eliminate this virus.

That being said, nothing hits home quite like a travel ban, which effectively this is. Already we are seeing weddings being postponed, especially destination weddings or any that involve travel for the couple or majority of guests. I predict we will see many more weddings being postponed over the next three to six months as people become wary of large gatherings or in the event that isolation periods are imposed. 

This is heartbreaking for couples and their families. And it’s devastating for businesses and freelancers within our industry. It’s frightening, it is unknown, and it feels all-encompassing. But once the initial shock subsides, we come to realise that there are alternatives and that life must go on. Some people may decide to go ahead with their weddings; others will postpone but they will have their wedding sometime in the future and will still support the businesses involved. 

And what if some weddings in the short term started to look a little different? We see so many small destination weddings and elopements at Together Journal. A third of the submissions from couples wishing to appear in our Real Weddings segment are elopements or smaller destination ceremonies and they are incredible, emotive and beautifully intimate. Obviously, elopements and destination weddings to foreign countries are off the menu for the moment. But what about an ‘in-lopement’ or a smaller local destination wedding with your nearest and dearest? New Zealand is full of remote, unique and mind-blowingly beautiful spots, venues and gorgeous places to stay (as is Australia and beyond). And it’s full of innovative, creative and talented vendors who will follow you to the ends of this beautiful country to create something incredible just for you. Document the wedding well with the many incredible filmmakers and photographers we have. Buy the dress, the shoes, the rings, order the food, have the cake baked, book the flowers, take the bridal party, your family, a smaller group of your loved ones and have the wedding. Then when the storm dies down throw the big party to celebrate, show the film, project the photos on the marquee wall, book the band and go crazy celebrating. Or not, maybe the smaller one was all you needed?

Or you might think of something completely different? Or maybe the many talented vendors out there will design a new kind of wedding? (that’s an actual challenge I’m putting out there to vendors by the way). 

For all businesses in the wedding industry, you need to decide how you will keep on going in this new landscape. Your resilience is about to be tested in ways it has not been before. To survive you will need to be positive and nimble, you will need to make new plans, create events with new parameters, innovate and think about how you can support your clients, followers and communities.  

For Together Journal it’s been hugely disappointing to have to cancel travel and other plans, just when we are on the up, gaining global momentum and with international and local large-scale events and plans in place. But I am a mother, and I belong to many communities, both local and global. I have a responsibility to care for my children, to stay well, to protect their grandparents and our friends and family who are not in good health or blessed with robust immune systems; this must come first. All of us have a social responsibility to do the same. AND all of these business events and plans I have cancelled can be reincarnated as something new…

We are allocating our international travel and event budget and putting it towards our digital channels, we are working on new online initiatives to deliver new content and create new routes to market for our clients, we are booking new shoots in beautifully remote local locations, we are using our network of international contributors to produce more content for us in their own countries, we are planning to support our industry both locally and globally as much as we possibly can. We are moving a podcast launch date forward, speeding up work on an app, refining online magazine sales channels, redefining weddings and we are thinking about what our altered market, who will now be in need of more homebound entertainment and hungry for more kinds of content, will look like and how we can predict and fulfil these new needs. 

I am a businesswoman, and I have a voice in an industry I am fiercely passionate about. I plan to lead by example, be as positive as I can and show that smart businesses can support others, adapt and survive. As they say, you can always be certain of one thing; there will always be births, deaths and marriages. 

Greta Kenyon – Together Journal Founder + Editor