Jason Magbanua
© 2024 Jason Magbanua

My First Wedding After the Lockdown

My First Wedding After the Lockdown

Musings and Recollections

Huzzah for people who look better in masks!!!

Ten days before Independence Day, I got an inquiry from a couple wanting to get married on that holiday.   They were no strangers to me though.  They were supposed to get married mid March,  just a few days after the lockdown in the city and when things were at its most batshit crazy because of Covid-19.

And since that time – up until four days ago,  all of my wedding shoots have been cancelled.  I was hunkered down just like all of you. Alternating between despair, hopefulness and resignation.

What I did not STOP to do was shoot and edit – whatever I could.   I joined a competition (and WON!),  continued to make content for brands like Samsung., did personal stuff and a shit ton of videos for my cat Nas.


My point was, besides finding an excuse to post a cat pic, I kept sharp.  Like James Harden not letting himself go over the spring, fully expecting games to be played again.


Well it was time to play.

I had mixed feelings.  I was excited initially.  After what felt like an eternity, I was finally going to be able to do what I loved doing the most.  Being forced to STOP filming weddings was a shock to the system.  And yes, shamelessly -“Cotdammit, MONEY was coming in!”

I never took weddings for granted. But after all this, I will have a much deeper appreciation I never thought I could find.

But then there was the health aspect that hung over me like a dark cloud.  I needed to protect myself and others around me.  I had to resolve within myself that the risk-reward situation was favorable.

I learned as much as I could on how I could minimize infection, how to best disinfect after and keep household members safe.  I treated it very seriously.

Here were some takeaways –

Masks all the way for everybody.  I dropped the PPE.  I learned that from Pat Dy, the heat was going to be extremely suffocating.  Isopropyl alcohol always on hand.  Bring your own water.  Keep your distance.  Keep it chill.

If you are shooting at the bride’s place when she dresses up, STRICTLY follow the protocols enforced at their household.  NO ifs, buts or complaints.  For this one I was asked to bring a fresh pair of socks to be used inside their place.

It was nice that they had precautions and measures but I was never made to feel I was a contaminant penetrating their safe space (let’s face it, which I was).

The dressing up was pretty normal by pandemic standards.  I even got to meet a very GOOD BOI named Gus.

Just an excuse to post another furbaby photo

The bride’s preparation was way more “normal” than I expected.  Save for the the make up and hair peeps in PPE.  We left 15 minutes before the ceremony. Sofia and Anton were getting married.


The person count At the church was a very strict 10 pax.  That includes the suppliers.  So it was the couple, the priest, the priest’s assistant, a photographer, a videographer, a sound guy and five guests.  I heard somewhere the priest isn’t part of the count so that’s exactly ten

Seating at the ceremony was properly distanced,  a meter I believe.  The rest of the place of worship was empty.  It was eerie at first.  And very quiet.  I’m used to having San Antonio buzzing with excitement before very wedding.  I got used to it eventually.

Only the groom and the bride did their march – she has to! Of course!

The ceremony was quite the full mass sans the singing.

Since I was operating on limited manpower, there was no time to set up lights.  But you can be sure as hell that I setup audio recording the right way, a clean feed from the mixer to a Zoom recorder.  No lavaliers for the people speaking cause you know – Corona.

Movement was quite free but of course I needed to keep it respectful.  I had one other camera unmanned on a tripod to provide a second angle for the edit.  I shot most in 4K to allow for re-composing in post.

I reaaaaaly wanted to try out my wireless streaming equipment but the manpower just wouldn’t allow it.

Filming  one cam just grounds you and makes you stick to the important.  Is the shot clean?  Is it in focus? You distill everything to its essence.  K.I.S.S. Remember?

Some of you may know that I’ve guested on quite a few webstreams the past weeks.  Recently I was asked what my thoughts were about how this pandemic changes things.

I’ve maintained that couples should keep their “eye on the prize”.   What really matters is that couples ARE IN FACT getting married, regardless of guest count, supplier line-up or other accoutrements.

And that’s exactly what Sofia and Anton did.

I have no way to predict if this will be the shape of things for the many moths to come.  I can surmise though, that with proper precaution, it is doable, albeit you assume all risk of course.

We were not asked to film the small get together back at the couple’s place.  So right after a few minutes of portraits we bade goodbye to the couple.  Home by 530p.