Ararat's Justine Missen has witnessed the transformation of wedding ceremonies through the lens of a camera and has been able to capture a change she believes is positive.
The initial lockdown Australia experienced forced Ms Missen's wedding photography business into hiatus.
She occupied herself by reimagining her online profile and how she marketed her business but was aware that the change would be rapid once restrictions eased.
"It was a bit scary, but we sort of knew that once we came out of it we'd be really busy," she said.
Ms Missen's prediction was correct. She has already photographed 10 weddings in 2021, including a recent four-day spell in which she worked on three different weddings.
While restrictions have fluctuated, people have been continuously restricted in how their weddings could be held.
However, Ms Missen said the restrictions have proved freeing for some.
"It has really shone a light on having the day that people actually want rather than trying to please everyone," she said.
"It's changed the way weddings look for people and made people think outside of the box rather than doing what they think they're supposed to."
Ms Missen said one of the first weddings she photographed after the pandemic hit epitomised this change.
"Back in May, there was a wedding where they only had their parents and their siblings, so there were maybe seven or eight people all up, and it was just so nice," she said.
"They didn't have to run around and do all these different things; they didn't have to schedule it, like 'what time are you going to cut the cake?' And 'what time are you going to have the first dance?' It all just really flowed.
"That was a real stand out, and I've had a lot of weddings like that since."
But Ms Missen said the memorable weddings have not exclusively been smaller affairs.
"The other standout moment was probably a larger wedding on New Year's Eve, where there was a dance floor and people could hug each other," she said.
"It was a little surreal because it had been so long."
Ms Missen said that the weddings she has photographed in the past months had shown a positive shift irrespective of their size.
"It probably sounds really cheesy, but I can tell when the couple is just having the absolute time of their lives and really taking it all in rather than just running around and doing all of these strange traditions that maybe they don't even understand and are not sure why they're supposed to do them," she said.
"It's really got people thinking, and I love it."
To find out more about Ms Missen's work, visit dreamcave.co/.
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