Two Wedding Photographers Postponed All Their Scheduled Weddings – Including Their Own

Wedding photographer Zach Teris never could have imagined postponing his own wedding when he proposed a year ago in the middle of a llama herd.

Photographer Zach Teris proposed to his fiance, fellow photographer Sam Shuma, last year in the middle of a llama herd.

Okay, okay, we’re exaggerating. It wasn’t a llama herd per se – there were alpacas there too. That day last spring, Sam Shuma, Teris’ girlfriend of three years and business partner, found herself in a field surrounded by dozens of her favorite animals. Teris, on one knee with a diamond in hand, popped the question while the alpacas and llamas grazed, seemingly unaware.

The engaged couple made sure to capture the moment for the ages and chose April 18, 2020 for the big day. Of course, you know what happened to those plans.

“Now, I hope April 18 comes around and it’s a torrential downpour,” says Shuma. “Lightning, thunder – just the most miserable day imaginable. I want it to be so terrible that we feel blessed for having to postpone our wedding.”

As co-founders of Peaberry Photography, Shuma and Teris have been to more weddings than they can count. They know there are a million things that could derail the day – but they never saw this one coming.

Not only did it affect their big day, but it challenged their Collingswood-based business as well. In a matter of days, the Peaberry Photography team’s calendar was wiped clean. One frantic phone call at a time, they took all the April, then May and (now) many of the June weddings off their books – including their own.

A month ago, when they imagined their 96-guest afternoon affair, they thought of the ceremony officiated by two of Teris’ college friends who would (more than likely) make a few jokes at his expense and their families (Teris’ from Texas and Shuma’s from Northeastern Pennsylvania) meeting for the first time.

Because the wedding was small, they had hoped the virus wouldn’t affect their big day. But when the CDC recommended all gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled, there wasn’t any doubt about what had to happen.

Shuma and Teris were supposed to be married on April 18.

“We didn’t want to risk anyone’s life just to be at our wedding,” says Teris, who worried most about his mom, who has respiratory issues, and his and Shuma’s grandparents. “We agonized over it.”

As they make arrangements for their own rescheduled wedding, they’re also mindful of helping their clients do the same in a way that doesn’t hurt their business, or the businesses of other vendors’, heading into next year.

“A lot of couples want to move their weddings to prime weekends, like in early fall or the same time next year,” Teris says. “Which makes it hard because some of those dates we already have booked, and for those we don’t, it takes away next year’s income for those weekends as well.”

Winter weddings, like those in January and February, will likely be much easier for vendors to accommodate, they say. Fridays and Sundays are also worth considering.

“We also love a weekday wedding,” says Shuma, whose wedding is rescheduled for a Thursday afternoon. “Yes, it can be a little inconvenient for your guests, but honestly, nothing is convenient right now, so you might as well.”

But through it all, they’re trying to stay positive.

“The hardest part is that we don’t feel the same excitement that we felt a month ago,” says Shuma. “Some days we feel better, and other days I really wish our wedding was still only a few weeks away. It’s a little bit like going through grief, honestly.”

“We feel for everyone on both sides of this,” says Teris. “But the good thing about everyone going through this is understanding that you aren’t alone. That helps us, at least.”

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