Do Ceremony Leaders Have The Right To Tell The Bride And Groom What They Can Have On Their Wedding Day?

It happens all too often for photographers and videographers. You turn up to the ceremony venue and are told that there are certain things you can not do, and even if the bride and groom say that it is fine to do those things, the ceremony leader (vicar, priest, registrar) decides for everyone that you still can not do those things.


Some ceremony leaders will simply not even allow the photographer or videographer in the ceremony. They say its because it is too distracting to have some one video or photograph a wedding.

The question is who is it distracting for? The bride and groom, the guests, the ceremony leader? If something could be considered to be distracting, then off course, the ceremony leader should point out to the bride and groom (who are possibly getting married for the first time and therefore have no experience of what it is like to be the bride and groom at a wedding) that something could be distracting and therefore could ruin the ceremony for them, but to tell them that they do not have a choice is simply wrong. It is after all their ceremony and it should therefore be their choice as to whether or not they have something at their ceremony.


I was once at a wedding where the groom tried to argue this point. He was after all completely unaware, that such a rule would be placed on him, at his own wedding by people (registrars) that he had paid a lot of money to conduct a wedding ceremony on his behalf. The registrar's response was "You have agreed to this, you will comply". The groom responded by saying " When did I agree to this?". The registrar replied "It was in the small print when you signed the contract".


Now in this situation it was clear that the groom had not read the small print, but who does?. He just presumed that these people were there to help him have the best day of his life. Instead they antagonised him on his wedding day by denying him photographs of his wedding ceremony.


It is rare that the photographer and videographer are not allowed into a ceremony. Its is however quite common for the ceremony leader to not allow the photographer to use flash. Again, this is because they claim it is distracting. I must say that as a photographer myself, I have never ever had a couple complain to me after the ceremony, that the flash bothered them.

The truth is that during a ceremony, the marital couple is so focussed on each other and what they are doing, that they do not notice flash at all. The truth is, the ceremony leader does not want the flash for personal reasons, because they like being the centre of attention, and they do not like anyone else playing a big part in the ceremony.


Often you are told, that you have to stand at the back of the church. So far away, that you can barely get a view of them. Again, if the bride and groom want good photographs and do not consider a photographer standing ten metres away distracting, they should be allowed. Its is after all, their day.


Some of these ceremony leaders are megalomaniacs, that are full of their own importance, some however may have had a bad experience with an over zealous photographer in the past, and have therefore decided that it is not worth the risk, just in case such an occurrence happens again.

I have had some success in the past, in convincing a ceremony leader, that I will not get in the way, and will not be distracting, resulting in them relaxing their rules. I find that by telling them exactly what I am going to do, they often feel re assured that I am respectful and therefore let me shoot almost everything that I need.


The truth is that as professional wedding videographer, you have to try to work around these people as best you can. After all, you simply want to provide the best coverage you can for the bride and groom. If you can not get in to shoot, then that is not your fault and you must just roll with.

The fact remains however, that it is simply un Christian, to not allow someone have what they want on their wedding day, so it always surprises me that it is the churches that are the worse offenders.



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