On the radio this morning I heard an article about how the Church of England wants to increase their fees for getting married – from around £350 to £450. There is the view that the church has been undercharging for awhile and needs to cover the cost of the clergy, administration and heating, lighting and maintenance of the church, This cost doesn’t include the extras such as bell ringers, choirs or whatever additions the particular church has.
I’m completely in agreement that the churches need to cover the costs of actually managing and staging the wedding and should look at weddings from a commercial perspective – but I do think that churches and the clergy themselves should be more client focused if they are going to be increasing their fees. Last weekend, I was told by the vicar in no uncertain terms that I was not to take photographs during the ceremony. Now, whilst I understand the need for respect in church – if a couple have paid for the privilege of getting married in church then, provided the photographer is polite and keeps themselves out of the way and doesn’t intrude, then surely it’s up to the couple whether the photographer is allowed to take photographs?
Churches are struggling to attract people into them and by not moving with the times are in danger of pushing more couples towards venues that are more flexible in the running of the wedding. I’m all for guests not taking photos during the service as it becomes a little like a paparazzi scrum – which is off-putting for everyone. Most photographers I know understand the need to be discrete during the service so why can’t most vicars accept that photographs of the service represent a unique point of the day.
I always try to speak to clergy before the wedding day or as soon as I arrive at the church to understand what they will and won’t let me photograph to try to avoid some of these problems. If you’re getting married in Birmingham or the West Midlands and want to have a chat about avoiding some of these pitfalls to ensure your wedding day gets photographed how you want it – why not get in touch?