For those of you that don’t know the golden rule when it comes to signing the register…photography is not allowed during the actual signing. It’s common practice for all couples, wether you’re married in a church or a civil ceremony, that you pose for a photo “pretending” to sign a few minutes after doing the real thing, often with a pen with no ink in.
This has always puzzled me. Always.
I’ve asked many vicars, priests and registrars why this is and no-one has given me a clear answer. I can only imagine the real reason is because sometimes a photographer will go a little over the top and be clicking and flashing away, which understandably is off-putting.
I’m a documentary photographer and I like to capture real moments as they happen. This image below is far more meaningful to me than a posed picture of the couple looking straight into my camera and smiling, hovering a fake pen on a blank, fresh page. I’m always invited into the vestry along with the wedding party to witness this special moment take place. Good job my camera has a silent mode, which literally doesn’t make a noise when you click the shutter. I also don’t use flash. This makes my life as a documentary photographer ten times easier as people are often unaware that I’m taking photos.
So I’m stood there nice and quietly, along with the bridesmaids, parents of the newly married couple and the ushers, witnessing Bethan and Rob signing the legal side of their marriage. The church warden is stood a few feet away from me chatting away with the parents. I spot an opportunity to capture this special moment in real time. I love how Rob, the groom is holding his hands together quite anxiously, but the expression on his face shows a very proud man. I’ve blanked out all the chatter going on around me and I’m zoned in looking at this picture that needs to be captured. So I hold the camera up and fire away a few frames. I haven’t yet made a noise, but the church warden spots me and starts bellowing in my ear, NO PHOTOS!! PUT YOUR CAMERA AWAY!! Whoops! I got caught. I didn’t really have the time to explain why I broke the rules. I’m sure even if I did have the time, he wouldn’t have seen my point of view. So I apologised and said how awfully sorry I was, and nothing more was said.
So take a look at the image above, there’s a lot more that went into this picture than meets the eye.