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    Why is it Okay for the Officiant to Make the Rules?

    Really- it's ok to rant and be a bitch for tiny moment? I had to shoot a wedding at a Holiday Inn before you giggle, it's really lovely, it's in a downtown area with a rooftop terrace. I want to write Holiday Inn and tell them that brides don't want to say their wedding is at the Holiday Inn, but I digress.

    So everyone is lined up getting ready to walk in, I'm so stoked my bride is half Hawaiian and half African American so she is lovely and perfect and charming... The sweetest girl, it's like she doesn't even know how bad- ass she is. Literally one minute before we they walk in, her pastor looks at me and says, "you aren't allowed up front, you have to stay in the back."

    I looked at my bride and didn't say a word. So this was one of those times, I wish I..., I could have said,... I should have said...."We are at the Holiday Inn, you have no jurisdiction here." Or, "we are getting paid, you do your job and I will do mine." Can you imagine the bottled up rage I have? The next person who is unreasonable with me is going to get the wrath! 

    I really hate when officiants think they are the boss of the wedding. Sometimes they say, "it's ok to take photos wherever you like." No shit Sherlock, I'm grown I can do whatever I want. Now when I'm in a church, and let me say for the record, I'm really close to saying, "fuck that noise, I don't do church weddings." .... when I'm in a church, I do follow their antiquated rules. The meanest encounters have been the church marms and that damn preacher telling me what to do at a Holiday Inn. Feels good to let this go! Writing the words out, really makes me want to have a strict no church policy.

    ~ Holy Bowler

    Brideys, how would you feel if your officiant told your photographer that they couldn't take pictures "up front"... ummm where you're like... exchanging vows?!!!

    Reader Comments (8)

    While I understand the frustration, I think that if they're having a religious ceremony, whether it's in a house of worship or not, the pastor/minister/rabbi gets to make the rules. That's what the bride & groom chose and signed up for, a Pastor/Minister/Rabbi is different than a secular officiant. Most Conservative & Orthodox Rabbis won't officiate at a Jewish wedding unless the food at the reception is Kosher, even if the wedding isn't at a synagogue, even if the Rabbi isn't going to the reception! If it's a religious event, it's a religious event. That might be something that the photographer should talk to the bride about ahead of time "Are you having a religious ceremony, have you talked to the pastor about his/her rules for photographers?" It's also something the pastor should talk with the bride and photographer about ahead of time, before everyone's ready to walk down the aisle! Also, you should totally write that Holiday Inn and tell them to give their wedding space a different name!

    October 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarta

    Hey Marta!

    GREAT point (as usual)!! "Are you having a religious ceremony, have you talked to the pastor about his/her rules for photographers?" This will alleviate the "day of" confusion for all parties, and leave the bride out of the equation...

    Thanks for your comment Marta!


    October 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBitchless Bride

    I think the problem comes that the officiant told them right before the ceremony.... I once had a wedding director pull the same crap - 30 minutes before the wedding started she handed me a bunch of rules and told me no flash photography at all and no moving around the front... she had seen me the day before and didnt say a thing - the bride was mortified and told me I could do whatever I needed to... thankfully, I had not planned on using flash anyway, but that would have really sucked for a photographer who had planned to

    October 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAddie

    Hey Addie,

    Another very valid point. If you walked the space prior to the wedding, then OF COURSE she should have told you the rules ahead of time. That's just bad form... Not to mention, that if there are such stringent rules in certain venues, etc. then they need to write the Dos and Don'ts for the vendors coming into their "house".
    Take of your shoes, no smoking... Just kidding, but you get my drift!

    Thanks for the comment!


    October 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBitchless Bride

    We had a really strict priest who told us we couldn't have any photos taken in the church apart from my husband & me walking down the aisle at the end (I asked about the shot of dad & I walking in & he said the photographer could stand in the doorway but that was it!) we also had to go back in afterwards to pose the signing of the register instead if taking a moment to photograph it during the service. He was also mega strict on our readings & tried to push the exiting music on us. It was such an added stress that we didn't need while trying to plan but thankfully in the end we got our own way!!

    October 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKtP

    Of course it's irritating to find out that you have restrictions minutes before the ceremony, but if you are a "professional photographer" and you can't make photographs within the guidelines of an "antiquated" (rude. it's a sacred ceremony. show some damned respect.) church, you don't deserve to have your job. If you have no respect for the observance of a religious ceremony, why should the officiant have any respect for you "doing your job"? In my experience, 100% of the time I was restricted from shooting in certain areas (or prohibited from shooting the ceremony at all) the officiant was happy to do some reenactments after the fact to fill in any holes for the album.

    - a professional photographer

    October 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

    Nicely said Amanda!

    Holy, I'm an Officiant so I don't dig the"No sh*t Sherlock" attitude and I know not all Officiants are created equal but if we're telling it like it is - any photographer worth their salt knows "do you have any restrictions" is the is the #1 questions (to ask every Officiant that you will ever meet for the rest of your life - GOT IT? GOOD!!)

    Look, I want the same thing you do a happy couple who get great photography, but NEWS FLASH the Officiant is in charge, I call the shots when it comes to the ceremony...

    Do I really want to be blinded by some idiots flash in the middle of doing my job - hell NO! Do I want to be distracted by the constant click click click of your shutter interrupting this highly personal and sacred ritual = F*CK NO! I worked hard on creating something special for this couple, writing and rehearsing that ceremony for almost a year and you're going to begrudge me from wanting to do my best work???

    Get a grip girl...play nice in the sandbox!

    ~ a professional Wedding Officiant

    November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

    It is indeed a delicate balance we try to strike between documenting the ceremony and honoring the ceremony and "being in the moment".

    As an officiant, I've worked with hundreds of photographers, some of them for many repeat weddings. My test for a new photographer (new to me, that is), is to ask them (about 30 min before ceremony time) if they have any questions for me about what is going to happen. The ones I respect, and refer to others, are the ones who will ask me if I have any restrictions. If I don't get that question, or they don't have the time for me, I know it's going to be one of those "you are cordially invited to a photo shoot, and oh yeah, there's going to be a wedding also" moments.

    February 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRay

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