Seeing the big picture on church weddings

<span>‘Photographs and videos serve as a reminder.’</span><span>Photograph: Getty</span>
‘Photographs and videos serve as a reminder.’Photograph: Getty

Speaking as a Methodist minister – not a vicar – I have always tried my hardest to accommodate wedding photographers and speak to them before the service starts, to make sure things go well (Wedding photographer at centre of row with vicars calls for truce, 4 March). Nearly all have been responsive and cooperative, although I did have to walk away and count to 10 when a videographer, against my express warnings, pulled out the wiring on the PA system to improve his audio feed, thus rendering the service inaudible to half the congregation.

Like all Christians, I would condemn any bullying or demeaning behaviour, whoever it is directed against, and good communication is always key. The source of any disagreements between clergy and photographers, though, was perhaps neatly summed up by the photographer Rachel Roberts, whose petition led to the current debate, when she said: “They [clergy] basically forget the fact that two people are getting married … They put their own objectives and their own rules first”.

The focus of a church wedding should not be the minister presiding or, dare I say it, even the couple getting married; it should be God. It is first and foremost an act of worship in which marriage is celebrated and a solemn covenant between two people is witnessed. In a profoundly countercultural manner, it is the spiritual substance that is important, not the image.
Rev Geoffrey Farrar
Minister, Barnes and Putney Methodist churches

• Re wedding photographer Rachel Roberts’ suggestion that vicars “forget the reason why we’re all actually here”, I thought the point of church weddings, as opposed to wedding “venues”, is that they hold the top space for the sacred rather than for the photographer, the vicar, or the celebrating couple.
Jill Webster
Frogpool, Cornwall

• My heart goes out to Rachel Roberts and her co-signatories to the Church of England complaining about rude, humiliating and aggressive vicars who object to them taking photographs during weddings.

In a humanist ceremony, the couple are marrying in the presence of the family and friends rather than in the presence of God. There may well be gods present – there have been thousands of them in human history – but humanist weddings focus on the history of the relationship, the couple’s hopes for the future, and the promises they’re making to realise them.

We know that long after our words are forgotten, the photographs and videos will serve as a reminder of those promises, and that’s why do our utmost to ensure image makers get the shots they need to capture those special moments.
Tim Maguire

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