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Alexander House Hotel – Mel and Matt’s Wedding Photography

Our visit to the Alexander House Hotel in Sussex offered us the first taste (albeit limited) of spring sunshine for this wedding season (though that cold easterly breeze was still very much in attendance). Melanie and Matthew enjoyed a fairly small wedding – and for this, the Alexander House House is always a perfect choice.

Wedding couple standing in front of large dramatic sky with trees in background.

The venue is on the sussex Surrey border near East Grinstead – and is great for intimate weddings with a touch of luxury.  It’s excellent for photography too, offering a nice blend of classical architectural tones and pretty grounds (think country elegant country retreat). The stairways shot shown in the gallery was actually taken in the spa area of the hotel!

Wedding Photography at Buckinghamshire Golf Club

Catrin and Ian’s marriage on 23rd March was one of the coldest wedding days I can remember. But never mind the driving sleet and that killer easterly wind, we still managed to take some shots outside St Mary’s church in Harefield (well done to the couple, particularly Catrin). And the car shot outside of the Buckinghamshire Golf Club epitomises the conditions that day. Luckily the golf club’s warm interior offered excellent respite and some great photographic opportunities.

Wedding couple standing in rain with white umbrella in front of car.

The venue has fond memories for me (my first major photography award was won there 6 years ago) and it was great to get the chance to photograph a wedding there. We really enjoyed photographing Catrin and Ian’s big day and it was great to see the enjoy themselves so much (despite the adverse conditions outside!).

The Truth About Signing The Register and The Data Protection Act

Wedding photographers frequently encounter instructions from Registrars and the clergy to refrain from taking photographs during the official signing of the marriage register.  Photographers are usually given time after the signing to ‘mock up’ the signing and fake the photographs. The reason typically offered is Data Protection: the register holds private information (from previous marriages) and should not therefore be captured by the camera.  What puzzles many photographers and wedding couples is i) that the same reason is given even if a new page is being used and ii) some inconsistency: some Registrars (albeit in the minority) appear relaxed about the rule being ‘broken’. iii) The Register is a public document!

Signing of the register at a hotel civil ceremony. Image used to illustrate principles about the Data Protection Act.

The truth is that the Data Protection Act (DPA) does NOT apply to the Birth, Deaths and Marriage Register.  The DPA does indeed state that ‘appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data” (Principle 7); BUT the Marriage Register is already in the public domain and anyone can view the information contained in it anyway. So the DPA does not apply in this case (anyone is free to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office to have this confirmed).

So, as many photographers have suspected, we are getting misinformed advice during the end of wedding ceremonies.   In reality, the objective of Registrars in asking photographers to step back during the signing is because they do not want the couple being distracted. The Registrar IS entitled to ask you not to take photographs (even at civil ceremonies they are technically in charge of their own office); and even though it is wrong to cite the DPA, it is very important that photographers respect their decision.

Filed under: Advice

All images copyright Gary Roebuck AMPA ABIPP.