As a wedding photographer I am often called upon to attend register office weddings. Many couples choose this type of ceremony because it is the quickest way to get married and has no religious significance. Wedding photographers are no less important at these occasions, however, because the happy couple still want a lasting record of their day. If you choose a register office wedding, you can get married at any register office you like in England and Wales, providing that you have been resident in that district for a minimum of seven days prior to registering.
You will need proof of your age, nationality and address and you must give formal notice of your intention to marry to the Superintendant Registrar. Then you have to decide on the date and time of your wedding. There is then a waiting period of 15 days before your marriage can legally take place. This is the time to find yourself a wedding photographer, if you haven’t already done so!
It all seems very daunting, but when you and your partner first attend the register office you will be given all the help and information you need regarding the legal preliminaries, the ceremony itself and the fees you will have to pay. Civil ceremonies can include music and readings, as long as these have no connection with religion of any kind. You can discuss the wording you would like for the ceremony with the person who will be conducting it, but some formal wording must be used when the vows are exchanged.
Many register offices do not allow wedding photographers to take photographs during the ceremony, but sometimes a video camera can be used by prior arrangement. As a wedding photographer in Peterborough, I have often wondered why a video recording is allowed when photographs are not, because stills can be taken from the recording later. However, two years ago the law was changed to allow some wedding photographs to be taken when the couple exchange rings. As a wedding photographer I think this is only fair, because this is the most important part of the ceremony. After the ceremony, the bride and groom and two witnesses must sign the marriage register. Many offices allow wedding photographers to take photographs after the signing, if time allows.
I am very familiar with the layout of Peterborough Register Office. It has two rooms set aside for weddings. The Lawns Ceremony Room holds up to 30 guests. A simple, dignified ceremony can be conducted in this elegant room. There is a hearing loop system for the comfort of guests. Tasteful arrangements of silk flowers add to the ambiance and there are facilities for music to be played. The Register Office Ceremony Room is for more intimate wedding parties of up to six guests.
Once the ceremony is concluded, the newly-weds and guests can spend a while in the gardens, where an old, stone archway provides wedding photographers with a suitably traditional backdrop for taking further wedding photographs. Neither your wedding nor your wedding photographs need to be in any way inferior, merely because the venue is a register office. With Oliver Photography you will have as luxurious a collection of wedding photographs as you would in any other setting.
Who knows, one day you might want to revisit the register office for a ceremony to renew your vows. You will no doubt want a record of this too, and we will be more than happy to oblige!
Peterborough Register Office
33 Thorpe Road, Peterborough PE3 6AB
Tel. 01733 864646
Website: Peterborough Register Office