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Filming a wedding

Filming your wedding is a wonderful way to preserve the memories of your special day – it flashes by and it is valuable to be able to see it again over the years to come.

As well as considering a professional videographer, many of your guests may have cameras and/or phone cameras of their own too, and may share those recordings with others, for example on social networking sites.

Regardless of who is doing the filming, there are legal considerations when filming a public event like a wedding, especially if musicians and music are part of the recording.

This is because filming affects copyright and other performing rights of musicians, which could impact on the total cost of your wedding. Talk everything through with the vicar well ahead of time to make sure everything is in place for the big day.

These are some things to bear in mind:-

  • Filming a ceremony where music is played can affect copyright permissions. Any service which includes music, poetry or other creative works that are in copyright should not be recorded without first obtaining permission from the copyright owners, either directly or through the cover of a copyright licence.

  • Many churches hold a Church Copyright Licence from CCLI. This includes the right to record any live music during services and make limited numbers of copies. If your church has this licence you may be covered for recording the wedding ceremony. However, if editorial control of the recording does not rest with the church, or, if the church does not have a Church Copyright Licence, then you will probably require a Limited Manufacture Licence from PRS for Music. Your vicar can advise whether this applies to you.

  • Other instances when you may require a Limited Manufacture Licence from PRS for Music is when recorded music (for example a song on a CD) is played during the ceremony, and also for live streaming (for example if you had a Skype connection set up during the wedding). A Limited Online Music Licence would usually be required for this.

  • Even if you are using a professional videographer, you should still ensure that the correct licences or permissions have been obtained. Your vicar should know more about these things and will be pleased to advise you.

  • You can find out more about copyright on your wedding film from the CCLI, which includes links to a helpful copyright Fact File.

  • If you are recording a person’s performance, e.g. an organist or choir, they may be entitled to an additional fee – ask your vicar if their musicians’ contracts or working agreements set this out.

  • Some churches may opt to not permit filming during the ceremony because of these complexities, or simply to keep distractions to an absolute minimum. Check with your church in advance to avoid misunderstandings close to the big day.