unless you're getting married Gold Coast Top Story Gold Bridesmaid Dressesby Sky Promdresstop Consultant
IT IS one of the most photographed sites in Australia but if you're wearing a wedding dress it will cost you $55 to have your photo taken here.
Upset brides and wedding industry insiders are breaking their silence over the NSW National Parks Service policy they say is keeping many newlyweds away from the Cape Byron Conservation Reserve and its lighthouse Gold Bridesmaid Dresses.
Under requirements set by the service and the Cape Byron Trust, brides and grooms wanting to have their wedding day photos at the lighthouse or surrounding beaches must apply in advance for a $55 permit to be allowed on to the site for a maximum of two hours.
To top it off, under the policy only one bride is allowed at the Byron Lighthouse at any one time and those without permission are turned away or made to submit their details to be billed at a later date.
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Anyone found flouting the law is liable to fines of more than $500.
Like many brides before her, Sydney newlywed Serena Armstrong only found out about the permit requirement when she was standing at the lighthouse reserve entrance in her wedding dress with her tuxedo clad husband beside her and was barred from entering.
"I had no idea I had to get a permit I just assumed you could have a photo taken in a public place for free," she said.
Ms Armstrong, an education project manager, and her electrician husband Dale Griffiths had already contacted National Parks before their big day to secure a $450 permit to hold their wedding ceremony on the beach at The Pass.
She said she was not warned of the photographic permit and her New Zealand photographer had no way of knowing about the permit prior to the day.
"It was a magic day and everything about the wedding was perfect except for the photo issue at the lighthouse," she said.
"They told me I could only come if I paid up on the spot but I was clearly in a wedding dress and didn't have any cash on me.
"We had to leave without our photos and it was very upsetting but I refused to let it spoil my big day."
National Parks area manager Sue Walker defended the policy and said the fees were used to maintain the reserve, improve visitor facilities and keep overcrowding down.
"Some people get annoyed but we have to respect the procedures because there is such a high demand for the location," she said.
"It's an organizational requirement to make sure there is not overcrowding Purple Bridesmaid Dresses."
Ms Walker said most people were alerted to the policy by photographers and wedding planners and she denied any fines had been issued for deliberate breaches.
"We've never had an incident to date and we've never had anyone come on the site without a permit," she said. "Our feedback from brides is that they don't want other brides crowding near them when they are getting their photos or having their own ceremony."
As part of the $55 photography permit, bridal parties are allocated two car parking spaces at the lighthouse and exclusive access of the headland for a two-hour period.
Ms Walker said competition was fierce and brides were known to book in a year in advance to secure their timeslot.
Lighthouse Photography photographer Brian said the lighthouse was an undeniable favorite among brides for obvious reasons.
"It is the most beautiful spot and so many people either want to have weddings or photos there," he said.
But even the well planned brides get caught out.
A Byron Bay photographer, who did not want to be named, said the system was flawed and he had seen screaming matches between brides, photographers and lighthouse staff.
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