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Bristol City Hall Wedding Photographer

The Iconic Venue in the Heart of Bristol

Wedding Photography at Bristol City Hall

 

Photo of marriage ceremony taken from back of Council Chamber at Bristol City Hall

The Council Chamber is the largest of City Hall’s licensed wedding ceremony rooms holding up to 200 guests.


Located on College Green and very near to Bristol Cathedral, City Hall is an ideal venue for your wedding and is very popular with couples and photographers’ alike.  The Neo-Georgian architectural style presents as the perfect backdrop for a marriage ceremony and a good photographer will capture you in this historic setting perfectly.


Four female guests seated on benches in Council Chamber at Bristol City Hall

Seating in the Council Chamber is theatre style on three sides, allowing the photographer the chance to take some good shots of the guests.


Wedding photography of Bristol City Hall - wide shot of bottom end of room with balloons

This wide shot shows off the back end of the council Chamber as the guests begin to arrive. The balloons were ordered separately by the couple and aren’t generally a feature.


The history of the Grade II listed City Hall goes back to the 1930s when it was designed.  However, it wasn’t built until after the war and formerly opened by the Queen in 1956.  It has been the seat of local government in Bristol ever since.


Bristol City Hall Wedding Photography Venue

 

The bride walks down the aisle of the Council Chamber at Bristol City Hall

This shot taken from the back of the Council Chamber gives a good impression of the front of the room as the bride arrives.

 

The Council Chamber: Seating for up to 200 guests makes the Council Chamber, Bristol City Hall’s largest wedding venue.  The seats face inwards onto a long aisle, perfect for the bride’s entrance.  The ceiling is amazing – painted to chart the main events in Bristol’s history.  There are two projector screen on the front wall to display a personalised slide show if you wish (see top photo).

The Writing Room: The medium-sized room seats up to 70 wedding guests.  Bristol’s coat of arms hangs over the feature fireplace and the room is bright with ceiling height windows.

Lord Mayor’s Reception Room:  There is seating for up to 60 guests in a theatre style layout.  Full height windows ensures the room is bright and airy with light walnut panels around the walls.  There is a huge original stone fireplace which is the focal point of the room.

 

All rooms are available any day of the week and prices vary depending on day and length of time required.


Bride hands bouquet to bridesmaid at Bristol City Hall wedding

I love this one of bride Honor handing the bouquet to her sister just after she arrives at the ‘altar’: In wedding photographs, good eye contact between the individuals is important.  Her groom is looking suitably nervous!


Build Your Own>> Bespoke Wedding Photography Package


Groom smiles as bride approaches him at wedding in Bristol City Hall

It’s always good to take a shot showing the moment the groom sees his groom for the first time. Including the Bristol coat of arms within Bristol City Hall’s main and biggest wedding venue room adds good context.


Bristol City Hall and Your Wedding Photographer

The City Hall caters for medium to large weddings and civil marriages of up to 200 people.

The hired staff are very attentive and welcoming and helpful to the photographer as well as the couple and their guests.  This makes my job a lot easier as it’s great to have people around that are happy to assist and advise where required..

The Bristol registrars are relaxed about wedding photography.  Some request no use of flash but this isn’t too much of a problem – the rooms are fairly well lit.  My camera copes well in low light situations if flash is a problem to the registrars.


Registrar reads the vows to the couple at Bristol City Hall marriage ceremony

The Bristol registrars allow the photographer to move around weddings unhindered, meaning I can take lots of portraits and moments from different angles.


Also Consider>> Your Wedding at Bristol Register Office


Registrar conduction wedding at Bristol City Hall with couple seated at side of Council Chamber listening

As the registrar says a few words of introduction, the couple sit to the side. This is handy for taking photos of the couple listening to the registrar talk.


Readings, Music and the Personalisation of Bristol City Hall Weddings

When discussing the running order of their day, I always advise the couple to include readings where possible to personalise, extend and make the day more memorable.  The Bristol registrars allow for 2 readings and in the Council Chamber there’s also provision for live music to play the bride in and for the signing and drinks reception after the ceremony.  String quartets are popular but you need to arrange these yourself.


Guest doing reading at civil wedding in Council Chamber, Bristol

The guest readings take place on the dais at the front of the Council Chamber. This can make it awkward to capture the couple in the same shot, but my wide-angle lens copes with this no problem.


Couple saying vows at front of Council Chamber of Bristol City Hall

A joke shared during their wedding ceremony and the moment is captured forever…


The groom places ring on finger of bride in Bristol

The couple exchange rings whilst the best man is ring bearer waiting to present the groom’s ring.


The bride places the ring on the groom's finger at Bristol City Hall

A very important shot is of the couple exchanging rings shot from down the aisle.  There are no distractions here, just them focussed and in the moment.


The couple have their first kiss at wedding in Council Chamber Bristol City Hall

The first kiss is easily missed. I like to take a sequence here, but the moment just before they kiss is easily the most emotive.


Bristol Registrar Signing Rules

The Bristol registrars request that the register signing not be photographed. Every marriage licensing borough or county have different rules and regulations regarding the signing and photography. This is pretty standard outside London, but they do set up a ‘dummy’ register for posed shots afterwards.

I take a few of the couple miming signing, then get the witnesses in the photo too if the couple would like them in.

It’s also a time for some possible congratulations shots as they are able to speak with the guests for the first time.  There’s also time for some photo minded guests to come forward and take some photographs of their own too.  The resistrar often asks if anyone would like to.  I often photograph these photographers photographing the couple to add extra context and fun.


Couple chat whilst witness signs the register at Bristol City Hall

In Bristol, photographing the actual signing of the register is forbidden, but the Council Chamber has enough room to sneak in a couple of shots of the moments surrounding the signing.


Registrar shakes hand of groom whilst bride watches

A warm handshake and congratulations as the couple are now officially husband and wife.


Bristol Registrar Hands Marriage Certificate to Bride at City Hall

An earnest look from the bride as she receives their marriage certificate. They make a little ceremony of it in Bristol.


Wedding Bookings at Bristol City Hall

Useful to Know When Booking Your Wedding:

  • Registrars may be booked from Bristol Register Office.
  • Venue viewings may be arranged by calling the Ceremonies Team on 0117 922 4737 or emailing events.cityhall@bristol.gov.uk.
  • You can make an enquiry quickly using the online form on the BCH website (link below).
  • 20 minutes is allowed for the ceremony and options include a drinks reception or full sit-down meal.
  • The venue recommends 2 catering companies, or you may choose your own.

The newly-weds walk down aisle of Bristol City Hall after their ceremony

I wasn’t quite as close to them as this photo suggests: I cropped in close on this shot to give a sense of being in amongst the action.


Catering for Weddings at Bristol City Hall

There are a variety of wedding packages available for couples marrying at the City Hall.  You can have a drinks reception and move on to their reception elsewhere, or stay for their wedding breakfast too.  In this case the venue suggests 2 caterers that they recommend.  There is information about this on the city hall website.  Or you are able to organise your own catering if you prefer to do it that way.


Guests throwing confetti over couple in Council Chamber at Bristol City Hall

I take a sequence of shots as the couple walk back up the aisle.  If the guests throw confetti, the shots are even more dynamic.


Read My>> Wedding Photography FAQ’s


A guest touches the cheek of the bride at a wedding in Bristol City Hall

I love real moments and connection, and the moments following the ceremony are perfect for this.


Wedding Confetti, Congratulations and Group Shots

The Confetti Sequence

Confetti is allowed at Bristol City Hall both inside and out. In the Council Chamber, there’s enough room for it to be thrown as the couple walk back up the aisle.  In good weather, having this moment outside gives a change of scenery and adds a different element to your photos.


Bride looking happy as she is hugged by guest at Bristol wedding

Totally unaware that I’m sneaking off shots, couples are generally very wrapped up in proceedings. The groom laughing away on the right, finishes this happy portrait off perfectly.


Emotive Congratulations Shots

After the guests throw the confetti (and sometimes before depending on the running), your guests will want to congratulate you.

Your photographer should try to be in all places at once and be at the top of their game to get a series of wonderfully emotive shots of you and your family and friends hugging and kissing and laughing together. This is a special time and Bristol City Hall provides the perfect backdrop for it.


The Mayor of Bristol shakes the hand of the groom at a wedding in Bristol City Hall

Bristol Mayor, Martin Rees was present at this wedding as he knew the couple well.


Group shot of bride and guests sitting on couches in hall of Bristol City Hall

Although I did take a few more serious shots of the bride and her friends, I prefer natural photos like this one of the group laughing.


Posed Group Shots

There are many beautiful backdrops within the City Hall and outside too.  If you’ve booked your reception there as well as the ceremony, there’s no need to rush through.

I like to spend about 10 minutes for your group shots, and a further ten with just the two of you.  Below is a selection taken in various spaces throughout Bristol City Hall.


Bride with 3 friends pose for the camera in Bristol City Hall

A happy shot of the bride with her close friends.


Bride seated with six guests standing either side of her in hall of Bristol City Hall

An area in the main foyer with a seat and plain background. The perfect height of everyone made for a very symmetrical group portrait.


Small group portrait taken outside Council Chamber in Bristol City Hall

Again in the main foyer, the couple pose with friends.


Bristol City Hall FAQs

 

Q. WHY GET MARRIED AT BRISTOL CITY HALL?

A. The neo-Georgian building is one of the most iconic in Bristol.  It is the seat of government in Bristol and has a choice of three wedding venue rooms ideal for small to large wedding parties.  The staff are helpful and attentive and there are many options available to ensure you have the perfect day.

 

Q. IS PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED OF OUR WEDDING CEREMONY AND VOWS?

A. Most definitely.  The registrars at Bristol are very photographer friendly and are helpful in allowing movement to get the best shots.

 

Q. DOES THE CITY HALL ALLOW CONFETTI AFTERWARDS FOR A NICE SEQUENCE OF PHOTOS?

A. Biodegradable confetti is allowed both inside and outside the venue, depending on the weather and light outside.

 

Q. WHAT IS THE LIGHT LIKE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY INSIDE THE VENUE?

A. The rooms are all light and airy with large windows which in daylight illuminate the ceremony.  The Council Chamber is slightly more dim due to the distance from the windows to the centre aisle where ceremonies take place.  View my website page for many examples of wedding photos taken there.


Guest waving couple off from the doorway at Bristol City Hall

As the couple depart into the chilly Bristol winter air, a guest waves them off from the inner warmth of the City Hall…


City Hall
College Green
Bristol BS1 5TR

 

Bristol City Hall Website

 

Bristol City Hall Wedding Photographer.

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Wedding Photographer in Cardiff & London

Guy Milnes Photography is based between London and Caerphilly covering South Wales, Bristol, London and the home counties.
He has been a professional photographer since 2008 and loves to capture the true atmosphere of the wedding day as it unfolds naturally.

 

Preferred Contact Number:
07947 613070

https://www.guymilnes.com/

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