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Bristol City Hall Wedding Photographer

The Iconic Venue in the Heart of Bristol

Wedding Photography at Bristol City Hall

**I’m taking bookings for weddings at this venue for 2024-25 now!**

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

The seating in the Council Chamber is theatre-style on three sides, allowing your photographer to take good shots of the guests.

Are You Planning Your Wedding at Bristol City Hall?

I photograph discretely and unobtrusively to capture the best moments, leaving you to enjoy your day.

With me as your wedding photographer, your memories will be in safe hands, so please get in touch any time to discuss…


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.

Designed in the 1930s, the history of the Grade II listed City Hall goes way back.  However, it wasn’t built until after the war and formally 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 room’s front 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 impressive – 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 ensure the room is bright and airy with light walnut panels around the walls.  There is a massive 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 the 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 essential.  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 largest wedding venue room adds useful 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, welcoming and helpful to the photographer and the couple and their guests, making 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 lit reasonably well.  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 introductory words, the couple sits to the side – 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 two 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, making it awkward to capture the couple in the same shot.  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 I capture the moment 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 vital 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

Your photographer can easily miss the first kiss. I like to take a sequence here, but the moment just before they kiss is easily the most passionate.

Signing the Marriage Schedule

As of May 2021, the wedding register has been consigned to history, to be replaced by a marriage schedule.  Gone too is the marriage certificate, as everything has been moved online.  I have mixed feelings about these changes.

At Bristol City Hall, photographers’ were never allowed to photograph the signing, instead opting for a ‘dummy’ register for a photo opp. afterwards.  This was a bugbear of mine and I’m not sorry to see the back of this silly ritual.

With the marriage schedule, there are no data protection issues and therefore no restriction on photography.  I’m allowed to photograph discreetly throughout which makes me very happy!

I shall miss the presentation of the wedding certificate though. The certificate was something tangible that the couple could take away with them on the day.  Many register offices made a show of handing it to the couple, which again, was a lovely wedding photo moment.

Couple chat whilst witness signs the register at Bristol City Hall

In Bristol, photographing the actual signing of the register was 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:

  • You can book your registrars from the Bristol Register Office.
  • Arrange venue viewings 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 two 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 two caterers that they recommend.  There is information about this on the city hall website.  Or you can organise your 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 pictures 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

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.

Emotional 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. They must be at the top of their game to get a series of wonderfully emotive shots of you and your family and friends hugging, kissing and laughing together. It’s 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.

Also Consider>> Your Wedding at Arnos Vale Cemetery.

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 very 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 poses with friends.

Bristol City Hall FAQs



A. The neo-Georgian building is one of the most iconic in Bristol.  It is the seat of government in Bristol and has 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.



A. Most definitely.  The registrars at Bristol are very photographer friendly and help allow movement to get the best shots.



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



A. The rooms are all light and airy with large windows which in daylight illuminate the ceremony.  The Council Chamber is slightly dimmer due to the windows’ distance to the centre aisle where ceremonies take place.  Please 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 departs 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.

Also Consider For Your Wedding...

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Pen on Sheet Music for Wedding - Poco a Poco Piu Animato

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Wedding Photographer in London, Bristol & Cardiff

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


Preferred Contact Number:
07947 613070


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