Wedding Photography at Bristol City Hall
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.
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 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.
Build Your Own>> Bespoke Wedding Photography Package
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.
Also Consider>> Your Wedding at Bristol Register Office.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
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.
Read My>> Wedding Photography FAQ’s
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.
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.
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.
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 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 help allow 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 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.
Bristol BS1 5TR