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Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Photographer

The Iconic Central London Venue

Wedding Photography at Chelsea Old Town Hall/Register Office


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Guy Milnes Photography in Kensington and Chelsea

Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Photography - Exuberant Couple Exiting Down the Town Hall Steps

Numerous couples have left the iconic Chelsea Old Town Hall happily married. I love it when this clearly shows as with this exuberant pair

**Taking bookings for weddings at this venue for 2020-22 now**

A Tasteful Refurbishment, Ideal for Photography

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Register Office (often mistakenly called ‘Registry Office’) is located within Chelsea Old Town Hall in London SW3.

It is a venue in which I love photographing weddings and civil ceremonies, even more so since the recent refurbishment.


I have photographed 37 weddings at Chelsea Old Town Hall (and counting!)


So, read on for some great info and tips to get the most out of your wedding photographer at Chelsea…

Rossetti Room Wedding at Chelsea Old Town Hall

The pale olive green of the Rossetti Suite is ideal for some pleasing wedding ceremony photography.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Coat of Arms on Door

The Coat of Arms of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: The motto, ‘Quam Bonum in Unum Habitare‘ is taken from the 133rd Psalm and translates as, ‘What a good thing it is to dwell in unity‘.
This door, at the back of the Brydon Room, is where the bride enters for her marriage ceremony.

Bride and Groom kiss as guests look on at wedding in Rossetti Room, Chelsea

Sealed with a first kiss:  the Chelsea newly-weds share a kiss with their guests looking on.

Whoever thought about the colour scheme and finer refurbishment points seems to have seriously considered the wedding photographer.

Many venues feature unsightly signage and fire points in the most beautiful doorways and locations.  Not so here… Of course, important health and safety law has been considered, but seemingly with very strong thoughts on aesthetics.  Most signs that remain are easily edited out.

The colour palette has been very well thought out too.  The shades are very subtle and work well with photography and artificial lighting if required..

Bride with father Wait for Ceremony to Start in Hall of Chelsea Register Office

The bride waits with her father in the hall for the ceremony to start. Next to them is the door to The Harrington Room – the smallest of the three civil marriage ceremony rooms.

Rossetti Room Wedding from Door in Chelsea Town Hall

It’s the same wedding as above. Shortly before the Bride’s entrance, I took this of the Groom waiting with his guests.  I have often been asked to replicate this.

Groom Waiting Nervously in Rossetti Room, Chelsea as Bride Enters with Father

It’s traditional for the bride and groom to arrive separately. Here, the groom’s nerves are very apparent as he waits for her to enter the Rossetti Room. This small room makes it easy to photograph both at this moment.

Bride and Groom entering the Brydon room at Chelsea Old Town Hall whilst guests watch

Lucy and Daren did things the non-traditional way and entered their wedding ceremony together:  here, they enter the Brydon room.  The room comfortably seats 38 guests and is the largest at Chelsea register office.

The bride enters the Brydon Room in Chelsea with her daughter for her wedding

Bride Charlotte and her father enter the back of the Brydon Room accompanied by her beautiful bridesmaid daughter.  The wedding ceremony wasn’t as empty as this photo suggests!

A Great Location on the Trendy King’s Road, London

Chelsea Old Town Hall is situated halfway down the long King’s Road, in the vibrant heart of Chelsea.

The area surrounding the registry office is mainly urban, but a stone’s throw away is the splendid St Luke’s Church and gardens which is great for portraits after the ceremony (see bottom of page).

Bride Tossing Bouquet at London Registry Office

This photo of the bride tossing the bouquet shows off a little more of the location on the King’s Road.

The Waiting Area and Stairs

On arrival, guests are shown into the waiting area at the back.  This is also a through way with the splendid stairs and landing window – a fantastic opportunity for some stunning portrait shots.

Sometimes the couple both join the guests here and wait for their pre-wedding interview slots.  Other couples prefer to remain separate as is tradition.  In this case, the groom generally spends time here with the guests, whilst the bride arrives a little later via the side door on Chelsea Manor Street.

Three wedding guests waiting in waiting area at Chelsea Old Town Hall

There is a waiting area where the couple and their guests can wait for their ceremony time slot. Subtle window light will enable the photographer to capture some attractive shots during this time.

Groom greeting guest with open arms at wedding in London

As the guests arrive, they are shown into the waiting area. This is an idea spot for natural greetings shots as both sides of the family meet.

Bride with children and father at wedding in the Chelsea Old Town Hall, London

On the bride’s arrives at Chelsea Old Town Hall, the bridal party are often kept separate in an area near the reception desk. I try to photograph her here if possible.

Build Your Own>> Bespoke London Wedding Photography Package

Black and White Portrait of Children at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office

Taken with window light from the stairway window: I love black and white photography, and the window provided perfect light and shadows for this shot of three siblings

Read More>> Short Day Wedding Photography – Ideal for Register Office Weddings

Wedding Rings and Vows at Kensington and Chelsea Old Town Hall/Register Office

The registrars at Kensington and Chelsea are very laid back and happy with my photographing the wedding from the front. Deniz was smiling all the way through the ceremony and it was amazing to capture such joy and happiness as Tobias places the ring on her finger.

Couple Laughing with registrar at London wedding

Photographing from the front also enables me to capture anything unexpected that happens. I honestly can’t remember what the humour was here, but I’m sure that it sparked a memory with the couple when they saw the photo.

Marriage Certificate Presentation in Chelsea

The registrars make a bit of a presentation of the marriage certificate. Not all register offices do that!

Father holding daughter and giving warm smile at a wedding in the Brydon Room, Chelsea

Straight after the ceremony is a prime time when family members want to congratulate the couple. I’m always looking out for different shots such as this.

Groom hugs father at wedding in London

A good clear photo of a wedding man hug!

Chelsea Register Office Confetti & Congratulations

After they are married, the couple wait in the ceremony room as the guests assemble on the steps I like to arrange everyone into a tunnel which the couple can walk through when they exit the venue under showers of confetti.

It’s another plus point that confetti is allowed for Chelsea Old Town Hall wedding photography purposes.

Often, venues in Central London don’t allow confetti for the reason that it could be regarded as litter.  But the registrars at Kensington and Chelsea have no such issue and many great shots are taken on the steps as the happy couple leave in a confetti shower.

Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Confetti

One of London’s most iconic backdrops for wedding confetti!  I love it when the guests throw plenty into the air as it makes for some more dramatic photos.

The newly-weds are covered in cofetti on the steps of Chelsea Old Town Hall

The guests here had confetti rockets that almost obscured the exiting couple!

Extreme confetti storm over couple on steps on Chelsea Old Town Hall

I think this photo must hold my personal record for most confetti in one photograph. I’ve no idea how the guests managed to get so much in the air at once…

Laughing Newly-Weds Coming Down Steps of Chelsea Old Town Hall in Shower of Confetti

Although the confetti was more sparse at Laura and Aaron’s wedding, they more than made up for it with their obvious happiness and joy!

Couple laughing with Guests on Steps of Chelsea Register Office

A few seconds later and they stop for a moment of joyous intimacy. It’s so important that your wedding photographer looks for and captures moments like this.

Newly-weds kissing on steps of Chelsea Old Town Hall whilst guests watch

On exiting the venue, the building’s facade provides a fantastic stopping point for a cheeky post-ceremony kiss!

Post-confetti, wedding parties naturally start congratulating the couple with hugs, kisses and warm good wishes.  This is an ideal time to capture some of the wedding day’s most emotive shots.  Time constraints can limit this, particularly on a Saturday, but I feel it’s important not to rush everyone…  However the posed shots need to be taken before the next wedding group exit…

Lady hugging bride and groom outside Kensington and Chelsea Register Office

The moments after the confetti when family and friends can spend time with congratulations is one of the most emotive times to capture and provides some fantastic wedding photography moments.

Family and friends hugging couple outside town hall in London

Two hugs are better than one! I love it when I can capture both bride and groom being congratulated simultaneously…

After Ceremony Portraits on the Iconic Steps

I supply a questionnaire when couples book me for their photography.  This includes a section for any posed shots that they need.  It makes things run more efficiently to have a point of reference when taking the posed wedding portraits.

So, after everyone has given the couple their best wishes, we go straight into taking the posed group shots.  I work through this as quickly as possible.  If another wedding does back up behind us (it doesn’t often happen but can do), I have a clever dodge to get the shots whilst alleviating congestion (see below).

Newly married couple standing on wet steps of Chelsea Old Town Hall

A wide shot of the newly-weds shows off the ornate facade of Chelsea Old Town Hall beautifully.

The Efficiency of the Kensington & Chelsea Registrars

As their borough is one of the most popular for weddings in the country, the registrars and staff at Chelsea Old Town Hall are exceptionally well versed in how to run a busy wedding Saturday in summer.  Couples often ask me what happens if their wedding runs late or things don’t go according to plan…

The short answer is:  They don’t!  And in the very rare case when things do overrun (checking the paperwork can sometimes hold things up),

As long as you’re on time and ready, then things will go smoothly for you.

Saturdays are usually busy and occasionally you may be asked to speed things up on the steps outside, but I know a good dodge if this happens – see my ‘Tip‘ below.

Bride with sister pose on steps of Chelsea Register Office

The Bride poses happily with her sister before the next wedding party exits behind them…

Chelsea Group Portrait Photography Tip

The above and below photographs perfectly illustrate what to do in the event that another wedding party starts to exit if we are still photographing on the steps:

After the above photo, we had to move on to allow the following wedding to exit.  I took the below group shot only a couple of minutes later but it’s not the same location (the givaways are the missing confetti and flower arrangements).

Chelsea Old Town Hall also houses Chelsea Library which has a different entrance with an identical facade.  Apart from there being no flowers outside, you wouldn’t know that it was a different location.  There are people frequently coming and going, but this can be worked around to capture any remaining shots.

Portrait of Couple with Family Outside Chelsea Library

A few metres away, Chelsea Library provides an identical backdrop for any remaining photos.

Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Photography Rooms


Couple's hands holding each other in front of Rossetti Room door sign at wedding

The Rossetti Suite is a beautifully intimate space in which to hold your nuptials.


The Brydon Room:  The beautifully elegant Brydon Room has an interior tastefully decorated in yellow and seats 38 guests.  It features a fairly long aisle for you as a couple or the bride alone to walk down (if you choose to uphold this tradition).

The Rossetti Room:  Equally elegant but for a smaller guest list.  The Rossetti Room is the more popular room but only able to accommodate up to 12 guests.

The Harrington Room: The smallest room has limited availability, being available just three times a week.  It accommodates up to 8 guests.  I have yet to photograph in this room and feel that not many photographers have.

Bride laughing hysterically with groom as she exits Chelsea Old Town Hall in a shower of confetti

I love raw emotions and bride Sally certainly wore her heart on her sleeve laughing hysterically during the confetti sequence.

Kensington Town Hall Wedding Photography Rooms

The Committee Room:  This room seats up to 38 guests and lies on the first floor of Kensington Town Hall.  With wood panelling, it is tastefully decorated in blue and yellow.

The Mayor’s Parlour:  Only available on Fridays and Saturdays, the Mayor’s Parlour seats up to 68 guests.  Modern in design, it has wood panelling and is well lit.

The bridal party arrive in the entrance hall of Chelsea Old Town Hall

A bride arrives glamorously and fashionably late for her wedding ceremony.

Illustrious Marriages:  Reasons for the Iconic Status

Over the years many notable people have been married at Chelsea Old Town Hall including Judy Garland and Wallis Simpson which makes it one’s of London’s most iconic small wedding venues.  An appearance at number 16 in The Independent’s list of 50 Best Wedding Locations is for good reason.  In fact, the newspaper calls it, ‘still one of the hippest places to get married‘.

Young Female Wedding Guest in Hall of Chelsea Old Town Hall

Following closely on from the photo above, I took this portrait of a bridesmaid in the hall. It shows how there is potential for attractive photography no matter where you go inside the venue.

Groom looking over shoulder of guests in Rossetti Room at Chelsea Old Town Hall

The groom goes through the reading with a guest shortly before the ceremony starts.

Also Consider>> Camden Town Hall for Your Civil Marriage

Kensington and Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Photographer - Exchange of Wedding Rings - Black and White

A very important shot to capture: I try to photograph a sequence of the wedding vows and exchange of rings.

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Registrars

If you are having your wedding at Chelsea Old Town Hall, you’ll find the venue and staff so easy to deal with.  The staff and registrars are all very helpful and approachable and it’s obviously important to them that you get the most from your day.

The same goes for your photography.

There are no issues about my moving around during the ceremony – although I do try to be discrete and observe the occasion..  The Kensington registrars do seem very keen that I take all the required shots to present to the couple later on.  This makes the job of wedding photographer so much easier.

They are also very happy to allow photographing of the actual signing of the register which so many wedding venues do not (particularly outside Central London).

Best Man Presents Wedding Ring Whilst Bride and Groom Watch

The best man hands the rings to the ceremony officiant. The relaxed nature of the Chelsea registrars makes close up shots like this possible.

Bride and Groom in the Brydon Room at Chelsea taken from the back

The Brydon Room from behind the couple looking towards the front.

The registrar points out where the bride needs to sign at a London wedding

Registrar Joe points out where the bride needs to sign the register. They don’t mind me photographing the signing at all.

Bride signing the register in Brydon Room, Chelsea Old Town Hall

Photographing the signing is much more preferable than a dummy register pose.

Bride and groom posing with the wedding register at Chelsea Old Town Hall

The posed shots can be nice too though as this one demonstrates.

Bride and Groom with both sets of parents behind register signing table in Brydon room, Chelsea

At Chelsea, time is allowed for other members of the wedding party to pose with the couple. This shot includes both sets of parents.

Registrar shaking hands with groom and holding wedding certificate

They like to make a presentation of the wedding certificate at Kensington and Chelsea Registry Office. Not all registrars do this and it’s a nice touch and good photo opportunity.

Chelsea Old Town Hall FAQs



A. The Victorian neoclassical building on the King’s Road is arguably London’s most iconic register office.  If you marry at the venue, then you’re in good company.  As well as being a beautiful venue, the building has a rich history of famous weddings.  Big names throughout the 20th Century have wed there:  Judy Garland, Pierce Brosnan and glam rock icon Marc Bolan all had their nuptials there.  Richard Burton and Hugh Grant are two other big names to tie the knot at Chelsea.

Aside from this, the registrars are amongst the most helpful and friendly in London.  They are keen for everything to go without a hitch and are exceptionally photographer friendly too, ensuring that you will have a set of photos to treasure of your wedding day for years to come.



A. On arrival at the venue, guests are shown into a waiting area until the room becomes free.  The couple or just the groom may wait here as well, depending on if you’re staying separate until the ceremony or not.  Then a registrar will show everyone into the ceremony room.  There will be a gap of about 5-10 minutes whilst you are both interviewed before the ceremony commences.



A. Absolutely, yes.  The venue welcomes photographers with no restrictions as long as they aren’t too intrusive.  They even allow photography of the register signing which many register offices do not.



A. Biodegradable confetti is allowed and encouraged on the steps outside the front doors.  The registrars are instrumental in setting this up by holding the couple inside until the photographer is set up and ready to go.



A. Chelsea Old Town Hall lies on the shaded south side of the King’s Road.  This makes the rooms darker than they otherwise would be.  However, the bright decor helps to remedy this and with a little bounce flash there is no problem with the light as far as photography is concerned.

Bride Kissing Groom in Rossetti Room

A peck on the cheek for a very happy and newly married groom!

LGBT+/Gay Weddings at Chelsea Old Town Hall

If you are having your small same-sex wedding in London, then look no further than Chelsea Old town Hall.  The registrars are very open and accommodating and the venue is truly gay friendly.  In this day and age, that shouldn’t need to be pointed out, but I think it’s reassuring to know for gay wedding couples.

Gay wedding at Chelsea Old Town Hall - Girl Presents Rings

I love the look on the face of this little girl as she presents the rings at Martin and Antoine’s gay wedding at Chelsea Old Town Hall.

Moving On to the Next Location: Posed Shots at St Luke’s Church

The posed shots are normal the last photographs I take before moving on to the next venue.

If the couple have booked me for 2 hours or longer, there is time for a walk to take some more couples posed photos locally.  There is no more a suitable location than St Luke’s Church – a five-minute walk away.

With it’s 19th century Gothic Revival architecture, magnificent doorway and arches, it provides superb directional light – fantastic for wedding photography portraits as the two photos below show…

Wedding Couple Kissing Portrait Outside St Luke's Church Chelsea

This door is to the side of St Luke’s.  Slightly hidden from view, it is perfect for intimate shots such as this.

Couple kissing in black and white outside doorway of St Luke's church in Chelsea

The directional light at this spot is fantastic for photography. Even on overcast and rainy days such as this.

Wedding couple holding umbrella outside St Luke's Church in Chelsea, London

As it was rainy, we utilised their umbrella as a prop. I added the vignette to give it a more vintage look.

Wedding couple walking by the side of St Luke's Church in London

This was taken on the path to the right of St Luke’s. The door in the previous photos is round the corner at the back of the photo, and they’re walking towards the front of the church and Sydney Street.

Black and white portrait of married couple back to back either side of a church wall

At the front entrance door, I take some fun photos that really get across the personality of the couple.

Local Pubs & Restaurants

Newly-weds travel elsewhere for their reception where there is further scope for more candid shots.

The renowned Bluebird Restaurant is a few minutes walk, and proves a popular choice for couples who require an intimate meal after their nuptials.

There is also The Ivy with magnificent floral displays outside which is even closer.  As well as a plethora of other pubs and restaurants such as The Phene (below).

Group wedding portrait outside the Phene pub in Chelsea

Charlotte and Dan’s wedding was rainy so scope for photos on the town hall steps was limited. So they saved the larger group shots for the reception venue, a ten-minute walk away.

Kensington & Chelsea Register Office,
Chelsea Old Town Hall,
King’s Road,
SW3 5EE.

Kensington Town Hall,
Hornton Street,
W8 7NX.


Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Photographer – Guy Milnes Photography.

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Groom Signs the Register with Bride Watching in Chelsea Town Hall

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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

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