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Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Photographer

The Iconic Central London Venue

Wedding Photography at Chelsea Old Town Hall/Register Office

The Borough of Kensington and Chelsea now feature me on their Favourite Suppliers Page.  See how here:

Guy Milnes Photography: Kensington and Chelsea Weddings

Newlyweds holding hands above their heads and rushing out of Chelsea Old Town Hall to greet their guests after their short wedding

Countless couples have left the iconic Chelsea Old Town Hall as happy newlyweds.  Your wedding photographer should be ready to capture every moment, such as when these newlyweds bounded out of the venue.

**I’m taking bookings for weddings at this venue for 2024-25 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 where I love photographing weddings and civil ceremonies, even more so since the recent refurbishment.

Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Photographer - groom greeting male guest and holding hands with bride as they leave venue

Another dynamic image featuring the iconic Chelsea facade.  Confetti after the ceremony is a long-held tradition that the Kensington and Chelsea registrars are proactive in helping to organise.

I have photographed 100+ 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 fine wedding ceremony photography.

Are You Planning Your Wedding at Chelsea Old Town 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…

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

Sealed with a first kiss:  the Chelsea newlyweds share a kiss with their guests looking on.  The relaxed nature of the Chelsea Registrars will enable your wedding photographer to capture such pleasing shots.

The newlyweds hug in the small Harrington Room in Chelsea

This couple kissed, then hugged to seal the deal in the Harrington, the smallest of the three civil marriage ceremony rooms at Chelsea.

The couple laughing as they are just about to have their first kiss in the Brydon Room, Chelsea

Some couples can’t take the first kiss seriously…  Which makes for some fun photography!

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

The colour palette was very well thought out.  The subtle shades work well with photography and artificial lighting if required.

Couple seated on bench outside Chelsea Old Town Hall before wedding

I met with Eve and Dan beforehand to take some wedding portraits in the King’s Road area.  We arrived at the venue early, so they rested awhile on a bench outside the town hall.

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

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 photo of the groom waiting with his guests.  Couples have often asked me to replicate this in their wedding photos.

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

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

LGBTQ+ couple entering the Harrington Room for their Chelsea wedding

Peter and Neil did things non-traditionally and entered their wedding ceremony together.  Here, they enter the Harrington room.

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!  The room comfortably seats 38 guests and is the largest at the Chelsea register office.

The couple enter the Rossetti Room in Chelsea for their wedding ceremony as guests look on

Every couple’s wedding ceremony entrance is different, and I added a slight vignette in this photo to draw the eye to the couple.

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

Chelsea Old Town Hall is halfway down the King’s Road, between Sloane Square and Fulham in the west.  It is in Chelsea’s vibrant beating heart.

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

Chelsea Town Hall weddings are not only enjoyable but convenient, too!

Bride Tossing Bouquet at London Registry Office

This photo of the bride tossing the bouquet shows more of the bustling King’s Road location.

Wedding couple posing with family on street at side door of Chelsea Old Town Hall

Suited bride posing with family on the street by the side entrance of Chelsea Old Town Hall

The Waiting Area and Stairs

On arrival, staff show guests the waiting area at the back, a throughway with the grand stairs and landing window – a fantastic opportunity for some stunning portrait shots.

Sometimes, the couple joins 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 waits with the guests, whilst the bride arrives a little later via Chelsea Manor Street’s side door.

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

Subtle window light in the waiting area lets your photographer capture some beautiful shots during pre-ceremony.

Happy couple posing in front of a wall of roses in Chelsea Old Town Hall

The Rose Wall is popular but suitable for smaller groups due to its width.  Larger groups can pose here, too, but I always explain that the wall may show at the sides.

Groom greeting guest with open arms at wedding in London

The groom greets his arriving guests in the waiting area – an ideal 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

When the bride arrives at Chelsea Old Town Hall, the bridal party is often kept separate near the reception desk.  I try to photograph her here if possible.

Last minutes clothes adjustments being made in the waiting room of Chelsea Old Town Hall

I try to photograph everything in the waiting area before the ceremony, including last-minute adjustments.

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.

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 photographing the wedding from the front.  Deniz was smiling through the ceremony, and it was amazing to capture such joy and happiness as Tobias placed the ring on her finger.

The bride and groom photographed seated from the back in the Brydon Room, Chelsea

I photograph from as many angles as possible, and from the back is from the guest’s perspective.

Couple Laughing with registrar at London wedding

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

The groom places a ring onto his bride's finger as their baby that she's holding stares at the camera

Anything that adds a different element to your photos is good.  At this wedding, the couple’s baby was the star of the show as they tried to exchange rings around her.

Marriage Certificate Presentation in Chelsea

The registrars made a bit of a presentation of the marriage certificate.  Not all register offices did that!  **The register is now online, so the certificate will be posted to you after the day**

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

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

Groom hugs father at wedding in London

A good clear photo of a wedding ‘man hug’!

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 running a busy wedding Saturday in summer.  Nevertheless, 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! – usually…  And in the rare case when things do overrun (checking the paperwork can sometimes hold things up), you will be well looked after and kept informed.

If you’re on time and ready, 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 an excellent dodge if this happens – see my ‘Tip‘ below.

Chelsea Old Town Hall Wedding Photography Rooms

Bride and Groom's hands holding above Brydon Room door at Chelsea Old Town Hall

The Brydon Room is the largest of the three wedding spaces 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 reasonably 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 is only aable to accommodate up to 12 guests.

The Harrington Room: The smallest room has limited availability, available just three times a week.  It accommodates up to 8 guests.  I have photographed one wedding in this room and feel that most couples booking it don’t require a photographer.

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  At the back of the Brydon Room, this door is where the bride enters for her marriage ceremony.

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.

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, making it one of London’s most iconic small wedding venues.  So an appearance at number 16 in The Independent’s list of 50 Best Wedding Locations is for good reason.  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.  Again, it shows the potential for gorgeous 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.

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 vital 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 easy to work with.  The staff and registrars are all accommodating and approachable, and it’s important to them that you get the most from your day.

The same goes for your photography.

A witness signs the wedding register with couple behind in the Harrington Room, Chelsea Old Town Hall

The tiny Harrington Room has flora to add splashes of colour.

There are no issues with my moving around during the ceremony, although I try to observe the occasion discreetly.  The Kensington & Chelsea registrars seem keen that I take all the required shots to present to the couple later, making the wedding photographer’s job much easier.

They are accommodating throughout the couple’s short time getting married, treating every wedding with the care and attention that the occasion deserves.

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.  You can see how comfortable he is with me photographing the signing.

Signing the Chelsea Marriage Schedule

As of May 2021, everything changed regarding signing the wedding register as it moved online.  The signing of a marriage schedule has now replaced the traditional register.  Gone is the marriage certificate, which will be posted to couples after the day.  I have mixed feelings about these changes.

The Kensington and Chelsea registrars have always allowed photography of the register, whereas many boroughs outside Central London did not.  So, in that respect, nothing has changed with regard to the signing.

I shall miss the presentation of the wedding certificate, though.  The certificate was something tangible the couple could take away with them on the day.  Chelsea Old Town Hall made a show of handing it to the couple, a beautiful wedding photo moment again.

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

Photographing the actual signing was preferable to a dummy register pose, often making couples feel awkward.  The register has now gone online to be replaced by a marriage schedule.

Chelsea Witnesses at Your Signing

Occasionally, couples ask me to provide their witnesses.  I’m very happy to witness and will try to give a friend to be a second witness.

The proximity of the Royal Hospital Chelsea used to mean the option of booking two Chelsea Pensioners as witnesses for your small wedding ceremony.  From 2024, this is no longer an option, as the hospital has stopped providing this service.

If you do find yourselves stuck for a wedding witness or two, Chelsea Library next door can arrange this service, so contact them to arrange.

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

The posed shots can be nice, 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.

The seated bride and groom hold hands with entire wedding party standing behind them in the Brydon Room in Chelsea

Sometimes, there’s time left to set up a quick group portrait of the wedding party in the ceremony room.

Bride and groom seated with masked guests standing in waiting area at Chelsea Old Town Hall wedding

Weddings during the Coronavirus pandemic weren’t ideal and were restricted.  However, this also presented some fun photo ops, such as this group shot in the waiting area.

Chelsea Old Town Hall No Longer has COVID-19 Restrictions

In 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic hit the wedding industry hard.  Weddings were cancelled and rescheduled like never before.

Since restrictions were eased in July 2021, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea quickly followed suit and relaxed all the rules surrounding COVID-19.  This doesn’t surprise me and sits well with their ethic of giving the bride and groom the best day to remember!

Socially distanced wedding in Chelsea Old Town Hall's Brydon Room

Ania and Daniel could have invited more guests but kept it small.  This shows a very socially distanced Brydon Room.

Smiling couple enter the Rossetti Room at Chelsea Old Town Hall with masked guests watching during Coronavirus pandemic

Evelyn and Daniel embraced their coronavirus-restricted day at Chelsea as a masked registrar let them into their wedding ceremony.

Chelsea Register Office Confetti & Congratulations

After they are married, the couple waits in the ceremony room as their guests assemble on the stepsI like to arrange everyone into an aisle the couple can walk through while exiting the venue under confetti showers.

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 because it could be regarded as litter.  But the registrars at Kensington and Chelsea have no such issue.  So many wonderful wedding photographs have been taken on the steps as the happy couple leave in a shower of confetti.

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

It is 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 more dramatic photos.

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

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

A bridesmaid getting covered with confetti due to the high windin Chelsea

Be very careful if it’s windy!  The groom saw the funny side as a bridesmaid is covered in confetti…

Couple laughing with Guests on Steps of Chelsea Register Office

The couple stop for a moment of joyous intimacy.  It’s crucial that your wedding photographer looks for and captures moments like this.

The couple kiss whilst being showered in cofetti on the steps outside Chelsea Old Town Hall

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

Post-confetti, wedding parties naturally start congratulating the couple with hugs, kisses and warm good wishes – an ideal time to capture some of the wedding day’s most dynamic shots.  Of course, time constraints can limit this, particularly on a Saturday, but I feel it’s important not to rush everyone… First, however, I must take the posed photos before the next wedding group exit…

Lady hugging bride and groom outside Kensington and Chelsea Register Office

When family and friends can spend time with congratulations, the moments after the confetti is one of the most memorable times to capture and provide fantastic wedding photography memories, their daughter throwing confetti in the background makes this an even more special photograph.

Family and friends hugging couple outside town hall in London

Two hugs are better than one!  I love it when I can capture both the bride and groom’s congratulations simultaneously.

Two wedding guests taking a selfie at a wedding in London

Often, there can be some general milling around outside the venue, and I’m always on the lookout for unusual shots, such as this selfie.

After Ceremony Portraits on the Iconic Steps

I supply a questionnaire when couples book me for their Chelsea Old Town Hall wedding photography, including a section for any posed shots they need.  Having a point of reference when taking the posed wedding portraits makes things run more efficiently.

So, after everyone had given the couple their best wishes, we took the posed group shots.  I will 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).

Newlyweds with close friends and family posing on steps of Chelsea Register Office

Group photos like this don’t take long to arrange, and I try to work through them quickly.

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

A wide shot of the newlyweds shows off the ornate facade of Chelsea Old Town Hall beautifully.

Chelsea Group Portrait Photography Tip

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

I took the below group shot at a different wedding, but it’s not the exact location (the giveaways are the missing confetti and flower arrangements).

Chelsea Old Town Hall also houses Chelsea Library, a different entrance with an identical facade.  Apart from no flowers outside, you wouldn’t know it was a different location.  People frequently come and go, but I can work around this to capture any remaining shots.

Portrait of Couple with Family Outside Chelsea Library

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

Large group of guests posing with the couple outside Chelsea Old Town Hall

The three in the foreground were challenging to slot in for this larger group photo, so I seated them at the front.

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.  Throughout the 20th Century, big names have wed there:  Judy Garland, Pierce Brosnan and glam rock icon Marc Bolan all had their weddings there.  Richard Burton and Hugh Grant are two other big names to tie the knot at Chelsea.

Aside from this, the registrars are amongst London’s most helpful and friendly.  They are keen for everything to go without a hitch and are exceptionally photographer-friendly, too, ensuring that you will have 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 also wait here, depending on whether you’re staying separate until the ceremony.  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, allowing movement throughout the ceremony.


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 sets up outside and is ready to go.


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


A. Unfortunately, Royal Hospital Chelsea no longer provides this service.

Bride Kissing Groom in Rossetti Room

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

LGBTQ/Same-sex Weddings at Chelsea Old Town Hall

If you are having a small same-sex wedding in London, look no further than Chelsea Old Town Hall.  The registrars are very open and accommodating, and the venue is gay-friendly.  Of course, that shouldn’t need pointing out today, but I think it’s reassuring for LGBTQ wedding couples to know.

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 Nearby & at St Luke’s Church

The posed shots are usually my last photographs before moving to the reception venue.

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

Its 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture, magnificent doorway and arches provide great directional light – fantastic for wedding photography portraits, as the two photos below show.

There are also many other photogenic locations within walking distance, including the Albert Bridge and numerous leafy streets with their colourful houses:

Bride in pink shoes kisses smart groom in front of pink 'Love' door in Chelsea

Chelse’s once famous ‘Love Door’… Sadly, the door is now no more.  When I visited recently with a couple, the famous ‘Love’ sign had been removed.

Wedding Couple Kissing Portrait Outside St Luke's Church Chelsea

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

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 an overcast and rainy day such as here.

A bridesmaid in green poses with her bouquet outside St Luke's Church in Chelsea

I’m always happy to take portraits of guests, and this bridesmaid looked stunning with her green dress and bouquet.

Bride and groom laughing together outside St Luke's Church in Chelsea, London

I try to keep my portrait shoot lighthearted and fun, and I am happy to capture the laughter and romance…

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

I took this picture on the path to the right of St Luke’s.  The door in the previous photos is round the corner in the distance, 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 took some fun photos that got across the couple’s personalities.

A bride looks at her groom with the Albert Bridge in London in the background

The Abert Bridge is also a stone’s throw away!

Local Pubs & Restaurants

Newly-weds often hold their reception locally to Chelsea Old Town Hall, where there is further scope for more candid shots.

The renowned Bluebird Restaurant is a few minutes walk away and is a popular choice for couples requiring an intimate meal after their nuptials.

The Ivy has magnificent floral displays outside, which is even closer and 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 the 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.

Having Your Wedding at Chelsea Old Town Hall?

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Groom Signs the Register with Bride Watching in Chelsea Town Hall

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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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