Wedding Photography at Islington Town Hall
Islington & London City Register Office
I have photographed weddings at the venue many times and have found it an exceptional and accommodating wedding venue. All the ceremony rooms (listed below) are unique and photogenic. So whatever the size of your small to medium-sized wedding (up to 160 guests), you’re sure it’ll be a memorable occasion and a fitting venue for your special day.
The Town Hall incorporates Islington and London City Register Office (often miscalled registry) and the Assembly Hall. Both are licensed for weddings and photography is welcomed.
Classical in appearance and built in the 1920s, it was constructed and faced with Portland stone. The interior has impressive Art Deco interiors and the more traditional ceremonial rooms, which make it an outstanding venue for wedding photography and very popular with photographers’ too.
A Fantastic Location in North London
Grade II listed, Islington Town Hall stands proudly on Upper Street (otherwise known as the A1). The venue is very conveniently situated. A ten-minute walk away is Highbury & Islington train/tube station on the Victoria & Overground Lines. Just one stop from Kings Cross St Pancras, and served by four bus routes, it is ideal for your wedding guests arriving by public transport…
Photography Time Constraints at Islington Town Hall
Wedding photography is encouraged at Islington but be aware that time can get a little tight, especially on Saturdays during the summer. I like to spend time both before and after the ceremony, taking couples portraits and group shots in various locations inside and outside the building.
There is usually time for this, but it’s essential to follow the register office staff’s guidance. And, of course, the wishes of you, the couple.
The Borough of Islington Registrars
A registrar and superintendent registrar will conduct your ceremony. They are accommodating and seem keen for your photographer to get a good selection of photographs that tell the story of your time at the venue. The Islington registrars are relaxed and allow the photographer to move around during the wedding ceremony. The black and white photo above shows how comfortable this registrar was about my presence throughout the ceremony. I shoot throughout the ceremony, but it’s essential to observe the occasion – I’m always discreet.
Wedding Bookings at Islington Town Hall
Useful to Know When Booking Your Wedding
- You can contact the registrars directly by calling 020 7527 6350 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You may make provisional wedding bookings up to 12 months in advance.
- Formal Notice of Intention may also be made up to one year in advance.
- A non-refundable deposit is required to secure a room and time.
- Your booking fee includes hire of the room, two registrars, a marriage certificate and personal choice of music and personal vows.
- The Borough of Islington has many other wedding venues available to hire, including Searceys @ The Gherkin, The Barbican Centre and even Arsenal Football Club.
- 15 minutes is allowed before the ceremony to set up in the venue room.
- Saturdays can be exceptionally busy with a high turnover of weddings. So there will be less time for portraits on the stairs and outside. The local area provides lots of photo ops though…
- There is an outside ramp and lifts to all rooms for disabled guests who are attending.
- A wealth of information is available on the Say I Do Islington Website. It’s well worth a look to help answer any questions that you have.
- You can check availability and book your date and room on the website.
- As well as marriages, Islington Town Hall also does Renewals of Vows, Civil Ceremonies and Naming Ceremonies.
Also Consider>> Old Marylebone Town Hall: Another Iconic Register Office.
Rules on Signing the Register
The marriage registrars allow photography of the register’s actual signing, but of course, the photographer has to use their common sense and not be too intrusive or close.
Many wedding venues do not allow photography of the signing, instead opting for a staged signing of a ‘dummy register‘. It’s caused amusement and slight embarrassment with many newlyweds, but not here at Islington Register Office! They produce a dummy though, and I go through the charade, safe in the knowledge that I have some natural shots of the signing as it happened.
Islington Register Office Wedding Photography Rooms
There are 4 rooms to choose from for your wedding.
The Council Chamber:
- The Council Chamber lies at the top of the ornate central staircase and is the largest of the ceremony rooms in terms of seating. It is airy and light with a vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows. Seating is almost ‘courtroom’ style with guests seated on three sides on benches and chairs. There is plenty of room for your photographer to move around.
- Holds 100 guests seated in the main room with a further 60 in the balcony.
- The room is not available on Sundays or Mondays.
The Mayor’s Parlour:
- Furnished in rich red leather and oak panels, The Mayor’s Parlour is the smallest room and is located at the end of the long corridor on the first floor. The fireplace is the focal point. The couple sits in two large red armchairs with guests to their left and right on a sofa and chairs.
- Just 12 guests seated on the sofa and chairs may attend a wedding in this room.
- The room is not available on Sundays or Mondays.
The Richmond Room:
- Spatially, The Richmond Room is the largest at Islington Town Hall. Long and with high ceilings and large windows, it would make an excellent venue for your wedding.
- 60 guests are catered for in forward-facing seats.
- Only available on Saturdays (except the 2nd of the month).
- There are restrictions on music volume in this room to respect the proximity of neighbours.
- The curiously named Room 99 is the most popular but purely no frills. The colour scheme is red and gold with permanent floral displays.
- Seating is available for 28 guests.
- Only Marriages and Civil Partnerships take place in this room.
- Time is more restricted in Room 99, with just the legal ceremony allowed. There is no time for extra readings, bespoke vows or even separate registrar interviews and walk-in. A cheaper pricing structure reflects this and, as a result, the room has a higher turnover of weddings. If you need a more personal wedding ceremony, one of the other rooms is recommended. This room is purely for those wanting a no-frills register office wedding.
Islington Town Hall Wedding Photography FAQs
Q. WHY GET MARRIED AT ISLINGTON TOWN HALL?
A. The town hall has a rich history and is perfect for non-religious weddings, accommodating 160 guests. With its ornate Art Deco features and beautiful ceremony rooms, the venue is the ideal backdrop for short wedding days and those going on to their reception meal elsewhere.
Q. HOW LONG BEFORE OUR WEDDING CEREMONY CAN WE GAIN ACCESS TO THE ROOM FOR PHOTOGRAPHY?
A. The venue aims to give you, and your guests access around 15 minutes before your ceremony commences. It can vary slightly, particularly on Saturdays when they have a full schedule of weddings. This time is ideal for taking greetings shots of guests meeting each other and some small group portraits.
Q. IS PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED OF OUR MARRIAGE CEREMONY AND VOWS?
A. The registrars are very helpful and actively encourage photography. They even allow the photographer to take the signing of the register.
Q. IS CONFETTI ALLOWED AFTERWARDS FOR A NICE PHOTOGRAPHIC SEQUENCE?
A. Yes, wedding confetti is allowed but only outside the town hall. The steps on Upper Street are the perfect location for this, and it is a great way to exit the venue.
Q. WHAT IS THE LIGHT LIKE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY INSIDE ISLINGTON TOWN HALL?
A. This varies depending on the area. The hall and stairs can be dim, but the landing area has good window light. In the Council Chamber, the windows are high, but I can balance this with bounce flash. The best room for light is the Mayor’s Parlour – great for some pleasing natural photos.
The Group & Couple Portraits on the Iconic Steps
The town hall can be busy, particularly on a Saturday, but they allow time afterwards for confetti and group photos on the steps outside.
I work through these fairly briskly, in case a wedding follows shortly afterwards and we are moved on. Weddings are generally staggered, but it can happen. Below are some examples of shots that I have taken after the ceremony.
And After Your Wedding Ceremony?
Being a civil marriage venue, Islington Town Hall does not cater to wedding receptions, but there are numerous local restaurants, pubs, and hotels. The Highbury and Islington area is very cosmopolitan and has excellent potential for those seeking a good night out or a meal with friends. Sometimes, couples take their guests on a purpose hired Routemaster bus into the city for their post-wedding celebration.
Islington & London City Register Office,