Old Marylebone Town Hall Wedding Photography 2020 – Weddings at Westminster Council House
I am privileged enough to regularly photograph weddings and civil partnerships at Old Marylebone Town Hall. I have documented weddings in 5 out of the 7 ceremony rooms. The recent refurbishment has really enhanced the original features. The venue is a delight to work in with the registrars and staff very accommodating and helpful towards photographers and in ensuring the day goes smoothly for the couple. The venue is very busy on Saturdays, particularly during the summer. On a visit there, it’s not difficult to see why…
Westminster Register Office History
Anyone watching ITV documentary ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages‘ cannot fail to have taken note of the historic importance of Old Marylebone Town Hall. I feel very fortunate to have photographed weddings and civil partnerships at this splendid Westminster wedding venue.
Westminster Register Office (often mistakenly called registry) has been the scene of many iconic weddings. Most famously that of Paul and Linda McCartney in 1969. Other rock ‘n’ roll weddings have included fellow Beatle Ringo Starr, Pretender Chrissie Hynde and Liam Gallagher. Both he and McCartney married here twice.
The Old Marylebone Town Hall’s Refurbishment and Reopening
The marriage venue was built between 1914 and 1920 by Sir Edwin Cooper in W1. Understandably the years took their toll on the building and in 2013 it closed down for a four year refurbishment. Happily it has now reopened: during the sabbatical, I photographed Westminster weddings at Asia House, Mayfair Library and the intimate but rather splendid Fitzrovia Chapel.
Having provided wedding photography at Old Marylebone Town Hall since the reopening, I’m happy to report that the refurbishment is very tasteful and in keeping with the historic grandeur of the building. I wonder if they took the photography into consideration when designing much of the refurbishment. The building looks fresh and clean both inside and out. Happily, they have avoided putting messy looking signage too close to feature doorways and arches. This means the photographer can take wider shots of the couple without worrying about extra time spent in Photoshop removing items. I look forward to being wedding photographer for many more happy couples at the Westminster venue in the future.
Old Marylebone Town Hall as a Wedding Venue
The first time I visited in my capacity of wedding photographer was for a civil partnership. Struck by the resplendent façade and splendour of the Wren-esque pillars, I immediately fell in love with the venue. Stone lions guard the entrance outside which at some weddings, the children have a great time playing on.
The bride and groom may arrive together or separately as is traditional. The Old Marylebone Town Hall registrars can keep couples separate if they require this – most do. In the entrance hall a member of staff organises a meeting with the registrar to go over the formal legalities and check that they are both eligible to marry.
We’re Absolutely Delighted with the Photos…
[We] were thrilled when we came across Guys’ portfolio – perfect for our 3.15pm wedding at The Old Marylebone Town Hall. …Guy was most definitely able to steer us in the right direction. He was professional, courteous and thoughtful in his approach to our big day, in both the build up and on the day itself.
We had a couple of conflicting requirements; “we don’t want too fake, we don’t want too posed” and “please pose people so that we all look nice in the shot”. Thankfully Guy knew exactly what I was talking about and on the day he managed to hit both requirements and took some truly wonderful shots of our wedding. He was completely unobtrusive, even in what was a very small venue for both the ceremony and reception.
Our photos were ready for us when we returned off honeymoon which was great, and we’re absolutely delighted with them. Even after the final invoice has been paid Guy continues to be responsive to extra requests and questions. From the bottom of 2 awkward photo subjects hearts, thank you for providing us with the most beautiful visual cues to our memories of our great day – we will treasure them always.
– Sarah & Chris
Marylebone Registry Office and the Registrars
The interior at Old Marylebone Town Hall is equally as splendid with many more pillars and plush wooden panelling. The corridor leading down to the ceremony rooms is vast see photo above). As the couple walk through to meet the registrar, I like to photograph them using the natural light from the promenade of windows.
The Westminster registrars really are very friendly and helpful. Best of all, they work well with the photographer and have no restrictions - including photography of the signing (see photo above). This helps ensure the happy couple have some great shots and a complete record of their wedding day.
Having a Gay Wedding?>> Read My Gay Wedding Photography FAQ's Here
Contact Westminster Council on 02076 417500 to discuss your bespoke requirements.
Westminster Register Office Wedding Photography Rooms
There are 7 rooms to choose from for your Old Marylebone Town Hall wedding photography. Here is a list of them including my highlights of what makes them special:
The Soho Room:
Seats 14 guests with 6 standing. Again, light and airy with a carved feature fireplace and stunning chandelier. The room is painted in a muted pale green.
The Knightsbridge Room:
This exceptionally light and airy room seats up to 30 guests comfortably. I love the blue/grey velvet seating and large windows in this room.
The Marylebone Room:
10 seated and 5 standing guests. With its deep and glossy wood panelling, this room is darker than some of the others but no less striking. The sculpted plaster ceiling and modern chandelier finish the room nicely. I have taken some of my best wedding photos in this room.
The Paddington Room:
Holds 7 seated guests (5 of those on pouffes) and 8 standing guests. Similar to The Marylebone Room with dark panelling, a magnificent matching carved wooden fireplace and modern chandelier.
The Pimlico Room:
Light, bright and fantastic for photography, the Pimlico Room seats 20 guests - decorated in pale green with an amazing feature fireplace.
The Westminster Room:
The largest of the rooms at Old Marylebone Town Hall seats up to 96 guests and is suitable for a larger wedding party. 'Westminster' has dark wood panelling. With 3 large windows facing the couple and guests, this is the lightest panelled room.
The Mayfair Room:
The Mayfair Room will cater for 30 seated guests. With its tasteful modern lighting and mocha and grey painted walls, this room would make a fantastic venue for your wedding day.
Posed Couple and Group Shots
Outside, the area between the front door and the two central pillars offers some stunning direction light. This makes a great location for some wedding portraits, especially of the bride and groom.
Depending on the day, couples are allowed time for their photographer to arrange and take some group shots on the steps outside. The turnover of weddings on a Saturday is high so less time is given before being asked politely to move on. I always liaise closely with the ushers to ensure that we make the most of our time here. Ideally there will be time for all the required family photos, a large group shot of everyone present and some of the couple on their own.
In case your posed wedding photographs are cut short, there is a little cheat: Next door is the London Business School which is part of the same building. It effectively enjoys similar architecture and is a perfect back-up spot for any additional photos.
Old Marylebone Town Hall Photography FAQs
Q. WHAT IS THE LIGHT LIKE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY INSIDE OLD MARYLEBONE TOWN HALL?
A. Natural light varies across the 7 ceremony rooms. All of the rooms have window light, but some are darker than others due to their original features. A good wedding photographer will be able to cope with extreme lighting situations so the dark panelling of a couple of the venue rooms will pose no problem. Most of the rooms are decorated in tasteful light and neutral tones.
Q. IS CONFETTI ALLOWED ON THE ICONIC STEPS OUTSIDE?
A. A Marylebone Town Hall wedding wouldn't be the same without a chance for your photographer to capture the sequence as you exit the building and descend the steps in a shower of confetti. So, yes - the venue encourages the use of biodegradable confetti to finish off your Westminster nuptials.
Q. HOW LONG ARE WE GIVEN FOR PHOTOGRAPHY AFTERWARDS?
A. A few minutes are allowed for portrait photography and confetti after the ceremony. This can take place inside or outside but usually happens on the steps outside the venue. Sometimes the wedding party is allowed to remain in the room for a while, although this is unlikely on busy Saturdays. The venue staff are very friendly and helpful and it's always worth checking in with them for guidance on time rather than rushing.
Q. ARE DOGS ALLOWED TO ATTEND OUR OLD MARYLEBONE TOWN HALL WEDDING?
A. Yes, the venue is dog friendly and they are allowed to attend. Mention this prior to your day though so that a note can be made.
The Old Marylebone Town Hall,
Westminster Council House,
97-113 Marylebone Road,
London NW1 5PT.