Wedding Photography at Southwark Register Office
South London Wedding Venue Location
Southwark Register Office (often mistakenly referred to as Registry) is set back from the busy Peckham Road. Between Camberwell and Peckham and not far from Denmark Hill, it is ideal for your small wedding.
Almost secluded by trees on an attractive cobbled forecourt, the Grade II listed, the building was initially built as a terraced house in the 1790s. It is arguably one of South London’s finest small wedding venues – a definite hidden gem and perfect for your wedding photography!
Photographing Weddings at Southwark Register Office
I first photographed at Southwark Register Office for a same-sex wedding, and immediately fell in love with it. The beautiful Garden Room struck me as such a lovely space for a small wedding ceremony. Later the same year, I documented Rachel and Andy’s marriage and have since had the pleasure of photographing numerous weddings there.
On arrival, an usher shows guests into the waiting room, whilst the groom has his legal interview. The waiting area is a reasonably large and ornate room with a fireplace, mirror and seating around the walls. Although dimly-lit, it’s still an excellent place for photos of friends and family chatting and meeting each other pre-ceremony.
Our Wedding Photos are Beautiful…
The photos from our wedding are beautiful. They have literally made us laugh and cry! I have recommended Guy to two of our friends who are getting married soon. Guy helped to make our day really special. We wanted someone who would capture the day in a relaxed way and that’s exactly what Guy achieved…
Rachel & Andy
What Does Southwark Offer? Wedding Packages and Timings
- All marriage ceremonies take place in the Garden Room with a capacity of 50 guests.
- If the wedding party exceeds 50, some may be asked to wait outside for health and safety reasons.
- You must contact the Register Office between 3-12 months before you plan to marry.
**Please note: these are the packages offered by Southwark Register Office and are not related to my own wedding photography**
The basic ceremony is only available on Wednesdays. I have never photographed one of these at Southwark, and it's aimed for couples on a budget or that want little fuss. There is no option for the bride and groom to be kept separate. 30 minutes is allocated to each couple for the interviews, 'no frills' ceremony and posed photos outside.
Available to book for weddings taking place on Thursday - Saturday. It includes the option for the couple to be kept separate. The package consists of one reading and entrance/exit music. 40 minutes is allocated to each couple. At some weddings I have photographed at Southwark, we have been allowed longer than this, but it does depend on the day's running and discretion of the registrar.
For further information about both packages and your options, visit the Southwark.gov website.
The Bride's Arrival
Usually, the bride arrives last with her bridal party so that the groom and guests don't see her. It's important for the photographer to photograph her arrival, so I keep a keen eye on what's going on in the forecourt outside. Sometimes there's time for some group portraits of the bride with her father or bridesmaids on the steps. A nice shot is to get her entering through the main door. It all helps tell the story of the day, which is particularly important during a short day wedding—the more diverse the range of photo opportunities, the better. Once inside the venue, she goes for her interview whilst the guests are shown into the Garden Room. The bride (and father/bridesmaids if applicable) enters to the couple's choice of non-religious music.
Sometimes the bride and groom arrive together, but this is a matter of personal preference. Separate is more traditional and allowed with the Enhanced Ceremony (details above).
The Southwark Registrars & Ceremony
I always make a point of introducing myself to the wedding or civil partnership officials. The registrars at Southwark are very relaxed about wedding photography. Common sense and discretion accepted, they actively encourage photography at Southwark with no restrictions. As long as the photographer does not get in the way, they can choose where to shoot. Standing behind and to the side of the registrar's table, I can see everything going on. I also take some shots from the back and behind the couple, particularly during the exchange of rings.
Discretion and respect for the occasion are essential, but it is lovely to have no specific 'rules' to follow. For this reason alone, it is worth recommending Southwark Registry Office as an exceptional venue for your small wedding, civil partnership or same-sex wedding ceremony.
Beautiful Interior and Setting for a Fantastic Day
The Garden Room is where the ceremony itself takes place. Well-appointed with wooden floors and panelling, the room seats 35 with space for a further 15 standing. The registrars sit with their backs to a bow window. The lighting at the front of the room is perfect, and I rarely need to use my bounce flash. The soft window light spills through onto the faces of bride and groom and the front row of wedding guests.
Post-Ceremony Posed Group Shots
Following the ceremony, the newly-weds exit the Garden Room through a large door in the middle of the bay window at the front, leading through to the secluded back garden (hence the name 'Garden Room'). Here the photographer has time to set up and capture those all-important wedding group shots. In the garden, time can be short, depending on when the next wedding ceremony is due to start.
Southwark Register Office Wedding FAQ's
Q. WHY GET MARRIED AT SOUTHWARK REGISTER OFFICE?
A. The venue is a small and hidden gem situated in South London and perfect for your register office wedding. The Garden Room is intimate but very beautiful, and the registrars very helpful and accommodating. The venue also has a garden for posed group shots and where the guests can congratulate the couple.
Q. HOW LONG BEFORE OUR WEDDING CEREMONY CAN WE GAIN ACCESS TO THE ROOM FOR PHOTOGRAPHY?
A. There is a waiting area where the guests are shown to on arrival. Access to the Garden Room is given a few minutes before the ceremony starts, and there is enough time to photograph your guests entering being seated and the groom waiting for the entrance of his bride.
Q. IS PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED OF OUR WEDDING VOWS?
A. Yes - there is absolutely no restriction on any part of the ceremony being photographed, including the register signing.
Q. IS CONFETTI ALLOWED AFTERWARDS FOR A NICE PHOTOGRAPHIC SEQUENCE?
A. After a short time spent in the garden, guests can gather at the front of the building and wait for the couple to exit. Biodegradable confetti is then allowed to be thrown, and I have examples of this happening on this page.
Q. WHAT IS THE LIGHT LIKE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE GARDEN ROOM?
A. The Garden Room has French windows at the front end, illuminating the couple and the registrar's desk beautifully. Things get a little dimmer towards the back, but with a combination of natural light and bounce flash, your photographer will be able to capture all the key moments.
The Newly-Weds' Exit & Showers of Confetti
Guests then walk back through the building via a side door to the right. If any guests have brought it, they can greet the happy couple coming out with handfuls of confetti. Happily, Southwark Town Hall does allow this wedding custom.
There is a further opportunity for more posed shots outside the front door (I give preference to the couple and close family here) before the wedding party travels on to their reception venue.
St Lucas Park for Other Wedding Photos
A minutes walk away and sited mostly behind 34 Peckham Road is St Lucas Park. You can enter it from the corner of Peckham Road and Vestry Road.
I have photographed wedding parties there a few times, mainly due to time constraints at the register office or there may be a few minutes of photography time left if the couple booked a short day package. The park is relatively small but quite beautiful with numerous attractive backdrops such as flower beds and green foliage for a more diverse set of photographs. There is even a play park for more playful shots...
Southwark Register Office,
34 Peckham Road,