Chelsea Register Office wedding photographerFor your Chelsea Old Town Hall or Kensington Town Hall wedding
Marrying at Chelsea Old Town Hall or Kensington Town Hall?
If you’re getting married at iconic Chelsea Old Town Hall or modern Kensington Town Hall, chances are that you’re bubbling with excitement and thinking about photos. You may be planning an intimate ceremony with just two witnesses or a few dozen of your nearest and dearest, and on the day would like to spend as much time with them as possible. Which means that you just need an hour or two of photography.
As a Chelsea Register Office wedding photographer, that’s what I do.
How much photography is right for you?
- You can book photography from one hour upwards. One hour covers your civil ceremony and photos on the steps of Chelsea Old Town Hall afterwards. Ideal for an elopement.
- Your photography captures your arrival at Chelsea Old Town Hall, your ceremony and portraits of the two of you taken nearby.
- Your photography starts with your arrival at Chelsea Old Town Hall, the ceremony itself, confetti photos on the steps and continues through to either your drinks reception or portraits elsewhere in London, depending on distance.
If you’re not sure about how long to book, call me on 01342 811631 or fill in the enquiry form. We can talk through your plans and what you would like from your wedding photography. We’ll work something out together.
Pricing starts from £399 including your digital files.
Have your favourite photos from your Chelsea Register Office civil ceremony designed and bound into a leather album that lives on your coffee table or book shelf. Standard sizes and copies for family are available.
Is your date available?
If you would like to check if your date and time are available, please complete the contact form on the left or call me on 01342 811 631.
Chelsea Old Town Hall Ceremony Rooms
Chelsea Old Town Hall reopened in Spring 2019 after a 7-month refurbishment.
The main reception area for births, deaths, marriages and citizenship has been thoroughly modernised. This is where couples sign in to let the Registrars that they have arrived.
On the first floor, the waiting area for weddings and civil partnerships has been improved too. The stunning black and white tiled floor remains and the walls have been updated to a fresh lilac. The magnificent staircase is now covered in a soft purple carpet. The overall effect is calm and fresh – a beautiful backdrop for your photos.
The ceremony rooms retain their elegant ‘Chelsea’ feel. Traditional chandeliers, botanical prints, and soft golden yellow on the walls of the two larger ceremony rooms. In addition, they now offer a more modern mid-Century vibe with original parquet flooring, Scandinavia seating, and minimal window treatments.
I have listed the four available ceremony rooms below along with their capacities. If you click on the photographs it will take you through to a room page with more photos and details. In total I have covered 50 weddings at Chelsea Old Town Hall, and I have put the split of these below:
Brydon Room – 11
Rossetti Room – 38
Harrington Room – 1
The Mayor’s Parlour, Kensington Town Hall – not covered*
*For more information on this venue please download the Kensington Town Hall fact sheet at the foot of this page
If you are struggling to choose which room you’d like to get married in give me a call on 01342 811631.
You can book all of these rooms via the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) registration services website – Marry Me in Kensington and Chelsea.
Chelsea Register Office wedding photography FAQs
What time should we arrive at Chelsea Old Town Hall?
You and your guests should all be present at Chelsea Old Town Hall at least 15 minutes prior to your ceremony.
I typically start coverage 30 minutes before your ceremony to cover your arrivals and a mix of photos on the purple staircase.
If you are arriving separately please see the FAQ below, ‘What happens when we don’t want to see each other before the ceremony?’
Where should we all go when we arrive at Chelsea Old Town Hall?
Chelsea Old Town Hall has three entrances:
- King’s Road – on the right is the Library and entrance to the Main Hall, Small Hall and Cadogan Suite
- King’s Road – on the left is the exit from the Brydon, Rossetti, and Harrington Rooms
- Chelsea Manor Street – (blue rectangular wall sign) is your entrance to the Register Office
Please ensure that you arrive via the main entrance on Chelsea Manor Street.
[The steps leading up from the King’s Road are only for couples and their guests exiting for their confetti shot and group photographs]
As you enter via the Chelsea Manor Street entrance you book into your wedding in the main reception area to the left. This is the waiting area for births and deaths. There are two loos opposite.
The waiting area for weddings is up the short flight of steps to the right as you enter the building. First set of double doors on the left. In this large area there is a huge purple staircase and modern grape coloured sofas. Guests should make themselves comfortable. There is a loo and drinking water. If you have any guests in wheelchairs this is where you will meet them.
The Registrars will collect the couple and their guests from this area once their ceremony room is ready. If it is sunny outside and you and your guests would prefer to wait outside the building the Registrars will collect you from outside. Just let them know that you are all outside when you book in at the main reception desk.
If you are arriving separately please see the FAQ below, ‘What happens when we don’t want to see each other before the ceremony?’
What happens when we don't want to see each other before the ceremony?
The vast majority of my clients arrive, interview and walk in together. You can also arrive and interview together, and then have your own walk in plan. For example, one of you goes into the ceremony room and the other makes an entrance on their own, with a parent/parents, or with a friend.
If you would prefer separate arrivals and separate interviews so that the first you see each other is when you walk into your ceremony here is a plan:
One half arrives 30 minutes before your ceremony and signs in with Registrar (and then waits in waiting area and has photographs with me). The Registrar usually collects you 15 minutes before your ceremony. They then invite your guests to take their seats in your ceremony room
The other half arrives 15 minutes before your ceremony and signs in with the Registrar and then waits in this modern waiting area
Once the waiting area upstairs is clear I will collect you from the modern waiting area and take you up to the pretty waiting area for any photos. The Registrar then collects you from here for your interview.
If any of these steps is delayed the person arriving second usually fails with having any photos taken before your ceremony. It’s the nature of separate arrivals at Chelsea Old Town Hall.
Does the building have wheelchair access?
Yes. There is a disabled entrance via a lift to the right of the library entrance (far right hand side of building) and from there a staff member will accompany you down the length of the library and through a link door requiring a security pass. You will arrive in the waiting area and meet the other guests there. The three ceremony rooms are on this level (through the double doors in front of you and turn left)
Please book this in advance so that the security team know to look out for your arrival. [The Library opening times differ so it’s vital to co-ordinate this in advance]
When and where do we have the meeting with the Registrar prior to our ceremony?
What does the ceremony consist of and how long will it take?
The Registrar will welcome you and your guests, you will say your vows, exchange (optional) rings, and then sign the official Register. You can also choose to have a piece of music played during your entrance and the signing of the Register. You may also choose to have up to two (non-religious) readings made by either of you, a guest, or even the Registrar.
Ceremonies last between 10 and 25 minutes. If you have only a few guests, no music, no readings, and you do not exchange rings then allow 10 minutes from walking in to walking out again.
How many witnesses do I need and who can they be?
You need two witnesses for your Chelsea Register Office wedding. There is no legal age limit, but witnesses must understand the language of the ceremony and have the mental capacity to understand what is taking place. Register Office staff are not allowed to act as witnesses.
I have photographed two weddings with one witness aged 13, the other aged 14, and me the second witness on both occasions. You must agree this in advance with your Register Office and explain that your younger witness is mature enough to understand what is taking place.
At Chelsea it is popular for couples who have chosen to marry in secret or without guests to ask Chelsea Pensioners to act as witnesses. For more information please see the Chelsea Pensioners page.
You do not need to know your witnesses.
How do we book Chelsea Pensioners to act as witnesses?
You can arrange this via the Kensington & Chelsea Register Office. For more information please see my Chelsea Pensioners page.
What about confetti on the famous steps?
After your ceremony the Registrars will invite your guests to leave your ceremony room and take their position on the famous Kings Road steps. You can use any kind of confetti and confetti can also be bought from the Register Office reception desk downstairs from the Chelsea Manor Street entrance. The Registrars will ask your photographer to give them the thumbs up for your exit.
For the most stunning effect, paper confetti works brilliantly. A single colour, two colours, or a three colour mix all work best. You can match these to your bouquet or simply choose your favourite colour/s. Pretty Little Party Shop offers a colour mix service.
For romatics at heart, I recommend dried petals and Shropshire Petals. They offer a 1 litre bag and guests can all grab a handful once they are outside the building. It’s also the most environmentally friendly option.
Where can we have couple photographs taken after our ceremony?
St Luke’s Gardens a two-minute walk away and adjacent to the King’s Road (for trees, greenery, flowers)
Chelsea Streets a two to five-minute walk away for multi-coloured pastel or traditional white stucco buildings and black railings (for clean lines and archetypal Chelsea shots)
Albert Bridge a ten-minute walk away (for Thames scenes, the Bridge, tree-lined walkways, and black lampposts)
Local hotel accessible gardens like Cadogan Gardens adjacent to the Jumeirah Carlton Towers where they have access to a stunning, privately maintained garden where you will have privacy (see my last Jumeirah Carlton Tower wedding here)
Your Reception Venue may have interesting interiors and exteriors that are important to you so do ask me if this is of interest
London Landmarks – you can also choose to have photos taken at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (check for refurbishment scaffolding first), St Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge, or a location that is special to you both
PLEASE NOTE: The Royal Parks – Kensington Gardens, St James’s and Green Park, Hyde Park, The Regent’s Park, Richmond Park, and Greenwich Park – require a filming permit (website) currently £120 inc. VAT for up to one hour. I can arrange this on your behalf (or provide you with a copy of my public liability insurance)
The time of year and position of the sun plays a large part in this decision, so choose a photographer who knows the area well, at all times of the day, and in the different seasons. Photography between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest can be trickier to work with so ask your photographer for advice.
What happens if it rains on our wedding day?
Umbrellas work beautifully in light to medium rain. For heavy to torrential rain you can have your groups and couple portraits taken inside the Register Office. The waiting area with its purple staircase and black and white floor tiles work well as backdrops.
Choose your umbrella with care. Whatever colour you choose will reflect that colour on your faces AND make your faces darker than the rest of you not shielded by the canopy. Black causes panda eyes and darkness. White casts a a mushy (unflattering) light. Clear works best and their designs have come a long way in the last few years (i.e. no longer fuddy-duddy) so don’t rule them out. If you don’t have clear be prepared to tip the canopy slightly back to allow light into your eyes. Check with your bride first. Her hair may not thank you if you tip it back too much!
Wedding photography is extrememly important to me. When should I avoid marrying?
Do RBKC run ceremonies at the same time?
Yes. RBKC run ceremonies in their two main ceremony rooms – Brydon Room | Rossetti Room – at the same time.
Current matching start times are:
10am, 2pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 7pm
These often finish at the same time, and both couples then want to walk out onto the steps for their confetti at the same time. The confetti shot can last up to 5 minutes. And the group photos immediately afterwards can take a further 10 to 15 minutes.
Obviously what happens is that one room must wait in their ceremony room for up to 15 minutes. The first group out then feels rushed by the Registrars or by another photographer.
This situation puts pressure on both couples, their guests, and their photographers. It has happened to me once and I now avoid these ceremony times on Fridays and Saturdays. Losing 15 minutes out of a 60 or 90 minute coverage means you end up with no couple photographs. [If you are fine with waiting in your ceremony room then I advise you to buy another 15 minutes coverage +£50 and this can be paid after the day]
If the confetti photo is vital to you and you would prefer not to have this situation happen do check with the Register Office that there won’t be a ceremony starting at the same time as yours. Alternatively, choose a Sunday to Thursday ceremony when matching start times are less likely.
In 2021 RBKC might have have double the number of weddings (due to Covid-19) so matching ceremony times might be far more common.
This is all very new to me - i.e. getting married - where do I even start?
Chelsea Old Town Hall latest blog posts
The Chelsea Old Town Hall reopening in April 2019 was met with cheers all round. Sam and Michael waited for the 7-month refurbishment to be completed and chose the Rossetti Room for their wedding ceremony. It was lovely to be back at one of my very favourite venues....
I really enjoy being an Ivy Chelsea Garden wedding photographer. David and Seaneen organised their wedding from abroad, choosing Chelsea Old Town Hall for their ceremony venue, and the Ivy Chelsea Garden for their drinks and dinner reception. They arrived separately...
Other help for your Chelsea wedding
Bride’s Ultimate Guide to getting married in a Register Office
We would like photos taken in daylight. What time should we have our
Chelsea Old Town Hall Autumn / Winter wedding?
Here is an approximate guide to when it will be dark by month and suggested latest ceremony start times if you would like your group shots and portraits taken in daylight:
(Click on grid to see larger version)
This allows 30 minutes for your ceremony and 30 minutes for your confetti, groups and couple portraits. If you would like your portraits taken during daylight, we can arrange to do these before your ceremony.
British Summer Time Ends – Sunday 25th October 2020 @ 02:00 (clocks go back)
Daylight Saving Ends – Sunday 28th March 2021 @ 01:00 (clocks go forward)
To check the exact sunset time on your day click here.
Contact me about your Chelsea Register Office wedding
Want more info
Download the Chelsea Old Town Hall or Kensington Town Hall fact sheet below.