Unofficial guide to weddings at York Registry Office
As a local York wedding photographer, I have plenty of experience with York Registry Office weddings, so I’ve written an unofficial guide for anyone planning, or attending a York Registry Office wedding. (Up dated 2021)
York is a beautiful and historic city, and thankfully it has a really beautiful registry office very conveniently located for great photos and plenty of reception venues.
York is the perfect place for an elopement, or destination wedding. For example, a nice weekend break where you can see the sights, get married, and honeymoon all in one. And if you invite guests along, there is plenty for them to do to entertain themselves in this historic tourist city.
Can I get married at York Registry Office if I'm not local?
Yes – you can get married at any registry office you want! You certainly don’t have to get married at your local registry office. However, you will need to go to your local registry office to “give notice” that you wish to mary. This must be done at least 28 days before your wedding, then once you have been given authority to marry, you can do it in any registry office, or approved premises, anywhere in the UK!
You live in Birmingham but want a destination wedding in York.
- Make an appointment at your local registry office in Birmingham
- Attend Birmingham registry office and “give notice”. This costs £47 per person. (If you don’t both live in the same registration district, you’ll each need to do it in your own district)
- Your notice to get married will be displayed publicly in your local register office for 28 days.
- After this period of 28 days, you can hold your wedding ceremony within 12 months of giving notice.
- Contact York registry office to book a ceremony (ceremony fees range from £57 to £348 if you get married at York Registry Office) within 12 months of giving notice.
How much does it cost to get married at York registry office?
(updated July 2020)
If you wish to marry with only 2 witnesses on a Monday to Thursday, this can be done for £57.
With fewer than 8 guests Monday to Thursday in the small ceremony room = £149, but £205 on a Friday or Saturday.
Up to 50 guests in the larger room Monday to Thursday = £256, but £348 on Friday and Saturday.
Have a look at the official fees page here: https://www.york.gov.uk/info/20028/civil_partnerships_and_marriages/1481/ceremonies_at_york_register_office
Is there parking at York Registry Office?
No, York registry office is located on one of the main roads into York, and consequently there is no parking on site.
However, there is an area outside the doors for a taxi, bus, or car to drop people off.
The closest car park is Marygate car park (post code: YO30 7DT) which is a 5 minute walk from the registry office (0.3 miles).
Prices for parking at Marygate carpark are:
up to 1 hour £2.30
up to 2 hours £4.60
up to 3 hours £6.90
up to 4 hours £9.20
up to 5 hours £11.50
over 5 hours £13
after 6pm Sun to Thurs, or after 5pm Fri and Sat £2
Conveniently they issue a card on arrival, so you simply pay at a machine just before you leave. Therefore no need to have to rush back and top up car parking if you didn’t put enough in like with some car parks.
Where is York Registry Office?
York Registry Office is just outside the city walls on the north side of York – On Bootham.
From York train station it takes about 15 minutes to walk (0.6miles) and on route you will pass some lovely sights. Most importantly, the city walls and the minster will be on your route.
You can get into the city centre from the registry office in a 3 minute walk straight down Bootham, through Bootham Bar. Bootham Bar is one of the gates in the city walls and consequently a nice sightseeing opportunity for out of town guests. If you continue for another 150 yards you will be at the base of York Minster. As a result of being near the centre of York, you have so many restaurants, pubs and bars, and sights to choose from.
If you want a different route, you can certainly walk through the Museum Gardens. An excellent place for wedding photos during the journey with the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey as a back drop. Walking from the Registry Office, firstly through Museum gardens, and then to the base of the Minster takes 10 minutes (however you will need to allow longer for sightseeing and photos on the way!).
Is there anywhere near York Registry Office for wedding photos?
If you get married in the Bootham Suite (the large room in York Registry Office, which seats up to 50 guests) you will exit the ceremony into the gardens at the back. There you will be allowed to throw confetti, and there is a lovely garden perfect for photos.
After that, you can easily walk to the Minster and Museum Gardens (less than 10-minute walk) – so you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing places for photos.
I am a local York wedding photographer, so I am able to offer my services to couples getting married in York.
Upto 2.5 hours of wedding photography in York on a weekday: £320. (I can also bring an extra witness if you are planning an elopement).
Covid Update - Covid measures at York Registry Office
2020 has been an unusual year for everyone! Here is a brief update to this guide to help you plan your wedding with the current Covid restrictions.
York Registry Office has created a very safe environment and seem to take their Covid precautions very seriously. However they have maintained a high standard of care for everyone getting married – they have tried not to take the romance and enjoyment out of their wedding ceremonies!
Arrival at the Registry Office
The first difference is that the wedding couple and their guests must all arrive together at the back entrance of the building. You will arrive at your time slot, not before. At the back entrance, you will be greeted by a member of staff.
The couple will then be invited into the Bootham Suite ceremony room together to go over the legal details with the registrars.
Unfortunately, these new rules mean a couple cannot arrive separately. If you were hoping to have a surprise moment when you both see each other for the first time, this can’t really happen at the ceremony. However, you could easily have a first look session around the corner at the Museum Garden’s as this couple did.
Your guests will wait outside for about 15 minutes while you go over the legal bit. If the weather is bad, there is a gazebo set up in the garden for them to shelter under.
Inside the Bootham Suite
There is hand sanitiser at the entrance to the room, and guests are invited to enter one by one.
The room has been rearranged so that all guests can sit 2 meters apart. There is a seat in the middle usually reserved for the photographer. The couple will be in the centre of the room under the window light with the table behind them.
All guests will need to remain in their positions throughout and they must wear a face mask. The wedding couple do not need to wear face masks.
Although there will be no walking down the aisle – the couple will already be in place as the guests walk in, your vows will be the same as normal. The exchange of the rings is different to normal – the rings will be on the table and the wedding couple will pick up the rings. Unfortunately, there will not be an opportunity for someone else to hold the rings.
Hand sanitiser and plenty of pens are available for the signing of the register. The registrar will ask the couple to stand aside while she places the register on the table. The couple will then sign and move out of the way. Each witness will then come on their own to sign – care is taken that no one comes within 2 meters of each other.
There will not be an opportunity to have photos of the wedding couple with anyone else inside the registry office.
Although the rules are strict and adhered to well, the ceremony is still lovely.
Leaving the Registry Office
After the marriage certificate has been presented, the guests will be asked to leave the ceremony room through the same door. There is no need to go anywhere in the building apart from the one room – the Bootham Suite. The outside door remains open throughout.
Once outside you will be able to use the gardens for photos, though with the gazebo there, it is probably better to go elsewhere – such as museum gardens – for photos.