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 2022)
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 in York 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 (though if you leave it that late the registry office may be booked up), 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 £30-50 per person (depending on your registry office). (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 £46 to £366 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 Oct 2022)
If you wish to marry with only 2 witnesses on a Monday to Thursday, in a working office, this can be done for £46.
With fewer than 8 guests Monday to Thursday in the small ceremony room = £157, but £215 on a Friday or Saturday.
Up to 50 guests in the larger room Monday to Thursday = £269, but £366 on Friday and Saturday.
Have a look at the official fees page here: https://www.york.gov.uk/YorkRegisterOfficeCeremonies
Choosing your ceremony room
When it comes to deciding which room to get married in you have three choices – the small office, the small Bootham Suite, and the large Bootham suite.
If you have more than 8 guests, your choice is simple – you’ll need to choose the large Bootham Suite. It is a lovely light-filled room with a door straight out into the gardens.
Here are some photos of the large Bootham Suite at York Registry Office.
Options for ceremonies with fewer than 8 guests
I have photographed 40 weddings at York Registry Office in the past few of years, and I have only been inside the Small Bootham Suite once. Really there was only enough space for the couple, and about 4 guests.
Plenty of couples have booked the small room, but their ceremonies were held in the large room. I think the choice on the day will be down to the Registrars, but if they have been using the large room already that day for ceremonies, chances are you will probably have your small ceremony in the larger room, even if you are booked in the small one!
If you are eloping and only have 2 guests (your witnesses) you will have the choice between the small Bootham Suite and the office room.
Photos of The Small Bootham Room (for up to 8 guests... apparently)
When you choose the Bootham suite (rather than the office) you will also be able to choose extended vows. For the basic ceremony in the office, you won’t be able to choose vows, and you won’t have a “signing the register” photo opportunity. It is a very quick and basic ceremony.
Here are some photos from a marriage ceremony in the small office at York Registry Office (Not the Bootham suite)
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. You will see in the photo that there are double yellow lines, but taxis etc regularly drop off and collect people from here.
The closest car park is Marygate car park (post code: YO30 7DT) which is a 5 minute walk from the registry office (0.2 miles).
Prices for parking at Marygate carpark are:
up to 1 hour £2.50
up to 2 hours £5
up to 3 hours £7.50
up to 4 hours £10
up to 5 hours £12.50
over 5 hours £15
after 6pm until 8am £3
Conveniently the machine reads your number plate on arrival, and then when you are ready to leave you simply key it into the machine and pay the price listed.
During school holidays this carpark can get really full – be careful not to park outside the bays or you will get a £25 parking fine!
Also note – the parking machine only accepts card – it does not take cash.
The pink line shows the walking route from car park.
The yellow marking shows area marked in yellow has a few car parking spaces which are free for up to 1 hour. A ceremony only takes about 15 minutes, so if there is space this could be an option.
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: £450. (I can also bring an extra witness if you are planning an elopement).
York Registry Office Gardens for wedding photos
If you don’t have much time to have photos around York, you can use the Registry Office gardens for 15-20 minutes after your wedding ceremony. The gardens are secluded and there are both shaded and sunny spots.
Here is a selection of wedding photos taken in York Registry Office Gardens
Further afield for wedding photos
If you do have the time, I’d recommend using Museum Gardens for your wedding photos instead of the Registry Office gardens.
It is a 4 or 5-minute walk to get to the entrance to Museum Gardens, and the walk there is pleasant. Here are some photos taken during the walk to Museum Gardens.
Wedding Photos in Museum Gardens and beyond
Once you arrive in Museum Gardens you have so many photo spots to choose from. There are the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, the city walls, beautiful plants and trees etc.
From here you can take a lovely scenic walk around the city walls and around the Minster, the Shambles.
You have so many places to choose from… here are a few photos I’ve taken around this area recently.
Do you have any questions about getting married at York Registry Office?
I know the Registrars are pretty busy, and it can take a few days to get a response to specific questions – so if you want a quicker response – ask me!
I’ll usually respond straight away if I’m at my desk, so drop me a line – I’ve been to 40+ weddings there so I know how things go! If there is anything you think I should add to this guide, let me know that too and I’ll update it. Or if there are any other useful guides you’d like me to write, let me know that too!