St Albans Registry Office – The Gate House
Are you newly engaged and considering a Registry Office for your Hertfordshire wedding ceremony? Have you looked at the St Albans Registry Office, known as The Gate House? Here’s my rundown on this historic gem…
About the St Albans Registry Office
The St Albans Registry Office (or St Albans Register Office as a lot of people tend to call it) is centrally located, right opposite the main St Albans railway station, with ample parking and offers a pretty ceremony room and nice gardens.
Why chose the Registry Office for your wedding?
Registry Offices don’t have the best reputation if we’re being honest. I’ve been in a lot of them and they aren’t always particularly attractive. However… if you’re thinking of a lower key wedding or want a civil ceremony then St Albans is definitely the one to pick.
1. It’s actually attractive inside!
It’s relatively light and bright inside and apart from the unattractive fire exit signs everywhere, it’s a nice, attractive space to get married in!
2. The staff are really friendly
The staff are lovely, welcoming and will make a real effort to make your wedding ceremony special and memorable.
I appreciate this sounds like a minor benefit, but there are plenty of Registry Offices that have zero parking or expensive parking a good walk from the venue. At the weekend there is free parking right on site (and limited parking mid-week) which is great if you have guests with limited mobility or you just don’t fancy hoofing far in smart shoes!
4. Outdoor space
There are pretty gardens which gives you space for some family, friend and couple photos after your ceremony. It’ll give you enough time to have these photos even if it’s a busy Saturday and another wedding is happening right after yours.
Plus you can make it your own; I’ve seen confetti, bubbles, champagne and all sorts take place on the lawn in the allocated time slot given to couples!
5. Make it your own
There are so many options nearby of places you can go on to for celebrations that it’s so easy to make the day your own. If you just want a few friends then drinks at the pub then St Albans has so many amazing pubs. If you fancy a nice meal then we have fine dining options a plenty. Similarly, there are numerous options for bigger celebrations too. It’s totally your day, your way.
The areas for your ceremony and reception
There is one reception room, known as the Verulam room, at the Register Office. It seats 60 guests (not including you, the couple, or me, the photographer). The set up is that you enter from the rear of the room and have your ceremony at the front by a table, but you have windows on both sides of the room so it’s a relatively bright space.
There isn’t any reception space here but there are lots of great reception venues in St Albans. Previous couples have chosen hotels such as St Michael’s Manor to go on to or smaller weddings have picked local restaurants to move on to for a lower key wedding.
A brief history of the St Albans Register Office
The Gatehouse was originally the governor’s residence of a Victorian prison and was used as a war hospital at one point too. It’s surrounded by beautiful gardens which feature a striking 1840 siege cannon and the building still has the original doors.
For the real history buffs among you, just behind the Registry Office, you’ll find Mrs Worley’s Fountain which was designed by the architect George Gilbert Scott. It used to be in the town centre in front of the clock tower, but started obstructing increasing traffic in the 1920s (something us St Albans residents will be very familiar with!) and so was moved. It was then found in the council tip of all places and relocated to its current location. Mrs Worley was a wealthy widow who gifted the fountain to St Albans in the 1870s.
Some random trivia for you!
Think this is looking familiar? Well if you’re a Porridge fan you might recognise it more as Slade Prison and spot the big black doors from the beginning of that show. So if you’re a die hard fan of the show then this might just be the right Register Office for you to get married at!
Want to check out the St Albans Registry Office?
Well here you go! Check out the council’s website where you can contact them directly to arrange a visit or find out more information about a civil ceremony at this venue. In the fullness of time, if life sends you down this path, you may also find yourself back her registering births of children so it may become part of your story in more ways than one. If you chose this venue and would like to have a natter about whether my style of happy, natural wedding photography would be a good fit, I’d absolutely love to hear all about your wedding! You can get in touch with me for a no obligation chat using the button below.
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