Eloping in Style: Edinburgh City Chambers Wedding

Edinburgh City Chambers wedding

Registry Office Edinburgh wedding – elope in Edinburgh

Edinburgh has grown in popularity over last few years. Not only a tourist destination, but also many engaged couples decide to elope or have a wedding in Scotland. For those couples the easiest and safest option is to organise a wedding at the Edinburgh City Chambers. Why the safest? The weather in Scotland can be very unpredictable even in the summer so having a wedding ceremony under the roof is less risky.

Can anyone get married at the Registry Office in Edinburgh?
Yes,  City Chambers is open for marriage ceremonies and civil partnerships for local residents and visitors. These were previously taking place at the Lothian Chambers on Parliament Square. Here is a bit of information which might be handy when planning your Edinburgh City Chambers wedding.

Edinburgh city

Basic info

Registry office is located in the middle of the Royal Mile,  just opposite St Giles Cathedral. The nearest parking is NCP on Niddry St. and the venue offers two disabled parking spaces if needed. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.

There are two rooms available for a wedding ceremony:

Alexander Suite on the ground floor which can seat up to 36 guests, is smaller in size and lightly decorated;
European Suite is suitable for ceremony on weekends. It is on the 1st floor and can accommodate 70 guests.

European Suite at the City Chambers.Alexander Suite at the city chambers

Rachel & Huub saying their vows in the Alexander Suite in the evening.
wedding kiss

Paperwork, fees and other questions

To get married in Scotland you will need to fill in documents and submit them along birth certificate, proof of address and in some cases your passport. More information about required paperwork can be found on the Edinburgh Council website.

How quickly can I get married in Scotland? Minimum notice is 29 days, maximum 3 months.

How much it cost to get married in a registry office Scotland? Prices start from £155 for a Monday till Thursday morning wedding. Fees for weekend ceremonies start from £435.

Do I need to bring witnesses? You will need two witnesses, I am happy to act as a witness and the registrar is usually able to get someone else from the office to act as a witness. You can also ask any tourist and they will be happy to witness a wedding ceremony in Scotland.

City Chambers photographer and photoshoot locations

When enquiring with a photographer it is a good idea to discuss amount of hours you will need. Recommended minimum coverage is 2hrs, it would cover guests arrival, ceremony, family group photos outside the building and couple photoshoot. You can add more hours if you decide to get preparation photos or include more locations for the wedding photos.

Group photos can be taken outside the Registrar’s Office, there is enough space for bigger weddings with many guests.

group photos at the City chambersfamily photo outside City Chambers

Photoshoot locations:

  • Registry Office entrance
  • Parliament Square with St Giles & Supreme Court buildings
  • Royal Mile & the Grassmarket
  • The Vennel
  • Calton Hill
  • Holyrood Park


Rainy Day photoshoot locations

Registry Office indoors

I always try to take a few group photos inside the City Chambers – either in the ceremony room or in the waiting lounge outside Alexander Suite. Sometimes I take a few photos of a wedding couple on the stairs.

inside city chambers in edinburgh

Parliament House

Located just behind St Giles Cathedral, Parliament House is a complex of several buildings housing the Supreme Courts of Scotland. I often use space under the arches to create some beautiful portraits of a wedding couple. This is my favourite location for a photoshoot in the Old Town.

elope to edinburgh


Cityscape photoshoot locations

Registry Office outdoors

Outside of the City Chambers makes a beautiful background for the wedding photos: the entrance to the Registry Office is sheltered and provided pockets of lovely light. This is also where I take all family group photos after the ceremony.

narcissus wedding bouquet

Parliament Square & St Giles Cathedral 

Only a short walk away from the Registry Office, this area is great for photos with historic building in the background. I often take some photos on the steps of St Giles Cathedral. This area can be busy with tourists but I am usually able to find a secluded spot for an intimate session.

St Giles steps photo

Royal Mile 

Edinburgh’s most touristy street, stretching from the Holyrood Palace up to the Edinburgh Castle. If you are up for an exploration there are many hidden alleys for intimate photos. From here you can walk towards Victoria Terrace for a photo with the Grassmarket buildings in the background. I adore colourful doors and old vintage shops on the way to Grassmarket. The Royal Mile is a long street that can be explored all day.

Couple kissing in one of the passages on the Royal Mile.Victoria terrace photosroyal mile wedding photoshoot

Princes Gardens

West Princes Street Gardens with colourful Ross Fountain is a good location with a view of the Edinburgh Castle in  the background. I recommend visiting the Gardens between Autumn and Spring as it gets busy in the Summer with people having picnics in the Gardens.

edinburgh castle wedding photo

The Vennel

My top location for the photo with The Edinburgh Castle. The Vennel is a cute secluded passage with narrow steps, old buildings and an amazing view of the Castle. It is easy to reach from the Grassmarket and easy to climb. At some times can be busy with people taking photos however it is worth a visit.

The Vennel photos in Edinburgh

Landscape photoshoot locations

Edinburgh is one of these cities that have everything – old historical buildings, hills, and a sea view. And you don’t need to travel far for some greenery and nature trails.

Calton Hill

This is a great location if you have a bit more time for the photos. Calton Hill is around 15 minute walk from the City Chambers, climbing to the top of the hill takes another 5 minutes. The views of the city & Arthur’s Seat are outstanding making it also a very popular location for proposals! Being one of the busiest attractions I recommend taking photos in the early evening before the sun goes down.

Calton Hill wedding photos

Holyrood Park & Arthur’s Seat

And finally, another outdoor location you might consider as an alternative to wedding photos in the Old Town. Holyrood Park & Arthur’s Seat have hills, cliffs, lochs and yellow gorse in the Spring and Summer. I could easily spend hours there, wandering around and taking photos. Adventurous couples can choose to have a wedding ceremony at St Anthony’s Chapel, old ruins one can reach easily by 10 minutes hike. Although busy with tourists and hikers, it is easy to find secluded space because the park is so huge.


Artur's seat wedding photos Holyrood Park wedding photosHolyrood Park elopement

Edinburgh City Chambers wedding stories

I visited City Chambers many times as a wedding and elopement photographer, covering beautiful wedding stories. Check links to some of my weddings for an inspiration:

Olivia & Declan had a Chinese – Scottish wedding with a reception at the Imperial Palace Restaurant. We went for a stroll around the Old Town for some pictures. I loved Olivia’s traditional Chinese dress, as well as the evening dress.

Olivia & Declan walking through confetti outside City Chambers in Edinburgh.

Zoe & Chris, a pair of wedding photographers got married at the Edinburgh Registry Office followed by a small reception at their family’s home. It was a small intimate wedding with closest family and friends. It is always an honour to document other photographer’s wedding!

Zoe and Chris exchanging wedding rings in the Alexander Suite at the Registry Office.

Jessica & Miles have travelled from Chicago for their rainy wedding day in Edinburgh. The couple was getting ready at the Witchery, outstanding boutique hotel up on the Castle Esplanade. We went to the Holyrood Park for some photos just before the storm hit.

Jessica and Miles standing outside of registrar's office before it rains.

Rachel & Huub travelled from Devon for their Halloween elopement in Edinburgh. We met in the Holyrood Park first to take some photos in the natural light as their wedding ceremony was planned for 5pm. Their wedding vows were very emotional, there were tears too.

Rachel and Huub walking to the City Chambers in Edinburgh to get married.


Wedding photography prices

Elopement packages prices start from £700 for two hour coverage. This would cover wedding ceremony, family photos outside the City Chambers and couple photoshoot in the Old Town/Holyrood Park. Available between Monday and Friday.

Lastly, when is best time to get married in Edinburgh? Any time of the year is good! However, getting married in August is more expensive due to Fringe Festival taking place on the Royal Mile. The street is extremely busy so locations might be limited.

eloping during fringe festival in edinburgh