GETTING MARRIED IN LONDON:
The Wedding Photographer's Guide to London Wedding Venues
The Old Finsbury Town Hall Wedding Photography & Video
Hidden Gem Elegant Wedding Venue in the Heart of Islington
OLD FINSBURY TOWN HALL
LOCATION: London UK
ADDRESS: Rosebery Ave, London EC1R 4RP
STYLE: Opulence and glamour / Art nouveau vintage décor
CAPACITY: 250 – 300
WHAT WE LOVE:
Absolutely stunning Art Nouveau architecture and vintage decor sure to wow your guests. Available for exclusive use hire.
WHAT MAKES LONDON’S THE OLD FINSBURY TOWN HALL A GREAT MATCH FOR DOCUMENTARY STYLE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY ?
One of the things we love about being photographers and videographers for weddings in London in particular is the hidden gems that we discover. You can be walking along any ordinary street and look at a building that might have some interesting features but doesn’t necessarily especially stand out from its neighbours and yet inside you find something truly extraordinary. The historic Finsbury Town Hall is one of those venues.
Looking from the outside the building is certainly attractive. It has an unusual shape, interesting facade, and an interesting vintage stained glass entrance, but in a city filled to the brim with extraordinary architecture, it doesn’t necessarily immediately scream out to you just how special this venue truly is. Step through those double doors though and that all changes rather quickly!
Inside the art nouveau decor is just mesmerising. From the ornately decorated high arched ceilings of the great hall to the white pillars and domed ceiling of the council chambers you can’t help but be wowed by the beauty and elegance of the setting. It’s easy to see why the building holds Grade II listed status and with a grand sweeping staircase and a multitude of spaces to spill out to you can be absolutely sure to impress your guests with Finsbury Town Hall’s immersive grandeur.
``There's always a danger that a venue as historic and ornate as the Old Finsbury Town Hall can end up feeling a little overly formal or even stuffy. Thankfully this is one London venue where that certainly doesn't seem to be the case!``
For us as street style wedding photographers and videographers, it’s perhaps that contrast between inside and out that most fascinates us. Inside you’re surrounded by opulence but step outside and you’re straight onto the busy, bustling streets of Islington – a great playground for our particular style of photography.
What’s also attractive to our documentary photographic sensibilities though is just the approach that the venue staff take to weddings. There’s always a danger that a venue as historic and ornate as the Old Finsbury Town Hall can end up feeling a little overly formal or even stuffy. Thankfully this is one London venue where that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case! Whilst there are plenty of facilities and recommendations they’re happy to make the team aim to make the space as flexible as possible to suit individual needs. And from our personal experience photographing weddings at this venue, despite its’ opulence the mood of a celebration here definitely comes from you, not from the decor …
The venue would certainly fit a more formal, black-tie style of wedding if that’s the feel you want to give but somehow it feels equally at home to a super-relaxed style event. As reportage wedding photographers and filmmakers we always find that the feel of a wedding inevitably feeds out from the approach of the couple on the day and it’s definitely the case here! All in all Old Finsbury Town Hall is the perfect central London setting for any kind of wedding – big, small, relaxed or formal and it’s the perfect place to let your guests explore and admire, leaving your photographers free to capture some amazing candid, unposed documentary wedding photography and videography in a spectacular setting.
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ABOUT THE VENUE – THE OLD FINSBURY TOWN HALL
Islington has always been one of our favourite parts of London for a wedding. Arty, central yet not too busy, and with a warm neighbourhood feel it’s a great location for a wedding and full of fantastic venues, not least The Old Finsbury Town Hall!
The venue itself is relatively subtle on the outside but once you step inside it’s anything but! Grand sweeping staircases, meticulously ornate ceilings, sculptures, historical art and beautiful art nouveau decor throughout – in short an absolutely beautiful setting for a wedding!
Turning to the more practical side of things one of the best features of the venue is simply the space available! With a standing capacity of 300 and a banqueting capacity of 200 the Great Hall is clearly the centrepiece of the building and a truly magnificent setting for any type of wedding. For the less enormous guestlist though there’s also the Council Chamber, suitable for 100 standing or 60 banqueting – the perfect space for lots of weddings and also a great space to have in addition to the Great Hall either as a break-out space or to host a smaller ceremony before the additional reception guests arrive!
Not satisfied with merely two large, stunning spaces though the Old Finsbury Town Hall has its very own specially dedicated Wedding Room! Perfect for an intimate ceremony with up to 30 guests seated (or 40 standing if you so choose!) It would also potentially make a great space for a créche, photobooth or really anything else you can think up!!
What’s particularly lovely about the Old Finsbury Town Hall though is that your hire fees don’t just go into the coffers of the venue, they’re used to support the incredible, renowned Urdang academy – an incredible drama school that relies on bursaries like those generated by the venue to continue training the stars of the future! So not only do you get a stunning wedding venue but you get to support a worthy cause in the process!
So if you’re looking for a space with huge capacity, great transport links, central location and some serious glamour and elegance the Old Finsbury Town Hall might just be the perfect wedding venue for you!
Oh my lord, these guys are good. I’d give them six stars if I could. We saw the photos they did of a friend’s wedding and were completely blown away by what we saw, so had high hopes when we booked Dom and Liam for ours. And boy, did they deliver. They absolutely captured the atmosphere, the feeling, the love. The photos are intimate, expressive, stunningly artistic. And they are SO NICE to deal with – professional, passionate, lovely. And they put in a shift – most wedding photographers seem to melt away after the first dance, but Dom and Liam were there from before the very start and stayed well into the night, capturing brilliant dancefloor fun. I literally cannot recommend these guys highly enough, we are beyond delighted with what they delivered.
- Juliet & Richard
FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE OF LIGHT & SPACE
There are a lot of different factors that go into finding the perfect wedding venue for you, particularly in a busy metropolis like London where there are so many possibilities! A good starting point is, of course, thinking about the kind of mood you want to create – do you want an all-out raucous party from start to finish? Are you looking for something completely unique, are you looking to break the mould and go industrial chic? Or are you looking for something truly elegant like the Old Finsbury Town Hall where you can also put your own spin on things?
Once you’ve narrowed down the style though a few practicalities inevitable kick-in: Where are your guests likely to be coming from and how are they getting there? Do you want the ceremony and reception to take place in the same space? How many guests do you actually need to be able to accommodate for the different stages of the day? Whilst ultimately it’s the venue you fall in love with that you should probably go with, all of these factors are likely to play a part in your decision.
In terms of accommodating the guests though it’s not always just a question of capacity, it’s also about the feel that you want to create, and that can be a real balancing act. Filling a venue with too many people (even if it can technically cater for them) can make some spaces start to feel a little cramped and keep people confined to smaller areas rather than using the full space. And when that happens people can become a little segregated and the atmosphere can suffer – the event can become a little more stifled with people unable to play, to truly interact and to act spontaneously (all three of which are the key things we as wedding photojournalists and documentary videographers are personally always seeking out!)
Really this is where light and space truly come into play. One of the reasons we love the Old Finsbury Town Hall is those huge windows and incredibly high ceilings. With enough light filling the room and plenty of space above you lose that claustrophobic feeling even with the venue absolutely packed. No matter how many guests you invite the venue’s aways going to feel light and airy and that sets the tone for the reception just perfectly.
``No matter how many guests you invite the venue's aways going to feel light and airy and that sets the tone for the reception just perfectly.``
The feeling of light and space is particularly important when choosing a venue without an outdoor area. Inevitably in the UK the unpredictable weather determines that the indoor space available is going to be the most important and with an airy space like the Grand Hall it almost feels like you could be outside, just with the benefit of heating and lack of rain!
From a wedding photographer’s point of view, all that lovely natural light is, of course, going to be a huge bonus too and help to create lovely natural imagery without the need for flash or additional lighting. Whilst as documentary wedding photographers and videographers we personally choose to always embrace the lighting conditions just the way they are in order to capture the true feel of the day, many photographers will prefer to reach for the flashgun in darker conditions which does change the way your photographs are going to look and the way your guests are going to feel about being photographed so it’s just another small detail to think about!
Of course, it’s not just weddings with huge guest lists where the amount of space needs to be considered. The Great Hall may have a capacity of 300 but it could equally host a smaller event. The danger here, of course, is that too few people can mean that the room dwarfs the party and it feels like the room is empty. But this is where a little creativity can actually once again turn things to your advantage. Bringing in trees or larger decorations, a photo booth, sweet stalls, dance-off zones, buffet areas, having a live band on stage – all of these things help to compress the space and utilise such a dramatic room to its maximum potential whilst creating just the kind of party mood you’re looking for.
Nearby 24hr car parks (at weekends):
NCP Saffron Street (Secure) *recommended booking ahead
Brittania Street Euro Car Parks (13mins walk) *limited spaces
PUBLIC TRANSPORT (RECOMMENDED):
Tube – Angel (Northern Line) – 7mins walk
– Farringdon Station (Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City & Circle Lines) – 13mins walk
Nearest Airport: London City (approx 30mins drive, 43mins Rail)
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