Dublin City Hall – Plan Your Perfect City Wedding

City Hall - Dame St. Dublin 2

City Hall is my all time favourite ceremony locations in Dublin City! 

I’d say I’ve shot at least 20 weddings here over the years & I never get sick it ^^,

It’s such a beautiful building & in the perfect location for cool city locations for your photos after & for moving on to your next venue – Fallon & Byrne, Medley, The Dean, No 25 Fitzwilliam Place etc.

It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally pulled together this little blogpost to give couples a better idea of how a Dublin City Hall wedding looks and hopefully it’s got plenty of info & photos to help you plan your own day! 

Here’s the link to view the official City Hall brochure >>> here <<<

And here are their contact details

Telephone: 01 222-2918

Email: cityhall@dublincity.ie

Website: www.dublincity.ie

The History

“Dublin City Hall, built between 1769 and 1779 and designed by Thomas Cooley, is a magnificent example of the Georgian architecture for which Dublin is world-renowned. The stone work is by the English stonemason, Simon Vierpyl and the gilded work by the Dublin stuccadore, Charles Thorp.

Twelve murals depicting historical and legendary scenes of Dublin lie between the impressive columns supporting the ornate gold-leafed dome over the Rotunda room. Originally bare, these twelve panels were painted between 1914 and 1919 by James Ward, a master at the Metropolitan Institute of Art in Dublin at the time. An elegant space for sculpture, statues of Daniel O’Connell, Thomas Drummond, Thomas Davies and Charles Lucas surround the circular 2-inch thick marble floor.

A circular mosaic of the Dublin City Coat of Arms is the focal point of the floor, re-laid in 1898 to a design of the City Architect Charles J. McCarthy. The white marble surrounding it is Portland stone from the Isle of Wight, the light grey-blue coloured marble is Sicilian and the remaining marble is from counties Kilkenny, Galway and Cork.

The spectacular City Hall has a rich historical past from the early days when Dublin merchants used it as a business centre to today where it has many functions as a venue for council meetings, events and wedding ceremonies. We are delighted that on your very special day, you will have the opportunity to become part of the rich history of this beautiful 18th century building.”

Text – City Hall wedding’s brochure

The Space

In case you haven’t visited City Hall before I’ll try to give you a sense of the layout. 

To start the main entrance is on Dame st. It’s at the intersection of Parliament St and Dame St to be exact. 

There are two lovely sets of exterior steps to go up at the front or there is also a side entrance to the right of the building and also a entrance on the lefthand side which is where you’d go if you need to use the lift – prams, wheelchair users etc. 

Fyi there is no official parking here at all. You can pull in at the right entrance but unless you have a driver with the car you can’t stay here. You’d definitely get a ticket or be clamped! 

So then the building itself is essentially a huge open plan square. 

You have a little area at the front with a reception desk and then you’re immediately in to the main hall. 

There are also two large open areas on each side – these are separated from the main area by some beautiful columns.  The left area is used as a place to greet guest / have a drinks reception post ceremony. The right side is usually empty and is a great place for some family photos. 

Confirming your Ceremony / What’s Included

“A City Hall ceremony costs €1,250.00. After the two-week provisional hold, a €550 deposit payment and your booking form confirms your booking. The €700 balance is due one month before your wedding.”

City Hall Will Provide

  • You have the venue for three hours, one hour before your ceremony to set up and two hours for your ceremony and photos/optional drinks reception.
  • PA system – iPod music only & reading
  • An Antique table and chairs for both of you and your celebrant
  • 180 City Hall gold Chiavari guest chairs
  • Coat rails
  • A City Hall staff member present throughout to ensure everything runs smoothly
  • An escort for the arrival of the wedding couple/bride/ partner
  • Security guards on each door


As you can see in the snaps above one {or both of the couple – lots of couples I shoot walk down the aisle together} arrive and park up at the side entrance and then you walk around to the front steps to enter. 

City Hall looks pretty damn epic when you’re walking down the aisle!  You have the huge doorway with light spilling in for some beautiful contre-jour shots. 

A note on light in City Hall. It can vary quite a lot depending on the time of year. In summer it’s usually flooded with light from all sides & you get gorgeous bright/airy photos. However in winter or on very dull days it can be quite dark up at the front. You can always still get amazing shots here but just to bear in mind that the vibe might be more atmospheric & grainy shots if the light is low. 

Another great thing about City Hall ceremonies is that you have a few options for where to sit. I’m personally a big fan of placing the seats to one side and angling back to face your guests but you can also centre up your seats & face forwards if you want to be more immersed in the ceremony … or if the idea of looking at everyone the whole time makes you more nervous!

The nitty gritty of planning a ceremony

“Registering Your Wedding.  Regardless of whether you choose a civil or a secular ceremony, all prospective wedding couples must contact the HSE to give notice of their intention to marry at least three months before their wedding date. Once notice is given, you then decide on the type of ceremony you prefer i.e. civil or secular. Civil ceremonies are performed Monday- Friday, usually at 3.30pm by a HSE Registrar and secular ceremonies are performed Monday-Saturday, any time between 12 noon and 3.30pm by a registered humanist solemniser.

Booking Your Ceremony.  After registering your intent to marry with the HSE, the HSE will appoint a civil registrar to perform your ceremony if you decide on a civil ceremony. If however you prefer a humanist marriage, in addition to contacting the HSE, you will also need to contact the Humanist Association of Ireland to arrange for a registered secular humanist solemniser listed on their website www.humanism.ie to perform your ceremony.

Both types  of ceremony are legally binding. City Hall will hold your chosen date provisionally for two weeks while you organise a civil registrar or humanist solemniser and your reception venue. ”

Drinks Reception

” A Canapé and Drinks Reception option is available to have after your ceremony. Your guests will make their way to the east wing of the Rotunda to mingle and chat over canapés and a glass of prosecco”

It totally depends on your timeline but I usually find the timing at the drinks reception goes something like – 20 minutes hugging guests {aka the greeting line, if you do one}, 20/30 mins mingling & enjoying a drink, 10 mins family photos, 5 mins to set up a big group shot and then however long you want to spend doing some fun wedding party & couple portraits.

Family Portraits

There are so many lovely options for family photos here. 

My favourite is beside the big doors/windows on the right hand side. 

Deepening on the light you can also shoot back in the ceremony area or nearer the drinks reception {you just run the risk of it taking longer because of photo bombers & guests taking their own shots}.

You also have the option of shooting outside at the main doors – there are two lovely alcoves here – or on the steps.

Wedding Party

If I’ve shot a lot of the family portraiture inside I usually like to mix it up for the wedding party photos.

My favourite spot is just outside City Hall, as if you’re heading in to Dublin Castle.

Couple Portraits

Finally I love to get a big mix of interior & exterior shots for your couple portraits.

There are so, so many places to choose from. Literally every corner is so photogenic!