IT has provided the picturesque setting for thousands of brides and grooms tying the knot.

But yesterday wedding bells rung out for the final time at 22 Park Circus in Glasgow after 20 years of civil marriage ceremonies.

More than 26,000 ceremonies have been carried out in the building since 1994 but the lease for the building has expired and the city council, which is responsible for the registrar's service, has decided to move on to new premises.

Fiona Borland, the city's chief registrar, said: "It used to be the only place in Glasgow where civil marriages could legally be conducted. Everything has changed now and today weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can be held in a variety of settings and venues from hotels and museums to universities and football grounds."

Glasgow's registrar's service is one of the busiest in Scotland with an average 1500 weddings and civil partnership ceremonies conducted each year.

Andrew Roy, 48, and Shona Mitchell, 43, were the first couple to wed on the last day of ceremonies at Park Circus, but had no idea when they made the arrangements that it would be on such a historic day.

Mr Roy said they were "more than proud" to be one of the last couples to get married on the premises while his new wife said: "We were chuffed when we found out. It's a shame because it's a lovely building."

Others to tie the knot yesterday were Gordon Tait and Sarah Sullivan, and Robin Shek and Carol Leung.

Principal registrar Audrey McMullan performed the final five ceremonies to be held in the Park Circus building yesterday.

She said: "Weddings and civil partnerships tend to be happy occasions and it's an important part of history we're part of."

The Park Circus townhouse was built in 1872 for wealthy industrialist Walter Macfarlane. After his death in 1885, the house was taken over by his nephew who employed Glasgow architects to modernise it.

In 1934, the building was acquired as an Italian social club and after the Second World War it was used as a regional Italian consulate. In 1990, it was acquired by developers who in co-operation with Historic Scotland began a programme of restoration.