Caledonian Club Wedding Photography
recent work // LONDON
If you're proud of your Scottish roots or you just love the inviting tartan decor, this private members club and wedding venue is a little bit of Scotland in the heart of Belgravia. Founded in 1891, The Caledonian Club is considered one of the friendliest in London. I've seen members pop in for a drink in the bar before weddings celebrations have started. They enjoy the chance to make early wedding guests feel welcome in their home from home. The club on Halkin Street is only a stones throw away from Buckingham Palace. Blessed with some of the capital's loveliest churches and easy transport links for Civil Ceremonies venues around Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. Indeed, a few couples choose the club itself to tie the knot.
Since living off Caledonian Road for the last 8 years, I seem to be photographing a few Caledonian Club weddings! While they're different sides of the square mile, I don't charge for my travel in central London. Taking pictures here is always a blast and I hope you enjoy this selection from a few of my lovely couples over the years...
The Caledonian Club
Originally a private residence, the heart of the property boasts an imposing wrap around staircase. I've always appreciated the unfussy elegance of the rooms which feel like they're ready to be danced in and enjoyed, rather than admired with strict caution. The beautiful antique furniture is not roped off. Immaculate reception rooms offer an impressive setting for your wedding celebrations. The attractive red brick arch is flanked by victorian rough iron lanterns. Inside vintage crystal chandeliers and ancient oil paintings adorn the walls. Several banquet rooms are available for the wedding breakfast. The air conditioned Johnnie Walker Room is a modern space compared to the more traditional ballroom and rooms on the ground floor but you can take your pick and use as you wish. The floor to ceiling sash windows flood the rooms with natural daylight, giving great photographic opportunities. I dislike using on camera flash and the window light adds to the elegant ambience of the great rooms. A secluded courtyard garden nestles at the rear of the house and serves as a welcome space for cocktail hour receptions and late night cigar smoke. Accommodating up to 150 guests for dinner, you can book the Caledonian Club as exclusive weekend access for your family and friends. Whether you decide to hold your civil ceremony at the club, or at another church or venue nearby. Abigail and her events team will help you create the perfect bespoke wedding package. You may well like to arrange a traditional Ceilidh band to get everyone on the dance floor! It's an awesome way to bring out your guests' inner Scot! Don't forget to enjoy a decent single malt whisky (I do love a wee dram of Old Pulteney or Highland Park Viking Scars myself :)
Belgrave Square Gardens
Although the Caledonian Club has many wonderful period backdrops for group photos, including the fabulous fire places and door arch with potted trees, I always prefer taking portraits outside if the weather is fine. Fortunately, Belgrave Square Gardens is a 2 minute walk and the access key fob can be made available from the club reception on request. Begravia's leafy centrepiece is an orderly 4.5 acres or fabulous private gardens, originally conceived by George Basevi and planted by Thomas Cubitt in 1826. It has been through various incarnations but has now been restored to its 1867 layout. The plane trees are mostly original and the pergolas are covered in gorgeous wisteria that blooms in early summer. Four summershouses (the grandiose romanesque temples) make for beautiful group photo backdrops, depending on how harsh the sunshine. The various tunnels of foliage make soft lighting envelopes, perfect for couple time portraits but a little too narrow for medium or large gathered groups. I love the lush greens and the dappled light bokeh that can be achieved when stopped wide open with an aperture f-stop of 1.4. It creates a dreamy and romantic stage to frame you with your family. While I understand confetti is not permitted in the gardens, one couple had great fun playing with bubbles instead! It made for fun photos as the adults competed with the kids. Bubbles in a sunny park make children of us all! This park is used by residents but they're usually cheering on couples who pop in for a few pictures.
Churches Around Belgravia
One of the cities most affluent locations, Belgravia is a short walk from Victoria Station and Hyde Park Corner. Some of the most beautiful local churches include St. Peter's Church on Eaton Square and St Paul's Knightsbridge. Just around the corner on the Brompton Road, I've photographed at the London Oratory (Alfred Hitchcock married Alma Reville there back in 1926!) and Westminster Cathedral. Chelsea Old Church is another nearby treasure but then it's not much further to all central London has to offer.