One Whitehall Place was the venue for Lucie and Simon’s wedding reception, but there was a journey to be had to get there. This journey began at 10.30 in the morning, when Simon – having assembled a posse of ushers on the street corner – knocked on the door of Lan House. Lucie’s female relatives and friends had already gathered by the front door, on the stairs and landings. Here was a formidable female gauntlet for Simon to run. His task was to reach the top floor. There, Lucie waited quietly with the flowergirls. But to get there he was set a series of questions and tasks. These included recognizing Lucie’s lips from a sheet of paper of lipstick marks ( a trick question I think ) and to having to sing, a cappella, in front of everyone – with some background vocals from the ushers. Having reached Lucie, he then escorted her downstairs, to the conservatory, for the Chinese tea ceremony.
After drinks in the garden, it was time to head to the church, a short walk away on High Street Kensington, Our Lady of Victories. This was the church where Lucie’s mother and father got married, and her mother led her down the aisle. Ceremony done – L & S married! Confetti run done and time to jump onto one of the three red Routemaster buses to head to One Whitehall Place…. but this was where the plans had had to change a bit.
“Ride London” was blocking the route to the venue for the buses, so instead they took everyone to Chelsea Harbour. All aboard the ‘Royal Princess’ and a trip down the Thames to the Festival Pier on London’s South Bank, where appropriately the Festival of Love was being held. Lucie and Simon then led everyone across Hungerford Bridge and onto the venue.
One Whitehall Place is now a feature of the five star Horseguards hotel but it was once part of the National Liberal Club below, the foundation stone being laid by William Gladstone in 1884. ( The land was also once home to the Kings of Scotland when residing in London, so maybe after the forthcoming referendum? ). It’s an impressive, luxurious London wedding venue – if not the lightest. The Gladstone library, where the meal is held, has 65,000 books on the surrounding shelves. Well it did, the actual books at now at The University of Bristol. What you see there now are faithful recreations of the book spines only. Still, a nice space. As is the Reading and Writing room where the reception is held with it’s ‘classical’ inspired murals. With the bride and groom portraits taken with the Ministry of Defence building as the backdrop, it was a very London wedding.
It was a wedding with a lot of warmth, smiles and laughter. There were also some unresolved question from the speeches. Was the best man really a lying drunkard aged twelve and how did Simon get on with that “Amazonian” beauty at the bar and did his friends tell him the truth…….? 😉
(The last time I shot at one whitehall place was ten years ago – still a good venue)
Here are a few images from the day…