Just several blocks removed from the hippies, t-shirt vendors and free spirits of Telegraph Avenue, stands a beautiful building, whose elegant façade only gives a small taste of the beauty found within. This is Julia Morgan’s Berkeley City Club – an elegant wedding venue in a most unexpected place.
Throughout her prolific career, architect Julia Morgan (of Hearst Castle fame) also spent considerable time designing buildings for institutions that exclusively served women. Constructed in 1929, The Berkeley City Club (originally the Berkeley Women’s City Club) is one of these famous buildings, and a California Historical Landmark.
Planning Your Wedding at the Berkeley City Club
The club has several stately rooms and some very distinctive features that make it appealing for your wedding celebration. Several unique rooms can play accommodate an intimate wedding ceremony, such as the Drawing Room, with its rich ceiling, candles and intricate tapestries. On a warm, dry day, the ivy-covered Terrace or the courtyards are also a good option. Much like in Julia’s Hearst Castle, all of the rooms have a very unique feel, and are a joy to explore. One of my favorites is the Members’ Lounge, with its red upholstery, warm lighting and antique book collection.
One thing that isn’t prominently featured on the venue’s website, but which I really appreciated (from the outside, of course) is the Ladies’ Powder Room. With it’s large mirror and old-world comforts, this is one of the most unique bridal preparation rooms in the Bay Area. A great place to get ready for your Berkeley City Club wedding.
As a preferred wedding photographer of the Berkeley City Club, I’ve spent much time exploring the rooms and the grounds of the City Club. I can honestly say that it provides some of the most interesting and organic photo locations.
Berkeley City Club wedding photos should utilize the gorgeous window light that streams in through the lead glass windows all around the building. The building interiors themselves can be quite dark, lit dimly by tungsten lamps, but this provides a great opportunity for some classical portraits by window light.
Attention to Detail
Beginning with the striking carvings above the main entrance, the building is replete with Moorish and Gothic elements and textures that beg to be captured. The main stairway, as well as the buildings many arches and doorways make create some perfect settings for Berkeley City Club wedding photography.
Ambiance is Everything
The rooms are lit by a combination of window light and some lamps and chandeliers. The key to beautiful Berkeley City Club wedding pictures is preserving the quality of this available light. I always work with fast, low-light lenses, and carefully blend the ambient light with flash or other light sources when necessary.