Make History at Caldwell House: A Wedding in the Second Oldest Building in Singapore

Here at The Wedding Scoop, we get as excited about new wedding venues as most Singaporeans get about new places to eat. So you can imagine how much buzz we had going around the office when we heard that the beautiful Caldwell House at CHIJMES would be reopening as a wedding venue perfect for intimate celebrations of up to around 100 guests!

First, a little bit about Caldwell House. Gazetted as a national monument in 1990, this beautiful Neo-Palladian bungalow is the second oldest building in Singapore, and sits in the CHIJMES complex in the heart of the city.

Caldwell House was built from 1840 – 1841 by Irish architect George Drumgoole Coleman, an instrumental figure in Singapore’s early development. G.D. Coleman was the Superintendent of Public Works in Singapore and responsible for the layout of Singapore in 1822. He designed some of our most beloved and iconic historical buildings – the old Parliament House (now called the Arts House) and the Armenian Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator. Caldwell House’s unique semi-circular frontage and large Doric columns supporting a vaulted timber ceiling are beautiful examples of G.D. Coleman’s neoclassical style.

Caldwell House’s most distinctive feature, the dome (pictured below), still bears its original French inscription - Marche en ma presence et sois parfait, translated as “Walk with me and be perfect” – a fitting sentiment for a celebration of two hearts joining as one.

An integral part of Singapore’s heritage

The history of Caldwell House is entwined with some of Singapore’s most prestigious institutes of learning.

Caldwell House was purchased from H.C. Caldwell by Father Jean-Marie Beurel, a French priest from the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris and the founder of Saint Joseph’s Institution, to build a charitable institution for girls. He also approached the Reverend Mother Superior General of the Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus to enlist some sisters in starting a school for girls.

In 1854, four sisters, led by the Reverend Mother Mathilde Raclot, sailed to Singapore from Penang to build the school. They reached Singapore on 5 February 1854 and took up residence at Caldwell House - the first quarters of the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. They turned the convent into an orphanage, refuge, and school for women, enrolling their first students just 10 days after arriving. The school operated on the CHIJMES premises until 1983, when it moved to its current location.

In 1949, Saint Nicholas Girls’ School was also incorporated on the convent grounds, eventually moving to its own premises.

A luxurious step into history

The Grand Gallery on the second floor of Caldwell House, renamed The Alcove, is managed by Watabe Wedding Singapore, and is available for wedding events of around 30 to 100 guests. Like the rest of the CHIJMES complex, Caldwell House is stunningly beautiful, but what makes it extraordinary is the history that lives on in the building. When your wedding guests step into the comfortable and luxurious bay of the second floor of Caldwell House, they will be relaxing in the very same bay that was the lounge of the Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus more than 150 years ago. When alumni of CHIJ get married, they will be standing on the very grounds of the founding of their alma mater. It’s truly a beautiful and unique historical venue, rich in heritage.

The complete wedding solution

In addition to providing Caldwell House as a venue, Watabe also offers its expertise and experience in everything wedding-related. A dedicated wedding planner is assigned to each bride to attend to her every need, including wedding coordination, customary rites, F&B, hair and makeup, photography, videography, and even the bride’s wedding dress and evening gown for her big day.

To this end, Watabe has also collaborated with gown designer Jessicacindy, to create an exclusive collection of 31 different wedding and evening gowns inspired by nature and the architecture of CHIJMES Hall, under the label ETHEREAL by Watabe & Jessicacindy. This exclusive collection is available at Caldwell House and viewing is by appointment only.

Photos by Lightedpixels Pixies

Common questions for venues

Watabe’s Chief Planner, Alexa, was kind enough to share a list of common questions that she receives from couples, to help ensure that you don’t miss out any important questions when selecting your venue.  We hope you find it useful!




Vendor Information
Venue: Caldwell House, CHIJMES


{This feature is brought to you in collaboration with Watabe Wedding Singapore.}