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RSA House Deliver Their First Covid-Safe Intimate Wedding

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 10:30

Award-winning central London wedding venue RSA House, catering specialists CH&CO and renowned florist Mary Jane Vaughan joined forces to host their first physically distanced wedding together for the wonderful Mr & Mrs Millions. The purpose for RSA was to put into practise all the new procedures and prove that an intimate wedding can be carried out safely in-line with all new Covid-19 safety measures. A key learning is that itis that couples can still have the most memorable day. and that love always wins, even amidst a global pandemic.

Image Credit: ‘Top hats and tea’

The wedding day was held in accordance with safety guidelines established in the ‘Safer events – A Framework for Action’ white paper and Visit Britain accreditations, Westminster council risk assessments and in accordance with public health and government guidance. All guests were sent a personalised RSA House pre-wedding guide and floor plans adhering to household bubbles prior to the wedding day, to help guests feel comfortable and at ease before stepping through the door. The bride comments – “Olivia and team at The RSA House have been absolutely amazing with their Covid-19 safety procedures. We couldn’t, and wouldn’t, have wanted to organise our wedding without their expertise. We’d have been completely lost! The rules are so specific and nuanced, but RSA have got so many guidelines and rules in place it really did put us at ease.”

Image Credit: ‘Top hats and tea’

Thorough signage was placed around the venue, to include two-meter physical distancing floor markers outside in order to manage queues. Additionally, floor markings and signage in the event spaces and public areas was in place to manage a one-way flow of traffic around the venue, to reduce interaction amongst staff and guests. Capacities of the event spaces have been reduced to two meters or one meter where mitigation is in place and all guests wore masks when moving around the venue. During the wedding ceremony, a two meter distance between the couple and registrars was adhered to. All RSA House event staff have completed COVID-secure training and wore masks, aprons and gloves throughout the day. Olivia Parrott, Senior Event Executive, RSA House comments: “Throughout this time, we have tried to turn the challenges around the current restrictions into something positive. There are many new elements and differences to consider and above all ensuring our staff and guest safety is most important.” Olivia goes on to say, “It hasn’t come without its challenges, but we have adapted well to the new way of working. Something that is undoubtable is our ability to maintain a close relationship with couples, working together and guiding them to help create the most enjoyable and memorable wedding day for them, their family and friends.”

Image Credit: ‘Top hats and tea’

The crisp sunny day began with the staggered arrival of the guests to the beautiful Grade ll listed Georgian town house. Digital contactless temperature checks were taken by a member of the RSA reception team. On entry, guests sanitised their hands and lanterns guided their way into the contemporary Benjamin Franklin Room, where the intimate candlelit wedding ceremony took place. The stunning original Troika chandelier beamed light down into the room and guests faced the ornate fire place covered in blooms. The bride comments – “We’ve always wanted to get married in London, it’s where we met and where we’ve spent our whole relationship together. I came across RSA House whilst doing some google searches, and we fell in love with it immediately. We loved the townhouse feel and the different spaces available – it felt so unique compared to other venues we’d seen.”

Image Credit: ‘Top hats and tea’

Following the heartfelt ceremony, guests were guided outside the beautifully historic exterior of RSA House, where the perfect joyful confetti photograph was captured. Guests then moved to the charismatic and recently renovated Tavern room where sparkling Prosecco and a selection of delicate and divine canapés were relished in designated seating areas, matching the seating plan for dinner. Canape choices included smoked mackerel and horseradish pate, pickled cucumber, onion cone, pea and ricotta arancini with smoked tomato ketchup, to name a few. Darren Archer, Executive Chef, RSA House comments – “It is amazing being back doing what we do best, we always strive for the couple and their guests to feel it’s the best food they have ever tasted at a wedding. Food being memorable is more important now than ever”.

Image Credit: ‘Top hats and tea’

A call for dinner was announced and guests made their way to the Great Room which is steeped in history and provided a truly memorable setting for the wedding dining experience. The Great Room is dominated by breath-taking murals which were painted in 1777. The dining tables were dressed in rustic white flowers and foliage, the perfect look for an Autumn London wedding. The flavour and presentation of the three-course dinner was exquisite; dishes included black mustard spiced Dorset crab cake to start, followed by Scotch sirloin and short rib with pomme fondant for the main. In tribute to the couple’s routes, guests indulged in a Yorkshire custard tart, strawberries, passionfruit with ginger cream to finish. The atmosphere was something special as family and friends were safely reunited.

Image Credit: ‘Top hats and tea’

The mother of the groom comments, “The team at RSA were absolutely incredible, they had clearly worked so hard and planned every tiny detail. We cannot thank you enough for making the day so special for us all, the intimacy of the day and laughter we shared made up for not being able to hug each other, thank you for everything, it was all perfect”.

The RSA House Wedding team share their top tips for couples and wedding venues following their first experience of hosting a physically distanced intimate wedding. Key learnings from the day include:

- Intimate doesn’t mean any less lavish and beautiful! Having a smaller celebration can mean a higher budget for other elements such as florals and décor which creates a more memorable impact

- Love always wins! Distance makes the heart grow stronger and, in a world, where you cannot hug or kiss, an intimate wedding with family and friends being safety reunited makes a wedding day even extra special

- A smaller guest list means less expense and being able to celebrate with your nearest and dearest to you

- Don’t underestimate how important it is to over plan! Risk assessments, council protocols and checklists are more important than ever, couples want to know they are in safe hands at a venue like RSA House where this is taken care of and always go the extra mile

- Have a venue Covid safety offer for the event to manage the new procedures. Some people are always likely to break the rules and so there must be processes in place to manage this

- It’s all in the detail – gifts, favours, little personal touches through your day is one thing that isn’t restricted, so make sure personal detail is plentiful throughout the day. Could you offer your all-time favourite cocktails after dinner or provide entertainment? Ideas such as these make up for the no dancing!

- Be patient! We are all in this together, we are following this road through ‘new normal’ together. Be patient with each other, but know in the meantime before weddings are back for good… an intimate celebration really creates memories to last a lifetime

- Ensure to consider venues that are spacious, remember a venue like RSA House that can usually host 120, this is the perfect size for intimate celebrations with distancing

- Never forget a wedding day is about you as a couple, having a small wedding doesn’t take away from this, it makes it even more intimate and special

RSA House have gained the Hire Space ‘Safer Events’ accreditation and Visit England ‘Good to Go’ accreditation.

Download the RSA House wedding brochure and the range of newly launched packages including their ceremony-only package, intimate weddings package and Vaults party-only packageFor further details about hosting your intimate wedding at RSA House please contact weddings@rsa.org.uk.