This intimate, COVID-19 friendly London wedding at RSA House was a burst of joy during bleak and uncertain times. After getting engaged during lockdown, the global pandemic didn’t stop Sophie and Ben from tying the knot in London. Their unforgettable celebration was a refreshing reminder that ‘love conquers all’.
Combining the creative talents of renowned florist Mary Jane Vaughan, the award-winning caterers CH&CO, and romantic lighting by Radiance Productions, this was the first physically distanced wedding held at RSA House. The team worked hard to follow the safety procedures set out by Visit Britain accreditations, the Westminster Council Risk Assessments and the Public Health and Government Guidance.
Prior to the marriage of Mr and Mrs Millions, each wedding guest was provided with a personalised pre-wedding guide to keep them informed, comfortable and safe. For example, the handbook reminded guests to keep 2 metres apart and to wear masks whilst in transit indoors. Floor markings were also put in place to create an effective one-way system.
With careful planning and an imaginative group of vendors, Sophie and Ben’s wedding was a memorable, luxurious and extra special occasion. The whole party was thrilled to be back together safely, and the mother of the groom reflected that ‘the intimacy of the day and laughter we shared made up for not being able to hug each other. It was all perfect’.
Real Wedding Venue Highlights
Ceremony and Reception Venue: RSA House London
Location: 8 John Adam St, Charing Cross, London WC2N 6EZ
Wedding style: Classical, Charming, Intimate
Venue Type: Traditional London Townhouse
Photos courtesy of the Groom’s sister, Charlotte Tophats And Tea
Tell us a little bit about your lockdown proposal, and why was London the perfect setting for your special day?
Ben and I met at a festival in South London, through our childhood best friends. They have since got married and they both thought we’d be great together! We were friends for a while then started up a relationship later after spending lots of time together.
We’ve been together for 5 and a half years now and we actually got engaged during the height of lockdown. Ben managed to find the perfect ring from a designer I love and surprised me on our anniversary. Although we didn’t get to see anyone during lockdown, we were able to just focus on each other, drink champagne in the garden and enjoy ourselves. It lifted both of our spirits and it was amazing to have some good news to talk about during such a low time.
We both wanted a city wedding from the start. London is such a huge part of our relationship and it meant so much to us both to have it there. 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.
COVID-19 safety was a huge factor to consider. How did RSA House help you incorporate the guidelines?
The whole RSA House team was absolutely amazing in that respect. 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 nothing is completely black or white, but RSA House has got lots of guidelines and rules in place so it really did put us at ease.
The biggest difference is the lack of mingling, hugging and dancing, which is hard as that’s what weddings used to be all about! The whole day needs to be seated and kept as short as possible. The tables also required a lot of thought, with guests sitting in household ‘bubbles’. Having table names meant everyone knew where they needed to be and where they should sit.
We also had to send everyone’s full contact details in advance for contact tracing, as well as sharing RSA’s safety sheets for everyone to pre-read before the day. I think this is really important as the day depends on everyone following the rules. The other safety measures in place included temperature checking, one-way systems, wearing masks when required, frequent hand sanitizing and minimal touching of surfaces.
The ceremony took place in The Benjamin Franklin Room
The autumn wedding day began with the staggered arrival of the guests into RSA House, a gorgeous Grade II listed Georgian townhouse in central London. Members of RSA staff were on hand to provide hand sanitizer and take digital contactless temperature checks in the entrance hall. These are now fairly normal procedures in public spaces, so it all felt seamless and reassuring more than anything.
They were led through to the beautiful Benjamin Franklin Room, where the intimate wedding ceremony was held in front of the period fireplace, adorned with candles and cascades of flowers. The spectacular Troika chandelier reflected light up on to the ceiling and all around, which made for a memorable photo moment taken by Charlotte Millions of Tophats and Tea.
The wedding reception continued in the Tavern Room and Great Room
Following the heartwarming ceremony, guests showered the newlyweds with confetti as they walked out through the classical townhouse frontage of RSA House. After some joyful photos of the couple and guests outside, they moved into the recently renovated Tavern room where sparkling Prosecco and delicious canapés by CH&CO were served in designated seating areas.
A call for dinner was announced and then guests ascended into the Great Room via the spellbinding marble staircase. The 26 guests enjoyed a unique three-course dining experience surrounded by the remarkable 18th-century murals overhead. Romantic ivory coloured flowers and fresh foliage set the tone for a timeless occasion and the couple arranged polaroid place cards for table settings, which doubled up as keepsakes for the guests.
The bespoke CH&CO menu was as follows:
- Black mustard spiced Dorset crab cake, tamarind chutney, radish raita
- Scotch sirloin and short rib, pomme fondant, cep puree, tarragon baked carrot
- Yorkshire custard tart, strawberries, passionfruit, ginger cream
What are your top wedding tips for engaged couples during these uncertain times?
Try to not stress about what’s out of your control. With the rules changing month by month, it’s almost impossible to be certain about how the day will run and what will be allowed. Plan what you can and be flexible. It also really helps to have an understanding of the venue and a positive relationship with the staff. The other thing would be don’t sweat the guest list too much, as people will completely understand if they’re not invited or are uninvited to the day.
Top four things that Easy Weddings love about RSA House weddings:
The central location. RSA House is located just off the Strand, surrounded by quintessential London architecture. You’ll never fall short of photo opportunities!
The variety of event spaces. You’ll have exclusive access to the entire wedding venue, which features an original marble staircase, priceless artworks and the vaults below.
Delicious in-house cuisine. CH&CO is the exclusive culinary partners at RSA House. They will work closely with you to create a bespoke menu that caters for all allergies.
High-quality supplier list. RSA House has a little black book of all the best wedding contacts in the industry. From exquisite florals to a vibrant band, they can link you up.
To book RSA House for your upcoming London wedding, visit the website today.
RSA House has gained the Hire Space ‘Safer Events’ accreditation and Visit England ‘Good to Go’ accreditation. The venue is now open to host wedding ceremonies and receptions for up to 15 guests.
Venue: RSA House / Photographer: Charlotte Millions / Caterer: CH&CO / Flowers: Mary Jane Vaughan Designs / Stationery: Papier / Bride Attire: Reformation / Bridal Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Groom Attire: Reiss / Groom Shoes: Arket / Bridesmaid Dresses: ASOS / Rings: Michelle Oh