Kensington Palace, one of six palaces cared for by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, welcomed 120 high profile wedding planners, press and bloggers to the charity’s annual cross-palace wedding showcase on Wednesday 21 November.
The evening began with a Cattier champagne reception in the King’s Drawing Room, part of the State Apartments which were recently licensed to host civil ceremonies for the very first time. Decorated with floral plinths by Hayford & Rhodes, guests took in their surroundings whilst enjoying drinks and canapes served by Blue Strawberry, including prosciutto cannelloni with crispy ham, mushroom and truffle & pea mousse and roasted pumpkin & mandarin ice-cream lollipop.
Guests were then seated in the King’s Gallery for a welcome speech by Alex Donnelly-Palmer, Events and Operations Manager at Kensington Palace. Keynote speakers Kim Parker, Executive Fashion and Jewellery Director of Harper’s Bazaar, and Martin Williams from Sotheby’s Institute of Art then took to the stage to give an insightful talk on the history of wedding fashion over the last 200 years.
Following the keynote speech, guests moved to the new Kensington Palace Pavilion where they had the opportunity to explore the space and be inspired by Historic Royal Palace’s event partners. A calligraphy station by Ananya Cards, furniture showrooms by Great Hire and four varying chef’s table experiences by Blue Strawberry, enjoyed with a specially paired wine selection, were all in situ in the Pavilion. As part of the chef’s table experience, guests enjoyed a variety of dishes including confit of Scottish salmon, Goosnargh duck breast and Scallop ceviche with soy & parmesan veloute.
Entertainment was provided by Sternberg Clarke, with performances by Jack Pack and Wandering Hands. At 8.30, The Frobacks surprised guests with an energetic dance performance, followed by a fashion show showcasing dresses from The Wedding Gallery by designers including Suzanne Neville, J. Andreatta, and Inbal Dror. Interspersed in the central gold catwalk were three floral mountains by Hayford & Rhodes of up to 8ft tall, which the models meandered through to show-stopping effect.
Following the fashion show, the catwalk was transformed into a dessert station where guests were encouraged to forage amongst the floral displays for treats such as salted butter & earl grey fudge, champagne & white peach jelly with gold leaf and white chocolate & truffle ‘Ferrero Rocher’.
Performances continued by Sternberg Clarke’s musicians until the evening came to a close at 10pm.
On the evening’s proceedings, Alex Donnelly Palmer commented: “We were thrilled with this year’s wedding showcase; it was a wonderful way to demonstrate the capabilities of not only Kensington Palace’s versatile new Pavilion and newly licensed State Apartments but all six of the incredible palaces in our portfolio. Our event partners pulled out all the stops and delivered a fantastic experience for our guests – we couldn’t have hoped for a better evening.”
Liz Young, Head of Events at Historic Royal Palaces, continued: “Each palace in our portfolio has its own personality, and the showcase is the perfect medium to offer guests a valuable insight into how they can utilise our event suppliers and expert events teams across all six palaces, to maximise our stunning canvases for their creation. It is also the perfect opportunity to communicate to guests how weddings at the palaces play their part in ensuring the palaces are well maintained and open for all to enjoy, as income raised from events is reinvested in conservation, public access and educational activities.”
Suppliers on the night included Blue Strawberry (food), Wise Productions, Hayford & Rhodes (florals), Sternberg Clarke (entertainment), Great Hire (furniture), Skin London (models), The Wedding Gallery (dresses), Ananya Cards (invitations), ByLumiere (photography), Boutique Brands (Champagne and Gin), VII Hills Italian Dry Gin, Cattier Champagne