Once upon a time, not so very long ago, we were invited to share a magical Modern Fairy Tale evening at the historic Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace for a wedding showcase. The first example of classical architecture in England, Banqueting House was opened for Royal celebrations and entertaining in 1622. It boasts a rich history, with royals and courtiers walking down the aisle there since 1704, and so dressed in our finery, we set out to explore what this Historic Royal Palace had to offer brides and grooms planning their special day.
Greeted with white illuminated twilight trees and a floral archway, the atmosphere was set, and once inside, it was clear we were in for a treat. Twinkling lights and green foliage stood by more beautiful florals by Philippa Craddock, displayed on plinths around the Main Hall to accompany the drinks reception, dinner and after dinner drinks. These gorgeous blooms led your eye upward to the exquisite Rubens ceiling, under which we ate.
But first there was a fashion show in the Undercroft. This space had been transformed to show how it would work to host a wedding ceremony. It really is an atmospheric space, and with its arches, candle lights and floral decoration it demonstrated its serene beauty. Historically known as James I Drinking Den, the Undercroft can host up to 150 guests for the ceremony and up to 380 for pre dinner drinks and the after party. Its vaulted ceiling and long dramatic aisle really lends itself to a beautiful ceremony.
After enjoying the show of Sassi Holford wedding dresses, Two Birds bridesmaid dresses and Apsley Taylors, we headed to the Main Hall for a Ruinart Champagne reception by Moët-Hennessy with canapes and then our three course dinner. The hall was a magical spectacle. Each table was named after a fairytale and decorated with a gorgeous mystical style twisted tree. Chandeliers hung from the stunning ceiling and more twilight trees adorned the impressive space. The Main Hall can be set up in a variety of configurations depending on guest numbers and wedding style. With up to 400 guests for a ceremony, 500 for a drinks reception and 350 for dinner, this is a superb space for a large wedding. However, a set up for 120 guests looks equally stunning, and doesn’t make the space look empty!
Our dinner was accompanied by the String Trio, who serenaded us with contemporary style classic tunes – a perfect accompaniment to our meal. The menu featured cured confit sea trout with pickled pumpkin, charred cucumber, kohlrabi and horseradish to start; a main course of glazed breast of guinea fowl with tomato gnocchi, Jerusalem artichokes and black olive puree; and a lemon posset with white chocolate honeycomb and wild berries to finish. The food was excellent, provided by Blue Strawberry.
Post dinner drinks and dancing followed, with music from JM Band and we were then sent on our way with a delicious sample of cake from Abigail Bloom and the newly launched Banqueting House Bridal Bible.
This Bible gives a really clear view of the options available or this venue. Wedding packages include an event planner, hostesses, cleaner and security guards, to ensure you feel at ease throughout your special day. They also run an approved supplier list for catering, floristry, production and entertainment to ensure suppliers who will deliver a 5 star event as well as preserving the historic 400 year old palace.