RSA House, a Hire Space Accredited Safer Venue, recently held its first physically distanced, COVID-safe wedding for Ben and Sophie (now, Mr and Mrs Millions!). Working together with catering specialists CH&CO and renowned florist Mary Jane Vaughan, the wedding was held in accordance with the safety measures laid out in our Safer Events whitepaper.

Here, we’ll take a look at what measures RSA House put in place to make sure that the event was as safe as possible, as well as a fun and memorable day for the couple and their guests. All photos were captured by Tophats And Tea.

The objective

For RSA House, Ben and Sophie’s wedding was a chance to put into practice the new COVID-19 safety measures and procedures that they’d prepared for, creating a safe and intimate event. At the same time, RSA House wanted to prove that couples can still have the most memorable day, even in the midst of a pandemic!

What they did

Before the big day

To help guests feel comfortable and at ease before even setting foot in the venue, all guests were sent a personalised RSA House pre-wedding guide. This included floor plans, information about RSA House’s safety processes, how guests would be physically distanced and what exactly would be expected of them at the event.  

Guests were also made aware of a designated safe room for anyone who might start to feel unwell on the day, and thanked in advance for their patience and understanding should increased sanitising and cleaning lead to longer waiting times for facilities.

Arrival

Guests arrived at the stunning RSA House at staggered intervals to avoid overcrowding. Thanks to the pre-wedding guidance, all guests were aware of the need to wear face coverings on arrival (which they would need to keep in place throughout the venue, except when eating or drinking at a designated area).

Guests had their temperature checked with a digital contactless thermometer by a member of the RSA House reception team and were able to scan the venue’s QR code for NHS Track and Trace. Then, after sanitising their hands, they proceeded to make their way through to the Benjamin Franklin Room for the ceremony, using the venue’s new one-way system.

Ceremony

The intimate ceremony took place in the contemporary Benjamin Franklin Room, which had a reduced capacity to make sure that physical distancing between guests could be adhered to. The room was candlelit and decorated with blooms for the occasion.

A two-metre distance was maintained between the couple and the registrars, while guests continued to wear their face coverings throughout the heartfelt ceremony.

Drinks and canapés

After moving outside to share a joyful moment scattering confetti over the newly married couple, guests moved onto the Tavern Room. Here, they were served prosecco with a delicious selection of canapés, including smoked mackerel and horseradish pâté, pickled cucumber, onion cone, pea and ricotta arancini with smoked tomato ketchup.

Guests were served in designated seating areas, matching the seating plan that would be in place for dinner and adhering to household bubbles. All RSA staff were wearing masks, aprons and gloves, and continued to do so throughout the day.

This was also the time the couple used to take some gorgeous pictures around the beautiful areas in the house for their wedding portraits.

Dinner

Once the call for dinner was announced, guests continued through the one-way system to the beautiful Great Room, where they were seated in physically distanced configurations at round tables.

After enjoying a three-course dinner that included Scotch sirloin and short rib with pomme fondant, the guests enjoyed listening to traditional speeches and catching up as family and friends were able to be reunited in safety.

COVID-19 safety officers continued to be on duty right until the end of the event and the couple had previously confirmed a member of the wedding party who staff could call upon to help reinforce safety measures. This meant that guests were able to relax in the knowledge that safety measures were being taken seriously, leading to a relaxed and very special atmosphere.

The result

RSA House’s first physically distanced wedding was undoubtedly a huge success, proving that love really does conquer all!

The day demonstrated that an intimate ceremony doesn’t have to be any less lavish or beautiful. In fact, a smaller celebration can leave more room in your budget for other details, such as decor and floral arrangements, which can make the day feel especially memorable.

The wedding day also provided the opportunity for friends and family to safely reunite in a way that they hadn’t been able to since the start of the pandemic. By putting in place strict safety measures, RSA House ensured that guests could relax and celebrate in the knowledge that they wouldn’t have to worry – creating truly priceless memories in the face of adversity.

The mother of the groom shared: “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.”

Key learnings

- Couples want to know that they’re in safe hands, so risk assessments, council protocols and safety checklists are more important now than ever. If anything, it’s best to over-plan!

- Work with the couple to make sure that guests are informed about safety protocols and expectations well in advance. This will ensure that everyone’s on the same page and working together rather than against each other.

- Assign a COVID-19 safety officer to the event so that there’s always somebody managing the new procedures and ensuring they are adhered to.

- Focus on adding personal details to those areas that aren’t restricted by safety measures (such as favours, drinks choices and entertainment). This will make up for areas that are restricted, such as the lack of dancing.

- Work towards the event’s strengths – if anything, a small wedding provides the opportunity to make it feel even more intimate, personal and special.

- Big spaces are key to providing adequate social distancing. RSA House usually has a capacity of 120 and was the perfect size for this intimate, physically distanced event.  

- Be patient. Everyone, from the venue staff to the guests to the caterers are all navigating this ‘new normal’ together.

 

Interested in joining RSA House in becoming accredited as a Safer Venue or Safer Event Organiser? Book your free safer event consultation with us today.

 

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