On 7 March, Banqueting House (part of the Historic Royal Palaces collection) held its second venue showcase in collaboration with online event resource Pearl & Pear, and we headed down to Westminster to check it out.
From the moment we got there, it was clear that Instagrammable moments were a theme of the day, and rightly so – whatever your thoughts on the ‘gram, there’s no denying that it now plays a massive part in shaping events.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed by a fully turfed courtyard courtesy of WOW Grass, while a giant floral wreath (designed by Philippa Craddock) hung from the courtyard’s railings. Guests were treated to an exciting lunch spread laid on by caterers Zafferano, in a tropically themed space. Matching the theme, the waiters were dressed in Hawaiian shirts serving fruity drinks, while the food offering saw a poke station, alongside the heartier likes of roasted pork belly with pig skin noodles.
Dessert is our favourite part of any meal, and the dessert station here didn’t disappoint – a vibrant, colourful display of various sweet treats, including ambrosi mango lollipops and rum baba skewers. Both were delicious and easy to eat with one hand, which is always a concern at events!
Standing lunches or drinks receptions can be a bit awkward at first, but Pearl & Pear had a novel solution. On hand to entertain guests (and get them chatting) was illustrator Miss Magpie Fashion Spy, who created live 10 minute illustrations as keepsakes for guests to take home.
READ MORE: London's most Instagrammable venues
Image: Flo Brooks photography
Following lunch, we were ushered into the truly magnificent Main Hall, with its enviable height and stunning painted ceiling. The Hall had also been given some extra oomph by Twilight Trees, who created a runway lined with shimmering gold trees.
The Hall acted as the space for all of the day’s interactive workshops, which included ‘The wonderful world of Calligraphy’ led by the Styled Writing Company, and herb wreath making session led by Philippa Craddock florists.
We opted to try out ‘Instagram foodie heaven’ which was led by Zafferano and talked guests through decorating three different canapés, exploring the best ways to shoot them. Check out our handiwork below!
Our second and final workshop was led by Event Concept, and explored how event planners can make their functions truly immersive. It was also interesting to hear about the concept of ‘delighters’ – event elements which thrill and delight guests by being interactive, such as giant colouring in boards or sweetie-dispensing machines.
READ MORE: Is healthy eating the new landscape of conference food?
We’ve noticed a change in the type of food served at events in recent months, and Palace Pearls of Wisdom was no different. Following an inspiring keynote speech by luxury handbag and accessories designer Anya Hindmarch, who talked guests through her captivating career story, Zafferano served up the healthy likes of beetroot brownies and ‘brain-boosting power balls’.
Image: Flo Brooks photography
The day ended with a drinks reception and we were left to reflect on what had been an exciting and engaging showcase – jotting down our thoughts in our specially designed notebooks! There were two main things we took away from Palace Pearls of Wisdom; firstly, that Banqueting House is a fantastic venue for large-scale events, especially as it’s now available for exclusive daytime hire on Thursdays. Secondly, we've realised that how your event physically looks is becoming ever more important.
Event guests no longer just want to be wowed by information or complimentary food and drink – they want to be visually stimulated too.
Looking for somewhere to host your next event? Enquire about Banqueting House.