A City Wedding at RSA House

Written by Caitlin Hoare
B + U’s DIY day is a cheek-achingly wonderful wedding featuring one of our fave London venues, RSA House.

Beth’s account of the big day and all the beautiful personalised details they worked so hard to include are just gorgeous. This includes a piece of advice passed to her by a bridesmaid who also had it passed to her in preparation for her wedding day, “You can have a fun wedding, or a perfect wedding, but you cannot have both”. Well folks, I know which one I’d prefer, and Beth and Usman did too!

Notes from the Bride

Beth says…

We met and fell in love in London and so decided fairly early on into our engagement that we wanted to be married in the city. We’re real culture vultures so wanted to find a unique venue that had character, history and meaning behind it. I’m an arts fundraiser, and so we loved the ethos behind RSA House, and that our holding our wedding there was supporting the charity. Being in London also made it easy for family and friends to get to and we really wanted a day that had an ease for guests!

RSA House is gorgeous, and we loved that we could hold the whole day there, with each element (ceremony, sit down dinner, evening party) in a different part of the venue as well as it having space for both of us and our friends to get ready in the morning.

After an amazing day, being able to party in the underground Vaults lent a totally different feel to the evening and having not been able to dance for so long because of lockdowns, we had a blast. The events team are fantastic, particularly Olivia, and couldn’t have been more helpful throughout the planning process with plenty of thoughtful ideas and buckets of enthusiasm, especially as we contended with two reschedules due to Covid. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend RSA House to any couples looking for a completely special and unique London wedding venue.

I loved my dress and felt so comfortable throughout the day, which I think is a good marker of a great dress! I went out of London to find it, a place closer to my parents, at a time they had a sale on (all about trying to find those savings!). I had a totally different idea in my head of what I originally wanted, and when none of the floaty, lace dresses I had in my mind suited, my Maid of Honour picked this one out. Always goes to show that your friends often know you best! I had covered buttons and a belt added made out of leftover fabric from shortening it, and loved its simplicity.

I wanted to look like myself on the day and so did my own hair and make-up and wanted my shoes to be my ‘something blue’ – these were £10 in the New Look sale, a steal! Wanting all my bridesmaids to feel comfortable, I gave them a colour and encouraged them to find a dress or jumpsuit that they would love. I love the mix of outfits they chose, the slight colour gradient and that they were all uniquely them.

Usman opted for a charcoal grey 3-piece suit that had a slight checked texture, enough to stand out from his groomsmen in matching two pieces. We found copper coloured ties and pocket squares for all the men, and got personalised mustard socks from Etsy as a groomsmen gift. I’d had cufflinks engraved for Usman the Christmas before our original wedding day, and he wore them a year later as a funny nod to the extra year’s wait!

One of my favourite things we did was our newspaper order of service, using Newspaper Club. It was such a fun way to include helpful information like a run of the day as well as bios of our bridesmaids and groomsmen and quirky bits like a couples trivia and crossword which kept guests entertained in the drinks reception after the ceremony.

There was a very loose travel theme at dinner, with paper luggage tags for place cards which I hand calligraphed and tables named after places which meant something special to us like Oakland, where I used to live, and Ubud, Bali which is were we were supposed to honeymoon. I sourced vintage stamps from each country or city to stick on so they looked like a postcard.

We DIY-ed all of our flowers, expertly lead by one of my bridesmaids who had done the same at her own wedding! I spent a fair amount of time trawling through Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration and researching flowers that would be in season, before placing an order with Triangle Nursery, a wholesaler who delivered to our flat a couple of days before the wedding. Our living room was turned into a florists, and my bridesmaids and I spent the morning before the big day crafting bouquets and boutonnieres which was such a fun, crafty activity to do all together. We opted for olive branches running down the dinner tables, a nod to Usman’s Spanish heritage, and then I loved the idea of lots of different white and greens throughout. Not a task for the faint hearted, and all credit to my bridesmaids – it was so special to look around on the day and know we’d done it ourselves.

The in-house catering team at RSA House, headed up by chef Darren, were great at understanding the relaxed style of food we were after and we’ve had so many compliments on the middle-Eastern family sharing style of food we served. It was great to watch friends and family passing around dishes and getting to know each other more over a meal. We opted for a tower of cheese rather than a regular cake which we then served as the evening food. It was a great way to make sure the cake was actually eaten and who doesn’t love a table of cheese to dig into in between dancing? In all the madness of the week before I totally forgot to buy decorations for it, so our naked cake has become a hilarious anecdote post-wedding!

Victoria Somerset-How was just a dream! She photographed our day at RSA House as well as our walima two days later and we honestly couldn’t speak more highly of her and her work. Not only are we thrilled with the photos from the day, but she’s such a blast to spend time with. She managed to capture all the little details and meaningful moments and effortlessly moved around throughout the day, so much so that half the time we didn’t even realise she was there working her magic. I think its testament to what a fantastic photographer she is that she seamlessly blended into our day, making us feel so comfortable, and leaving feeling like a friend.

Photography was the thing I felt was most important as its the only thing you really have to look back on once the day is done, and I can’t wait to pore over our photos for years to come. She has such an eye for capturing the perfect shot, and all of the joy of the day in such a beautiful way.

Best part of the day

Such a challenge to pick just one! I loved our ceremony, which brought together multiple faiths and was lead by close friends and family. You’re on such a high as you walk back down the aisle after you’ve got married and you can see the sheer joy on our faces during the confetti throw!

After all the lockdowns and postponements, as cheesy as it sounds, to just be surrounded by our friends and family all day was incredible. And kicking off my shoes, and dancing to a jazz band and then our friends DJ-ing in the evening felt great!

From one couple to another…

Don’t plan a wedding in a pandemic! Joking aside, it certainly was a challenge but did make us focus on what was important to us. Like many other couples who had to postpone and reschedule, there were a lot of times when we didn’t think we’d be able to have the day we’d hoped for, so I’m glad we stood our ground and thanks to a lot of people’s help, were able to have ‘our’ day.

One of my bridesmaids gave me the best piece of advice which had been given to her before the big day, which was: “You can have a fun wedding, or a perfect wedding, but you cannot have both”. Things will get forgotten, things will go wrong, but it’s part of what makes the day unique and memorable and it was such a helpful thing to remember throughout planning, on the day, and afterwards. Surround yourselves with loved ones, and it’ll be the most fun you’ll have.


Venue RSA House

Photographer Victoria Somerset-How

Dress Bianco Evento from Go Bridal Tunbridge Wells

Groom Suit Suits Direct

Bride’s Shoes New Look

Bride’s Earrings A Weathered Penny

Groom’s Shoes ASOS

Florals, DIY using Triangle Nursery

Newspaper Order of Service, own design, printed via Newspaper Club

Evening Band Ella Hohnen-Ford via Royal Academy of Music

Cheese Cake Ford Farm

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