I am extremely excited to write about the very first Asian wedding reception which was held at Kensington Palace Pavilion. Rupeen Popat and Rupa Ganatra tied the knot last year in India and continued their extravagant celebrations at Historic Royal Palaces, integrating their hometown of London.
Bride and Groom Rupa and Rupeen pulled out all the stops, enjoying a photoshoot in the beautiful palace State Apartments and treating guests to an incredible event. Their initials were projected onto the palace walls while guests had drinks in the outdoor Cradle Walk, food stalls, an ice-cream stand and late night snacks. Entertainment on the night ranged from fire performers to mirror dancers and roaming film characters, alongside music from a band and DJs.
The couple have kindly given a full review on their experience of holding this unique and luxurious wedding reception, done like never before.
Ceremony and reception venues:
Indian Wedding, India – 17th July
Lunch Reception, Hilton Wembley – 22nd July
Wedding Barbecue, Home – 25th July
Wedding Reception, Grosvenor House, Mayfair – 27th July
Civil Wedding Ceremony, House of Lords, Parliament – 28th July
Wedding Reception, Kensington Palace – 28th July
Date of wedding and reception:
Indian Wedding 17th July
Civil Wedding 28th July
Wedding Reception 28th July
How long was your engagement?
We got engaged in December 2017 and the wedding was 8 months later.
How many guests did you have to your wedding and to your reception?
Both our wedding ceremonies were small – we had 20 people in India and 100 people for the ceremony at the House of Lords. Our receptions were however larger – we had 900 people at the Grosvenor House in Mayfair and we had 650 people at our Kensington Palace reception.
Why did you choose Kensington Palace? Did you have a specific place in mind from an early stage?
When Rupeen first proposed we discussed what type of wedding we both wanted and we agreed from the outset that we were looking to create a memorable and unique experience for our friends and family. We already had another indoor wedding reception at the Grosvenor House hotel and for this one, we wanted to create an event that was indoors and outdoors. We never imagined that Kensington Palace Gardens would be an outdoor option at the time. As we searched for venues, it was Rupeen’s cousin Milan who brought the venue to our attention and we felt that it ticked all our boxes. When we booked it, the Pavilion hadn’t even been built yet!
Why would you recommend it to other couples?
– The venue itself is a blank canvas and therefore you can create whatever theme you want
– The grounds are beautiful and we ensured we had bars and seating outside so that even after the cocktail reception, our guests could enjoy the magnificent surroundings. In addition to photo booths, fire dancers and a mind reader, we even arranged a Mr Whippy Ice-cream station for our guests to grab ice-cream on the go. We had a chill-out zone situated next to the palace where people could go and relax.
– There are very few, if any, other locations that are so central and convenient to reach when you are entertaining 650 guests in London
– In addition to that. the team at Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), the charity that looks after the public facing side of Kensington Palace, is second-to-none. They ensured the planning process was stress-free and enjoyable, in what usually becomes a stressful planning period for many couples.
What advice would you give for other couples thinking of Historic Royal Palaces as their
venue of choice?
Book it! It is such a special time in your lives and this is an unforgettable way to
celebrate with your nearest and dearest. Get to know the HRP approved suppliers – they were all such high calibre and professional that it was a pleasure working with all of them.
What did it feel like knowing you were the first to hold an Asian Wedding
Reception at the venue?
We wanted to create an unforgettable and memorable experience for our guests and the unique venue played an important part in that. Given how late the party went on, we hope we’re not the last!
What did you wear for your special day?
For the dress, I wore an Amit Aggarwal dress. I was enamoured by the styles, colours and uniqueness of each piece at his store in Delhi. I was even more happy to hear about his sustainable approach to design, using recycled materials.
We had the canapes and food bowls served outside in the gardens, during the champagne reception. For the main course, we arranged multiple international food stations scattered throughout the Pavilion so people could eat what they wanted, when they wanted.
Rather than having a wedding cake at the reception, we decided to create a delicious selection of mouth-watering cakes and desserts with our caterers Rhubarb. This included mini cheesecakes, miniature cupcakes with our R&R monogram, salt caramel & chocolate tarts with caramelised popcorn, homemade monogrammed macaroons and gooey black forest chocolate brownies. They also arranged a Mr Whippy’s Ice-cream station outside that ran throughout the evening for guests.
After the reception
With the help of the team at Historic Royal Palaces, about 150 of our guests went on to an after party at Mahiki Kensington, which went on until about 4am. We also sent each of our guests home with an R&R Hangover Kit, which included paracetamol, sachets of Mindful Bites, Flow Alkaline Water, eye masks and a host of other goodies to keep our guests hydrated the next day.
Describe the atmosphere of your special day…
We were married in the House of Lords on the afternoon of the reception amongst our closest friends and family so we were excited and already on a high as we reached the entrance of Hyde Park. We drove down in an open top car to the Pavilion and could see our guests making their way down in the buggy’s around us. We were greeted by fire dancers and a live roaming band as we made our entrance. We were also fortunate that the weather was fabulous. It was magical.
When planning the reception, we wanted people to have the freedom to really enjoy the venue and so as the evening went on, it was great to see people interacting with the event in different ways. We had bars both inside the pavilion and outside, we had multiple seating options including a quiet chill out zone next to the palace where guests could relax, we had multiple international food stations from our incredible caterers Rhubarb including a large dessert display and outside we included features like a photo booth and a Mr Whippy ice-cream station. The theme was secret cinema so whilst the cocktail reception was running, we had the screens featuring our favourite shows and movies with instrumental music. We also had several “special” guests including some of my husband’s favourite superheroes and the Star Wars stunt doubles performed a lightsaber duel. Throughout the evening, we introduced new performances including Mirror men and glow-in-the-dark dancers. The entertainment was coordinated via Young Guns and Musical Movements, which included live bands, performers and DJ’s. It was great to see people enjoying the different elements of the event.
It was also pretty awesome to see our monogram projected onto the side wall of Kensington Palace as evening turned to night.
What particular moments will you remember and treasure forever?
Having all our friends and family in one place to celebrate our wedding. We had so many guests travel to be there with us from Asia, Africa and North America and we are extremely grateful that they could be there with us. It’s what made it unforgettable for us!
Stationery: Mars Arts India
Production: Event Concept
Catering: Rhubarb Food
Photography/Videography: Aziz – Muse Motion Pictures
Entertainment: Young Guns
Other: The Photo Booth Guys, Doris Loves, Twilight Trees
DJ’s: Musical Movements
Compare: Popat Presents
Makeup Artist: Gini Bhogal
Hair: Shenol Hair, Marylebone
Dress Designer: Amit Aggarwal
Wedding Planner: Aparna Manandhar
Venue – Kensington Palace
Find out more – https://www.hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace/hire-a-venue