Today I’d like to tell you about an event that happened in London back in October. But if you get FOMO, then visit their website and see where in the world you can join Engage! this year.
Engage! Summits – a luxury wedding and event business summit like no other – is renowned for bringing together the best in the luxury events industry to enjoy powerhouse speakers, specially curated content and intimate experiences with the leading lights of the industry – all in some of the world’s most incredible destinations.
Since 2008, Engage! Summits has produced 28 sold out events and brought together luxury wedding and event professionals from all over the United States and over 50 countries, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Dubai/United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, Italy, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Kuwait, South Africa, China, India, the Caribbean and many more.
The organisers of Engage! had always dreamed of bringing the summit to London, one of the most popular cities in the world, and the home of history, pageantry and grandeur. Milan Thakrar – Business Development Manager at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Banqueting House, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle & Gardens in Northern Ireland – saw a unique opportunity to bring Engage! to the UK, opening the door to London and four of its iconic royal palaces in a way that had never been done before. The aim from the entire Historic Royal Palaces team was to bring guests on an unforgettable journey across four days, allowing them to walk in the footsteps of some of Britain’s most famous monarchs while showcasing the very best of British suppliers, demonstrating the capabilities of the incredible palaces themselves, and pushing the boundaries of showmanship to create truly awe-inspiring experiences.
On day one, the opening session at the Rosewood London was followed by a journey aboard four iconic red Routemaster buses to the Tower of London’s welcome party, where a marching band awaited. A rousing procession to the Tower commenced, with all the pomp and ceremony creating a truly moving London moment, perfectly kickstarting the opening celebrations. The Historic Royal Palaces team pulled out all the stops on the first evening, with the first ever fire show at the Tower sparking emotion and awe all around, as guests marvelled at the world-famous fortress lit up against the night’s sky. As the drawbridge opened, The Tower’s famous Yeoman Warders escorted guests inside where they marvelled at the Crown Jewels as part of an exclusive private viewing, immersed themselves in the incredible history of the Tower with costumed characters, sipped Dickensian-themed cocktails and feasted on a historic-themed banquet fit for a royal amongst beautiful florals, having been welcomed by none other than The Chapel Royal Choir. Then it was all aboard the Dixie Queen for an afterparty boat ride along the Thames, taking in London’s riversides by night.
Day two saw sessions in the Rosewood and lunch at Scarfes Bar and Holborn Dining Room, before getting back on the London buses for an opulent gala night of etiquette-themed ‘Dinner and Merriment’ at Whitehall’s ‘party palace’; Banqueting House, another Historic Royal Palaces’ site. A red carpet entrance welcomed guests before they ascended the grand staircase adorned with candles and orchids, passing through an 8-foot floral tunnel which revealed elegant tables set below the stunning Rubens ceiling painting. With performances from a 16-piece band, gospel choirs from the balcony overhead and a three-course banquet amongst towering floral table-scapes, guests were ready to hit the dancefloor. Meanwhile a secret drinking den was built in the atmospheric Undercroft, original drinking den of James I, for guests to relax in.
On day 3, following an inspirational keynote workshop at Freemason’s Hall, guests had the afternoon to explore the city at their leisure – soaking in the buzz, pace and atmosphere of London by day. The evening’s destination was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; stepping inside ‘Queen Victoria’s Dreams’ with an evening spent exploring the remarkable Kensington Palace. For the first time ever, the palace was illuminated with dreamlike video mapping, while inside, the State Apartments were transformed as guests moved room to room, stepping through wintery landscapes and magical spaces. Amongst tumbling roses, mechanical ballerinas and winter fauns, guests roamed the ethereal setups interspersed with performers and historical figures, enjoying themed cocktails and delicious canapes. The grand finale came with a one-of-a-kind outdoor heliosphere performance, accompanied by an opera singer and complete with an acrobatic performer suspended below the orb and moving to the sound of the music which guests listened to via their personal headphones.
A dramatic lighting change signalled the emergence of Zombies and other Halloween-themed actors to move guests towards awaiting ‘ghost buses’ ready to whisk them away to an afterparty at Annabel’s in Mayfair.
On the fourth and final day of Engage!, guests were able to live like Tudor royalty, walking in the footsteps of King Henry VIII and exploring the magnificent Hampton Court Palace and its acres of beautiful formal gardens. Costumed historical characters guided the tours before leading guests to the sumptuous Cartoon Gallery for the first ever private lunch to be held in the space, set amongst sweeping floral archways and the palace’s stirring history.
Images provided by organisers.