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King & Country: The Sarah Haywood Coronation Experience

Photography By Barker Evans
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Photography by Barker Evans @barkerevans

To mark the Coronation of King Charles III, Sarah Haywood of Sarah Haywood Weddings & Celebrations invited a dozen colleagues from around the world to join a series of curated events alongside UK event professionals, showcasing the “Best of British”: from the talent behind the events themselves to the food and beverages, flowers and entertainment alongside. International guests were hosted by The Londoner: a recently opened five-star hotel in the heart of London’s West End. The event highlights of the four-day experience included “The Coronation Celebration” at Claridge’s on the eve of the King’s crowning, “The King’s Procession Brunch” at The Dorchester, and a “Coronation Dinner in honor of His Majesty The King” at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The group was welcomed at The Londoner with a beautiful printed guide of the itinerary along with beautiful gifts from Sarah Haywood and Neill Strain. A casual welcome party on the rooftop of the hotel kicked things off.

Day 1: Welcome to London


Day 2: Coronation Eve Celebration at Claridge’s

For Coronation Eve, Sarah Haywood and her creative partners, Neill Strain Floral Couture and Wise Productions, wanted a beautiful and symbolic representation of the occasion. As guests arrived at Claridge’s, they were greeted with a stunning, handcrafted “Crown Bar” inspired by the Saint Edward’s Crown, as used to coronate King Charles III the next day. Using the official Coronation logo, Neill adorned the bar with the flowers associated with the event. Crafted from willow and covered with seasonal flowers and British foliage, the Crown Bar’s floral design gave a nod to British folklore symbolic of spring and rebirth. It featured a range of emblematic flowers, including those representing the four nations of the United Kingdom: daffodils, thistle, roses, and shamrock, in addition to clover, lily of the valley, rosemary, and other wildflowers.



International special guests of Sarah Haywood included (from left to right) 1 Arturo de Noriega, La Fete Event Planning (Peru), Gideon Hermosa, House of Hermosa (The Philippines), Bob Conti, Ed Libby Events (USA), Ery Touwani, Nefi Decor (Indonesia), Vandana Mohan, The Wedding Design Company (India), Bruce Patterson, publisher of WedLuxe (USA), (Sarah Haywood of Sarah Haywood Weddings & Celebrations), Alejandra Poupel, Alejandra Poupel Events (Paris), Dina Touwani, Nefi Decor (Indonesia), Colin Cowie’s husband, Danny Peusovich, Angela Desveaux, Founder, Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director of WedLuxe (USA), Sarah Haywood’s husband, Tim Haywood (UK), Colin Cowie, Colin Cowie Lifestyle (USA), Bob Conti’s wife, Jean Conti, and Ed Libby, Ed Libby Events (USA). 2 Naureen Khan, Laura Rios-Perez, Lee Sansom, Amy Kerr, Sarah Haywood Weddings & Celebrations 3 Paul Scully MP, Minister for London and his partner, Maxine Shaw 4 Neill Strain, Neill Strain Floral Couture, pictured with his partner, Muzaffar Shah. 5 George Foden & Jenny Woollard, Wise Productions 6 Sophie Lewis, Ruth Kaye Design, Sarah, Richard Eagleton 7 Mathilde Maitre, Jim Lyons, Aurelie Nicot, Claridge’s 8 Siobahn Craven-Robins, National Association of Wedding Professionals, Alison Hargreaves, Guides for Brides 9 Nina Beer, Occasion Queens, Farima Perry, Farima Perry Florals & Events, LaToya Patel, SW Events, Damian Bailey, The Wedding Industry Awards (with Sarah) 10 Katia Sadchikova, Claudia Migliau, Siobhan Siobhan Ginty and Anjie Keegel, The Londoner 11 Sonia Bagga, Bubble Food, Adam McVay, Holy Water, Richard Cubbin, Holy Water 12 Sarah Haywood and Marcy Blum, Marcy Blum Events (USA) 13 Alex Le Roux, ALR Music.

Sarah and floral designer Neill Strain were keen to pay homage to Claridge’s ballroom’s rich history and Art Deco style within the table design. The hotel’s traditional logo and iconic peppermint green color were the inspiration, alongside a copper-pink mirror relief in the ballroom. To mimic the copper mirror element, a custom copper-colored mirror-topped, 65-ft-long table was created and installed by Wise Productions. Tall glass cylinders filled with floral arrangements of peonies, sweet peas, calla lilies, anthuriums, Phalaenopsis orchids, and delphiniums, alongside rose petals and perfect Vanda orchids, delicately completed the table design. Neill’s team also crafted floral statement panels along one side of the room for a genuinely immersive floral experience.

Inspired Dining

The team from Claridge’s carefully curated the celebration menu to include fresh, seasonal produce from around the United Kingdom. It was important to Sarah and the team to know the provenance of the food. Guests enjoyed Exmoor caviar, asparagus from St Enodoc in Cornwall and the Vale of Evesham, Berwick Edge Cheese from Northumberland, Scottish lobster, beef from North Ireland, black truffle from Wiltshire, Jersey Royal new potatoes and Welsh leeks from Pembrokeshire.

Mirrored-copper menus were designed and produced by Ruth Kaye Design, while ALR Music provided entertainment.

The King’s Procession Brunch at The Dorchester


On the morning of the Coronation, The Dorchester hosted the group for a proper British brunch complete with English cheeses and popular British favorites, including rhubarb and strawberry trifle. The hotel was draped in the same royal regalia that adorned the building’s façade to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Coronation Dinner in Honour of His Majesty The King at the Royal Academy of Arts

Guests entered the Royal Academy of Arts at the sweeping entrance staircase decorated with a stunning floral installation by Neill Strain Floral Couture. A color palette of the Crown Jewels; emerald, sapphire, amethyst, ruby, and topaz, and flowers and plants inspired by the garden at Highgrove, the beloved country home of the King and Queen, were the centerpiece of the event design. This drew the eye to a central alcove where the staircase split where Neill recreated in flowers the Sovereign’s Orb and Sovereign’s Sceptre, seen earlier in the day at the heart of the Coronation service. The orb and scepter represent the Crown’s power and governance and have been used in the coronation of every British monarch since 1661 when they were created for the coronation of King Charles II.


Artistic Dining

Guests dined beneath The Royal Academy’s breathtaking Renaissance copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper with another gorgeous display of lush florals by Neill Strain Floral Couture. The overall design drew inspiration from the artwork in the room, but crucially including the color scheme found in the Last Supper and the clothing, the grapevines, and the citrus fruit on the painting’s tables. Sarah chose a bold, teal-colored chair, as seen in the clothing depicted in the painting. Everyone was nervous (except her!) that it would work, but it did!

Bubble Food catered the event with beverages by Holy Water. Again, guests enjoyed food from across the British Isles, culminating in a creative dessert presentation of the Last Supper. Chef Jens Nisson created the dessert within a box frame: the rice paper edible replica of the masterpiece was designed to be smashed through to uncover the dessert of Scottish raspberry petals with Tonka bean ganache and vanilla sponge. British sparkling wine house Nyetimber provided a paring of the first ever Prestige Cuvée made in England, their 1086. Adam McVay, the founder of specialist drinks service Holy Water, delighted guests with original cocktails. His “God Save the King” is a surefire favorite for Summer 2023: Aperitif Bramble Vermouth, cherry Amaro, and clarified rhubarb. The evening concluded with a beautiful, moving vocal solo of Adele’s “Easy on Me,” which was performed by ALR Music.

Photography by Barker Evans @barkerevans

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