Carly Gregory and John Pritchard’s French-inspired celebration had a fun surprise for the groom!
When John put an Edwardian platinum diamond ring in Carly’s champagne glass, he didn’t realise that she would start drinking it without looking. His advice to check her drink before she had any more led Carly to think there was may be a fly in her drink, not an engagement ring! Once she was able to get the ring out of the glass, John proposed to Carly in front of the entire restaurant. “I was really touched that John had made such an effort to propose in a romantic way when I wasn’t expecting it. Although I thought we would get married, we have been together a long time and I thought we’d just get on with it without making a fuss,” she says.
The wedding was on 25th May at Victoria Methodist Church in Clifton. “We wanted to get married in our local church and as John’s mother is a retired Methodist minister, it meant that she was able to conduct the marriage ceremony in conjunction with the local reverend,” explains Carly. The ceremony was followed by a reception at Coombe Lodge in Blagdon. “We wanted a venue that would be fantastic whatever the weather and the space at Coombe Lodge was perfect.”
The planning didn’t get off to an easy start. “When I started, I felt a bit overwhelmed with the choice and volume of different suppliers available in Bristol,” says Carly. “However, we trusted recommendations from people that we chose to work with and they were all exceptional.” As well as being keen to share the day with all the people who had supported them over the years as a way of saying thank you, the couple wanted a beautiful and romantic wedding that also expressed their personalities. John is an accomplished pianist and a fan of classical music, and Carly is drawn to French style furniture and period architecture. “The uniqueness of our wedding was inspired by French Baroque style and the creative touches I was able to include were driven by our personal tastes and style,” says Carly. She was a busy bride in the run up to the day, making the bridesmaid dresses, from beautiful British silk from Beckford in Gloucestershire, plus 140 lace chair covers and 14 silver table runners. She also crafted the table plan, order of services and place names for the table.
Carly’s own dress was a beauty from Cocoa Couture in Cheltenham. “I outlined my vision of a longline corset bodice with a low back and full skirt to designer and owner Cara Wagstaff. The corset was made using pieces of original 18th century embroidered silk and antique style French lace and trimmings. It was a truly special experience to have an individual, bespoke dress for our wedding.” The dress was topped off with an 18th century veil, an original Georgian seed pearl headdress and John’s great-grandmother’s pearl necklace. The wedding rings were from Dragon’s Workshop in Clifton Village and were handmade to their own design.
John, who has a private pilot’s licence, got a surprise when Carly arranged for an ex-RAF officer to perform an aerobatic display in a Yellow Tiger Moth over the west lawn of Coombe Lodge as a way to incorporate his lifelong love of flying into the wedding. “Keeping this a secret, even just for a few days, was really hard as I was so excited!” enthuses Carly.
All the hard work and planning paid off, and the couple enjoyed an amazing wedding filled with the personal touches that they wanted. This very special day was then finished off in style with an amazing sunset in the evening. “We have so many beautiful memories to cherish forever.”