Coombe Lodge in Somerset was the setting for Charlotte and Elliot Riddle’s beautiful celebration
After a proposal in the grounds of Downton Abbey itself (aka Highclere Castle), it was natural for Charlotte and Elliot to plan an Art Deco-themed wedding. For this, they turned to Coombe Lodge in Blagdon, a 1920s building with a wealth of period detailing. “This venue is able to embrace that era perfectly, plus it has an excellent reputation for food and service – and it didn’t disappoint!” says Charlotte. “We’d also decided on a November wedding, so the sumptuous and homely surroundings of Coombe Lodge suited the season. The grounds are equally fantastic, but the interior, with its wood panelling, large fireplaces and 1920s details, suited our theme perfectly and meant that should the weather be against us, we had a lovely venue inside.”
Charlotte continued the vintage glamour theme with her stunning Sottero and Midgley crystal and bead-encrusted dress, from Allison Jayne, which she accompanied with a faux fur stole. “As soon as I put it on I knew it was the one!” Elliot paired traditional tails with a modern cut in a Ted Baker suit from Moss Bros. Ella Hawkey from Atelier in Clifton used the style of the dress to create a vintage-inspired updo, while Grace Kingsley provided make-up services. “She was amazing, and made me feel comfortable from the first time we met. I loved my make-up on the day,” enthuses Charlotte.
Charlotte’s dad passed away a few years before, so it was important for her to make his memory part of the day. “To do this, we had a lantern candle burning for him, and he was mentioned in the speeches,” explains Charlotte. Other family-related touches included Elliot’s wedding ring being made using rose gold from his grandfather’s ring and Charlotte’s with gold from her grandmother’s wedding ring.
Charlotte’s sister and best friend were her bridesmaids, with Elliot having his two best friends from university as best men, which turned out to be a handy decision on the morning of the wedding. “The gods of SWALEC were against me as we had a power cut while I was at my best man’s house getting ready – and we later found out his house was the only one in the entire street affected,” says Elliot. “This meant it was quite tricky to give the shirt a once-over with the iron and have a hot shower, not to mention make a nice cup of tea! Needless to say, I had the lucky situation of being able to drive across the city to visit my second best man to carry on getting ready and have a shower. This was definitely a plus of having two best men!”
The path of wedding planning didn’t always run smoothly, as even though it was done in just over a year, the couple had a few other big events happening at the same time. “We did complicate things for ourselves as we moved house, city and started new jobs the month prior to the big day!” explains Charlotte. “Luckily our family helped us with different aspects, but there were definitely pinch points along the way.” Despite the complications, the day went very smoothly – apart from one slightly cringeworthy moment when the DJ put the wrong song on for the first dance, but the couple took this in their stride. “Everyone tells you that things will happen on the day that are out of your control but it won’t matter because you will be so happy – and this was completely true. We just laughed and carried on,” says Charlotte.
Elliot sums up the day via a range of emotions. “There was stress due to the power cut in the morning, relief of getting the venue on time, relaxation when meeting the guests, followed by nerves and anxiety, complete fear and then love! It was a completely amazing day that went too fast!” Charlotte agrees. “It was the absolute best day of my life. Nothing else mattered, just us.”