Your Surrey Wedding - December 2022/January 2023 (Issue 98)

Racquel and Jean-Pierre met in secondary school. “We were in the same class,” says Jean-Pierre. “We were just friends and stayed in contact when we went to different colleges. In 1999, we were out one day, and something felt different between us. It was an attraction that we hadn’t felt before. We started dating and became inseparable. Sadly, time passed and in 2004 we went our separate ways. Racquel went on to have two children, and when she became single in 2010, we met up to try and rekindle our friendship. Two years later, I had the realisation that I loved Racquel, so I asked her to meet me and told her how I felt. We started seeing each other again, and in 2013 we became pregnant with our son. We moved to Surrey to be nearer to my parents and have been incredibly happy ever since.” Jean-Pierre proposed in April 2019 during a holiday to California. “We were vising my brother, and while we were there, I arranged a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon for the two of us,” shares the groom. “When we arrived, I asked one of the other tourists to take a picture of us, and while we were posing I got down on one knee and asked her to be my wife.” SETTING THE SCENE “Originally Racquel wanted to get married in Westminster Cathedral where she had been baptised and had her first holy communion and confirmation,” recalls Jean-Pierre. “However, logistically this was not suitable for where we wanted to have the reception. My mother said to have a look at Sacred Heart Wimbledon, which is not far from where she lives. We went to visit and were blown away by how beautiful it was. When looking for a reception venue, we found Glenmore House in Surbiton. We went to visit and immediately fell in love. It had an Elizabethan suite with a large portrait of the late queen, which is a style that Racquel loves as she is a big fan of Pride & Prejudice. What sealed the deal was how wonderful Faye, the deputy manager, was. We booked our date for September 2020, however, as with many weddings booked for 2020, this was postponed to September 2021 due to the pandemic. Then in 2021, we decided to postpone again until September 2022 as we were unsure if my brother and his family could come over from San Diego, and we did not want our guests to worry about being at a large gathering with masks being worn.” Jean-Pierre created the order-of-service programmes and welcome board using floral images designed by ReiaColours. “I also designed the menus and reception programmes to be in keeping with our Friends theme,” explains Jean-Pierre. “Both programmes were ordered and printed by “We decided to have a Friends theme because we watched the show when it first aired and are big fans,” adds the groom. “It seemed like the perfect theme as it’s a timeless series where not only people of our age know it, but even the younger people do, including Racquel’s daughter, who fell in love with the series during the first lockdown.” For the ladies, Racquel made favours using Yankee Candle votives, which were decorated with a lobster sticker wrapped in cellophane and tied with a personalised ribbon. For the men, Jean-Pierre bought bottle openers in the style of an ace of spades and added heart-shaped stickers personalised with their surname and the date of their wedding. “Our table plan tied in with our theme,” reveals Jean-Pierre. “This was sourced from a supplier on Etsy. Each table was named after a stage of our relationship in the style of a Friends’ episode or quote. During the wedding breakfast, this was replaced with the same table plan but with collage pictures instead. “The centrepieces were tall silver candelabras decorated with flowers similar to the bouquets with a single sunflower in each,” continues the groom. “These were standing on mirror plates with tea lights around them. Each table had a Friends-style yellow photo frame with a collage of pictures featuring all of the guests on that table with us.” The happy couple sourced their cake two weeks before the wedding. “Due to certain circumstances, we needed to find a supplier and Holly Dolly Cakes was able to make an amazing cake from Racquel’s description in a single video call,” remembers Jean-Pierre. “It was three tiers and the flavours were chosen by everyone in our household. Our custom topper was ordered online and was REAL WEDDINGS 43