Not even Fawlty Towers could ruin our big day
Black Country bride Faye Garrington has told how her dream Princess Di-style wedding did not quite go to plan at a Devon hotel with a “Fawlty Towers” style reputation.
Fall-outs with the management, a row with a hairdresser and a revving scooter led to tears and outbursts from bride Faye.
See more images by clicking on the picture on the right.
But, despite the glitch-filled build up to her big day, Faye and her wedding party have booked to return there for their first anniversary.
The wedding of Faye - nee Jones - and Mike Garrington on August 27 was filmed for The Hotel, a new fly-on-the-wall documentary on Channel 4, looking at The Grosvenor’s attempts to rebuild its reputation.
The hotel used to be seen as Torquay’s number one wedding venue, but recent ceremonies had not gone to plan, with manager Mark Jenkins falling out with his staff on a daily basis.
Faye and Mike, who live in Jockey Fields, Upper Gornal, Dudley, got engaged four weeks after meeting - kicking off 18 months of preparation as the bride-to-be tried to organise her dream wedding.
She bought a dress with a long trail inspired by Princess Di and planned for the ceremony to take place in the hotel grounds.
She booked the The Grosvenor because she “fell in love” with the hotel when she visited for a ballroom dancing event - and she insists that she is still happy with her choice despite a series of glitches.
Faye and her wedding co-ordinator fell out days before the event, throwing the plans into chaos.
“When we booked the wedding there was a different owner but when it changed hands they lost my records,” said Faye.
“I had to email everything they’d sent to me back to them and I had a new wedding coordinator, Philip.
“But Philip and I had a disagreement - I was being told one thing by him and then the hotel was telling me different.
“I kept being let down.”
And, when the couple arrived with their family ahead of the big day, a room specially reserved for the bride’s parents a year earlier had been double-booked.
“When we booked the wedding, my mother and I had a tour of the hotel and decided on a room with a sea view so we could take pictures of the wedding party on the balcony.
“But they’d booked someone else in there - although in the end they let us have it.”
A hotel hairdresser then gave Faye a ticking off after she went for a hair-do elsewhere on another member of staff’s advice.
“I’d booked with the hotel hairdresser but then one of the staff mentioned one down the road and I went there instead but nobody cancelled the booking with their hairdresser - and he ticked me off,” she said.
To cap it all, Faye, aged 34, a student classroom assistant at Queen Victoria School, Sedgley, left one of the underskirts of her Princess Di style gown at home, leaving it trailing on the floor instead of flouncing out.
Faye was left in tears and became more stressed as the day went on, culminating in an outburst after the wrong coloured lights were put on tables for the wedding breakfast.
“The lights were red but they should have been white,” she said.
Torrential rain minutes before the ceremony left them fearing it would not go ahead - and then the vows were interrupted by a scooter rider revving his engine on the hotel car park.
Despite the drama and fall-outs with the management in the build up, in the end the couple said they were happy with the day.
Mike, aged 31, a trainee builder, said: “It’s been fantastic, more than I ever imagined. I’m so happy and I can’t believe I’m married.” Faye told the cameras that she agreed and added: “Everything was really nice”.
Faye told the Express & Star: “It was a bit like Fawlty Towers - and Mark, the owner, is just like Basil.
“The TV portrayed the worst bits of it -but it was all right in the end.
“I’ve watched other TV programmes about weddings and more could have gone wrong.”
She added: “The hotel has given Mike and I a free weekend as a gift to celebrate our first anniversary in August - and about 20 members of our wedding party have booked in to go with us as well.”