Grantham couple are first to host wedding reception at St Wulfram's Church
A Grantham couple have become the first people to hold their wedding ceremony and reception at Grantham’s largest church.
When Ricky Gardner and Gloria Batty got engaged, they knew straight away that they wanted to get hitched at St Wulfram’s Church in the centre of Grantham.
But the couple, who have known each other for more than 30 years and now live on Goodliff Road, had grand plans for their big day.
Known by many locally as DJ Ricky Gee, the 58-year-old said: “St Wulfram’s is a brilliant church. It is the house of God but it is also a business and a huge part of the Grantham community.
“The church has hosted other events before but we had never heard of a wedding reception being held there.”
Before they could change their minds the couple, who both work for Grantham Caravans, set up a meeting with Father Stuart Cradduck, rector of St Wulfram’s Church, to discuss their idea and were delighted when he agreed.
After months of preparation, more than 300 guests gathered to watch the couple exchange vows on Saturday, before partying the night away.
After marrying the couple, Father Stuart was kept busy manning the church bar.
The guests were entertained by a variety of local talent including Laura Church, Simon Shaw, Nyla Shaw, Terry Carey and The System.
The day was even more poignant for the couple after Ricky was diagnosed with throat cancer last year and faced a number of procedures in addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He was given the all-clear on Valentine’s Day following several months of gruelling treatment at Lincoln County Hospital.
He said: “I wanted to invite everyone who has helped or supported me through this difficult time, to say thank you.
“The entire day was amazing. It worked perfectly and everyone loved the setting.
“Many guests said that it was the best wedding that they had ever been to.”
The newlyweds are now looking forward to their November honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa, where they plan to swim with great white sharks.
Father Stuart said that he was only too pleased to host the reception at the church.
He added: “It was a pleasure to be able to host Ricky and Gloria’s wedding reception at St Wulfram’s and I want to say thank you to them both for the huge amount of work they put into it on what was a very busy weekend.
“I was more than happy to allow them to have the first wedding reception to be held at St Wulfram’s, especially after Ricky’s recent medical issues.”
But asked whether this will be the start of a new era for wedding receptions being held at the church, Father Stuart replied: “We have to address the pros and cons of these things and balance, as always, the primary function of St Wulfram’s, which is a house of prayer.”