Wedding day drama was all part of Hopton couple’s 1940s theme
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013
The year is 1932 and Hollywood's finest are gathering for the ceremony of the century as two of the industry's biggest movers and shakers tie the knot.
But even as the guests mingle on the red carpet, posing for a bank of flashbulbs, simmering rivalries bubble to the surface and one of the company is sensationally killed off.
The mystery deepens and soon the words on everyone's lips are not 'I do' but 'whodunnit?'
In fact so real were the cast of actors mingling with real-life guests at a Hopton couple's wedding, one of the staff at Potters Leisure Resort where the off-beat union was being staged rushed to administer first aid to the 'deceased.'
The wedding take on a murder-mystery was the idea of Chris and Annabel Garratt. The couple, who have been together for six years, wanted a non-religious, fun, ceremony that would get everyone talking to each other. They chose the elegant glamour of the 1930s and 40s as a backdrop to their scenario, flamboyant feathery table decorations emulating the style of the decades.
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For Mrs Garratt, 56, achieving the sleek pin-curls of the period meant months of growing her hair and six trips to the hairdressers.
Guests had around 10 months from receiving the cryptically worded 'event' invitation to ensure they were dressed in vintage finery - helped by the popularity of TV's Downton Abbey.
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Mrs Garratt, a volunteer at the Nelson Museum in Great Yarmouth, scoured the shops, settling on a champagne gown from Palmers.
She said the themed wedding had tested the grey-matter of their 37 guests, only two of whom solved the mystery to win a prize.
At the start of the day the cast of seven from Mundesley-based Dreamstone Productions mingled with guests, most of whom had no idea they were actors - speaking in American accents and bemoaning the state of the film industry.
Guests were invited to turn detective and find out who killed the elusive Oscar when silent-movie actress Greta Garson suddenly thuds to the floor - a victim of Hank Crawford, head of studio security.
Mr Garratt, 51, a measurement consultant for the oil and gas industry, said the event was great fun.
Loosely following a script and ad-libbing he said the cast were marvellous, helping them to have the fun day they had wanted.
Mrs Garratt said: 'It is different if you are younger and want the fairy tale white wedding. We did not want a conventional wedding and went to several venues and they didn't really understand what we wanted. Potters were the only people who actually understood. It was a bit of escapism.'
Dreamstone's Jo Berry, said it was the murder mystery troupe's first wedding. Scriptwriter Paula Alexian had come up with movie theme chiming with the couple's ideas and a plot involving a fading actress no longer wanted by the studio in the 'talkie' era.
She said: 'All the guests joined in beautifully asking us questions and taking our characters as gospel. It was a real ice-breaker.'
Contact Dreamstone on 01263 720743 or visit the website www.dreamstoneproductions.co.uk.