Bella and Richard - Notley Abbey

Barrister Bella Morris and financier Richard Webb married at Notley Abbey on Sunday 23rd March 2014


The Preparation

We didn’t have a specific venue in mind but wanted somewhere with character within the Oxfordshire area where we could have both the ceremony and reception at one venue. We started by having a look at local venues online and decided upon a few to visit – one of which was Notley Abbey – and which we loved as soon as we saw it in the flesh! Richard’s brother in law to be is a skilled DJ and keen on mixing music and helped us compile the music for the ceremony. 
A family friend also offered to make the bride’s tiara. 

The Planning Process: 

The planning process was more fun than stressful. We were lucky to have great support from family and friends, who helped with advice when sought. We also made an early list of the things that needed to be done, and worked through it in a methodical way.
The process really appealed to the bride’s creative and artistic side, and so we particularly enjoyed sourcing and liaising with providers of the flowers, lighting and cake, as well as engaging in a bit of DIY for the place cards, table numbers and seating plan. The menu was, for us, fairly easy to choose. We wanted a vegetarian/fish menu, and after an initial look at the helpful pictures and descriptions in the Bijou planner, we thoroughly enjoyed our tasting.

The Theme: 
We went for a fairly natural theme with seasonal flowers which were not too structured and pretty lighting. 

The Day:
It was really weird to think that eleven months of planning for this date in the future had finally arrived. The process of getting ready with all the people we loved the most around us was great fun, although it was strange being followed around by photographers all day (especially as neither of us like having our picture taken). The entire day was so lovely that it is difficult to pick out just one part that we will remember forever. Every detail is etched into our minds, from the beautiful floral arch at the ceremony to the twinkling fairy light canopy in the barn. Of course, the ceremony was very special and solemn but it was truly wonderful to have all of our friends and family, some from as far afield as the U.S, Israel, France, Cayman and Dubai, at our sides.

The Reception: 
The reception was everything we hoped for and more. For the initial reception we went for champagne and Pimms with a selection of Bijou’s delicious canapes. We also had a Klezmer band playing and they were incredible. After the drinks, everyone moved to the barn along a lantern lit walkway. We had a fairy light canopy in the barn which was beautiful and reflected beautifully in every glass panel. The table centres were stunning, and our dragonfly place settings perched on each wine glass turned the tables into little gardens. For the wedding breakfast we had caramelised onion and goats cheese tartlet, followed by sea bass, and topped off with a fabulous sticky lemon and almond cake. 
Our wedding cake – taking centre stage behind the top table, was incredible and modern. There were three tiers of coffee and walnut and madeira cake, all encased with solid panels of white chocolate, rippled with green, and edged with lime green chrysanthemums. The speeches were given by the bride’s father, Simon, Richard’s best man, Rob, Richard of course, and the groom’s cousin, John on behalf of Richard’s elderly grandfather who sadly had to leave early through ill health. The speeches were interspersed between courses and were, we think, really entertaining and hugely emotional.

The Evening
The entertainment was then provided by a band called The Vodka Martinis, who sang a mixture of current and past covers, jazz and Latin music. They were fantastic, highly professional and enjoyed by all. We booked them through Function Junction who were also terrific and a pleasure to work with. We gave them a brief of finding us someone who could play a range of styles including Latin music, and they came up with the perfect match. Our first dance was to Sway – the Michael Buble version. We both enjoy Ceroc dancing so had devised a routine, which was great fun. 

Where was your honeymoon?

Top tips for other Bijou brides:

Bijou were so helpful and professional, they were always on hand to answer any queries no matter how silly or small. The organisation of the day itself was faultless, so we would suggest that you try not to stress about the most special of days and trust the professionals.

Life after Bijou – what are you both up to now? 

We have moved up north to Cheshire, and as we write this, we are waiting for our first baby to arrive – late!


Who did what?

Photography: Barker Evans
Dress: Stephanie Allin
Accessories:  Shoes – LK Bennett.  Tiara was made by a family friend. 
Wedding rings: Bride’s wedding ring made by Maya, London. Groom wore bride’s grandfather’s wedding ring
Bridesmaids dresses: Two birds – purchased through Ellie Sanderson, Oxford
Hair & make-up: Bride’s hair done by bride’s mother. Make up done by bride. Bridesmaids’ hair by Accent, Summertown.
Groom’s outfit: Shepherd and Woodward
Stationery: Invitations by Cardlab. Place settings ordered from Confetti. Table numbers and menus were home made.
Flowers: Fabulous Flowers, Oxford
Cake:  Cocomiloko