Courtney & Dan - Notley Abbey

Courtney and Dan held their wedding celebrations at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire, in August 2013 

I’m an American and Dan is English. We knew that as we were looking for venues and planning our big day we wanted a great blend of American and English tradition, plus to incorporate our own ideas as a non-traditional couple.  When we visited Notley Abbey for the first time and glimpsed the grounds, I couldn’t hold back tears!  Notley feels like everything you’d want as a foreigner coming to an English wedding - a beautiful country manor with a perfect blend of elegance, comfort and charm without being too stately or imposing.  

We wanted our ceremony to be personal, quirky and with just enough weight so we signed our legal paperwork at the Register office the day before, and had our good friend reside as the celebrant on the day. It also helped prolong the festivities for overseas guests. 

I walked down the aisle to “In My Life” by The Beatles, and as die-hard Liverpool FC fans the recessional music was “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.  Our table names were designed by our friend, Stef Stefaniuk and represented landmarks near places each of us had lived. Our delicious, bespoke succulent cupcake tower was designed by Foxy Cakes in Eton, flowers by Sonning Flowers, Hair & Make-UP by Claire Hanson, and photography by Lorenzo Photography. 


My advice to brides:

Splurge on the best photographer you can afford, can really connect with, and limit the amount of group pictures you take: Hiring Loz was the next biggest decision we made after choosing Notley as a venue.  He took some amazing pictures and was really able to “tell the story” of the wedding.  Group pictures can feel a bit like cattle herding and takes time away from you enjoying your own day. Try to limit to the bare minimum if mom and mother in law will let you! Loz felt like family once the wedding was over and we were really sad to say goodbye.

Choose “George’s Boot Camp” if you’re looking for a pre-wedding fitness regime in Oxford or Thame:  Dan and I lost over 3.5 stones total and felt our best on our big day.  Most of all, we’ve continued boot camp because we love how we feel and love our instructor, Ali Galbraith.

Most of all take a step back, watch all of your friends and family in one place enjoying themselves, and take it all in: It all goes by so fast and everything, no matter what happens, it will be perfect!