Emma and James Planned a Fairytale Wedding with a Woodland Twist at Notley Abbey

Emma and James planned a stunning, woodland themed wedding at Notley Abbey which took place in early December 2016.

Emma and James tied the knot at Notley Abbey, Bijou's historic country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire

About the Couple 

Emma and James didn’t meet in the most glamorous of circumstances, but the wedding they held four years later was a dream come true. 

After having met at work and hit it off, the couple dated for three years before James decided to take Emma away to Crickhowell in Wales where he’d rented a small cottage by the river for a few nights. On the Saturday morning, in the pouring rain, the couple went for a romantic walk. In a field full of sheep and overlooking the beautiful hills, James proposed with a very special ring that featured a diamond that once belonged to his grandmother. 

The couple spent the next year planning their dream winter wedding at Notley Abbey.  

Choosing a Fairytale Wedding Venue

Emma browsed the internet in search of the perfect wedding venue but as soon as she came across Notley Abbey, she knew it was where she wanted to marry James. “Notley Abbey is not only a beautiful building in a magical setting, but it has real history as well” said bride Emma. “We both feel really lucky to have been able to marry in such a wonderful place”.  

The couple also found the online wedding planner helpful and made sure that the couple didn’t forget anything during the run up to their big day. 

Emma and James got married during December at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Emma and James ordered the perfect woodland wedding cake for their December wedding at Notley Abbey

Finding a Dream Wedding Dress 

Having booked a fairytale wedding venue, Emma knew that she simply must don a fairytale wedding dress. She went wedding dress shopping in Thame and ended up trying on around 12 different styles before getting goose bumps at the sight of a truly glamorous gown designed by Justin Alexander. The strapless corset was adorned with sparkly crystals and the dress featured a ballgown skirt, fit for any princess. The wedding dress was in fact the complete opposite to the style that Emma had originally envisioned, but she was extremely happy with her choice and so were her bridesmaids! 

Emma bought a pair of white, court-style wedding shoes from Rainbow Club and had her wedding day make-up done by the team at The Beauty Collective. She had her long dark hair curled and wore a glittering tiara to complete her bridal style. 

The Bridal Party 

Emma chose her two best friends, Hannah and Lucy to be bridesmaids on the day. The girls went shopping together and found perfect, plum coloured dresses which matched the wintry, rich purple colour scheme that themed the day. The bridesmaid also wore shoes by Rainbow Club, but Emma arranged for them to be dyed the same colour as their dresses.

James chose one best man, Dom and three ushers; their suits were all bough from Moss Bros.  

The Big Day – 3rd December, 2016 

Emma and James planned their civil wedding ceremony to take place in The Monks’ Refectory to take place on a Saturday in early December. The bride walked down the aisle on the arm of her father to ‘Life on Mars’ by David Bowie and the couple said their romantic wedding vows in front of 100 wedding guests. 

During the run up to their wedding, Emma and James had met with their Bijou Wedding Planning Manager, Aly, to discuss their plans and have a menu tasting. Here, they got to pick and choose which dishes to serve their guests at the wedding reception; the couple chose a menu consisting of salmon as their starter, followed by sticky beef and a sumptuous chocolate pot for dessert. 

When it came to their wedding flowers, their theme followed a rich purple, glamorous grey and winter green pallet. Their wedding floral wedding decorations were designed by Fullers Flowers and the bridal bouquet consisted of a mix between cream and purple blooms with beautiful foliage. The groom and his party wore a wintry floral mix buttonhole that mainly consisted of cream roses and the venue was decorated with floral arrangements over the fire places as well as on the wedding reception tables. 

When it came to their wedding cake, Emma and James chose a woodland themed cake unlike any that the team at Notley Abbey had ever seen before. Designed by Sara Allen, the gorgeous winter wedding cake sat on a log slice and featured real flowers and no icing. The three tiered wedding cake consisted of chocolate, Victoria sandwich and carrot and had a true woodland feel to it.

The wedding reception also featured a woodland theme; lanterns sitting on slices of log, decorated with moss and fairy lights looked sensational. Each wedding reception table was named after teams from Formula 1 – a passion of both Emma and James. As a wedding favour, each guest was given a little silver animal with their name tag attached, as well as wind-up formula 1 racing car and a small bag of dried heather from the garden of James’ mother. 

A further 28 guests joined the newlywed couple for their evening celebrations and everyone danced the night away to music by a brilliant band called Teenage Kicks. The couple didn’t opt to have a first dance, but instead, their wedding photographer, Wendy Aldiss, took Emma and James out to the front of Notley Abbey to enjoy a private moment away from their guests; they had a quick dance alone, surrounded by the beautiful illuminations of Notley Abbey by night. It was one of the most memorable parts of the day and the couple are delighted with their wedding photographs from that very moment. 

The Honeymoon 

Instead of setting up a traditional wedding gift list, the couple asked for honeymoon contributions so that they could plan the honeymoon of a life-time. They travelled to Tanzania and celebrated their marriage with a 7-day safari, followed by a luxurious beach holiday in Zanzibar. 

When asked if there was any advice that they’d like to give future Bijou wedding planning couples, Emma and James said: “Enjoy the whole journey of planning your wedding because it goes so fast! If you plan it well you’ll regret nothing and enjoy the great adventure!”

Emma and James’s Wedding Suppliers 

Wedding Venue: Notley Abbey
Wedding Photographer: Wendy Aldiss 
Wedding Dress Designer: Justin Alexander 
Groomswear: Moss Bros
Bridal Beauty: The Beauty Collective
Wedding Flowers: Fullers Flowers 
Wedding Cake Designer: Sara Allen
Wedding Band: Teenage Kicks

Notley Abbey is a luxury wedding venue in Buckinghamshire with overnight accommodation available
Emma wore a true fairytale wedding dress designed by Justin Alexander to her wedding at Notley Abbey
Emma chose to wear a pair of white court shoes designed by Rainbow Club to her wedding at Notley Abbey
The corset of Emma's Justin Alexander wedding dress was adorned with sparkly crystals
Emma preparing for her wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey
Emma chose a variety of winter wedding flowers to feature at her December wedding at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Emma wore a Justin Alexander wedding dress to her wedding to James at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
James wearing his winter themed buttonhole to his wedding at Notley Abbey
Emma preparing for her wedding to James at Notley Abbey, an historic wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
Bride walking down the grand stair case at Notley Abbey ahead of her wedding ceremony
The bridal party walking from the main house at Notley Abbey over to The Monks' Refectory
Floral winter wedding decor in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The couple saying their vows in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
Emma and James exchanging wedding rings in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The newlywed couple making their way back down the aisle in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
The confetti shot taking place in the Cloisters Garden in the gardens at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom sharing a kiss outside Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The groom with his grooms party outside Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Emma holding her wintry bridal bouquet featuring rich purple, white and green foliage
Luxury winter wedding flowers created by Fullers Flowers for Emma and James who wed at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The wedding guests gathered outside the entrance of Notley Abbey, Bijou's luxurious Buckinghamshire country house wedding venue
Emma and James ordered a luxurious woodland themed wedding cake for their winter wedding celebration at Notley Abbey
Wooden table plan available to use at Notley Abbey, a country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
The bride and groom after their wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey, Bijou's luxurious country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
The newlywed couple enjoying the luxurious atmosphere and grounds at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The newlywed couple taking moment alone after their winter wedding at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Notley Abbey featuring two Christmas trees for Emma and James' winter wedding which took place in December
The couple shared a first dance outside Notley Abbey, a dream country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
The couple enjoyed a private moment together outside Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Notley Abbey illuminated by romantic light during the evening at Emma and James's winter wedding reception