An English Country Garden Themed Wedding at Notley Abbey for Kate and Matt

Kate and Matt planned an English country garden themed wedding at Notley Abbey during the height of summer 2016. 

The bride and groom at their English country house wedding venue, Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire

About the Couple 

Kate planned a six month travelling expedition to Australia, which spiraled in to actually being away from the UK for two and half years. She’s spent most of her time living in Melbourne, but towards the end of her trip, was introduced to Matt, an Australian who had travelled from North of Brisbane to visit a mutual friend. Kate and Matt kept in touch and had a long distance relationship before Kate moved up to Queensland. But, as her visa was soon to expire and she was making plans to return home to England, Matt very casually said ‘I’ll come’. 

The couple moved back to the UK together and enjoyed spending time exploring parts of the UK that Matt had obviously never seen before. They planned a trip back to Australia and took Kate’s parents with them and it was on this very special trip that things were about to get exciting. Matt very nervously managed to hide an engagement ring in his carry on luggage during the flight and chose to propose on the 27th August – a number that was lucky for the couple. On the morning of his planned proposal, Matt managed to ask Kate’s father for permission to marry his daughter. Later that day, the couple climbed the local Mount Coolum and at the top, all red faced and sweaty, Matt got down on one knee and proposed. The couple heard cheering from other climbers on the mountain and they celebrated their engagement that evening in a luxurious rainforest villa.

Choosing A Summer Wedding Dress 

Kate was lucky enough to find her wedding dress without too much of a drama. She had in mind what she thought she wanted and after having visited a bridalwear shop in Thame, she fell in love with the third dress that she tried on. Kate felt like a superstar when she tried on the Justin Alexander beauty; even her mother cried! She couldn’t believe that she’d found ‘the one’ so quickly, so continued to shop around, but in the end, came back to her dream gown. The dress featured a sweetheart neckline and a timeless, retro-hollywood feel with lashings of lace and a beautifully cut window at the back. The fishtail silhouette looked stunning and Kate teamed it up with a cathedral veil and a pair of white Ted Baker wedding shoes. 

When it came to wedding day hair and makeup, Kate was lucky enough to have friends in the business. Her friend Thembi gave her a natural bridal makeover and her friend Dawn loosly pinned her hair up, in order to show off the back of her gorgeous gown. The bride and her bridesmaids got ready at the home of Kate’s parents and the groom along with his ushers prepared for the wedding at home, before heading over to Notley Abbey to complete the finishing touches. 

The bride and groom arriving at their beautiful country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire, Notley Abbey
The couple chose their dog to be their ring bearer at their church wedding ahead of their reception at Notley Abbey

Finding a Country House Wedding Venue 

Kate and Matt knew that they wanted to find a wedding venue with a true, English country wow factor, seeing as they had so many friends coming to their wedding from abroad. The couple only viewed two wedding venues during their search, Notley Abbey being first on their list. They fell in love with the classic English charm of Notley Abbey and the online planner tool was a complete bonus. Communicating their thoughts and plans through the planner saved so much hassle and paperwork, not forgetting the ease of keeping on track when it came to the guest list. 

The Bridal party 

The bridesmaids were a mixture of family and friends; Kate’s older sister, cousin and two best friends and the page boy who was the couple’s nephew. The bride took her bridesmaids dress shopping in London and Kate had a clear vision in mind of what she really wanted her best girls to wear – she was proven wrong. Each bridesmaid ended up wearing a different dress, a dress that suited their individual styles, but based around either a pale pink or pale blue shade. The groom’s party were a little trickier when it came to planning their wedding attire – seeing as they were all from Australia. They ended up hiring blue, three-piece suits with fabulous peacock lining and brown shoes. The couple splashed out on Matt’s wedding suit and bough it from Clements and Church in Oxford. They provided an amazing service and Matt was delighted with the style, fit and colour of his suit once the big day arrived. 

The Big Day: 29th July, 2016

Kate grew up in Haddenham which is just around the corner from Notley Abbey. As she’d grown up attending St. Mary’s C of E in Haddenham, it was an obvious choice for the couple when it came to where they’d say their vows. As a surprise to everyone, Kate and Matt’s dog, Bailey, was their ring bearer. Bailey wore a stunning floral garland and proudly carried the wedding rings around her neck as she was escorted up the aisle by the bride’s brother. Kate and her father walked down the aisle to ‘A Thousand Years’ by The Piano Guys and as she saw Matt, Kate just couldn’t hold the tears back. Two friends read readings during the ceremony; one religious and one about friendship, before the couple were announced as husband and wife. 

Outside the church, guests showered the newlywed couple with confetti before everyone headed back to the couples chosen country house wedding venue, Notley Abbey. Before the wedding banquet, a friend Owain Pennington, played an upbeat acoustic set out on the patio which really set the mood. The couple had named their tables in The Monks’ Refectory after beaches in Australia and their quirky table plan had been handmade using wood and chicken wire. The couple chose a wild and romantic floral theme featuring hues of pink, blue, purple and cream. The buttonholes, corsages and bouquets were made up from a selection of delphiniums, scabious, eryngium, lisianthus, larkspur, roses and peonies. Flowers were strung around the table plan and when it came to the wedding reception tables, they each followed a truly English, country garden theme. Tall glass vases filled with a combination of white hydrangea and twigs, hung of which hung round baubles filled with tea lights. The reception tables looked exactly how Kate and Matt had imagined them to look. 

On their Wedding Planning Wednesday meeting at Notley Abbey, Kate and Matt had carefully chosen a menu consisting of brie parcels to start, followed by beef shank for the main course and crème brulee for dessert. Later on in the evening a buffet of bacon sarnies was served along with a slice of naked wedding cake. Each tier of the wedding cake was a different flavour and an additional 30 evening guest had joined the couple to witness the cutting of their cake – which they were lucky enough to cut outside due to the summery weather. 

The couple hadn’t rehearsed their first dance but had so much fun in the spotlight dancing to ‘Ho Hey’ by The Lumineers. Their band played music throughout the rest of the night and the dance floor was full right up until the very last minute. 

The Honeymoon

As the couple already have a home and everything they could possibly imagine, they opted to create a website through Kuoni where guests could contribute money towards their honeymoon. Kate and Matt both love to travel, so it made sense to visit somewhere they'd never been before. They booked a week travelling around Sri Lanka and then spent a week on the island of Kuramathi in the Maldives. The newlyweds enjoyed their honeymoon so much that they’ve already started a kitty so that they can visit again in the future. 

Wedding Memories

Kate and Matt had an incredible wedding day, but a few moments that really stood out for them were when they were announced as husband and wife in the church and when they arrived at Notley Abbey, greeted by all their guests. They also loved the part of the wedding speeches which paid tribute to Kate’s late grandparents and dancing away with all their guests on the dance floor. 

When asked if there was any advice that they would give future wedding planning couples, Kate and Matt said that it would be to hire a wedding videographer. “Our videographer captured so many moving moments in a different way. We were so glad we hired him”.

It happened to rain on the morning of July 29th, 2016, and the anxious couple were stressed that the rain would dampen their day, until a friend Verity said ‘rain on your day, sunshine on your marriage’. The couple loved that phrase and truly loved every moment of their English country house themed wedding. 

Kate and Matt’s Wedding Suppliers 

Wedding Venue: Notley Abbey
Wedding Photographer: Jonanthan Fenton
Wedding Dress Designer: Justin Alexander 
Groom’s Attire: Clements and Church in Oxford
Wedding Flowers: Forever Green, Thame
Wedding Band: Hand Fulla Soul 
Wedding Videographer: Antoine Lyons
Wedding Music: Owain Pennington

Kate's bridal accessories; preparation ahead of her luxury barn-style, country house wedding at Notley Abbey
Beautiful, summery floral buttonholes for the groom, his best man and the ushers for their Notley Abbey wedding.
The bride putting on her glamorous Justin Alexander wedding dress ahead of her wedding celebration at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Kate looking sensational ahead of her marriage to Matt - celebrated at the historic wedding venue in Buckinghamshire, Notley Abbey
The page boy just about to go in to the church
The order of service for Kate and Matt's church wedding had a rustic design
The bridesmaids walking down the aisle in the church, followed by the bride and her father
Kate and Matt saying their wedding vows ahead of their summer wedding reception at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom walking out of the church, heading to their English country garden wedding reception at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom being showered with confetti ahead of their wedding reception back at the exclusive use, country house wedding venue, Notley Abbey
The bride and groom in their wedding car, heading down the approach to the glamorous Buckinghamshire wedding venue, Notley Abbey
The entire wedding party stood outside the exclusive use wedding venue in Buckinghamshire, Notley Abbey
The pageboy running through lavender within the beautiful country garden grounds at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom with their bridesmaids and ushers outside Notley Abbey
The groom, best man and ushers lifting up the beautiful bride
The back of Kate's sensational Justin Alexander wedding dress
The newlywed couple enjoying perfect photography moments within the grounds at Notley Abbey
The newlyweds enjoying some time alone ahead of their country house themed wedding reception at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom sneak away for a private moment within the glorious grounds of Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Kate and Matt enjoying time together on the approach to Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The couple handmade their rustic table plan using wood and chickenwire
The tables at Kate and Matt's English country garden themed wedding were actually names of Australian beaches
The couple chose a tall, four tiered naked wedding cake to cut at their summer, country house wedding venue, Notley Abbey
The room was filled with emotion as the wedding speeches were being made at Notley Abbey
A grand piano sits in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom cutting their naked wedding cake outside during their evening reception at the exclusive use wedding venue Notley Abbey
The back of Kate's beautiful wedding dress designed by Justin Alexander
The bride and groom dancing their first dance on the dance floor at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The bride and groom hired light up letters of their names as decor for their country house wedding venue, Notley Abbey
The bride and groom dancing the night away after their wonderful wedding celebration at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire