Joanne and Dominic Planned a Wedding with an Old Hollywood Glamour Theme at Notley Abbey

Joanne and Dominic fell in love after having met online and planned a fabulous, old Hollywood glamour themed celebration at Notley Abbey for April 2016.

The bride and groom standing on the bridge leading to Notley Abbey

About the Couple

Joanne and Dominic met online, but soon realised that they only lived 2 miles apart. After having met in person and gone on several dates they knew very quickly that they’d both met their perfect match. 

Dominic proposed during a weekend away in London.  It was a beautiful sunny evening and he proposed overlooking St Katherine's Dock.  It was a complete surprise and a moment that Joanne will always cherish. Dominic had been secretly researching engagement rings for many months and finally decided to buy Joanne a stunning Cartier Ballerine ring.  Needless to say, it was absolutely perfect! 

The Dress 

When Joanne embarked on the search for her wedding dress she was convinced that she wanted a lace gown, but after visiting over half a dozen shops and trying on many lace dresses, she didn’t get that 'wow' moment that people describe. A Bridal Gallery in Thame suggested that she try on a design by Justin Alexander - and the rest is history as they say! When Joanne stepped in to the dress it made her glow; she felt so elegant wearing it - like a Hollywood star from the 1940's! Joanne’s chosen design was a mermaid silhouette dress in ivory charmeuse satin with a Sabrina neckline and a pleated cummerbund waist. The cowl back was adorned with pearls and featured diamante at the shoulder. It truly was a dream wedding dress for the bride-to-be and Joanne advises future brides to go wedding dress shopping with an open mind. 

Joanne completed her bridal style by wearing a pair of shoes designed by No 1 Jenny Packham and her bridal hair stylist, Kaz Fernando, created an old Hollywood glamour vibe by giving Joanne big, soft curls in her hair.

The Wedding Party 

Joanne chose her friend Julie and sister-in-law Sian to be her bridesmaids for the big day. In keeping with the old Hollywood glamour wedding theme, Joanne thought it would be nice for her bridesmaids to wear dresses in a blush tone. They turned to Dessy where they found chiffon, floor length gowns in a blush shade that the girls could wear differently to reflect their personalities. They looked beautiful on the day!

To tie in with the old Hollywood glamour theme and their Jazz/Swing band, Dominic chose a slim black 3-piece suit for the grooms with blush tie and pocket square to match the bridesmaids. Dominic wanted to stand out from the Best Man (his twin brother Damian) so he chose an ivory waistcoat, tie and pocket square. He wanted to make sure Joanne married the right brother! The groomswear was all hired from Domino Formal Hire in Thame.

The bride and groom standing outside Notley Abbey, an exclusive hire wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
An Old Hollywood Glamour theme decorated The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey

Choosing The Wedding Venue

Joanne and Dominic discovered Notley Abbey by chance on a country walk and Joanne remembers thinking to herself what a stunning venue Notley Abbey could be for a wedding! When Dominic proposed she immediately thought back to that walk and vision and suggested that they consider it as their chosen wedding venue. Dominic fell in love with Notley Abbey as much as Joanne did. The driveway was stunning and the Abbey has such an incredible history having once been home to Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, who were known for throwing lavish Hollywood style parties and invited exclusive guests such as Marilyn Monroe. The history of Notley Abbey inspired Joanne and Dominic, and offered the perfect backdrop for their old Hollywood glamour themed wedding.

The couple looked at one other wedding venue during their search but were specifically looking for a venue that offered exclusive use and overnight accommodation for themselves and close family members. It was also important to Joanne and Dominic that the venue was weather proof! Getting married at any time of year is a gamble but April is famous for its showers. They wanted to ensure that their chosen wedding venue had good photo opportunities available, whatever the weather. Joanne also wanted to be able to get ready at the venue and walk into the ceremony without getting wet if it rained! Notley Abbey ticked all of their boxes and being able to record every detail of their wedding on the Bijou wedding planner gave them the reassurance that all their wedding plans would come together perfectly on the day. Regular meetings with their wedding planner also gave Joanne and Dominic the chance to talk through their wedding ideas and agree the finer details.

The Wedding Ceremony

Joanne and Dominic were married in The Abbot’s Hall at Notley Abbey in front of 85 guests. The bride walked down the aisle to ‘At Last’ by Etta James which was played by the band, The Jazz Dynamos, and the couple had chosen this song as the words summed up perfectly how Joanne felt towards Dominic. Having met later in life they felt blessed to have finally found each other. 
Joanne walked down the aisle with her step-father Pete and two readings were read by two very special friends, Sue and Robin. They read ‘If you ever fall in love’ and ‘Union’ by Robert Fulghum. 

The Wedding Reception

When it came to their wedding reception, Joanne and Dominic celebrated with their friends and family in the Monks’ Refectory at Notley Abbey. The couple had previously attended a menu tasting at Notley Abbey and had chosen a sumptuous menu of the baked brie parcel as a starter, slow braised sticky Hampshire beef served with creamed parsnip mash, root vegetable crisps and olivette carrots as a main course and a delicious chocolate pot with Jack Daniels ice cream for dessert. 
The Monks’ Refectory was adorned with drapes, huge table center pieces, jewelled goblets, pearls and diamante to incorporate the true old Hollywood glamour vibe. 

For wedding favours, guests of the newlywed couple received a box of mints in a black, glossy tin to tie in with the overall colour scheme of the wedding reception. 

The couple cut through an incredible four tier wedding cake that followed the old Hollywood glamour theme and stood behind the head table throughout the wedding breakfast. The cake featured a lemon, chocolate, carrot and fruit tier and was lovingly made by the mother of one of the bridesmaids. 

Flowers and Wedding Decor

Joanne and Dominic had an incredible array of flowers at their wedding, all designed and put together by the talented Joanna Carter. For her bridal bouquet, Joanne opted for a hand-tied bouquet of ivory akito roses, blush pink quicksand roses, pearl strands, mixed pearl beads and a diamante and pearl brooch attached to the stem. Joanne ended up tossing her bouquet at the end of the night and her friend Sarah caught it, creating a truly wonderful moment. Dominic wore an ivory akito rose and the other groomsmen had a nude quicksand rose.

Joanne created a fabulous, opulent, glamorous vibe throughout Notley Abbey with super stylish floral displays featuring white hydrangea, quicksand nude roses, white stocks, pale pink sweet avalanche roses, ivory avalanche roses and ivory akito roses. A floral archway was displayed over the main entrance to Notley Abbey and the Abbot’s Hall was lined with storm lanterns containing rose petals for the ceremony. Black urns with oversized floral features stood at either side of the aisle and black cocktail vases and cube vase arrangements were placed on the registrar table.  

The Monk’s Refectory looked spectacular adorned with drapes. The wedding reception tables carried the Hollywood glamour theme and featured black gloss chiavari chairs that had been hired in, along with blush table linen and tall trumpet vases filled with crystal ball floral arrangements. The wedding reception tables were all named after famous stars that had stayed at Notley Abbey in the past and Joanne created a stunning table plan to coordinate with the theme. 

During the evening reception a 5 piece band kept the dance floor packed all night and the couple danced their first dance to John Legent’s ‘All of Me’ and the last dance to ‘At Last’ by Etta James, as a reminder of when Joanne walked down the aisle several hours before. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. 

The Honeymoon 

Joanne and Dominic chose to spend their honeymoon in Dubai and The Maldives. They arrived on Khandolu island by sea plane and stayed in an over-water villa with their own deck, plunge pool and fully stocked wine bar.

Wedding Advice from the Bride and Groom 

When asked if there was any advice that they’d give to future wedding planning couples, Joanne and Dominic had a top tip that they wanted to share. 
“Don’t underestimate the value of a good toastmaster – Paul Deacon orchestrated every moment of our wedding to perfection and added humorous sparkle to our day. Our guests just loved him!”

Who Did What? 

Wedding Venue: Notley Abbey
Wedding Photographer: Faye Cornhill
Wedding Hair Stylist: Kaz Fernando
Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander 
Bridesmaids Dresses: Dessy 
Groomswear: Domino Formal Hire
Toastmaster: Paul Deacon
Wedding Flowers: Joanna Carter
Wedding Band: The Jazz Dynamos
Wedding Cake Designer: Vicki Foster

Notley Abbey is an exclusive use wedding venue located on the border of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
The invitation to Joanne and Dominic's wedding at Notley Abbey
The bride with her bridesmaids before the wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey
The groom an his twin brother standing within the grounds at Notley Abbey
The bride coming out of the bridal suite at Notley Abbey
The Abbot's Hall at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire decorated with an Old Hollywood Glamour wedding theme
Oversized floral arrangements in the Abbot's Hall at Notley Abbey
The bride walking down the aisle in The Abbot's Hall at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom exchanging vows in The Abbot's Hall
The bride and groom making it official at Notley Abbey
Joanne and Dominic being showered with confetti after their nuptials at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom hired a wedding post box for their wedding at Notley Abbey
Standing on the tree-lined driveway approach up to Notley Abbey
The tree-lined approach to Notley Abbey is a one-of-a-kind wedding photographic opportunity
The beautiful bride posing for post-wedding photographs within the grounds at Notley Abbey
Joanne and Dominic posing for lovely wedding photographs at Notley Abbey
The bride being helped by toastmaster Paul Deacon
The bride and groom having an iconic photograph taken at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom standing outside the entrance to Notley Abbey
The stunning bridal bouquet created by wedding florist Joanna Carter
An Old Hollywood Glamour themed wedding table plan at Notley Abbey
An ultra-glam place setting in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
Wedding reception decor with a twist of Old Hollywood Glamour at Notley Abbey
Wedding reception table decor at Notley Abbey with an Old Hollywood Glamour twist
The top table in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
A place setting in the Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
A Bijou wedding menu
Wedding reception tables displayed in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Wedding speeches in The Monks' Refectory
A four tier wedding cake with a glamorous, old Hollywood theme
Joanne and Dominic cutting their wedding cake in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom with all of their wedding guests outside Notley Abbey