Lisa and Adam - Notley Abbey

A warm and sunny outside wedding for Lisa and Adam at Bijou's Notley Abbey in May. 

THE STORY

The preparation: 
We knew that we wanted a venue that stood out, and one that we could have exclusively as our own.  Notley Abbey was the third venue we visited and we didn’t bother with any others after that, we knew as soon as we pulled up to the front door. It was also the only venue that we visited where Adam and my dad actually got excited, so we knew it was the one!  

The planning process: 
The planning process was made seamless with the help of the knowledgeable Bijou staff and the fab online wedding planning tool.  Being quite an organised person, I literally loved this and the drag and drop table plan facility was particularly useful.  We had been warned that there would probably be arguments about the table plan so we sat down fully prepared with a bottle of wine but we had it completed in about 20 minutes. 
Picking the wedding menu was a really enjoyable part of the process and being able to taste the menu and wines in advance made things a lot easier. Ann and the team were on hand every step of the way and were extremely accommodating with all requests to visit the venue.

The theme: 
Needing to have a theme was something that bothered me in the early days, as our wedding didn’t really fit into one particular genre.  We had elements of different themes, and just made sure that everything was what we liked.  The venue is almost a theme in itself and really doesn’t need much decorating or dressing up – it is stunningly beautiful on its own. The day: 
From the moment I arrived I felt surprisingly calm.  I had visions of turning into bridezilla but everything was so well organised there was literally nothing for me to worry about.  The team even went and took pictures of how the tables had been laid out and brought them back up to the bridal suite so I could check that everything was as I wanted it without me having to pause the all-important hair and make up process! We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather and got married outside, so walking down the aisle was an amazing moment with the sun shining.  

The Reception: 
The reception was lovely, again made all the more special by the stunning weather!  We were quite busy with photos, so the wonderful team made sure my husband and I always had a drink and even bought us our own personal tray of canapés to ensure we didn’t miss out while we were busy posing.  The wedding breakfast was amazing and I couldn’t fault the catering.  I’ll remember my dad’s speech for a long time – he wrote a special, funny poem all about my life which had the guests in stitches and me in tears!  

The evening: 
We had a fantastic band called The Deps who made sure everyone was dancing all night!  The lead singer, James, sang our first dance beautifully and it’s a moment I’ll never forget.  The Hog roast also deserves a special mention – I thought I’d be too full after the wedding breakfast but it was too delicious to resist.

Where was your honeymoon?
We went to South Africa first.  We started with 4 days in Cape Town doing crazy things like Shark Cage Diving (hubby’s request) as well as some more relaxing experiences such as a luxury picnic basket and wine at the top of Table Mountain while watching the sun set.  We then went on Safari for 4 days at Kariega Game Reserve – the most wonderful experience and our favourite part of the honeymoon. Finally we flew to Mauritius for 6 days to relax and unwind!  It was the trip of a lifetime and one we will never forget.

Top tip(s) for other Bijou brides:
Make sure you keep taking moments with your husband to sit back and take in all that’s happening, otherwise the day will pass in a flash!  We did this throughout the day and we’re so pleased we did – we have some lovely memories of watching all our family and friends having such a wonderful time. 

Life after Bijou – what are you both up to now? 
Enjoying not having to save for a wedding!  We’re making the most of it with some more holidays planned.

 

Who did what?

Photography: Imaginarium Photography
Dress: Maggie Sottero (purchased from Windsor & Eton Brides)
Accessories: Bucks Goldsmiths, Gerrards Cross
Wedding rings: Bucks Goldsmiths, Gerrards Cross
Bridesmaids dresses: Jolliffes, Marlow
Hair & make-up: Thorne Brides
Groom’s outfit: Moss Bros
Stationery: Leonie Gordon London
Flowers: Pinks of Hazlemere
Cake: Clare Warner (bridesmaid)
Entertainment: The Deps
Other:  Master of Ceremonies: Mark Bolkonsky