An April Wedding Party at Notley Abbey for Katie and Sam

Katie and Sam planned a perfect wedding party at Notley Abbey for a Thursday in April, celebrated with 70 day time guests. 

A romantic wedding story at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire

About the Couple 

Katie and Sam had known each other during their school days but got together after their university years. After a four year relationship, the couple planned a pre-Christmas trip up to the Lake District as they wanted to see a very special Christmas tree display. They stayed in a very old hotel and Sam proposed before breakfast on the first morning of their trip. He’d had a ring designed in Hatton Garden and had asked Katie’s father for permission to marry his daughter, so Sam felt fully prepared to pop the question. Katie was so excited to say YES!

The couple spent the next 15 months planning the details of their wedding, which they knew wanted to be relaxed, elegant and so much fun.  

Grecian Bridalwear 

Katie tried on about 20 wedding dresses before finding the ultimate Jenny Packham gown. The simple, Grecian style wedding dress suited the style of Katie and Sam’s spring wedding at Notley Abbey perfectly and the bride-to-be knew that this particular dress was meant-to-be from the moment she put it on. “I loved the way it moved, I wanted something relaxed with lots of material, there was meters of silk in the skirt” said Katie. The embellishment on the top gave the dress that extra touch of bling, to compliment Sam and Katie’s stylish wedding theme. 

Katie had a simple half-up, half-down bridal hairstyle, teamed up with a cathedral length veil to add some drama to her bridal style. Her bridal beauty was done by Serap Yildiz fro Mirage Beauty. 

Balloon decor on wedding reception tables at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Stylish wedding flowers at Notley Abbey, an exclusive use wedding venue in Buckinghamshire

Falling in Love with Notley Abbey 

Notley Abbey was the first and only wedding venue in which Katie and Sam visited during their search. They knew that after stepping through the doors they wouldn't need to continue their search for the ultimate wedding venue in Buckinghamshire. They loved that they could hold their ceremony, celebrations and reception in one place and having accommodation on site was the icing on the cake. Regardless of what the weather was like in April, the couple were confident that their guests would have an amazing party inside the historic party house if the gardens were not accessible due to surprise April showers. 

The couple found Bijou’s online wedding planner a lifesaver during the run up to their wedding. “You could fiddle with things yourself and the Wedding Planning Team were amazing, they always answered super-fast and were very helpful” explained Katie and Sam.

Elegant Wedding Flowers 

The couple chose Daisy from award winning florist Daisy Ellen to design all of the floral details on the day. Katie’s incredible bouquet was filled with white roses, blue thistles, ranunculus, fern and foliage. The bridesmaids carried smaller bouquets and the men wore button holes featuring Eucalyptus, Brunia, Earl Grey and white spray roses. 
Katie loved her bouquet so much that she’s had elements of it turned in to a paperweight so that she has it in the house as a forever memory. Floral detailing and fern was also featured on reception tables and inside helium balloons which looked fabulous as centerpieces. 

The Bridal Party 

Katie chose three close friends and her sister-in-law to be bridesmaids. The girls chose a variety of dresses they liked online at ASOS and had a big trying on session once the bulk order had arrived. They chose sparkly, floor-length grey dresses with a Grecian twist which looked stunning against Katie’s beautiful wedding dress. 

Sam had his suite, and the suits worn by his grooms party, made to order by a local tailor. His wedding shoes came from Oliver Sweeny. 

The Big Day: Thursday 20th April, 2017 

Katie and Sam chose a 2pm wedding ceremony in the historical Abbot’s Hall at Notley Abbey. The groom arrived at the Buckinghamshire wedding venue in style, via helicopter, and the bridal party became very excited as the ceremony drew closer. 
The bride walked down the aisle in The Abbot’s Hall on the arm of her father, to ‘It Must Be Love’ by Madness and the couple said their vows in front of 70 day guests. One of the bridesmaids wrote a reading based on Katie’s favourite song, ‘Home’ by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros. Another friend from University read a poem, 'The Skin Horse'. 

When choosing wedding rings, Katie opted for a half eternity ring, but the couple melted down Katie’s grandfathers ring and turned it in to a new family heirloom for Sam. This was really special to Katie as her grandfather had passed away and couldn't be at the wedding. 

After their vows, the couple enjoyed celebratory cocktails and canapés with their wedding guests but took some time out to be with their photographer, Samuel Docker. There are dozens of unusual secret garden hideaways around the grounds at Notley Abbey, so the couple had fun spending some time alone, allowing Samuel to take some incredible newlywed shots of the couple. 

The bride and groom were announced in to The Monks’ Refectory at 4pm and guests were welcomed to the wedding by a speech given by the father of the bride. So that they could make the most of their wedding day and mingle with their friends and family, the couple decided to eat their three course meal at various tables, as a couple, rather than staying on the top table. 

Wedding Breakfast Menu

Peat-smoked salmon, pea shoots & beetroot with charlotte potato salad & edible flowers
Slow braised sticky Hampshire beef with creamed parsnip mash, Root vegetable crisps and Olivette carrots
Blackberry and apple crumble with caramel ice cream and crème Anglaise

Sam’s step-mother handmade the white yet rustic, half-lemon/half-chocolate wedding cake for the couple. This was cut and distributed during the reception. A further 30 guests were invited to celebrate with the couple for evening celebrations bringing the total guest number up to 100. 

The couple hired a wedding band called Park Life and the bride along with her father kicked off the night by dancing a very special pre-rehearsed danced to ‘Spring has Sprung’ by Frank Sinatra. The newlyweds then danced to ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac. The dance floor was full all night and everyone had an amazing time. 

An evening buffet of Bijou Pizzas were served in the Monks’ Refectory from 9pm and guests partied until 23:30pm with the newlywed couple. 

The following morning, overnight guests joined together to enjoy breakfast before departing Notley Abbey with a lifetime of incredible wedding memories. 

The Honeymoon 

Katie and Sam wasted no time after their wedding. They left Notley Abbey on the Friday morning and headed straight for the airport where they spent their mini-moon in New York. The couple got an upgrade on the flight – the perfect start to their honeymoon, and Katie still had flowers in her hair from the day before. The couple were a happy mess, but had the best time and couldn't stop talking about their dream day during the flight. 

Wedding Advice from the Bride and Groom

"Do what you want – it is the one day that you have. I didn't want loads of group pics so I didn't. You will always do something different that someone might not quite agree with but just go with it, it will be totally worth it. 

Take some time to be with each other, if you get a photographer as good as Samuel Docker they will sort this for you. Don’t feel forced to do anything! Don’t have a receiving line before the food, go for a wander and let everyone sit down. Pleasantries can wait, its about you two."

Katie and Sam’s Wedding Suppliers 

Wedding Venue: Notley Abbey 
Wedding Photographer: Samuel Docker
Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham 
Wedding Hair: Jessica Clare 
Bridal Beauty: Serap Yildiz MUA of Mirage Beauty 
Bridesmaids Beauty: Hannah Smart MUA
Bridesmaids Dresses: ASOS
Wedding Flowers: Daisy Ellen 
Wedding Band: Park Life
Wedding Gift List: John Lewis 
Wedding Insurance: Debenhams

Notley Abbey is one of Bijou's wedding venues in Buckinghamshire
Notley Abbey is a romantic wedding venue with a turret, located in Buckinghamshire
The groom arrived at Notley Abbey via an impressive helicopter
The groom arriving at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire via helicopter
The grand entrance to Notley Abbey, one of Buckinghamshires exclusive use wedding venues
A traditional wedding car outside the historic Notley Abbey wedding venue
Romantic floral wedding decor dotted around Notley Abbey
Wedding decor ideas for the entrance hall at Notley Abbey
A small wedding ceremony in the Abbot's Hall at Notley Abbey, Buckinghamshire
The romantic Abbot's Hall for small wedding ceremonies in Buckinghamshire
The bride wore a stunning Jenny Packham wedding dress to her Notley Abbey wedding
The bride and her bridesmaids walking to the aisle at Notley Abbey
The bride with her feather ahead of the wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey
A stylish wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The couple sharing their wedding vows at Notley Abbey, an exclusive use wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
The first kiss as husband and wife in the Abbot's Hall at Notley Abbey
The newlyweds walking back down the aisle in The Abbot's Hall at Notley Abbey
A rustic wedding reception table plan at Notley Abbey
Wedding reception decor featuring balloons at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Wedding advice place cards in the Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
Bridesmaid dresses in a shade of grey
The couple having their wedding photographs taken at Notley Abbey
The bridal party in the gardens at Notley Abbey
Luxurious wedding flowers by Daisy Ellen
Fun wedding photograph opportunities at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Romantic couple photography at Notley Abbey on the Oxfordshire border
The bride and groom spending time together in the grounds of their exclusive use wedding venue, Notley Abbey
The bride and groom having fun at their Notley Abbey wedding venue
The couple kissing in the secret gardens at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The bride and groom spending time together ahead of the wedding reception
The bride and groom having their wedding photographs taken in the grounds at Notley Abbey
Large, magical grounds at the exclusive use wedding venue with accommodation in Buckinghamshire
Guests in the historical Cloisters Garden at Notley Abbey
The grand piano in the Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
The newlyweds entering The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
The groom making his wedding speech at Notley Abbey
A rustic, tiered wedding cake at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Cutting the tiered wedding cake at Notley Abbey in Oxfordshire
Wedding reception tables set up for evening celebrations
The spacious dance floor at Notley Abbey, an exclusive use wedding venue in Buckinghamshire