Cath and Craig Planned a Beatles Themed Wedding at Notley Abbey

Cath and Craig celebrated a rustic, country house wedding at Notley Abbey featuring a Beatles twist and a personalised wedding hashtag on April 22nd, 2016. 

Cath and Craig celebrated their wedding at the country house wedding venue, Notley Abbey, during the spring of 2016.

About the Couple 

Craig and Cath met in Singapore. Craig was living out there at the time and Cath had flown over to visit a friend. After meeting, Craig and Cath hit it off straight away and Cath ended up moving out to the Far East to be with her love. 

Craig proposed at the top of a mountain in the Alps during a family holiday.  Cath loves snowboarding, so it was the perfect location to pop that all important question. Cath’s father had been skiing around all day with a bottle of bubbly in his backpack(as he knew the secret), and after Cath said ‘yes’ the family all celebrated with champagne on the slopes.  Craig had chosen an engagement ring himself and it was an absolute stunner! 

The Preparation 

When it came to finding the perfect wedding gown, Cath tried on between 30 and 40 different styles of dresses, to ensure that she was 100% happy with her final choice. Eventually, Cath fell in love with a fitted lace gown by Enzoani at JS Couturue in London.  She knew that this was ‘the one’ by the fact that she didn’t want to take it off once she had it on. The wedding dress was originally strapless, but a seamstress added lace cap sleeves and altered the back so that it featured a deep V; it looked sensational and Cath couldn’t have chosen a better design. She teamed her wedding dress up with a sparkly pair of Jimmy Choos and she hired Jo Penfold to do her wedding day makeup. 

Cath’s hairdresser of over 20 years, Sarah O’Connell worked on perfect hair styles for the bride and her bridesmaids. Cath went for a half-up, half-down wedding day hair style with loose curls and gypsophilia florals to complete her look. 

Cath and Craig tied the knot at Notley Abbey an exclusive use country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
Notley Abbey is an exclusive use wedding venue in Buckinghamshire that offers a stunning driveway and grounds in which to capture wedding photography

The Venue 

Cath and Craig only looked at two wedding venues after their engagement, but it was the romantic driveway, amazing building and the Bijou online wedding planner that persuaded them to book Notley Abbey for their spring wedding. Cath loved planning her wedding with Bijou as the online planner allows couples to keep up to date and communicate with the Bijou team 24/7. The couple also loved that they could hire Notley Abbey on an exclusive use basis, ensuring that they would be guaranteed complete privacy on their big day. 

The Bridal Party

Cath and Craig’s bridal party consisted of Jenny (Cath’s sister) and friends Bronwyn, Alex and Sarah.  The girls shopped together for their dresses and ended up with beautiful blush skirts with gold tops which made them all feel like princesses for the day. 

Craig’s best man was Anton and the ushers were Jordan, Andy and Spencer, who also stepped in to be MC throughout the afternoon.  Their suits all came from Moss Bros. 

The Day

Cath walked down the aisle in The Abbot’s Hall at Notley Abbey to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ along side her father on April 22nd, 2016. 110 guests were invited to witness the wedding ceremony and a further 18 guests arrived at Notley Abbey to help the newlywed couple celebrate their nuptials later in the evening. The wedding ceremony was wonderful and emotional and everyone celebrated with fizz on the lawn outside the country house wedding venue before heading in to The Monks’ Refectory for a sumptuous wedding breakfast. 

The Details 

Cath and Craig hired Sonning Flowers through Bijou to florally decorate Notley Abbey. The wedding flowers followed a rustic theme featuring colours based around pale peach, blush and white, with touches of bright orange such as ranunculus, stocks, Miss Piggy roses, Akito roses, green hanging amaranth and a small amount of foliage. The grooms wore roses in their button holes and Sonning Flowers set up floral arrangements throughout the wedding venue, including inside The Abbot’s Hall for the ceremony and on the reception tables in The Monks’ Refectory. 

The wedding reception tables were decorated with wooden slices, jam jars and table names in frames that followed a fun Beatles theme. The couple also invited their friends to use the hashtag #mcelroywedding on social media throughout the day and night. At their menu tasting session, prior to their big day, Cath and Craig chose to serve their guests brie parcels to start, followed by slow braised beef and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. The food went down a storm, followed by fantastic wedding speeches which had the whole room laughing one minute and crying the next. It was a truly emotional afternoon for all. 

The couple hired a ten-piece band (with brass instruments) called The Sessions who kept the dance floor full all night; at the start of the evening the newlyweds swayed to ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac for their first dance.

Instead of having a traditional wedding gift list, Cath and Craig set up a gift list through Prezola, but asked for donations towards their honeymoon instead of traditional gifts for the home. For their honeymoon, the newlywed couple chose to travel to Sri Lanka and The Maldives to relax after their magical wedding celebration at Notley Abbey.  

Top Tips for Future Bijou Couples 

When asked if there was any advice she’d like to give future Bijou wedding couples, Cath said, “Enjoy the planning, you’ll miss it once it’s over. Also – GET A VIDEOGRAPHER, it’s so worth the money. We’ve had ours for a week and have watched it about 10 times already.”

Who Did What? 

Wedding Photographer: Patch Dolan 
Wedding Venue: Notley Abbey, Buckinghamshire
Wedding Dress Designer: Enzoani 
Wedding Flowers: Sonning Flowers 
Wedding Gift List: Prezola 
Wedding Band: The Sessions
Wedding Makeup: Jo Penfold 
Wedding Hair Stylist: Sarah O’Connell

Notley Abbey has a one-of-a-kind, lime tree lined driveway that leads all the way up to the gorgeous country house wedding venue
Notley Abbey is an exclusive use wedding venue in Buckinghamshire with a true, country house feel
An Enzoani wedding dress hanging in the bridal suite at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Cath having her hair and makeup done in the bridal suite at Notley Abbey
Cath's wedding day hair style was perfectly suited to her country house wedding theme
The beautiful bride standing in the luxurious country grounds of Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The groom's party wore roses in their button holes for the country house wedding at Notley Abbey
The groom and his party enjoying the beautiful grounds at Notley Abbey
The bride with her bridesmaids outside Notley Abbey, an exclusive use country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
The bride and her party walking down the stairs inside Notley Abbey to the wedding ceremony in the Abbot's Hall
The bride and groom having confetti thrown on them outside Notley Abbey
Notley Abbey is a stunning country house wedding venue available for exclusive hire in Buckinghamshire throughout the year
The newlywed couple outside Notley Abbey, an exclusive use wedding venue with a country house feel
Enjoying the grounds surrounding Notley Abbey, an exclusive hire, country house wedding venue on the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire border
Notley Abbey offers a very special driveway leading up to the wedding venue, providing the ultimate photo opportunity for newlywed couples
The bridal party posing for a wedding photo within the grounds of Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The bridal party posing for a picture on the lawn surrounding Notley Abbey
The newlywed couple walking in to the barn-style wedding reception at Notley Abbey, a country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
Romantic wedding place cards with a rustic twist
Beatles themed wedding table names in frames with a wedding hashtag for guests to use
Wedding guests enjoying a sumptuous three course meal in The Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The wedding reception was held in The Monks' Refectory, a barn-style room rich in history located at Notley Abbey
The whole wedding party stood outside Notley Abbey, an exclusive use country house wedding venue in Buckinghamshire