Nicole and Ricky Celebrated a Romantic August Wedding at Notley Abbey

Nicole and Ricky spent 2 years and 2 months planning every detail of their romantic wedding at Notley Abbey, featuring personliased detail throughout. 

Notley Abbey is surrounded by incredible grounds

Nicole and Ricky’s Love Story

Back in 2014, Nicole and Ricky’s love story began when Nicole won concert tickets on the radio. Ricky was at the concert watching one of his best men perform and despite being in a crowd of over 16,000 people, the pair somehow caught one another’s others eye. Sparks began to fly, and they immediately hit it off, talking to each other throughout the majority of the gig. By the time the concert had ended, Ricky began to leave but did not even make it half way out of the arena before finally plucking up the courage to go back and ask for Nicole’s number. The rest, as they say, is history. 

The perfect marriage proposal came after just 18 months, on Nicole’s birthday, when Ricky had planned a surprise trip away as a gift. Whilst they were away, Ricky arranged a private dinner for Nicole, but little did she know that after the meal, Ricky revealed that he had another surprise before placing a blindfold over Nicole’s eyes. He then led her out onto their decking and when he removed the blindfold, she was surrounded by rose petals and lanterns and Ricky down on one knee with the most beautiful sparkling diamond that he had designed in his hand. Nicole, of course, said yes! 

The couple then spent the next 2 years and 2 months planning their elegant wedding.

The newlywed couple on the grand staircase at Notley Abbey
The Monks' Refectory is perfect for large wedding receptions in Buckinghamshire

Choosing a Fairytale Wedding Venue

When it came to choosing a wedding venue, the couple really didn't know where to start. With Rick being from Essex and Nicole being from Coventry, even choosing the location was a task. In the end, they decided to not pick a venue on location and started looking at a variety of beautiful wedding venues all over the country that worked with their guests list numbers of around 100.

After viewing a few venues locally to them but not finding anything that they loved, the couple sat one Sunday afternoon scrolling through venues online until they came across Notley Abbey on the border of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. They booked an appointment to visit Notley Abbey the following week and as soon as they started to drive down the amazing driveway they were sold! The historic grandeur and romantic vibe surrounding Notley Abbey was everything Nicole and Ricky had imagined. 

“What the pictures don’t tell you is how incredible the staff are at Notley and how they are the true selling point to this venue. From the first time we viewed the venue right up to our big day the staff at Notley were absolutely flawless and they held our hands throughout the whole process making sure that we were stress free at all times.” Nicole shared.

Wedding Dress Shopping 

The excited bride-to-be tried on every different style of wedding dresses before finding the perfect gown for her glamorous Notley Abbey wedding. The bride-to-be fell in love after looking in the mirror at herself in a beautiful Martina Liana dress - Style 775. The lace bodice of the dress was covered in an illusion tulle to give the illusion of a strapless neckline and continued down to the sleek, Bellagio crepe skirt. The back of the gown was completely illusion tulle, giving the appearance of an open back, and was adorned with fabric-covered buttons that extend down the skirt and to the end of the court train. Nicole even made a few changes to the dress herself including adding 3 feet to the train to give it the added wow factor it deserved. It was the ultimate dress for her stylish, white wedding. The bride teamed her dream wedding dress up with a pair of satin blush heels with a diamond ankle strap to match her bracelet and earrings. 

Nicole’s hair was styled by Kelly from Cutting Edge in a glamorous soft braid that was gathered into a loose bun at the ends, and Zara and Rachel from Beauty Works kept her makeup perfectly pretty and bridal. 

Nicole chose five of her closest friends to be bridesmaids and after searching around for bridesmaid dresses, Nicole found the Vera Wang collection and fell in love with them. The girls tried them on in the shop and purchased them straight away.

Ricky wore a custom-made Tuxedo and black bow tie that the couple had designed together.  Personal touches including the words ‘Just Married’ were added just under the jacket collar and the couple’s initials and wedding date on the inside of his suit and on his cuff. Both Ricky’s suit and his Groom’s Party’s suits were from Anthony Formal Wear in Essex. The groomsmen also wore black tuxedos with double breasted dog-tooth waistcoats and black ties.  

White Wedding Flowers  

The couple booked floral specialist Stems and Bows to create their flowers on their wedding day. Nicole wanted to keep her bouquet simple, but it became a statement with the entire bouquet full of white hydrangeas. The bridesmaids carried smaller bouquets of gypsophila and the men wore white roses as button holes. Floral detailing of white Hydrangea, blush spray Roses, Ivory large head Roses, blush Stocks, blush Dahlia and a mix of seasonal blooms to theme with soft Eucalyptus foliage to fill was also featured on reception tables and inside vases which looked remarkable as centrepieces. 

The florist also made a gorgeous flower collar with a blush pink ribbon to match the couples rose gold and blush theme for when the couples French bulldog arrived at the wedding after the ceremony.  

The Big Day: Friday 24th August, 2018 

Nicole and Ricky chose a 2pm wedding ceremony in the breathtaking Monks’ Refectory at Notley Abbey. The bride walked down the aisle in on the arm of her father, to an instrumental cover of Latch by Sam Smith which was played by a team of musicians; a cellist, a pianist and a saxophonist. The couple said their vows in front of 96-day guests and two of the couple’s closest friends performed readings of ‘Blessing of the Hands’ and ‘On your Wedding Day’. Nicole and Ricky chose these readings because they were a mixture of both blessings and marriage advice. 

After their vows, the couple enjoyed celebratory drinks and canapés with their wedding guests whilst also taking some time out to be with their photographer, Katie. There are dozens of unusual secret garden hideaways around the grounds at Notley Abbey, so the couple had fun spending some time alone, allowing Katie to take some incredible newlywed shots of the couple. After enjoying the incredible grounds with their photographer, the bride and groom ventured back in to The Monks’ Refectory where they were welcomed in as the new Mr & Mrs Finnigan. 

96 guests sat at round wedding reception tables which had been decorated with a mixture of tall and short floral arrangements, surrounded by rose gold votives and flickering tea light candles. The top table was a mixture of tall and short vases and a rose gold arch stood behind the top table adding an extra touch of glamour to the room. Each place setting featured a rose gold charger plate and the scent of Jo Malone candles filled the room. 

Wedding Banquet Menu

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Canapés served with Prosecco – Baby Sheperd’s pies, Chorizo and aubergine skewers, Jacket potato with sour cream and chives
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Starter – Ham hock & tarragon terrine with quails eggs and piccalilli
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Main – Slow braised sticky Hampshire beef with creamed parsnip mash, Root vegetable crisps and Olivette carrots
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Dessert – Chocolate pot with a melting middle, Jack Daniels ice cream and chocolate crumbs
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The couple hired Jamie Bakes Cakes to design an incredible four-tired wedding cake based around a blush colour scheme, featuring ruffles, initials, iced flowers and a special, personalised topper. The four tiers included flavours of white chocolate and raspberry, chocolate orange, vanilla and lemon. 

After emotional yet entertaining wedding speeches (including a private message from singer Sam Smith himself!) and a sumptuous banquet, an additional 17 guests joined the happy couple at their wedding reception party which took place back in The Monks’ Refectory once space had been cleared for the dance floor. Guests enjoyed nibbles from The Bijou Hog Roast and the bride and groom danced their first dance to ‘The One’ by Kodaline; the band did a live cover which was then mixed in to the original. Everyone had a great time and the party came to an end at 11pm ahead of a final night cap enjoyed by the newlywed couple and their overnight guests. 

A Winter Honeymoon Destination 

Nicole and Ricky wasted no time after their wedding before booking their honeymoon! They decided on the Maldives as after both of them wanting to go, they decided that it would make the perfect Honeymoon destination. As the Maldives is a winter destination, the couple have booked a winter honeymoon to help get them through their wedding blues, but it also means that they can spend their first Christmas as Mr and Mrs in paradise. 

Wedding Advice from the Bride and Groom

“Make sure you give yourselves enough time to plan as no matter how organised you are there will always be things to do in the last couple of weeks. Choose suppliers that you trust and get along with. Our suppliers made our wedding planning journey so enjoyable and stress free and completely understood what we wanted from our day and made it happen.” Nicole & Ricky

Nicole and Ricky’s Wedding Suppliers 

Wedding Venue: Notley Abbey 
Wedding Photographer: Fringe Photography
Wedding Dress Designer: Martina Liana (Style 775)
Wedding Hair: The Edge
Ceiling Drapes in Monks’ Refectory: Party Lights
Bridal + Bridesmaid Beauty: Beauty Works
Bridesmaids Dresses: Vera Wang
Groomswear: Anthony Formal Wear
Wedding Flowers: Stems and Bow
Wedding Cake: Jamie Bakes Cakes
Wedding Band: BM Artists; Brendan Mills, Jamie Johnson, Ross Wall
Venue Styling: Imagine Invites & Events 
Wedding Stationery: The Bow Invitations

Personalised Bride Tribe pyjamas worn at Notley Abbey
Hand made wedding stationery inviting guests to Notley Abbey
Notley Abbey is rich in history and grandeur
Summer bridesmaid dresses in a blush shade
Preparing in the double aspect bridal suite at Notley Abbey
The bride having her makeup done in the bridal suite at Notley Abbey
The bride reading a note from the man she is about to marry
The groom getting ready for the wedding at Notley Abbey
The best man helping the groom get ready at Notley Abbey
Unique groomswear by Anthony Formal Wear at Notley Abbey
The bride in the beautiful bridal suite at Notley Abbey
The bride wore an elegant Martina Liana wedding gown to Notley Abbey
The bride getting ready at her stylish wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
The bride wore an elegant gown by Martina Liana
The bride wore an elegant gown by Martina Liana
Bridesmaids in the bridal suite at Notley Abbey
Decor on the grand stair case at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The bride walking down stairs with her father at Notley Abbey
Elegant chandeliers in the Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
Floral decor down the aisle in the historic wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
The groom waiting for the bride at the altar in the historic ceremony room
The grooms party waiting for the bride
The bride walking down the aisle in the historic wedding venue
Emotions running high during the wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey
Smart wedding attire for the groom's party at Notley Abbey
The newlywed couple sharing their first kiss at the altar
Singing the register under a floral arch at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The bride and groom having said their wedding vows at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom being showered with confetti outside Notley Abbey
Notley Abbey can host up to 190 guests during the day
The bridal party in the country garden grounds at Notley Abbey
Bridesmaids wearing Vera Wang dresses in a blush pink shade
The grooms wearing smart black suits from Anthony Formal Wear
The couple were allowed to invite their dog for photographs outside the venue
The couple invited their pet dog for photographs
A family photo of the newlywed couple with their pet dog
A floral collar for a dog at a wedding
The couple spending time along in the grounds at Notley Abbey
Notley Abbey is full of wedding photography hot-spots
Floral decor on the arch in to Notley Abbey, an exclusive use venue in Buckinghamshire
Dressing a fireplace with decorative items for your wedding
The bride and groom at the exclusive use wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
The bride and groom spending a moment alone during their wedding reception
A bespoke mirrored table seating plan for a wedding
The perfect banquet setting at the historic wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
An elegant idea for a top table at a wedding
A large centrepiece on a wedding reception table at Notley Abbey
Rose gold table decor at a wedding
White chair sashes for a wedding banquet at Notley Abbey
A blush coloured, ruffled, wedding cake
Welcoming the bride and groom in to the wedding banquet
Having fun at the wedding banquet at Notley Abbey in Oxfordshire
Enjoying the wedding speeches in the historic wedding reception venue
A special wedding speech by the Best Man at Notley Abbey
Wedding guests enjoying the wedding reception atmosphere at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom enjoying every moment of their wedding reception
A great idea for cocktails at a wedding
A great idea to personalise the grooms wear at a wedding
Cutting the tiered wedding cake in the Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey
Nicole and Ricky's first dance as a married couple