A Walled Garden Wedding Ceremony for Sophie and Simon at Notley Abbey

Sophie and Simon hosted their celebrations with 148 guests on Friday 14th July, 2017 in the walled garden at Notley Abbey. 

Sophie and Simon celebrated a summer wedding in the walled garden at Notley Abbey

A Family Proposal 

Sophie and Simon’s love story began at work after a close mutual friend had introduced them. It was after Simon invited Sophie to join him on a group holiday to Portugal that sparks began to fly and the couple fell head over heels for each other.

The perfect marriage proposal came when Sophie was least expecting it, one casual Saturday morning at home. Simon was playing with their little daughter Beau in her bedroom when out of nowhere he announced that he had a surprise for Sophie. Simon bent down on one knee and 18-month old Beau presented her mother with a beautiful vintage ASHOKA diamond ring.  

Planning an Outdoor Wedding at Notley Abbey

Before discovering Notley Abbey, Sophie and Simon viewed only two other wedding venues. However, as they started their approach down the romantic tree-lined driveway towards the house, they knew they had stumbled across ‘the one’. Sophie had always dreamed of getting married in a beautiful country grounds and the walled garden at Notley Abbey was the ideal location. The couple had a couple of years to plan their perfect celebration and in that time had a son, which meant that both of their children could be at the wedding.

The bride making her way down to the walled garden for her wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey
The bride and groom sharing a moment together outside Notley Abbey

Summer Wedding Attire

Sophie, accompanied by her Mum, Aunty and Maid of Honour, Emma, visited the luxurious Pronovias wedding dress boutique on New Bond Street in London. Sophie found that the style of dress she previously had in mind didn't compliment her figure as she’d hoped, but after trying on numerous designs, the fifth gown she tried was absolutely perfect. 

Luckily for Sophie, her friend Amy Lee is a part-time makeup artist and so her bridal look was exactly as she’d always imagined for her big day. Having always had short bobbed hair, Sophie managed to grow it long over a couple of years and on her wedding day went for a slightly curled loose bun, created by hair stylist and Bijou Partner, Gemma Sutton.

As Simon wears a suit to work every day he wanted to wear something a little bit unique for his wedding day. He bought suits for himself and his groom’s party Suit Supply with matching shoes from Russell and Bromley. To compliment the grey and white wedding colour scheme, the men all wore a smart light grey trouser along with a checked waistcoat with a dark grey tie and jacket. Simon decided against buttonholes as he preferred the look of a pocket square in the suit jackets.

A Grey and White Wedding Colour Scheme

Sophie’s bridesmaids all wore elegant grey and white maxi dresses, hand-made by Polka Bridal located in South Ockenden. The long, lace, off the shoulder gowns were made perfectly to order and the bridal party all looked wonderful on the big day. 

To decorate their celebration florally, the couple hired florist, Ben Corrigan. Sophie’s bridal bouquet was a mixture of roses, peonies and snowball hydrangeas, and her style was reflected in their table centrepieces as these matched her stunning bouquet. 

Outside in the romantic Walled Garden for the wedding ceremony, white petals were scattered down the aisle, gorgeous white hydrangea were placed on every other chair down the middle and tall, floral filled plinths stood at the start of the aisle. These flowers combined with the dazzling afternoon sun looked absolutely beautiful.

The Big Day: Friday 14th July, 2017

The couple’s outdoor wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey started at 2pm. Sophie walked down the aisle accompanied by her father to a slower version of ‘I Only Want to Be with You’ sang live. The ceremony itself was short and sweet as they couldn't wait to say their vows with their young children by their side.  

After a memorable drinks reception in front of the historic county house wedding venue, the couple and their guests were invited back into the Monks’ Refectory for to be welcomed by a carefully chosen wedding banquet menu. In terms of table décor, Sophie specifically wanted small centre pieces so her guests could easily see each other around the table. They went for white flowers within a round glass placed on mirror circles, and glass tea lights candles; a simple but effective design.  

Each reception table was named after well known Chelsea football players and each guest had a silver, laser cut, personalised place setting and a shot glass as a favour which said “Sophie and Si have tied the knot, take a shot!” 

Bespoke Wedding Banquet Menu

~ Starter ~

Baked French brie parcel served with bacon, red currant and caramelised orange salad

Vegetarian Option: Red Onion tart with spinach and baby saffron shallot, baby leaf salad and mascarpone, red currants and balsamic dressing

~ Main Course ~

Roast breast of free range chicken served with seasonal vegetables, duck fat potatoes, Yorkshire pudding with Gravy


Fillet of Sea bass with Italian style roasted new potatoes, roast baby plum tomato and olive with dressed rocket and butter sauce

Vegetarian Option: Roast Mediterranean vegetable stack with garlic and thyme glazed goats cheese and new potatoes
~ Dessert ~

Chocolate pot with a melting middle, Jack Daniels ice cream and chocolate crumbs

The newlyweds cut through a white, ruffled three-tiered, lemon flavoured wedding cake, designed by The Pretty Cake Company, located near Oxfordshire. 

As their first dance song, the couple chose ‘Wherever You Will Go’ by Charlene Soraia and the couple said their evening entertainment ‘Hekyl and Jive’ were great and topped off what had been the perfect day; the dance floor was full all night!

Sophie and Simon included a short poem in their invitations asking for contribution to their honeymoon. Straight after the wedding, Sophie, Simon and their two children headed off to Vila Moura in Portugal for 10 days, followed a month later by a romantic, relaxing 3-night break and relax in Santorini, alone. 

Bride Sophie said that although she couldn't pick a favourite part of her day, seeing her guests enjoying themselves was a great feeling. Her advice to future wedding planning couples is to “make sure that on the day you take some time alone to go for a walk and catch up; enjoy a moment together”.

Sophie and Simon’s Wedding Suppliers

Wedding Venue: Notley Abbey 
Wedding Photographer: Richard Galloway
Wedding Dress Designer: Estella by Pronovias
Wedding Flowers: Ben Corrigan
Wedding Makeup:  Amy Lee 
Wedding Hair Stylist: Gemma Sutton
Bridesmaids Dresses: Polka Bridal
Groomswear: Suit Supply
Wedding Cake Designer: The Pretty Cake Company
Evening Entertainment: Hekyl and Jive
Wedding Insurance: John Lewis

This historic wedding venue features a pretty walled garden for outdoor wedding cermonies
The bride having her wedding makeup done in the bridal suite at Notley Abbey
Notley Abbey is a truly romantic wedding venue located in Buckingahamshire
The bride putting her glamorous wedding dress on at Notley Abbey
The bride making last minute adjustments to her wedding dress
Guests starting to gather at the historic wedding venue in Oxfordshire, Notley Abbey
A view of the walled garden from the top of the Notley Abbey
The wedding ceremony in the walled garden at Notley Abbey is about to begin
The bridesmaids walking down the outdoor aisle at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The bride and groom chose their son and daughter to take part in their wedding
The bride walking down the outdoor aisle at Notley Abbey in Oxfordshire
An outdoor wedding ceremony at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
Simon and Sophie sharing their emotional wedding vows at Notley Abbey
The first kiss as husband and wife in the walled garden at Notley Abbey
Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire boasts beautiful grounds and gardens for an outdoor wedding ceremony
Reception drinks outside the front of Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The bride with her bridesmaids who all wore bespoke, grey lace dresses
Little bridesmaid taking wedding photographs at Notley Abbey
Notley Abbey is a grand, historic exclusive use wedding venue available to hire for 24 hours
A white ruffled wedding cake for the elegant summer wedding at Notley Abbey
Each place setting featured a personalised wedding menu
Each guest had a gold laser cute place name to take home with them
Beautiful wedding flowers displayed throughout Notley Abbey for the summer wedding
The bride and groom making their way in to the historic Monks' Refectory
A personalised mirrored table plan featured at Notley Abbey
A wedding banquet in the Monks' Refectory at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
After dinner speeches at Notley Abbey, a grand wedding venue in Buckinghamshire
Guests raising their glasses for a toast at Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire
The groom sitting back and enjoying his wedding reception at Notley Abbey
Guests mingling in the beautiful Cloisters Garden outside the Monks' Refectory
The first dance for Simon and Sophie on the dance floor at Notley Abbey