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Real Wedding

Nicole and Ricky’s Wedding at Notley Abbey

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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.

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.

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.

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.

The Big Day: Friday 24th August, 2018

Nicole and Ricky chose a 2pm wedding ceremony in the breathtaking Monks’ Refectory at Notley Abbey

exclusive use wedding venue Oxfordshire

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 Menu

Canapés served with Prosecco – Baby Sheperd’s pies, Chorizo and aubergine skewers, Jacket potato with sour cream and chives

Starter – Ham hock & tarragon terrine with quails eggs and piccalilli

Main – Slow braised sticky Hampshire beef with creamed parsnip mash, Root vegetable crisps and Olivette carrots

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

Evening Reception

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.

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

“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

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

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