It’s been a while since my last post but guess what…we tied the knot and after 14 years together are now officially Mr & Mrs Bushell! We have so many incredible photos from our wedding day so I really wanted to share some on here. I think I’ll break this down into a few posts because it would be impossible to share all 1300 photos with you (yes we really have that many) so first up will be about the actual day itself; venue, food, drinks, entertainment etc…
We got married at the beautiful Notley Abbey, a unique country house wedding venue just outside of Aylesbury. The former home of Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh played host to both royalty and celebrity, from Henry VIII to Marilyn Monroe, and we fell in love with it the moment we saw it! When we first started looking at venues, we knew we wanted somewhere with character that was also exclusive, so that we had the whole place to ourselves for the day, and this was exactly that. The historic home with it’s medieval feel was the perfect backdrop, the large glass windows and old wooden floor boards meant the photos inside were just as beautiful as those taken in the surrounding grounds.
My wonderful friend Kirsty helped us out with her artistic talents by writing up lots of signage for our big day, including the welcome sign, cards & gifts stand and a sign for taking pictures. I had tweeted a few weeks before our wedding asking if anyone had any recommendations for how we could ask our guests to wait to post on social media until after we had posted our first picture, and most people said that a sign was the best option – I can’t say it was a complete success but we almost made it! I also can’t thank my auntie enough for making the most beautiful invitations for us, each one was handmade and the details of pale gold ink on deep grey card set the tone for our wedding perfectly!
We always knew we wanted quite a small and intimate wedding ceremony. The thought of walking out in front of hundreds of people terrified me, so our 60 day guests felt like a comfortable number of our close family and friends to share this special moment with. We got married in the Abbotts Hall which is the smaller of the two ceremony rooms available at Notley Abbey and it was decorated beautifully by our wonderful florist Lorraine from Wild Orchid. We had a floral arrangement on the ceremony table, silk petals sprinkled down the aisle and two of our table centre pieces from the reception room either side of the window. The soft, pastel tones of the flowers all paired back beautifully with the rows of clear plastic chairs awaiting our guests arrival.
We started our reception with a mix of Prosecco, Pimms, Beer and Elderflower soft drinks out in the front gardens at Notley Abbey, accompanied with the most delicious canapés of honey & mustard chicken bites, mini jacket potatoes with sour cream & chives and tomato, olive & pepper crostini. I think I managed to eat one piece of chicken in between taking photos but all of our guests reassured us that they were delicious! We were lucky enough that Notley have an in house catering team so that was one thing that we didn’t have to spend time researching – this made it a lot easier and we got to try out lots of the menu on one of our visits prior to getting married which was lovely!
We wanted to add more decorations to our reception room as we knew we would spend the rest of the day in here vs only half an hour in the ceremony room. Following on from our invitations, my auntie also made the table plan signs for us as well as the name cards and table numbers, of which we named after 7 places we’ve been on holiday to together with pictures from our trips. Barcelona 2008 was definitely the year of the skinny eyebrows and bleach blonde hair – thank god we chose black and white photos!
We had pulled together a playlist for our wedding breakfast to play in the background. I have been to weddings before where the meal has felt a little awkward so we were conscious to try and make this part of the day as fun as possible. We had hand written name cards, along with these ‘Happy Couple’ cards from Ginger Ray and white mini pencils from Paperchase to make this part a bit more interactive. All of our guests seemed to love filling these out and it got everyone chatting on the tables during the meal. And not forgetting our favours which were these beautiful handmade macarons from Maison des Macarons, with a pale grey outer and gold metallic splash to match back to our invitations. We chose 3 different fillings of salted caramel, raspberry and sicilian lemon – all packaged beautifully in a clear box with a ribbon and a personalised tag.
Now down to the food, I can’t even tell you how many compliments we had on our meal! We started our wedding breakfast with either duck liver parfait with sourdough & fig compote or roast butternut squash soup with root vegetable crisps. For mains we had slow braised sticky Hampshire beef with creamed parsnip mash, root vegetable crisps & carrots or a roast mediterranean vegetable stack with garlic & thyme glazed goats cheese and new potatoes. We then finished the meal off with the most delicious dessert of either vanilla crème brûlée, grasmere shortbread & raspberries or a fresh fruit platter with sorbet. I have to be totally honest though, I ate about half of each of my meals as although I was starving, it suddenly dawned on me that the speeches were soon to follow the meal and the nerves took over me – dammit!
THE CAKE & DECORATIONS
There was a lot of pinning on Pinterest involved when it came to deciding on our final cake design. Then it was the taste test, which in all honestly is the best part of wedding planning! Cake tasting, menu tasting, favour tasting, we did it all and it was delicious. Neither of us like fruit cake, so we knew we didn’t want traditional wedding cake. Instead, we went for cookies & cream on the bottom tier, carrot cake for the middle tier and lemon drizzle on top and oh my was it delicious! We absolutely loved the simplicity of it, the rustic buttercream, the fresh flowers and of course this beautiful gold cake topper which we ordered from Not on the Highstreet, Rachel from Sugar Designs made all of our cake dreams come true! Although we didn’t manage to eat any cake on our actual wedding day, all of our guests confirmed how delicious it was and we’d saved half of the bottom tier to enjoy at home which I’d highly recommend if you want to make sure you have some of your own cake!
We thought long and hard about how we wanted our reception room to be decorated, by ‘we’ I of course mean ‘I’ because apart from the food, the rest of the day was as much of a surprise to Robbie as it was our guests! We had these amazing Mr & Mrs balloons from Bubblicious Balloons which made the perfect picture backdrop, the Mr & Mrs gold sign was from Sass & Belle, the guestbook was from Not on the Highstreet and we loved that this was personalised with our new married name! I’ve been to so many weddings where the guest book never gets signed, or people don’t know what to write so we wanted something a little different. I’d seen this photo guestbook idea on pinterest using an Instax Camera with the caption “snap it, shake it, stick it, sign it” which we loved, and it makes for much more entertainment when you read back through your guests messages with a selfie alongside!
Other than the ceremony, this was one of the other parts of the day we were a little worried about. I’m fairly comfortable in front of a camera but I knew that Robbie was dreading this bit. Natalie made us both feel so comfortable and we are so in love with all of our pictures! The grounds at Notley Abbey obviously make the perfect backdrop so all we had to do was look relatively normal to get a good shot! I think it was a success but I’ll save some pictures for another post here else you’ll be here all day!
THE EVENING ENTERTAINMENT
So this was where the fun really started! We were so undecided on evening entertainment until we found The Velvet Notes on instagram! They were by far the best wedding band I have EVER seen and we received nothing but compliments from our guests on them. Joshua sang our first dance which was ‘You’ve Got The Love’ by Florence & The Machine and it was perfect! The band were great at getting everyone on the dance floor, getting involved and keeping everyone entertained – I would book them a million times over if I could and couldn’t recommend them enough!
Without a doubt, the BEST day of our lives so I hope you enjoyed reading all about it!