Chantal & Alex

Saturday 3rd July 2021

Photography by Laura O Photography

‘Whilst stood in front of Bradenberg gate, Alex got down on one knee and asked me whilst a circle started forming around us and I just remember hearing clapping from the members of the public around us’

Alex asked me to marry him whilst we were away in berlin for our anniversary weekend, we tend to always visit a European city over the weekend closet to the weekend we officially became a couple. Whilst stood in front of Bradenberg gate, Alex got down on one knee and asked me whilst a circle started forming around us and I just remember hearing clapping from the members of the public around us.

Growing up I had thought about my wedding and was certain I always wanted to get married, so it didn’t take me long to decide on who I wanted to be my bridesmaids and whilst we were away, I ordered them all little cards to officially ask them. Alex was quite certain he didn’t want to match my 4 bridesmaids with ushers and best men and decided quite quickly he would just have his best friend Dan.

We knew straight away that we wanted a venue which would allow us to hold the whole day at that one place. We also set a boundary line of around a one-hour drive from Milton Keynes (where we live). With these criteria in mind, I started searching online and very quickly realised we needed to agree some rough numbers. Coming from a big family I knew we were going to need more then 50 guests and we quickly decided on around 100 as an initial steer.

‘We had never heard of Missenden Abbey before, but it seemed to offer lots of what we were looking for’

We had never heard of Missenden Abbey before, but it seemed to offer lots of what we were looking for – beautiful grounds, accommodation onsite, space to do our ceremony and hold a wedding breakfast and was within our one-hour distance criteria and not too far for my family in Somerset. We decided to book onto a wedding fayre happening at the venue and went along with Alex’s sister and my bridesmaid, Evie.

Having visited Missenden Abbey, seen the rooms, the grounds, and the space available we decided to enquire about Saturday dates in July 2020 and to our luck a few were available. We decided to go with the 4th July 2020 and later realised this was Independence Day which seemed like a wonderful coincidence as Alex is half American.

Mid 2019 I decided to start looking for my dress and had heard wonderful things about Serendipity brides in Weedon so decided to book and see them first. I had such a wonderful wedding dress shopping experience with them, I tried on around 5 or so dresses and found my dress immediately. It was my mum who picked my dress and when I put it on, I just knew it was the one. It was a Maggie Soretto dress and although it wasn’t what I had expected to go for, as it was a princess style dress, it was so beautiful and I fell in love. I also tried on veils at my appointment and picked the perfect one to go with my dress.

Meanwhile Alex and I were deciding on our colours for our wedding – Pinterest was my new best friend for this, and we quickly decided we wanted our wedding to be bright colours to celebrate summer. After a few hours (or days) searching I found the perfect palette for our colour scheme – navy, berry/burgundy/raspberry and gold sparkle. We decided the men would be in navy suits, the bridesmaids the berry colour and then we would have gold sparkle throughout to break up the two bold colours.

Unfortunately, with all this joy and excitement also came Covid. We were forced to postpone our wedding and we decided to move it exactly a year and our new date became Saturday 3rd July 2021. We found that period extremely challenging, sad, and frustrating as we had no choice and having been so organised meant we had around 12 suppliers to re-arrange. I just want to say Laura at Missenden Abbey was fantastic during this period and was so easy to deal with and supportive, thank you Laura.

We had always wanted our wedding to be a moment of happiness and fun for our guests, but this was even more important with all the Covid drama. In the weeks leading up to our wedding, lots was changing with the situation around Covid, and this meant I would be talking to Laura most days as we tried to figure out our options. Laura knew for us it was extremely important all our guests were there and able to see our ceremony as well as enjoy our wedding breakfast. Thankfully with Laura’s help we did manage to achieve all of this and so much more.

Our guests were all so excited for our wedding and the chance to have a weekend away for the first time in what seemed like forever that a lot ended up staying for the weekend. We had 46 rooms booked out for the Saturday night at Missenden Abbey and it really did feel like it was our exclusive venue.

We arrived at Missenden Abbey on the Friday and were given a conference room to sort and store all our wedding decorations in, it was so nice having that time to go through everything. I was pretty calm the whole weekend, I think after everything that had happened, I was so happy to finally know we were going to have our special day.

Saturday morning was so much fun, we had hair and make up onsite and myself, my bridesmaids, my mum, and my mother-in-law all had a great time getting ready. I will forever be grateful to my bridesmaid Claire who took the lead on sorting everything for me on Saturday, she was the lead contact and made sure everything went as I had hoped it would. We also had some wonderful guests help arrange our table flowers, thanks to Sue, Emma, Shirley, and Darren.

I was so desperate to see the marquee and all our decorations and around midday I agreed with Laura that I could go downstairs and hopefully avoid Alex. I cannot put into words how I felt when I saw the marquee, I sobbed with happiness. I had been planning our wedding for over 2 years in my head and to see my vision in real life it was amazing. I spent quite a lot of time just staring at our amazing wedding cake, we always wanted our cake to be a showstopper and it was most definitely that!

‘The day went by without a hitch’

The vibe for the whole day was happiness and everyone seemed to love every minute. We were showered with love and affection and loved having speeches from my mum, Alex’s mum and dad, Alex’s best man, a surprise poem from a family member Hannah and a surprise speech from our 7-year-old nephew and page boy Archey! It was truly such a magical moment.

We had our first dance outside surrounded by our guests, what a wonderful setting it was in front of the Cedar tree and we ended the evening with fireworks and sparkles. It really was perfect!

The Monday after our wedding we went off to Cornwall and stayed in Camelot Castle for the week which was incredible. We spent the week reliving our special day and enjoyed our wedding bubble vibe. Even now a month after and we haven’t had the wedding blues as we are still on cloud 9 about our wonderful day.

Top tips for other couples:

Don’t stress about the timings on the day, it honestly doesn’t matter. Our day went over and missed a lot of our timings, but I wasn’t worried, it was just a sign of how much fun everyone was having.

Also please get a wedding video if you can. Honestly, it has been one of the most amazing things watching our video back. The moments you miss on the day that you don’t even know about and seeing your groom or partner getting ready as well as seeing your bridesmaid walk down the aisle (if they are first). I cannot recommend it enough.

‘Missenden Abbey will forever hold a special place in our hearts’

We know it will be somewhere we come back to and remember our amazing day. I am so thankful for all of the support Laura gave us – it was challenging at times with the constant Covid changes and Laura did everything she could to allow us to have the day we wanted.

The service we received from Missenden Abbey was excellent, the staff were so attentive on our wedding day and everyone was so complimentary of the venue and the food and drink served. It amazes me that 90 meals were served hot and tasty so a huge thank you to the catering team who delivered this.

It is strange not speaking to Laura now as we were talking daily at one point. I will forever be grateful for our amazing memories. Thank you!

I would just like to say a special thank you to each and everyone of our guests. It meant so much to us to have you all with us to celebrate this next chapter in our lives. Our venue choice wasn’t local or close for very many guests so to have 88 people there with us we will be forever grateful.

A few suppliers we used –


Laura O Photography


Woburn Wedding Flowers

01234 768690

Wedding Dress

Serendipity Brides

Designer: Maggie Sottero