Ellie & Juho

Saturday 6th August 2022

Photography by Lucy Long Photography

Our Engagement

Our engagement was truly magical; we work and live on a tiny, remote island in the outer islands of the Seychelles called Alphonse, so picking beautiful scenery to form the background of the proposal wasn’t too much of a problem!

On a day off we took a boat to an even tinier, uninhabited islet called Bijoutier (which means the jewellery shop – how fitting!) and after having a wonderful dive in the turquoise waters we set up a picnic and spent the afternoon sunbathing. After a brief interlude where the island unexpectedly got invaded by French tourists; which had Juho worrying they were going to mess up his grand plans the moment was set. Juho had hidden a locked wooden box in the sand underneath some beach vegetation and we went for a little walk around the island where we ‘stumbled across’ this hidden treasure chest, after my initial pleas to not open it were thankfully ignored (irrational Pandora’s box warnings springing to mind) hidden inside was a ring box. It wasn’t until he opened the ring box that I finally twigged and he remained on one knee and popped the question – to which I burst into tears before being able to say a million times yes!

He had my ring handmade in the Seychelles by a friend of ours who is a jeweller and the central stone is an Australian opal he bought in Finland.

Wedding Venue

I visited Missenden Abbey years ago in 2014 for a summer fair type thing and just thought how beautiful and different it was, and how lovely it would be for a wedding with the beautiful grounds. When the time came to actually choosing a venue it was a no brainer especially as the prices are very reasonable and a major deciding factor was the accommodation on-site as we had guests coming from all over the world. Plus, it is only 5 mins from my mum’s house which is where we are based when we are in the UK which made planning, transport etc. much easier. We also got the only weekend left in the summer when we enquired and it was the exact time we envisioned getting married so I truly believe it was meant to be.

The Dress

My dress has a bit of an unusual story- I had absolutely no idea what I wanted as my dress and found looking at white dress after white dress really uninspiring and actually confused me more than anything. Moreover as I am an Ecology Manager, sustainability is a huge part of my core values and buying a brand new, ridiculously expensive dress didn’t fit well with me. So I was trawling through rental sites to no avail and then I had a look on www.stillwhite.com – a second hand wedding dress site – and there it was, the dress of my dreams! I just knew as soon as I saw it that it was the one, very different with big pink flowers embroidered all over it, and it was Temperley which is a designer I have always loved. It also turned out to be my exact size, the seller lived in London (which meant my mum could easily drive down and measure it and check it out) and it had never been worn because they had a small Covid wedding instead. Again it just seemed like it was meant to be so there I was, buying a second-hand wedding dress that I never tried on until 2 months before my big day!

Our Theme

My vision was midsummer nights’ dream meets and English country garden, but in reality we didn’t really have a theme we just went with things that we liked. I let the flowers really set the tone of the décor as they were absolutely incredible and added to the beautiful architecture inside the abbey we didn’t really need much else!

Again because sustainability is so close to my heart and I wanted our wedding to make us both incredibly happy but not at a massive cost to the planet, we wanted locally grown and native flowers. Choosing Amber Partner who owns Howe Farm Flowers was again a no brainer, she grows all her own flowers and utilises as many native British wildflowers as possible with lots of whispy and whimsical greenery to create the look I wanted. I couldn’t have been more impressed when I walked into the ceremony room after it had had been decorated I was breath-taken at how beautiful and detailed the flowers were. My bouquet was also the most beautiful bunch of flowers I had ever held and she used things like mint, honeysuckle and ivy to intertwine with large dahlias, peonies and roses to create something I wished could have lasted forever.

The Ceremony

I was pretty stressed on the morning which is to be expected although my bridesmaids did a great job of managing my mood and everything went according to plan- one piece of advice I would give is allow for a LOT of time! I thought I would never need 3.5hrs to get ready, turns out it almost wasn’t enough, especially as I had a false eyelash disaster right at the last moment!

Walking down the stairs and the aisle I actually don’t remember at all, I was so nervous about the whole situation and what we were about to do in front of all these people who had come from far and wide I pretty much walked down on auto-pilot. Apparently I raced down the aisle and if I could have spoken to my pre-wed self I would have taken longer and absorbed the moment a bit more. I had to peek inside after the ceremony to really have a good look at all the flowers and decoration as the ceremony itself was all a bit of a blur!

One thing that made the ceremony really special was that I walked down the aisle to a piano rendition of ‘Curious Hobbits’ from the Lord of the Rings films. Juho is a massive fan and it gave the ceremony a personal touch as well as being a beautiful piece of music and raised a few smiles from the crowd. We also had my immensely talented 11 year old cousin sing during the signing of the register which didn’t leave a dry eye in the room and as our exiting music which was so unique and special.

The Cake

Our cake was one of the best parts of our wedding and one aspect that truly reflected our passions and professions as a Marine Biologist (Elle) and Dive Instructor (Juho). Maxine Otto at Maxine’s Pattisserie is a culinary genius and true artist, she created the most magnificent three tiered sea-scape that was resplendent with fish, a Manta Ray, Octopus, shells and three of our favourite species of nudibranchs. I absolutely could not recommend her more, she took our vision and ran with it and I still have friends, family and strangers commenting on how we had the best wedding cake anyone had ever seen, it was also extremely delicious and I ate almost exclusively cake for two days after!

The Speeches

After a very tasty and hearty meal came the speeches; I think my dad had been preparing for this moment for the last 31 years so as everyone expected he delivered a heart-warming and hilarious mix of anecdotes about my life and us as a couple. We were all very impressed by Juho’s groomsmen Oscar Lehtinen and Christian Kuusela who delivered totally on-point, touching and humorous speeches about Juho and their friendship group, which was made more impressive as it was in English, their second language. The speeches were toasted with a shot of Salmiakkikossu a traditional Finnish liqueur made of salted-liquorice flavoured vodka.  

First Dance

We had the Honeymooners, a local band who played a great mix of soul and rock and roll classics. The saxophonist was a real highlight.

Our first dance was to LOVE by Nat King Cole which was a suggestion by the band as we had no idea what we wanted except we wanted it to be to live music and not be a slow, cheesy number. After a late-night practice session a few days before I think we nailed it!

Our Wedding Coordinator

Laura Maguire – absolute legend and couldn’t have done it without her, she made everything work so seamlessly and the whole planning process bearable despite being one of the busiest women on the planet at that time of year!

Top Tips for other couples:

One major tip is to slow down and really take it all in and not to sweat the small stuff (have someone else to spot things that go wrong so you don’t notice!), you only get to do it once and it goes by so quickly.

‘I would wholeheartedly recommend Missenden Abbey as a wedding venue’

I was extremely happy with the service received at Missenden Abbey, as we were only 5mins away the team were perfectly happy for me us to drop by whenever we wanted and wander round the grounds. Laura was always available by email and went out of her way to make sure everything was handled seamlessly and all my requests were met, she even gave us the updated 2022 prices even though we had technically booked in 2021 which I thought was a really great touch. I would whole-heartedly recommend Missenden Abbey as a wedding venue (although I rather selfishly want to keep it as our secret place), it feels local and unpretentious whilst also being absolutely beautiful and totally unique. There aren’t many people in the world that get to say they got married in a building dating back to 1140’s and yet it also felt once it was decorated like it was our own and the team really made the whole experience memorable. There were a few issues with the room bookings and miscommunications/misunderstanding about how the allocation system worked but thankfully those issues were resolved quickly and everyone had a comfortable bed for the night, in fact one family loved it so much and thought the prices were so reasonable they stayed a second night too!

A few suppliers we used –


Lucy Long Photography



Wedding Dress

Temperley London

07587 278945



Amber Partner at Howe Farm Flowers




Maxine Otto at Maxine’s Patisserie




Antonella at Brandon O’Sullivan Hair and Beauty




Tree of Hearts






Les Nereids