Francesca & Suat

Saturday 19th September 2020

Photography by Piers Photography

‘When Suat proposed to me on Christmas Day morning 2019, we had no idea that our wedding journey would be one to remember for so many different reasons!’

Being engaged was the most amazing feeling ever I was so excited to start planning our big day. It didn’t take us long to start looking at dates and deciding where to get married. For me Missenden Abbey holds a special place in my heart, I had a weekend housekeeping job there while I was at school and in 2007 my mum and step dad got married there. When we were shown around the Abbey by Natasha who I knew from when I used to work here, I instantly felt relaxed and just knew this is where we were going to get married. The Abbey is stunning and the grounds are so amazing so I was really hoping for a sunny day!

We booked our wedding for Saturday 19th September 2020. I got straight into all the planning and organising. The wedding fair the Abbey held was so helpful and I used a few of the suppliers that were there which made things so much easier.

Every girls dream is when you get to try on wedding dresses! I had so much fun trying on various styles and designers but I instantly fell in love with my Martina Liana number 1078 dress which I bought from Pure Couture in Beaconsfield in January. They are amazing there and made my experience so perfect.

It wasn’t long before I had organised the flowers which the lovely Caroline from Glorious Day Flowers put together. We decided on roses in blush and light pinks as they are my favourite flowers and they would go perfectly with the bridesmaid dresses. I had 6 bridesmaids, 3 in a sparkly rose gold colour which I got from Silk Fred and the other 3 in a plain blush colour from ASOS, they worked perfectly together!

‘Everything was going smoothly, I was so organised and counting down the months until September, then suddenly in March Covid-19 happened and we were thrown into a lockdown!’

Suat works in investment banking so was kept busy with working from home, I however am a Beauty Therapist so was unable to work and unable to continue any wedding planning! Natasha was so amazing throughout as I was emailing her all the time with different scenarios! September seemed so far off at that point but with everything at a standstill I was beginning to wonder if this wedding would be able to happen, we still needed to give our notice to marry at the council.

Planning a wedding during a pandemic wasn’t easy, I was constantly watching the news for wedding updates, I couldn’t have my hair and make-up trial or any 1st dress fittings we didn’t even know if we would be able to get married.

We both decided we wanted to get married regardless of the numbers or restrictions as we really wanted to be husband and wife. One of the main challenges was the guest list, we originally had planned to have 120-150 guests. This was already a reduced number as Suat comes from a big Cypriot family coming from both UK and Northern Cyprus. We had to reduce this even further as we knew in our hearts that large gatherings/weddings wouldn’t be able to take place so we planned ahead and wrote several guest lists with different amounts of numbers so we would be prepared for whatever we were allowed, this wasn’t an easy thing to do.

I was back and forth emailing Natasha asking so many questions and constantly changing plans of what we wanted or could or couldn’t have due to restrictions. She was so amazing and helpful and I know it was hard for them as this was a totally new and different situation for all businesses and no one knew what was going to happen each day. All I know is that I was so grateful we had chosen Missenden Abbey as everything was organised so well.

Finally when restrictions were starting to lift and change I was able to finally see my wedding dress and have my hair and make-up trial by the amazingly talented Jodie Elleanor. There wasn’t many weeks left until the wedding and I was started to feel more positive and excited now, especially having tried my dress on and had my hair and make-up done.

We had our guest list all sorted for 30 people, this was probably the hardest part of having a Covid wedding not being able to have all your friends and family there, but at this point we were just grateful we could have a wedding and considering the situation we were happy to be able to have the 30.

Finally the week of the wedding was here and we were starting to relax and trust that our wedding would happen and there would be no more changes.

‘Waking up at my mum’s house on the morning of our wedding almost felt surreal, I couldn’t believe our wedding day was finally here’

After all the uncertainty and worry we had finally made it nothing could stop this wedding from happening now!

Everyone couldn’t believe how calm and relaxed I was in the morning, to be honest I surprised myself! I just know I wanted to enjoy every moment which included the getting ready process. Jodie and her assistant did all the hair and make-up for most of the bridal party, she is truly talented, and everyone looked so stunning. My hair and make-up stayed flawless all day.

We had a 1966 Austin Limousine “Georgia” car take all the bridal party down in several trips to Missenden Abbey which I had booked through Regency Carriages, Ted our driving was so charming. The last trip down was with myself and my brother Rupert who was giving me away as my Stepdad sadly had passed away a few years back, this was so special to me. We stepped out of my mum’s house with the sun shining and a ray of (socially distant!) smiling faces of friends and family that were unable to attend the wedding due to the number restrictions this was truly amazing. Thinking back to the car journey down to the Abbey with just myself and my brother in the car fills me with such emotion I remember we took a video of ourselves so I could look back at it and remember the feeling of us driving down to the Abbey. One of the restrictions to a Covid wedding was you were unable to have a bridal procession which means no walking down the aisle, this at first I found very upsetting however the solution we came up with was even more amazing. Firstly having a beautiful warm sunny day really made this for us, the car pulled up at the entrance of the Abbey where my 6 bridesmaids were waiting for us to arrive, once I was finally out the car (the train of my dress was quite long) we then did our walk down the long driveway to the front of the Abbey where all our 30 guests were waiting and of course Suat, we had the music playing outside it honestly was the most magical and amazing moment walking arm in arm with my brother and my bridesmaids behind me holding my train towards my soon to be husband.

‘I will treasure that moment forever’

The ceremony was perfect, the registrar was so lovely and honestly it felt like a “normal” wedding. I know it wouldn’t be for everyone having to look at your guests with face masks on and all sitting in their “bubbles” but to be honest that felt normal now and luckily we didn’t have to wear masks! Plus, the masks were only for the ceremony. We remember every moment saying our vows and when he announced we were husband and wife I have never felt so happy and excited after months and months of uncertainty we had finally done it we were married! I know when Natasha handed us our glasses of champagne on our way out that she too felt the same as us. We were their first Covid wedding and I know she was so pleased and happy that everything had paid off. She had been through it all with us and we couldn’t have had a more amazing and perfect wedding co-ordinator.

After the ceremony we had photographs by our talented family friend Jonathan from Piers Photography. He truly takes the most incredible photos and as he has done a lot of weddings at Missenden Abbey he knows his way around the grounds and where to take stunning pictures.

‘Everything just flowed perfectly and I can say I remember every moment of the day’

We had chosen to have the wedding BBQ breakfast as I didn’t want to have a set seating plan in social bubbles. This worked so well, the sun was shining, the food was so tasty and everyone commented on how amazing it was. It also had a really nice relaxed feel, people could sit outside where there is so much space and really enjoy their food in the sunshine overlooking the beautiful grounds.

Once everyone was full from the BBQ we did the speeches outside. What can I say I still cry if I read through what Suat wrote, he managed to make everyone cry! His words were so moving and special. Everyone’s speeches were incredible, my mum and my brother did speeches and so did 3 of Suat’s best men, they were full of laughter and emotion.

The day continued with the cutting of the cake which a family friend had made for us, it was beautiful and tasted amazing! We had dessert sweets and Turkish biscuits which I had displayed on a “sweet table”. As you have exclusive use of the Abbey there was so much space and different rooms for people to be able to go into which given the current situation it made everyone feel so relaxed that there was so much space. Having the outdoor grounds space was really good to, we played croquet and other outdoor games while soaking up the warm sunshine. Everyone loved this and really appreciated how beautiful the Abbeys surroundings are.

‘The staff on our wedding day were all so friendly and helpful and honestly they couldn’t do enough for us’

It really made our day and it really felt like everyone was so happy to finally have a wedding happening, I couldn’t fault a thing!

Another great thing about the Abbey is that they have accommodation. This worked perfectly for us as we had some friends and family from Suat’s side travel from London and various places, so having the rooms there made everything so much easier.

Although it’s not ideal planning a wedding during a pandemic and having so many restrictions it really did make us take a step back and think about the wedding and what it meant to us and what is important. For us this was to become husband and wife no matter what. If Covid has taught us anything it’s that life is too short and you never know what is going to happen and to make the most of life and to celebrate love, so this is what we did and we wouldn’t change a thing. To us our wedding day was perfect and if anything, it’s a story to tell for generations to come!

Top Tips for other couples:

Tips for the wedding day is to make sure you have some time just the two of you to really take in the day. After the ceremony, myself and Suat got driven around Great Missenden in our wedding car, we remember it so clearly we had just said our vows and it was our first moments together being husband and wife.

Who knows what weddings will look like going forward, I hope that big gatherings and weddings can happen soon for people, but for anyone unsure about having a smaller wedding or a wedding during these tough times I honestly would say just go for it, you won’t regret it and we certainly don’t.

Missenden Abbey is truly a stunning wedding venue and has everything you want for a wedding and your photos will look incredible. Nothing is too much trouble and they go above and beyond to make your day so memorable, we even asked for sunshine which we got! We would highly recommend Missenden Abbey as your wedding venue you won’t regret it.

A few suppliers we used –


Piers Photography

Wedding Dress

Pure Couture, Beaconsfield

Designer: Martina Liana number 1078

Groom’s Suit

Moss Bros

Brand: Ermenegildo Zegna Cloth

Hair & Make Up

Jodie Elleanor


Allerston Taylor & Regency Carriages

01296 655021