Abbey ever after – a Saint Valentine’s Day dinner in Elstow Abbey


Any couples who have a “Love Story” in their lives are being invited to enjoy a meal for two for just £30 in the Abbey Church of St Mary and St Helena, Elstow on February 14th. Italian breads and minestrone soup, spaghetti meatballs or veggie lasagne, tiramisu or gelato and coffee & mints. To guarantee your special ’Table for two’ please email

The historic Church, which can been seen for miles especially when lit up at night, is bringing ‘Love Stories’ back to the village with its Abbey Ever After campaign. Bookings have nearly trebled since the campaign began, and the village rings with the sounds of bells from the church tower throughout the year.

Vicar Fr. Paul Messam says: “St Valentine’s is about love stories and love is at the heart of all we do here at Elstow Abbey. We like to show the church can be used for community purposes and so this event is the latest in the line of innovative approaches.
“Last year we had an exhibition of people’s wedding dresses which included frocks from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and the new century. In readiness for St Valentine’s weekend we are asking people to share their wedding memories of Elstow – and perhaps send us some a photo too which we can put on show in the church.”

Abbey Ever After – a wonderful wedding setting
The most important day of your life should be in the most beautiful setting, and can be – for less than the cost of a service in the Bedford Register Office.

Why get married in a civil setting when you can walk down the aisle of an Abbey?
Couples may not realise that they can have their wedding day in the spectacular setting of the 10th Century Norman Elstow Abbey, which partly survived Henry VIII’s reformation, even if they are not regular church-goers.

Changes made by the Church of England in 2008, means people with a “qualifying connection” can now ask to wed at this beautiful church on Elstow Green. Vicar The Rev. Father Paul Messam wants as many people as possible to be able to enjoy this fabulous building for their special day. We want to be as inclusive as possible in the 21st Century so that this church, with 1,000 years of history, is here for generations to come,” said Father Paul. We always encourage people to come and have a conversation with us to see how we can be part of their ‘Big Day’.

A Church wedding at Elstow Abbey is often a lot cheaper than a civil service at either a Registry Office or other venue. 

With bells on it
The soaring sounds of the bridal march played on the organ as you walk down the aisle, the singing of the choir, a peal of bells ringing out… all of these added extras will make your wedding day memories for you to treasure, forever. For those who will be taking and making wedding films, features will make the sound track so special.
Count your blessings
For those who want to renew their vows or have a civil ceremony “Blessed” then there are even fewer qualifying restrictions and the ceremony can have all the special wedding day features – which only a setting like the Abbey can offer.
Parking and and facilities
Free and plentiful park means guests only have to walk a few yards to the church. There are modern accessible toilets.
Photography and Instagram settings
Capture your day on film or any sort of photography including Instagram with some of the most fantastic settings around the church – including The Green and the ancient Moot Hall. There’s nowhere quite like it.
Eating and Drinking
Refreshments in our delightful tea garden, drinks or a buffet in the ancient Moot Hall and even a marquee set in the historic grounds next to the Abbey can also be arranged as part of your celebrations.