We were keen for a destination wedding. We quickly narrowed down our search to St. Emilion, as we’d previously been there with Hugh’s family and loved it. Chateau Rigaud
was exactly what we were after – stunning vineyards, access to top class wine, summer sunshine, fabulous food, on-site accommodation and a relaxed rustic setting. We can’t speak highly enough about Chateau Rigaud’s staff and facilities - it's amazing.
Our colour scheme was cobalt blue and orange. Decor was simple so as to not distract from the beautiful venue.
My Maid of Honour, Antonia Iamartino, is (rather conveniently) an incredibly talented designer – so I was always going to get the dress made. While I knew certain elements that I wanted, Antonia was so helpful in pulling together my random thoughts into a cohesive idea. We found a London-based dressmaker, Catharina at My Eden
, who did a wonderful job – the dress was exactly what I wanted. The veil was my “something borrowed”; my sister Stella lent me her gorgeous veil for the big day. I wanted shoes I could actually wear again – comfort was key. I went for gold Rachel Simpson
shoes – managed to dance until the wee hours without complaint, so job done.
I wore a beautiful ring which my mom gave to me when I graduated from university (which my dad had originally given her), along with a Tiffany’s silver necklace and silver bracelet (which had a blue hint to it - my “something blue”) which were both presents from Antonia. I also wore my engagement ring that Hugh designed with the help of Emma Mitchell at Bedazzl jewellery store in Hatton Garden and the diamond earrings that Hugh gave me the day before the wedding. It meant a lot to wear jewellery given to me by such important people in my life. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
did my hair and makeup. I wanted to look like me on the day – only better! Laura is excellent – I knew I was in safe hands so was oddly relaxed while getting ready.
Hugh is a fan of bright colours. The plan was to have a suit made to measure. Unfortunately, while the suit fits like a glove, owing to the lighting in the tailor’s shop, Hugh selected a tone of blue that can only be described as ‘aggressive’. As a result, Plan B was hastily put into action - a fitted blue suit from Oscar Milo
with a burnt orange Salvatore Ferragamo tie and matching Turnbull and Asser pocket square.
The Wedding Party
The bridesmaids (my sisters Emma, Cat and Kerry plus Antonia) were given free rein as to dress design, provided it was blue, easy to dance in and would (hopefully) be worn again. The result was a kaleidoscope of designs and blues (from navy to aquamarine) which worked beautifully.
The ushers all wore hired two piece grey suits, together with a navy blue tie and matching pocket square. The Best Man (Hugh’s brother Alex) also wore a grey suit, with the same tie and pocket square combination as Hugh. The greys offset the blue of Hugh’s suit nicely – he does like to stand out...
The Wedding Planner
Our Chateau Rigaud wedding planner - Ajna Ellis
- was fantastic. In addition to being a wedding planner, she is also a gifted graphic designer and made our orders of service. Fiona, the general manager of Chateau Rigaud, was also phenomenal; Rigaud hosts many weddings per year and she is on top of every detail.
was our talented florist. We aren't flower experts - we only knew that we wanted bright, exotic looking flowers to contrast the neutral colours of the church and reception barn. Heidi educated us on the impact flowers can have - in the end, they were one of the highlights of the day.
We got married at St Pierre church in Pujols, which stands on a hill overlooking vineyards –very picturesque. While we signed the register, a choir made up of Hugh’s friends and conducted by his brother sang Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus – which was not only impressive but also very touching as they’d obviously put in a lot of practice.
During the canapés, Hugh’s former a capella group performed a few numbers and then dragged Hugh himself up to serenade his new wife. The performance was both melodic and extremely entertaining! My brother Brian and Hugh’s usher Martin managed to stay off the whisky long enough to run the evening smoothly as MCs. Before dinner, we played a slideshow of some choice (read: embarrassing) photos, followed by the speeches – which elicited many laughs and a couple of tears! After dinner, we had the first dance which (thankfully) went smoothly, notwithstanding Hugh’s idiosyncratic approach to rhythm...The band we hired - Marveen
– were superb and kept the dance floor full.
The chefs at Chateau Rigaud are simply amazing. Canapés were incredibly varied and delicious. We went for beef main and tarte au citron as dessert, followed by the croquembouche and a cheese door (literally, a door with cheese on it). Many of our guests raved about the food - it was top notch.
Our photographer – Amy Murrell
– was brilliant. She helped us plan out the various group shots ahead of time, so that the day was stress-free. Amy is very professional, relaxed and easy to be around, which is vital considering how much time you spend with the photographer on the day. The photos she took are first-rate.
While we didn’t have an official videographer, my sister’s boyfriend Mike and Antonia’s husband Graham got great footage of the singing and the speeches with a handheld video camera.