*Set the scene* A balmy and overcast Autumn afternoon in the charming Provencal French mini-estate belonging to Bride Daisy’s father is where this intimate outdoor ceremony took place. As you can imagine it’s already a really special place, but to say your vows surrounded by your loved ones, with your best man conducting the ceremony and providing the music along with your bridesmaid must have been soo sentimental. Not to mention standing in front of that gorgeous old wooden door altar.
The fabulous rustic decor carried on through out the day with chalkboard direction signs, flowers in crates & watering cans and the most adorable use of wood slices & scrabble tiles. All styled by the bride & groom I might add.
If you’ve had a sneak peek of the slider before reading the intro, you’ll have probably clocked the Bridesmaids gorgeous tulle skirt & lace top separates, a look we’ve totally fallen for. So much so we’ve decided to bring you a post all about the look later this week, so stay tuned!
Fern Edwards dreamy photography style has really captured the essence of this day, and made me ooh and ahh the whole way through, so get ready to swoon too.
Daisy the Bride: We’ve been together for 10 years and have spent almost every summer together at my Dad’s house in Bagnols En Forêt in Provence; I had also been going there since I was two. The house and grounds are absolutely stunning with natural charm, so we couldn’t think of a better place to start the next chapter of our lives together. We didn’t have a theme for the wedding, but we knew we wanted lots of original, personalised details and an eclectic and rustic feel that would suit our surroundings. For us, food, wine, love, music and laughter were the key to a successful wedding. Given the distance, we also thought a ‘Hangover Day’ on the Sunday was in order with Bloody Marys’, traditional Rotisserie Chicken, rounders and table tennis (not in that order!).
With such a short time between our engagement and wedding, we sent out save the dates and invitations via email. Matt is a bit of a whiz on Photoshop so he created a rustic logo for us incorporating our initials & applied this to our beautiful save the dates, invitations, table menus as well as a bespoke wedding website for guests to be able to RSVP online & access details on accommodation, travel & attractions in the local area.
With only 6 months to go until the big day, I didn’t have a lot of time to find my dress, but luckily I didn’t need it! I didn’t really know what I wanted so I tried on a few different styles. Whilst in Pronovias I tried on a few dresses before I remembered I had seen one online that I had loved and asked if they had one I could try. As soon as I stepped in to it I knew it was the one. It had the low back I had wanted, with beautiful detail but was still structured enough to account for a fuller bust. I felt comfortable and therefore confident all day. Des the seamstress did a fabulous job making sure it fit me perfectly and that the bustle was the right length for dancing the night away.
I didn’t think I’d wear a veil but the lovely Britten changed my mind – their veils are exquisite and I fell in love with their Isabella cathedral length veil, which completed my bridal look.
I wanted to wear heels despite being outdoors in a field for a large part of the day, so I bought some lovely simple shoes from Miss KG, and some heel protectors from Clean Heels which stopped me sinking in to the grass throughout the day!
Hair & Make-up
I found it hard to find a local hair & make-up artist that could achieve a natural, simple look as the French don’t seem to do subtle! Eventually I came across Camille who was incredible. She worked with me to make sure I was comfortable and looked my best both at the trial and on the day itself.
Matt never wears a suit so we needed to find one that he felt comfortable in, and that wasn’t too formal. Ties were also off the agenda! We searched high and low in all of the fancy shops in London until we came across a gorgeous blue herringbone textured suit in Suit Supply that fitted perfectly and was the closest we could get to denim! He accessorised with a waistcoat from Zara, two tone summer loafers from Office and a pocket square from Selected Homme.
The bridesmaids outfits needed to fit our rustic theme and I knew I wanted them to be two pieces. I found the Little Mistress skirts on ASOS and the bodies came from designer RARE in Topshop and luckily the girls loved them. The guys suits were purchased from Selected Homme.
I didn’t want a fancy car to take me to the wedding – for one thing we would need to drive it through the field to arrive! Our family friend Beatrice has a beautiful old Citroen 2CV (which is older than me!), which she leant us; my dad picked me up, and honked the horn all the way up the field to announce my arrival – much to the surprise of the guests!
Flowers were really important to us as we wanted to enhance the natural beauty of the house, so nothing too structured or formal and plenty of them! The house has an abundance of beautiful olive trees so we knew we wanted to incorporate them in the decoration.
Lucille from Marie Myrtille was so helpful talking through exactly what we wanted and making up the beautiful bouquets & button holes – she also arrived the day before the wedding with mountains of gypsophila, roses, wax flower, astillbe, eucalyptus and wild asparagus fern in a mix of white and dusty pink so we could arrange all of the flowers ourselves. With our green fingered mothers firmly in charge, and with the help of the bridesmaids we used them to fill wheelbarrows, watering cans, an assortment of jars we had collected and dress our old doors (our make-shift altar)!
We wanted everything to be unique and personal to us so we took a DIY approach to almost everything! I always knew I wanted something different from a traditional arch for our ceremony and I liked the sentiment of using doors as our marriage was opening the door to a new chapter in our lives. We bought some normal doors and with the help of a friend in the village distressed them to look old and then draped them with olive branches and gypsophila.
We used freshly cut tree trunks, candles, string lights, flowers and some old metal initial letters we had found in Brighton to create a decorative arrangement just outside our marquee.
We found a treasure trove of antique French bits from Rene in the village who has a garage sale on the days he feels like opening! These included old French cupboard doors, unique mirrors, large weathered picture frames, a little table and an umbrella stand, which brought the eclectic feel we were looking for!
With the help of our best man Luke and Anna and Jess – two of our bridesmaids – a large box of wine and some mustard crisps, we spent six hours creating all of the individual signs using a tracing technique. It took forever but everyone commented on how great they looked.
Confetti cones were made from old French newspaper, and the petals were painstakingly collected & dried from our mother’s gardens across the summer.
For our table plan we took an old frame and hung photos of us both at ages 1 – 10 to signify the table numbers and used a stamp and little bits of card to hang individual names on the string.
For the table numbers we used scrabble letters to spell them out and stuck them to a lollipop stick, which affixed to an olive branch and slotted in to our vases.
We had a low-key legal marriage ceremony before we left for France, so we were free to create a personalized ceremony on the day. This included having our best man ‘Reverend Rog’ conduct the ceremony. We had readings of ‘The Wedding Song’ by Bob Dylan, and ‘Love is a temporary madness’ from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin from Matt’s mum and my sister. Having met at music college we also wanted to include music in the ceremony, so Alex my bridesmaid sang ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by Al Green and Reverend Rog led the congregation in a rendition of ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben. E. King.
Our processional song ‘Heartbeats’ by Jose Gonzales, and our recessional song ‘The Bare Necessities’ from the Jungle Book was played by our gypsy jazz trio.
We didn’t want an ordinary wedding band, and there was not a lot of choice in the South of France so we had to look further afield. Eventually we found Jazz Around Midnight who were from Paris and we worked with Alex to create an evening of fun that worked for us. We had a gypsy jazz trio play at the reception, and in the evening they were joined by three other band members and transformed into a 1920s swing band, which had everyone up and dancing. Afterwards the band joined in the celebrations and we made a playlist of party tunes. The singer ended up having a dance off to Beyoncé with our friend James…we couldn’t have asked for a better band!
We were adamant that we wanted fireworks on our wedding night but without the expensive price tag so we smuggled a one minute display box in our car on the Euro Tunnel and somehow got away with it!
As foodies and creators of our own occasional French pop up restaurant, food was really important to us. We worked with Bastien at Roland Paix who created an exceptional feast for our guests and worked tirelessly to ensure everything was perfect; from the extensive range of incredible canapés to the sit down dinner – gazpacho with goats cheese sorbet, and herb crusted rack of lamb with chickpea chips and roasted vegetables – to our stunning croquembouche & macaron tower. We still have no idea how they managed to cook perfect lamb for 80 people in a field, but we’re very glad they did!
My family love cheese. A lot. It was inevitable that we would have the biggest cheese table we possibly could! My dad, a cheese connoisseur, put together this incredible selection of French cheeses, including an entire wheel of truffled Brie, which was the talk of the weekend. We even had #AllTheFrenchCheese as our hashtag to celebrate!
Our favours were miniature bags of homemade fudge, which was Matt’s Granny’s recipe – brought to life with hours and hours of whisking by his mum Lucy! We used a stamp, string and kraft labels to decorate for that personal touch.
Fern made sure she knew exactly what we wanted – natural, candid shots capturing all of the little details we’d worked so hard to create – and captured priceless memories across both days. She was friendly, fun and fitted in like one of our guests. She was also very calm – even when her flight was cancelled on the way to the airport! Thanks BA! We couldn’t recommend her enough as a safe and extremely talented pair of hands on your big day.
We hadn’t booked a videographer but my sister (an up and coming videographer) surprised us with a short edit, which captured the essence of the weekend perfectly. It really is amazing to have some moving image from your big day and would recommend it to everyone – even if it’s just your uncle bob holding a camera!
As our house is in the middle of nowhere we wanted to make it easy for everyone to get to/from the wedding without having to drive and miss out on drinking all that lovely wine! We recommended that everyone stay at The Domaine De Fayence, which has hundreds of little houses/villas for rent and is very cheap, and then we organised buses to bring them to the wedding and shuttle them back throughout the night, which worked perfectly.
We had a table for two at dinner; it took away any family politics and allowed us to have a special moment together in an amazing but busy day!
Have a second day if you can, the wedding day is a lot to take in and this gives you a second chance to catch up with all of your favourite people.
Lean on your family & friends – their support is priceless! Our families and friends really helped us create a weekend we would never forget and we couldn’t have done it without them.
Photography by Fern Edwards Photography
- Dress Designer Pronovias
- Veil Britten
- Bridal Shoes Miss KG
- Jewellery Aaryannas Boutique on Etsy
- Hair & Makeup Camille
- Grooms Suit Suit Supply
- Grooms Shoes Office
- Bridesmaids Skirt Little Mistress from ASOS
- Bridesmaid Tops Rare at Topshop
- Groomsmen Suits Selected Homme
- Venue Plan Des Granges, Bagnols en Foret
- Flowers Marie Mrytille
- Caterers Roland Paix
- Entertainment Jazz Around Midnight
- Guest Transport Groupe Beltrame
- Guest Accommodation Domaine de Fayence
- Videographer Rosie Reed Gold