Lovely Bride Emma is actually a wedding planner, who works for Bijou Weddings, a select group of stunning venues who we are proud to say are members of our handpicked directory of wedding suppliers, The List. Emma and David married at their French venue, Chateau de Bijou, and filled the place with pretty pastel decor, roses and lots of personalised, rustic details. I'm sure lots of you will relate to her woes about having her photograph taken, and so we're thrilled that she found Frances Sales, whose reportage style of photography was much more suited to her and David as a couple. It's great to see a destination wedding that is still very much DIY too - it just goes to show with a bit of planning and some careful driving (!) you can transport all manner of decor items to your destination of choice!

The Dress

Emma The Bride: Since Kate and Will’s wedding, I always thought that I would wear a Kate Middleton style dress on my Wedding Day, lace sleeves, structured corset and a big skirt! Unfortunately, after trying on a few similar to Kate’s, I found that this style just didn’t suit my body shape. Luckily, The Bijoutique in Chertsey has a vast selection of dresses and helped me find the style that best suited my shape and eventually I found ‘The one’. I chose a Lillian West strapless lace gown and a two tiered mid length veil with subtle sparkles that caught the light beautifully.

The Wedding Party

I adore pastel colours and couldn’t settle on just one colour, so I decided that it would look beautiful to have my 8 Bridesmaids in different pastel colour dresses, teamed with a gypsophila crown. As they are all different shapes, sizes and skin tones, I asked them to choose a Bridesmaid dress that they would like to wear, rather than trying to choose one style for everyone. I was a little worried about how the colours would look together and if the crowns would be too much, but it paid off, they all looked beautiful! All of their dresses were purchased from ASOS.

The Groom and Groomsmen

Dave really didn’t want anything too formal, which I was pleased about. We wanted him and the Groomsmen to wear something smart, but also something that would suit the relaxed feel of the venue. They settled for a 3 piece dark blue lounge suit from Debenhams, paired with a pale blue cotton tie from ASOS.

The Flowers

We found a lovely little florist shop, 10 minutes from our venue in Le Pouzin, called Anais Fleurs. Anais was absolutely superb and very helpful from start to finish. As I am not based in France, I didn’t actually see the flowers until the wedding day and had only shown Anais the style that I liked through photographs on Pinterest. On the day Anais came up to the Bridal Suite to show me everything that she was doing and made sure I was happy. She also stuck around when the weather took a turn for the worse and we had to move our flowers inside!

The Stationery

Again, we wanted something quite relaxed and rustic to match the feel of the weekend and decided to make the stationery ourselves. Luckily, Dave’s Dad is a whizz with a computer and printed all of our stationery on the day, including the tags that accompanied our table favours.

The Venue

Being a Wedding Planner, I wanted something a little different to what I work with everyday; as beautiful as all of my weddings are, I didn’t want it to feel like work, I needed something a little different. I was invited by work to visit our French Venue called Chateau du Bijou in Chomerac. I was there for a matter of hours before I realised that this is where I should be getting married, there was just no competition to any of the venues that I had visited in England. The mountain backdrop and complete sense of relaxation is what drew me in and all I had to do was persuade Dave! A huge plus for us was being able to invite our nearest and dearest to stay with us for a long weekend. The copious amounts of cheese and French wine were definitely a plus too!

The Decor

I love rustic wooden signs, bunting and anything personalised so the décor was definitely my favourite part of the planning. I enrolled my Dad for most of the carpentry, which made everything even more special. We used large pallets, which we painted white and personalised for the entrance to the Chateau. My Dad also handmade us a large heart dropbox frame for guests to post their well wishes, this is my favourite item from our wedding and now has pride of place in our living room. The florist provided the most beautiful flower arch which was decorated with hanging glass baubles filled with flowers – it looked like it belonged in a fairy tale and framed our ceremony perfectly! We also wanted to make sure everyone was smiling so instead of place names, we asked each guest to send us a silly selfie with their RSVP, which we placed on mini easels on the banqueting tables.

The Food

The catering was provided by Comme une Abeille, who are based in Montelimar. We served a selection of delicious canapes, followed by a choice of lamb shank or guinea fowl. The food was amazing and Peggy, the owner was very helpful in the lead up to the Big Day.

The Cake

The cake was made my Dave’s Mum, Thelma which she brought all the way over to France from home! We decided on a 5 tier cake, which was displayed on 5 separate vintage cake stands, rather than stacked. Thelma matched the icing to the Bridesmaid dresses and attached bunting around the cake to match our stationery. We then asked the florist to place peonies on top of each tier, except for the top tier, which was mounted with a figurine of me, Dave and our little Dachshund Sammy!

The Photography

Dave and I are not a mushy couple, our worst nightmare is having to kiss on cue and stare into each other’s eyes for minutes on end. We chose Frances because her work seemed so relaxed, yet professional at the same time. I loved all of her work and knew that she was the photographer for us. We asked her to capture the moments, not just poses and she couldn’t have done a better job, we are thrilled with our photographs.

The Videography

We chose Sebastian at Motion Craft Creative because his style of videography was everything that we wanted. On the day, he was subtle and professional and not pushy at all, which is exactly what we wanted.

The Entertainment

Dave and I are big music fans, however our tastes do vary, so a band was always going to be tricky to choose. Also, we knew that we had a young crowd and wanted to make sure that the evening was epic! Through a personal recommendation, we booked Phunky Discos to DJ for the evening. They didn’t disappoint. They looked after music for the entire day and the dance floor was packed all night – we couldn’t have asked for a better DJ.
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride: Lillian West | Boutique: The Bijoutique | Bridesmaids: ASOS | Groom & Groomsmen: Debenhams | Venue: Chateau de Bijou | Catering: Comme Une Abeille | Videography: Motion Craft Creative | Hair & Make Up: Make Up b Jodie

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