It's always a treat to share a wedding from M&J Photography, their style is distinctively beautiful, romantic and timeless. They always have the most stunning couples too, with dreamy destination weddings all over the world. Today's sun drenched affair comes from the lavender fields of Provence, at the stunning Le Mas de la Rose - which is the epitome of rustic chicness. And yes, that is definitely a thing, and no one can do it quite like the French. Kirsty and Niall actually spend most of the year sailing in the Caribbean as they work on a yacht as Captain and Chef, which sounds fabulous, but they are away from their families a lot. So their wedding was the perfect occasion to gather everyone together and have a holiday. It looks like lots of fun was had by everyone and all done with style too...come and see...

The Bride

Kirsty The Bride: Like most woman, I have had daydreams about my wedding on a number of occasions, I wouldn’t say many times, but they happened none the less. My day dreams however were never the same, never the same dress, venue, hair (or man!) Thus, when I ventured into the realms of dress shopping, I genuinely had no idea as to what I was looking for. To make matters more complicated, I had decided that I was going to buy it in London on the two days that my Mum and I had available during my time back in the UK. I booked 4 appointments, two on the Friday and two on the Saturday. Needless to say I didn’t make it to the two on the Saturday! I knew I didn’t want lace (wrong...) and I thought I wanted sleeves (wrong again...), and in my head I was determined to fit into one of the Amanda Wakeley dresses that I was going to try on during my first appointment of the day. I did however discover that whilst I have some beautiful dresses from Amanda Wakeley, their wedding dresses were not for me. Too tight in all the wrong spots in some, and in others, I looked like I was dressing up in my glamorous Aunties night shirt. When I arrived at Stewart Parvin, I was feeling a little deflated and gloomy at the prospect of trying on another raft of unflattering bed sheets, however as soon as we walked in the door we were met by the lovely Jamie. I instantly felt completely at ease and instead of wanting to get through the fitting as quickly as possible (I hate trying anything on – even in shops I walk in, pick something up I think I like, buy it and then try it on in the cosy comfort of my own bedroom, where, when it doesn’t fit properly, it will sometimes remain for some time in a bag at the bottom of my wardrobe...), we actually had a total giggle. I’m not saying that the dresses were funny, they were beautiful, but Jamie and my Mum made it fun to try them on and have a good giggle at the ones that made me look ridiculous. We soon worked out what style I suited, slim line and sweetheart neckline, making me look and feel slimmer that I was. We narrowed it down to two and made the decision based on the fact I wanted to keep it simple but elegant (which later became the theme for the wedding). The dress originally had a straight neckline but the girls changed it to suit and they brought it in at the bottom to a more fishtail look as opposed to straight up and down which balanced my figure a little better. They knew exactly where the right places were for it to be altered. I LOVE my dress, I can’t tell you how amazing it made me feel when I tried it on and then again on the day. I didn’t go into the process with any idea what I wanted and I think that was a saving grace as I would never have tried it on otherwise. But it was everything I wanted and I am so grateful to Jamie and the lovely seamstress for all their hard work.

The Accessories

With regards to the accessories on the day, I wanted to keep things pretty simple again. I don’t wear much jewellery on a daily basis so wanted to be in keeping with my personality. My Mum offered her diamond earrings as my something borrowed which were perfect, she also found a beautiful drop diamond necklace from Addy's Vintage. I didn't wear a bracelet due to the lace on my dress (didn’t want it to catch!) and wore my Tiffany engagement ring on my right hand. I also wore a gorgeous diamanté belt provided by Stewart Parvin which gave just the right amount of sparkle. I wore Christian Louboutin heeled pumps called ‘Demi You’. These were bought in one of the Christian Louboutin boutiques in London’s Mount Street. I didn’t wear a veil, instead wore flowers in my hair provided by my lovely florist.

The Groom & Groomsmen

As I am Scottish and Niall’s father is from Scotland, we did consider going down the traditional route for the men wearing kilts. We then however began to realise that they would be completely wrong for the venue and also the style of wedding. Niall has worn Hackett suits in the past and loves the slim line fit and so when we decided to go down the suit option, he knew that was where he wanted to go. Niall wanted something a little different colour wise which is why he went for the blue, as well as keeping it light material and a little more casual in keeping with the style of the venue and our wedding concept. They were also each were able to choose a different lining for the jacket and waistcoat to make each suit a little more personalised and fun. Although you try giving 3 men the choice between 6 different books of lining choices and see how long you’re there waiting... They were fitted in the Hackett London store on Jermyn Street. The tailor used was Bob Arnarj and he was excellent.

The Planners

Kerry & Jennifer at Lavender & Rose. They were AMAZING – the most incredible ladies to work with, so so nice, professional yet so personable and lovely friends now. Really wouldn’t have been the same wedding without them. We owe our wonderful day to them.

The Venue

This was a little tricky, I will admit there was a huge part of me that really wanted to get married at home in the garden with a huge marquee and lots of people, and we had many a discussion as to whether this would be a good option or not, but the more we thought about the kind of wedding we wanted, the more we came back to keeping it simple. Not just in terms of numbers of people (the total in the end was 56) but also for my family, I knew it would be a huge task to have a home wedding and we wanted to have a fun time with our friends and family around us as we have a limited time with them every year. I did however know that I really wanted the ceremony to be outside, with some lovely flowers and trees surrounding us. I then began to imagine a beautiful ceremony with a small amount of people, with an old fashioned house in the background and drinks and canapes outside with some yummy wine and came to the idea of France. Niall and I have both travelled through France on a number of occasions and love it, Niall actually spent a year there at university. I literally started to google and research wedding venues in France and almost immediately came across Le Mas de la Rose only to fall in love. It was like a light came on in my head and all the day dreams I had had with changing venues and themes began to focus around Le Mas de la Rose. We both knew it was perfect, and after that everything else just slotted in around it.

The Decor

As I mentioned above, the colour scheme/décor and everything else really did just fall into place once we found the venue. With the pastel colours of the farmhouse and the beautiful pool outside looking across onto the lavender fields, we decided to go with greys, pinks, blues and lavender colours, with my bridesmaid dresses a blush pink. The bouquets were all in keeping with the local flowers in the area and those growing at the venue. Even the groomsmen and bridal party had a small blush rose with a piece of heather as their boutonniere which was perfect. For the tables, again I wanted to keep things simple and celebrate our surroundings, as well as allowing everyone to be able to speak across the flower arrangements! We had different size vases with lovely local flowers as well as candles. I love candles, I wanted them everywhere, I think they can create an ambiance anywhere, so the florist as well as Kerry and Jennifer put them in as many places as possible, including decorating the gorgeous olive tree in the small courtyard. They were magical in the evening.

The Flowers

Again, we really took inspiration from the venue and the surrounding areas. The Florist - Laetitia C, was recommended by our wonderful wedding planners and she really was amazing at somehow managing to take my ramblings about the roses on the door of the venue and my love of heather and what about trying to get a thistle in the bouquets, and actually transforming them into the perfect flower arrangements. I was completely aware that I was just saying names of flowers and then following them up with the phrase ‘simple yet elegant’, I didn’t want anything big or too flowery, but I love fresh smells and colours, including greens and whites. The bouquets all had some local heather in them as well as rosemary to give them the most gorgeous smell throughout the day, and some thistle too which, amazingly, was local to the area. They were truly gorgeous. When Niall and I visited the venue we originally thought that we would have the ceremony facing the lavender fields at the end of the garden, but when I re-visited in May a couple of months before the wedding, everything was coming into bloom and the colours were so vibrant around the house that when I took photographs and sent them to Niall, he knew I was thinking about turning things around and having the ceremony in front of the doors. With roses growing up the wall and huge green bushes all around, it was the perfect location. I made the suggestion that we just have flowers surrounding us as though the ceremony was an extension to the garden and the florist did just that by using a couple of huge pots and filling them with more beautiful greens and flowers.

The Wedding Party

I had 4 wonderful bridesmaids, all friends of mine from different times in my life who have remained wonderful constants for years. They are also all a bit crazy, so bridesmaid dress shopping was, hilarious. I’m sure most brides/bridesmaids/magazine editors and photographers all know that bridesmaid dresses are not all that flattering, or nice, at all. Well I must admit I found it hilarious shopping with 4 of my best friends, trying on the most hilarious and hideous dresses. I almost felt sorry for many of the shop assistants who were subjected to the girls trying on dress after dress just because they were slightly funny looking or some weird banana colour. We had such a hoot that day that by the time we found the bridesmaid dress, they were all so surprised!! It’s very difficult to find one dress that suits 4 different heights and shapes so we were very lucky to have finally found one that did, and I must say the ladies at Emma Roy were great fun, they had a proper giggle with us too whilst handing out glasses of bubbles. The dress was tried on in black and I didn’t actually see it in blush until the girls arrived in France! Thankfully it was perfect, which is credit to them. They also wore handmade pearl necklaces from a lovely lady on Union Island who we found when we were working down in the Grenadines. Her shop is called L’Atelier Turquoise.

The Ceremony

We had two readings during the ceremony, one read by each of our siblings. Clare, Niall's sister, read a humorous yet loving quote from Bob Marley, and my brother, Callum, read Dr Seuss' ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’. Neither Niall nor I are religious, but we wanted to have a somewhat traditional ceremony. Our celebrant was a wonderful man named Philippe Boulange who said the most touching words and even managed to incorporate the theme of sailing into his ceremony. The music played for the bridal party walking down the aisle was Bruno Mars, Marry You. We chose this as we used to play it when we were dating and laugh that this should be our wedding song one day, it’s fun and makes you feel happy! I walked down the aisle to an original song that my parents bought for us as a wedding present. The song was written by Paul Mealor.

The Entertainment

Music throughout the day was provided by my Mum's cousin and her husband, along with their band (Chantelle Duncan Heath and Greg Heath). It was very special to be able to have them performing during the ceremony as well as the evening. They are exceptionally talented, playing in and around London on a weekly basis. Chantelle and her husband played during the ceremony, when we were signing the registry she sang The Pogues, Love You Till The End (which was hauntingly beautiful), and then as we walked down the aisle as husband and wife, Grey played ‘All you need is love’ on the saxophone. They then continued to play during the reception outside in the garden, and in the evening went across to the restaurant building and set up the full band for the party! They were fabulous, capturing the chilled out mood of the reception and then the party atmosphere in the evening.

The Food

The food and wine was a big part of the whole day for us. Working in the hospitality industry ourselves, we love good food and wine and the best part of it is when you get to share it with your friends. The venue provided an incredible menu for us to choose from and when I visited prior to the wedding with my Mum (Niall had to stay to look after the Yacht in the British Virgin Islands) for a tasting, we found it very difficult to make a decision! In the end we opted for quite an adventurous menu.
Food (canapes during reception) 1. Mini croque monsieur 2. Anchovy tapenade and olive tapenade 3. Mini tomato & mozzarella skewer 4. Cromeski of crayfish risotto and lime 5. Glass of vegetable tartare and crab guacamole and chips with paprika 6. Mini glass of smoked salmon bits with fresh cheese and herbs 7. Fresh goat cheese croutons with tomatoes and herbs from the garden 8. Snails pan fried with garlic and herbs on a crostini (live cooking station) Evening meal Starter: Fois Gras Fish Course: Lobster cannelloni Main: Lamb three ways Dessert: Wedding Cake (Croquembouche)

The Photography

Again, our wedding planners gave us a few options to choose from for photographers. Honestly, we were both a little intimidated when we began looking through everyone’s websites and wedding pictures, neither Niall or I are particularly good at having our photos taken so it was a big decision to make. We wanted to find someone who could capture the feel of the day, and of the brunch the day after. Looking through photographs of Jonny and Morgane’s work, we really felt like they were unobtrusive, natural, but absolutely stunning photographs, which was precisely what we were looking for. We had little contact with them leading up to the wedding other than a few emails where we spoke about the ‘professional’ photos with family and how many/who we wanted there. When we met them on the wedding day we were both so wrapped up in our own little bubbles that I must admit, I don’t think I even got a chance to properly introduce myself or have a chat with them until after the ceremony, but they were so comfortable popping from room to room, subtly taking parts out for photos and appearing at what seemed to be the perfect moments for the perfect shots. We were genuinely impressed with them without even seeing any of the photos! During the ‘getting ready’ phase, they were very un-intrusive but managed to take both Niall and I apart at the right moments along with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. At the ceremony, both worked to get the all-important shots as well as beautiful shots of our friends and family. I didn’t even see them during the reception, yet they have action shots of us playing jenga and laughing hysterically. Then, in the evening, they captured every emotion during the speeches, as well as taking fabulous photos of the flowers/venue/shoes! The part Niall and I were nervous about – the ‘couples' photo shoot, was brilliantly done. They made us feel so comfortable, we couldn’t help but smile and laugh, it all felt ridiculously natural which is incredibly cliché, but there are clichés for a reason! As a note – we didn’t hire a videographer and were told by a number of people that we really ought to and we would regret it if we didn’t. I have to say that the beautiful photographs that we have from Morgane and Jonny are honestly so special, neither of us could have wished for anything more. We look through them regularly and still find photos that we stop and think – ‘how did they get that shot’?! We will treasure them for the rest of our lives.
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride: Stewart Parvin | Necklace: Addy's Vintage | Shoes: Louboutin | Wedding Planning & Design: Lavender & Rose | Venue & Catering: Mas de la Rose | Flowers: Laetitia C | Cake: Hawecker | Stationery & Calligraphy: French Blue | Hair: Wedding Hair In Provence | Make Up: Camille Bonardi | Tableware & Chair Hire: Options | Lounge Furniture: Design by C | Bridesmaids: Emma Roy | Suits: Hackett

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