Laura & Will's intimate French chateau wedding has stolen my heart for many, many reasons. First off, the couple had to overcome their original venue cancelling their booking and rearrange the wedding at a totally different place (although given how stunning Domaine de Ribaute is - we think this was entirely fortuitous - if a little stressful). Then, their celebrant didn't turn up on their wedding day, meaning that one of their friends had to step up and read the entire ceremony from an iPad (again, this turned out for the better, their ceremony looks truly intimate and heartfelt). Secondly it looks beautiful - elegant but rustic decor, simple branding throughout and the most gorgeous aisle lined with petals. For me, it's exactly what a destination wedding should look like - the venue, location, and that incredible light do all the talking. And thirdly - the photography is just dreamy. I think everyone getting married in France should book Susie Lawrence as their photographer. It's raw, it's candid, it's honest and it's beautiful. If I were Laura & Will, I'd have ALL of the images printed and framed, adorning the walls of my house and I'd stare at them all day long. It's a gorgeous wedding lovely ones and it's such a pleasure to share it with you all this morning...
The BrideLaura the Bride: As soon as we got engaged on a surprise trip to Bruges I was looking a wedding magazine and online for the perfect dress. I went to many bridal boutiques to find the one. I ended up going to Pronovias in Bond Street two times and ended up with the dress my mum originally picked called ‘Lamero’! I must admit I never had that feeling like this is the one but more that I had to order something soon. On the day I did love it and it was so nice to wear. I knew I had to have something quite thin material due to the heat and getting it to France. I went for simple pearl stud earrings due to my headpiece. Will brought me a beautiful blue stone ring to wear on the day which was my something blue. I purchased a pair of Jimmy Choo’s online called Lance in the colour nude. I loved them and was definitely one of my best purchases ever! I love that I can wear them again! Any excuse to wear a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.
The VeilI purchased my veil from Britten. It was the off white 'Niacae.' The funny thing was that originally I wasn't going to wear a veil and at last minute I thought I'm never going to get the chance to wear a veil again so I might as well. Before walking down the aisle my Dad stepped on the back of the veil pulling it off my head! If you look closely in one of the photos you can see my Dads face and the three of us smiling! As soon as the ceremony finished I put it back on. It came very nicely packaged and it was lovely and light and travelled well.
The HeadpieceI had a headpiece made by a lady called Sandra from Sophie & Luna. I changed my mind for headpiece quite soon before we was leaving to France. Luckily Sandra made me a beautiful headpiece just in time. It is made from real flowers dried and is a lovely memory to keep. My hair was done by a lady called Annette Carr. She was so lovely and loved what she done with my hair. She did my Mum’s and Bridesmaid’s hair as well. She was fantastic when I found out the news of the celebrant and helped as much as she could.
The FlowersOur flowers were so beautiful. I knew I was taking a risk as we both don't speak any French and don't know too much about flowers and we had no wedding planner! A lady called Gisele from Couturiere de la Fleur got the exact colours and flowers I wanted. I sent lots of pictures from Pinterest for ideas of flowers I liked but most of them where flowers hard to get because of them being out of season. The flowers on the day ended up being better than I ever imagine and was so happy with them. The colours of the flowers we picked were reds, pinks, orange, coral colours which matched the kraft and grey colours.
The BridesmaidsAfter looking many places for bridesmaid dresses we finally found them from Monsoon. They were a silver grey colour. I thought the girls looked stunning on the day. The bridesmaids worn their own jewellery and had their hair how they wanted. I brought us all some robes to get ready on the day from Monorobes on Etsy and them both necklaces from Dogeared they came in a lovely little box and with a sweet message.
The VenueWe always both wanted to get married abroad and have something quite small and intimate with close family and friends. We loved the idea of just going away with everyone and spending time all together in a chateau. Which is what we both got. We originally picked a venue and booked all our caterers, photography, flowers, band, invites etc and then were told due to the building structure - no weddings would be held at that venue next year and had to be cancelled! It was the worst feeling at the time as all our family and some friends had booked their flights. We then both had the problem of finding somewhere quickly that would have weddings, could have 20 people to stay and wasn't booked for a week in August. We did eventually find somewhere and we think it was meant to be as we hadn't found this place before and it was so us. They say things happen for a reason. We luckily had a John Lewis insurance policy which helped us with all the loses. The venue was called Domaine de Ribaute. You must visit the website to just see how gorgeous and massive this place is! We had full exclusive hire of the whole venue and grounds for the week.
The FoodWe couldn't fault our caterers. We had a private chef called Thomas Guerinet. We had cocktails and canapés after the ceremony which went down a treat.
Starters Home made foie gras with warm brioche toast and sweet and sour onions or Grilled scallops teriyaki style Main Beef fillet topped with truffle sauce, stuffed baby red peppers moroccan style and sautéed potatoes or Roasted cod Fillet with green herb crumble and wild mushroom saffron risotto Dessert Trio of chocolate dessertsLater on in the evening we had a selection of french cheeses with crackers. Which went down very well after all the dancing and drinking. We did have a traditional French croquembouche for our wedding cake which everyone was eating later on in the evening. All the food as perfect and couldn't fault any of it. The staff were so professional and they literally came the day before and started preparing everything and came the day after the wedding to clean up! They served all our drinks in a bar we made from old wooden trunks. We saved so much money like this as there was no corkage fee and we brought all the alcohol ourselves. The lady that owned the venue, Delphine, helped with the tables, chairs, tea lights, massive BBQ and recommended us the best wine and helped us lots throughout the week.
The PhotographyAs soon as we booked our venue we searched for a photographer. It meant so much to us that we trusted the photographer to capture our day as you will look back through the photos for many years. We fell in love with Susie’s work and knew we had nothing to worry about. When we received our photos back it was like seeing the whole day again. Susie captured everything just how we remembered. Susie was fantastic on the day and very professional, made us relaxed and even when finding out a few minutes before the wedding started that the celebrant was at the wrong venue and couldn't make it, Susie kept me very calm and just made everything work. Thanks to our very good friend Phil who conducted the whole ceremony reading it from a iPad! It made it so special though. I think our whole flat is just going to be covered with all our wedding pictures. We had a great photographer and my advice would be you get what you pay for so don't scrimp on this part!
The DecorWe both planned everything. We don't speak any french and we literally booked everything from flowers to catering etc online! For our stationery I had stamps made by PaperSushi on Etsy. A lady called Jen designed and made them for us. I brought all the card and envelopes and stamped them myself. We saved lots of money doing it this way but was well worth it. I used the stamps on lots of things save the date, invites, RSVP, sweet bags, ceremony booklets, napkins, table seating plan etc! I’m not going to lie it did take a while but I loved every minute of it! We did do a wedding website to let all of our guests know details for flights and places to stay nearby.
The EntertainmentWe had a band called Mallen Project. They played the guitar and sung while we had canapés and cocktails after the ceremony. I would highly recommend them they were very professional and we loved the music. We did a playlist and had that for evening entertainment. It was a great idea as we got to hear all our favourite tracks and played something for everyones taste. We got the children colouring in books, crayons and pens to entertain them while we were sitting down and doing speeches.
The StylingWe didn't want anything too fussy. The venue was very rustic so we went for lots of greys, kraft, reds, pinks, corals, orange and lace with wooden signs. I made every bit of decor myself. I purchased lots of wooden signs and letters from eBay and painted them. The ceremony booklets were printed and made using the stamps, kraft card and twine. The confetti cones I made myself and purchased the confetti from Shropshire Petals. I brought linen napkins and stamped each one with our initials and made clay hearts with the guest name on it. We brought loads of tissue paper in grey colours and pre made them flat pack. Me and mum spent a whole day round the pool making 80 pom poms! Something we will never forget! Everything that was at the wedding we brought out with us or sent it a few weeks before going out. All our family that came out a few days before the wedding helped so much and we couldn't of done it without them.
The First DanceWe did have about three different first dance songs but never decided or practised. We just went for one of our first choices originally Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye.
The CeremonyWe had seen a ready by Emma Salmon called The Future. The first time we both read it we knew it was perfect. We had Someone Like You by Paolo Nutini walking down the aisle. We are both not religious and thought a humanist wedding would be ideal for us. Due to legalities in France you can not marry unless you have been a resident in the country for 40 days. We registered our marriage a few weeks before we came to France and kept is very small and quiet from everyone!
AdviceThe following day we had a pool party/bbq which was lovely as we got to catch up on the previous day and just chill with all our family and friends. My regret for the day would of been I wished I started getting ready earlier as I did feel quite rushed and the time went so quick. I never got to paint my nails! At the end of the day it doesn't really matter if things go wrong or not to plan as most don't even realise, notice and it doesn't matter! Just enjoy every second of planning, the day itself and the bit after as it really does fly by. Oh and get wedding insurance as we would of lost out so much if we didn't have our John Lewis wedding insurance!!! My face hurt so much the next few days from smiling and laughing so much!
Bride: Pronovias | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Floral Headband: Sophie & Luna | Hair: Annette Carr | Flowers: Couturiere de la Fleur | Bridesmaids: Monsoon | Robes: MonoRobes | Necklaces: Dogeared | Venue: Domaine de Ribaute | Catering : Nomadis | Stationery Stamp: PaperSushi | Entertainment : Mallen Project | Confetti: Shropshire Petals