Ooh, la la! There's nothing more romantic than a French destination wedding; it is the country of love, after all. Aby and Joe's gorgeous day in Normandy is a dreamy mix of local traditions and personal touches, with homegrown flowers, fabulous French food and a DIY foliage altar. Aby looks très belle in her intricate lace and long-sleeved dress by Catherine Deane, matched by her beautiful boho hair, styled into a loose fishtail plait with gypsophila woven throughout. Oh, and keep an eye out for the croquembouche cakes studded with sparklers. Mouth. Watering.

French Destination Wedding with Outdoor Ceremony

Aby & Joe: We chose to get married in the garden of Cahagnes village hall in Normandy, France, where my parents live. The outdoor ceremony was everything we dreamed of; the weather was perfect, the setting was amazing, and we were surrounded by family and friends. It was all so personal to us. By having a wedding abroad it meant we got to extend the celebrations and spend lots of quality time with our guests, too. We had a garden party after the ceremony with lawn games: croquet, boules, hula hoops, giant jenga, beer pong and a beautiful horseshoe game made by our farrier friend (and engraved with our new initials). Everyone joined in and it was lots of fun! Our evening celebration took place inside the hall, which was a blank canvas for us to decorate. We spent the year before the wedding collecting milk churns, old barrels, paper lanterns and a variety of other bits found at car boot sales. We spent the two days leading up to the wedding decorating the hall and turning it into a beautiful venue.

Homegrown Flowers

The flowers were lovingly grown by my mum in her garden. One of my bridesmaid's mums used to be a florist and gave us a crash course in flower arranging a few months before the wedding. We made our own bouquets and all the button holes the day before the wedding with a glass of fizz in hand! I loved that they were unique and personal, and it was a really fun thing to do. Not to be outdone on the DIY stakes, my dad also made the foliage altar, gate at the entrance to the ceremony and the gin bar, and I made my hair comb from my nanny’s orange blossom hair crown worn on her wedding day. It was a true family effort and made the day all that more meaningful.

Fabulous French Food - and Croquembouche Cakes

The food was a big part of our day. We used a local traiteur and of course, being French, the food was delicious! Upon arrival, guests were given a glass of local cider. We had canapes during the garden party and then a six course sit down meal including “Trou Normand” - a local dish of apple sorbet doused in calvados as a palate cleanser; local lamb; trout and mackerel caught and smoked by my dad; and cheeseboards with a few French cheeses, an Isle of Mull cheddar, Stichelton and damson jelly from Neal’s Yard Dairy. Our coffee was from Monmouth in Borough Market. The croquembouches were supplied by a local French patisserie and were covered in sparklers and served with fizz just before the speeches.
Processional Music: Where Do You Go To My Lovely by Peter Sarstedt Readings: Us Two - A.A.Milne; I Carry Your Heart With Me - E.E.Cummings; All You Need Is Love - The Beatles First Dance: L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole
Talk about rustic revelry at its finest. Aby and Joe's big day has us dreaming of a DIY destination "I do", whilst also reaching for our hankies. It's the personal touches that do it, people. Félicitations, Aby and Joe. Votre amour est pour la vie.
Victoria Honan

Written by Victoria Honan

Venue: Cahagnes Village Hall, France | Dress Designer: Catherine Deane | Bridal Shoes: Steve Madden | Shoe Clips: Charlotte Mills | Bridesmaids Dresses: Silk Fred | Groom's Suit: Thomas Farthing | Groomsmen's Suits: ASOS | DJ: Jonny Drops | Wedding Stationery: Louise Mulgrew Designs | Gift List: The Wedding Shop

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