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La Sophistication Et Simplicité En Provence.

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Friday morning is the perfect time for some pure unadulterated escapism. And Alina and Gregoire’s wedding brings you exactly that.

Close your eyes and imagine the sun on your skin, a light breeze bringing with it the hazy smell of lavender, olives and lemons…

The sound of a Champagne bottle popping and that gentle fizz of bubbles as it’s poured into an elegant glass flute…

Ice cold polar winds?? Pas ici sur Rock My Wedding mes amis…we’re off to Provence.

Elegant Wedding At Le Mas De La Rose Provence With Bride In Lace Fishtail Gown By Pronovias And Groom In Navy Armani Tuxedo With Images From Jo Hastings Wedding Photography_0001

In The Heart Of Provence

Alina The Bride: Some say Paris is the most romantic place in the world, but we think Provence could rival it for this title. The cutest little villages and breathtaking views, the vineyards and olive trees, delicious cuisine and wonderful wines, lavender and sunshine – you cannot help falling in love with this region.

And nested in the heart of Provence is Mas de la Rose. As soon as we entered the gates for the first time, we fell in love with the place: it just oozes charm and the design of the place is sheer perfection, every little detail is thought through so well and it flawlessly combines the essence of Provence with modern style.

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Soft And Natural

I’ve spent countless hours on Pinterest looking for hairstyles and makeup, but I always came back to the soft low bun and natural make up with accent on the eyes. Axelle and Blandine did a wonderful job at creating the look I was hoping for and I had great fun working with them.

For the hands, I originally wanted to have French manicure, being so classic for a bride, but in the end went with the suggestion of the artist at Nails Inc. to have my nails painted with an off-white 3 week gel colour.

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Pronovias Perfection

I have always looked at Pronovias dresses with admiration and as soon as Gregoire proposed, I knew where to go! I always dreamed of an A-line dress and was convinced that a fishtail one would not suit me. However, when Gregoire mentioned that he prefers the mermaid style, I decided to give it a try and fell in love with it.

Everyone at Pronovias were sending me off to get married like I was their family, especially Sanda who helped me find my dress and knew straight away that I was going to love it.

Gregoire wore a navy tuxedo from Armani, he knew that he didn’t want to be in a black outfit in South of France, but wasn’t sure what style to go for. But when he tried his Armani tux, it fitted him like a glove and we knew it was the one!

Elegant Wedding At Le Mas De La Rose Provence With Bride In Lace Fishtail Gown By Pronovias And Groom In Navy Armani Tuxedo With Images From Jo Hastings Wedding Photography_0004

Comfortable But Pretty Shoes

I got my shoes at Dune as I wanted them to be pretty, comfortable and not too expensive – they turned out great, I spent the whole day in them and they even carried me through all the dancing.

For the hair, I had a hairband and a comb to give a finished look for my bun; both of them are from Pronovias. I thought at first that both of them would be too much, but in the end you couldn’t see them at the same time.

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It Turned Out Perfectly

As we only had 4 months from the proposal to the D-day, we decided that bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen outfits are not something we would like to concentrate on.

However two of my best friends asked me for the colour scheme of the wedding to make sure their dresses went nicely with it and it turned out perfectly: the dresses were very different, but looked really good together.
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Let Provence Do The Talking

Our venue was so beautiful, that we didn’t think we could add a lot to it. So I got a few little details that I found very cute: the personalised wedding hanger that I bought from Clouds and Currents at notonthehighstreet.com, the finger print tree and a very romantic cake topper that I bought from Confetti.

In terms of colour scheme, we wanted pastel and neutral colours that would complement the Provençal decor.

Elegant Wedding At Le Mas De La Rose Provence With Bride In Lace Fishtail Gown By Pronovias And Groom In Navy Armani Tuxedo With Images From Jo Hastings Wedding Photography_0007

Pink Carnations

I was looking for a florist for a long time scouting through numerous blogs and finally I found Blandine at Atouts Fleurs. She did such a wonderful job and she really cares and loves what she is doing. We had all the bridal classics: the white and pink roses, the round bridal bouquet, the cute pew ends and the wreath table centerpieces with a candle in the middle.

Instead of a floral arch at the end of the aisle, we had two iron cast vases with cone shaped arrangements and for the table plan our florist created a beautiful tray made out of pink carnations, one for each name card.

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I’m On Top Of The World

We spent a long time looking for music, as we wanted something quite modern, yet not cheesy, and of course the lyrics had to match the occasion. We chose Bruno Mars “Marry Me” as the signal for guests to take their seats, Des’ree “Kissing You” as it’s just so romantic and still gives me shivers; Sade “By your side” for the signing of the wedding certificate and Imagine Dragons “I am on top of the world” for the exit as it couldn’t describe better out feelings at that moment.

For the readings, we wanted to include the languages of our wedding, the Russian, English and French, so we had one reading in each one of them. The English reading from “The Irrational Season” by Madeleine L’Engle was my favourite, it so different to anything I’ve heard before and wise!

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Not Lost In Translation

Key entertainment during our reception were the speeches, I think we had 9 of them. The main challenge for us was to make sure that no guest felt left out as not everyone spoke fluent English.

As a result, we have asked all the speakers to submit their texts in advance, so they could be translated into the other two languages. Then we ran all of them in English, French and Russian on a large screen while a person was speaking. What a UN conference!

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La Cuisine Française

I always wanted a three tier cake that we could cut at the end, but we didn’t want a traditional iced cake as not a lot of people actually enjoy eating them. So we worked with a great patisserie Hawecker who created our beautiful praline and chocolate mousse cake topped with fresh fruits. Many guests commented on how delicious it was!

We also had a selection of petit fours that lasted through the after party and we had a lot of fun tasting all the different flavours. Haweckers also prepared our guest favours, which contained classical treats: macaroons, madeleines and calissons (a traditional almond sweet from the region).

The menu was very French as well, who doesn’t love their beautiful cuisine! The food was prepared le Potager du Mas, the restaurant at le Mas de la Rose, and it was so yummy: scallops as a starter, followed by sea bass or veal as chosen by the guests.

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Childhood Memories

We bought a lot of our décor and stationery at Not On The High Street as they have such a choice of creative small business that design the cutest things. Our wedding signs, e.g. “Welcome to Our Wedding” was provided by Made With Love Designs Ltd. Our ceremony booklets, place cards and guest book were provided by Beautiful Day.

We did our table numbers ourselves, we asked our parents to send us childhood pictures and then we selected the ones where we were the same age, combined them in Photoshop together with the age as a table number, printed and put them in picture frames. As a result of this fun exercise we had many more childhood photos that we wanted to share with the guests so we made a whole photo album showing how we were growing up, I think the guests had a great deal of fun laughing at our looks throughout the years.

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A Last Minute Decision

In hindsight I would have hired a wedding planner to manage the wedding day to take any stress and organisational questions off our shoulders, it would also help to avoid a number of hiccups that we experienced.

Also at the last moment, and this was already a pretty last moment wedding, we decided to enlist a videographer. I would say it is definitely worth it, it complements the wedding photos, captures emotions and moments like nothing else and gives you another chance to relive the day.

And lastly, our ceremony and cocktail were hosted in the grass, so we bought heel toppers for all our female guests, which we placed at the entrance and saved me and the ladies from sinking into the grass.

All of our suppliers really did a wonderful job and helped the day to come together.

Elegant Wedding At Le Mas De La Rose Provence With Bride In Lace Fishtail Gown By Pronovias And Groom In Navy Armani Tuxedo With Images From Jo Hastings Wedding Photography_0013

Click here & view all images from this wedding

Bride’s Gown and Accesories – Pronovias
Bride’s Shoes – Dune
Groom’s Suit – Armani
Décor and Stationery – Confetti and Not On The High Street
Celebrant – Caroline Roux
Venue – le Mas de la Rose
Catering – Le Potager du Mas
Cakes – Hawecker
Florist – Blandine Viry at Atouts Fleurs
Make Up Artist – Blandine Fabre
Hair Stylist – Axelle
DJ – Pierre Et Musique
Photography – Jo Hastings
Videography – Blooming Lovely Films

How beautiful does Le Mas De La Rose look? Literally the ultimate in French sophistication.

Perfect for the stylish Alina and Gregoire.

I love that the thoughtful pair made sure every language was catered for too.

Lots of love,
Fern x

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A Glorious Menagerie.

Have you ever attended a wedding where you’re sitting next to a giraffe on one side and a lioness on the other?

Thought not. It sounds a bit like Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium doesn’t it but I promise you it’s real.

Today’s gorgeous wedding comes from the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside and took place earlier this year in a frankly spectacular venue that embodies British eccentricity at its very best.

I won’t reveal too much at this stage; instead I’ll leave it to our bride and groom’s wedding planner Julie Dawson from The Wedding Genie to give you all the juicy details.

The wonderful Jo Hastings was on hand to capture the classic beauty that epitomises this wedding.

The Quirkiest Venue In Town

Shellie and Mik wanted a wedding venue that reflected them totally. When we found Aynhoe Park on the Internet they knew it was the one. It was quirky, stylish, and the décor style was like the inside of Shellie’s own house.

There are stuffed polar bears, kangaroos wearing top hats drinking champagne as well as the biggest stone statue collection in Europe. All the rooms are different and decorated with tremendous flair.

The grounds are to die for to and it also had a helipad, which was fab as Mik surprised Shellie the morning after the wedding by booking one to take them off on honeymoon.

The whole house is available for exclusive use and was hired for the weekend. I have to say a huge thank you to Anna for her help on the day and during the planning. It truly is an amazing house. The orangery that was used for the ceremony is just to die for.

A Decadent Dress Journey

Wow what a journey to find “the dress.” Shellie wanted an Ian Stuart dress and the style she chose was super flamboyant to match her style and love of clothes. We went shopping twice for two full days and tried on nearly all the collection.

We loved one dress but Shellie just couldn’t decide. It was really tricky because she looked fabulous in all of them. To be on the safe side we tried a few more designers and then Shellie saw a stunning dress in a wedding magazine made by the Italian designer Le Spose Di Gio.

There is only one shop in the UK that sells this designer, which is in London in Belgravia. We spent a most splendid day there trying on many dresses. The one Shellie chose was from the new collection that had not been introduced yet. It was a totally different look from the Ian Stuart styles.

The colour was a nude blush pink and as soon as she put it on it looked divine and we knew it was the one. It was so simple but so chic and stylish and a total diversion from the clothes that Shellie normally wears. She instantly felt like a bride.

I have to say that Dina the lady who looked after us was superb. Nothing was too much trouble, in fact on the wedding day she came to the venue to dress Shellie and help make sure the dress looked perfect. In the evening we changed Shellie’s look slightly so that the part of the dress that wrapped around the shoulders for the day became a waist sash.

A veil used for the ceremony was removed after dinner.

Blush Pearls

The accessories were beautiful Shellie wore blush pink pearl oyster earrings specially made for the day that matched her dress perfectly, made by her local jewelers in Leamington Spa.

In fact all the bridesmaids had them made too as presents! I even got a pair as a thank you present to wear on the day as well as the Mothers of the bride and groom.

Not One Pair But Two

Shoes! A task that had Shellie searching for weeks. Shellie has a phenomenal eye for colour and her shoes had to be exactly the same as her dress. They also needed to be comfortable without being too high.

In the end we were delighted to be able to get some from Le Spose Di Gio to match perfectly, but a girl can never have enough shoes so Shellie had a wonderful pair from Rachel Simpson too.

Hair Art

Shellie had her own hairdresser but unfortunately she was going to be away for the wedding. My brief from Shellie was to find her the best there is. Straight away I went to Claire Hanson. I have always wanted to work with Claire, she is well known for working with celebrity wedding planner Sarah Heywood on the Wedding Bible.

Claire is one of the most likeable and professional people I have ever met. We had a fabulous day at her house for the hair and makeup trial. Shellie said she wanted hair art so Claire and Lisa styled her an up-do to die for.

Shellie wanted a look that was classical but emphasized her gorgeous eyes and lips. They spent ages getting it just right. On the day I thought Shellie looked like Grace Kelly.

A Chelsea Flower Show Winner

Shellie commissioned a Chelsea Flower show winner Sarah Horne to produce her wedding flowers. Sarah has a shop just down the road from Shellie’s house which was ideal. She is super talented and used to creating weddings that are out of the ordinary.

When we discussed the theme, Shellie wanted the table décor to reflect her quirky personality and flamboyant style. It was decided to dress each table differently. We had 10 tables and used 5 large candelabras that were dressed entirely differently. I hired these from the superb Bonne Fete.

Sarah wrapped moss around some and entwined crystals on others. They were completely covered in flowers to match the blush pink theme. We had a spare bridesmaids dress which was cut into strips and woven into the décor.

Sarah used some of the dress material from Shellie’s wedding dress too. The results were spectacular. We also had 5 smaller lower centerpieces of various vintage crystal vases on cake stands and trays.

The bridal flowers were roses which are Shellie’s favourite and matched perfectly. The bridesmaids had one huge rose in the same colour that Sarah made. All were wrapped with the dress material to tie everything together.

To really create a wow factor and again reflect Shellie’s hobbies, Sarah dressed two antique mannequins which belong to Shellie in flowers. One wore an actual flower dress with wings made out of wire with flowers that were attached throughout. The second wore a waistcoat of flowers.

I placed them on glass tables (courtesy of my lounge) to make them appear to float. They looked spectacular in the ceremony room, then later we moved them either side the bar area.

Girls In Rose Dresses

When I met Shellie, the first thing she said to me was the style was not to be anything vintage! Much like the wedding dress being a total departure from Shellie’s style so was the theme. She fell in love with some vintage style dresses from Phase Eight which were pink, grey and cream. There were large roses on them which matched Sarah’s roses perfectly.

We used a seamstress to add further petticoats underneath the dresses to make them stand out for maximum impact. She also added a trim of the same material around the lace petticoat on each dress as well as embroidering the labels of each of the men’s jackets with their names.

The sashes for the bridesmaids dresses were made from the same material as Shellie’s dress. The headpieces were also from Le Spose Di Gio to match perfectly and their shoes were a great find in L.K. Bennett.

Henley Regatta

The groomsmen all wore made to measure blazers with matching chino type trousers. The pageboys wore the same trousers with white shirts and gorgeous Hugo Boss cardigans. All the men wore brogues and the boys wore boat shoes.

The whole theme was very Henley Regatta. Every single thing that Shellie chose had to be the exact colour.

Mik wore a navy blue suit by Armani. It was his choice not to wear a tie to add to the overall scheme. He looked just gorgeous and the blue and blush pink together was just heavenly. The buttonholes were plain roses, chosen to match the bridesmaids.

A Romantic Photographer

When it came to choosing the photographer this was tricky. Mik is an excellent amateur photographer but Shellie hates her photo being taken.

Jo Hastings fitted the bill perfectly. Not only is she in love with shooting details at weddings but also she is one of the most gorgeous ladies to be around who makes you feel at ease right away.

She captures romance perfectly and has a laid back but superbly organized attitude. It was my job to ensure I found Mik and Shellie someone who could capture the essence of the day and show all the fabulous details we had spent the last six months putting into the wedding.

I think you can see from the images that we chose wisely.

Love Is A Warm Trombone

Shellie wanted someone to sing at the ceremony so I had no hesitation recommending Vie Watson. Her voice is divine and she looks amazing too. To surprise Mik, after the ceremony his nephew stood up and started to play ‘All you need is love’ on his trombone, just like Love Actually!

Vie sang with him, it was amazing and the guests loved it. The most funny thing was that you have to keep a trombone warm so it had to be wrapped in a water bottle and blankets throughout the ceremony.

We had rehearsals before the wedding with Vie, who incidentally is also a music teacher. During the champagne reception Vie sang Shellie and Mik’s favourite songs.

We had Jim McAllister, a Frank Sinatra style singer to start the evening off and then one of the best bands I know guaranteed to rock the evening – iPop. Suze is the lead singer and not only is she gorgeous but she can sing just about anything and is lovely with it.

A Chocolatey Confection

Shellie wanted a choccywoccydoodah cake. Mik wanted the exact version that was on the website – All you need is love – as this is one of their favourite records and sayings.

We knew the colours did not match our theme but we didn’t care. Mik loves chocolate so the inside was white chocolate truffle and dark chocolate truffle.

After the cake cutting, the cake was cut up and placed into containers that looked like Chinese take away boxes with a little metal handle tied with pink bows. These were finished off with tags from the lovely Elle Is For Love Stationery and given to guests as they were leaving.

In the evening, there was not only a fabulous cheese arrangement made by the caterers – Indulging – but also a hog roast and then ice-cream and old fashioned sweets to finish. These were served from a vintage ice cream van called Daisy. Shellie was thrilled because it was purple, to go with an private joke of hers and Mik – ‘forever in purple’.

Jim sang the first dance number “It had to be you” which was chosen by Mik and Shellie because it so relates to them. They had dance lessons too so the whole thing was gorgeous.

Eclectic Vintage

Apart from the fabulous flowers Shellie had gorgeous little flower arrangements made for all the rooms in the venue. I had labels made with their favourite sayings on them. Aynhoe Park is so full of the most wonderful items that you don’t really need much else. On the tables we hired vintage frames which held the table names.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the tables were called after shoes, another of Shellie’s loves. The stationery was simple letterpress and our table plan was provided by Elle for Love Stationery.

Aynhoe have the most spectacular mirrors so we had our table plan made on a vintage silver mirror to match.

This wedding totally reflected the personalities of the bride and groom. Every detail was well thought out to ensure their guests had the best time – even through dinner.

For the wedding breakfast, each table was served a fillet steak joint. A designated guest from each table was chosen to be the head carver and were given aprons and hats and carving knifes!

They really took part in the event and it was a super surprise for everyone too.

Pearls Of Wisdom

I strongly advise all brides and grooms to be to really enjoy yourself on your big day. Try to delegate and don’t worry about anything that goes wrong.

Don’t be swayed by what others want; it’s important that you choose what you want. Enlist a great team to help you too. The day does go by in a flash so savour every moment.

One last pearl of wisdom is get a great photographer, so when the day has long passed you can relive it again through your photographs.

Venue – Aynhoe Park

Wedding Planner – Julie Dawson – The Wedding Genie

Dress – Le Spose Di Gio

Shoes – Rachel Simpson

Shoes – Le Spose Di Gio

Bridesmaid Dresses – Phase Eight

Bridesmaid Shoes – L.K.Bennett

Hair – Claire Hanson

Flowers – Sarah Horne

Photographer – Jo Hastings

Cake – Choccywoccydoodah

Stationery – Elle Is For Love

Candelabra Hire – Bonne Fete

Wedding Ceremony Singer – Vie Watson

Rat Pack Singer – Jim McAllister

Wedding Band – iPop

Frankly there are so many gorgeous details in this wedding I don’t know where to put myself.

Unicorns on pianos, military caps on lions, two pairs of wedding shoes, a twirling bride, the most exquisite bouquet of O’Hara roses, a trombone-playing nephew and shoe inspired tables have got me in a tizz.

I LOVE all of it.

So how many of you agree? What’s your favourite bit?

I’m placing bets that it’s the bouquet…am I right?

All my love Lolly xxx

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