I’m guessing that the majority of you are all feeling a little bit sick of the snow right now. I mean it seems as if we’ve been living in the depths of Winter for, like, forever with the sun only really making an appearance this week.
But I have something pretty special for you this morning. Something that I can guarantee will make you fall in love with the white stuff again.
The beautiful Sophie and the dashing Renauld married in Chamonix, France with awe-inspiring mountains as the most wonderful backdrop. In fact The Alps were a huge source of wedding inspiration for the pair influencing everything from their paper pretty to their sweet favours.
And that’s not all…just wait until you see the berry hued train that ferried guests up the mountain. How about that for alternative wedding transport.
Come on folks, jump on board!
The Romance Of Winter
Sophie The Bride:We are both half French so our first thoughts of where we would get married was to look at France. I have always loved the romance and cosiness you feel in the winter and in particular as Christmas approaches. We choose Chamonix as we had visited there on holidays and were excited about the thought of sharing this place with all our family and friends celebrating over a week together. The beautiful snowy mountains were the perfect backdrop for our wedding.
We used Jody at Mont Blanc Weddings to source a lovely venue for us. We finally decided on Grand Hôtel du Montenvers as the spot for our blessing; it is so impressive as it is only reached by a vintage train which climbs the mountain to the glacier. The Grand Hôtel du Montenvers is a traditional building that is fully wood panelled with a warming wood burner and a grand fireplace; it literally bursts with character.
La Cabane where we had our reception is in contrast a modern log cabin with a very alpine feel, serving amazing food.
I wanted to have an overall natural look to my wedding hair and makeup. I had my hair styled in rollers by Le Salon for the big day. I also wanted a natural beauty look but with bold red lipstick so that it would stand out in our photographs.
I went to MAC for a makeup trial and bought the majority of my products from there in addition to my Dermatologica skin care. I had my nails done in the UK in a subtle pink shellac which lasted me for the whole week.
I tried on lots of wedding gowns but ended up returning to the first shop and the first dress which I’d picked out. I knew I wanted a lace dress and loved the fitted style of my Benjamin Roberts gown in Style 2228 which I bought from a lovely shop called Wedded Bliss in Southampton. I bought my shoes from Benjamin Roberts too which I loved as I felt they had a classic feel that matched my headpiece – an original vintage piece designed by Jo Barnes Vintage perfectly.
Wintery Shades Of Grey
We went high street for our bridesmaids and groomsmen and set out looking for wintery shades of grey, cream and silver. My bridesmaids wore Amanda Wakeley dresses which I found on Very, they were a beautiful silvery/grey tone. We had to make some last minute adjustments to my sister’s dress as she was 6 months pregnant! My mum made the lovely fur capes to keep the warm!
Renaud had his suit made by a tailoring company in Salisbury called Regents Tailoring; we choose all the details together down to the lovely leather buttons.
We used a florist in the next town of Sallanches. We choose white roses, willow, ranunculus, white Christmas roses, white & blue thistles and freesias. For our garlands we used fir, willow, holly and red berries. We also put Christmas trees up in both of the venues which we decorated ourselves which added to the festive feel.
Our look was simply winter, enhancing the alpine look of our two venues. With the snow as our canvass we kept the colour scheme very simple with shades of grey, cream and silver.
During the ceremony we passed our wedding rings through our family and friends on a piece of ribbon so each person could touch the rings and send us good wishes.
My favourite part of the ceremony was during our exchanging of vows when our celebrant read a piece we choose together;
Please take each other’s hands, so that you may see the gift that they are to you.
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes to you.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will join your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it, support and encouragement to pursue your dreams, and comfort through difficult times.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
My sister also read a lovely reading called ‘the perfect love, the perfect friend’.
Lastly we had Mollie King who sang three songs ‘Come Away With Me’, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ and ‘I’ll Be There’.
Eat, Drink And Be Merry
We hosted our drinks reception at Grand Hôtel du Montenvers to the soundtrack of a live traditional accordion player; he also accompanied the guests in the train down the mountain when he played some more familiar songs for everyone to sing along to.
La Cabane had an amazing choice of food so we went out to Chamonix in July to sample all the options and the wine too of course!!
We opted for:
Terrine of Leman Lake Fish and Crayfish served warm with a bisque
Veal filet with Rosemary jus, potato gratin and vegetables
Cheese platter de Savoie, grapes and walnuts
This was followed by a traditional French wedding cake called a croquembouche or “piece montee” which is a made from choux buns filled with crème patisserie, built into a pyramid and decorated with fine caramel and sparklers!
At La Cabane, Mollie King and Rich sang some Christmas traditional Buble/ Sinatra-esque tunes for our guests. Our first dance was At Last (Etta James version) and Renaud and I had taken lessons in the run up to the wedding so we surprised everyone with our moves!
We then kickstarted the party with a DJ who played a range of disco classics!
We designed all our stationery ourselves and took our inspiration from all the vintage ski posters found all around Chamonix. We commissioned a painting from someone we found online and Renaud designed the layout and fonts.
We then used this design for the backdrop of our table plan and we made magnets as our favours along with mini bottles of Amaretto. Our place names took a lot of time and love! With my parents we made mini skis from lolly pop sticks that had each guest’s name on them!
I’ll leave you with a final thought – make sure you plan some time into your day where it will be just you and your new husband, we took a carriage ride to our venue and had a treasured half an hour with just the two of us.
Ceremony Venue: Grand Hôtel du Montenvers
Reception Venue: La Cabane
Dress: Benjamin Roberts
Boutique: Wedded Bliss Bridal
Headpiece: Jo Barnes Vintage
Cape: Shay Harris
Hair: Le Salon
Groom: Regent Tailoring
Maids: Amanda Wakeley
Photographer: Helen Cawte Photography
Sophie’s glorious scarlet-painted smile at the end there is really what weddings are all about.
Love, family and rooftop raising euphoria; you can literally feel Sophie’s elation reverberating from the screen can’t you.
And you can see why can’t you…the pair of them have embarked upon a glorious snow-filled adventure and the best is yet to come.
All my love Lolly xxx