Elena and Neil’s destination French wedding is perhaps one of the most eloquently executed woodland themed wedding I’ve seen on these pages. I’m telling you, once you cast your peepers on the tablescapes folks you’ll be blown away!
It’s clear from looking at all of the delicious details in this big day that Elena poured her heart and soul into all of the planning – from the romantic candle ceremony to the rose chandelier hanging from the trees as she and Neil said I do. Everything has been created with the greatest care and love.
Perhaps my favourite element of this wedding – from purely a decor perspective that is – is the totally bespoke ‘confetti bar’ that the pair provided for their guests. From ‘devotion’ to ‘virtue’ and so on and so forth, guests could choose which ‘blessings’ they wanted to bestow upon the lucky couple. Such a brilliant idea!
What would you choose?
Elena The Bride:My gown was called Bella by the American brand Watters. I purchased the dress online three months before the wedding without ever seeing it or trying in on. I had been planning the wedding for nine months by then and tried on dresses in Singapore (where we lived at the time), London (where we used to live) and Hong Kong (where we live currently) – but there was nothing I loved.
When I saw Bella online – it was just what I wanted – airy and elegant with exquisite beading trailing from bodice down the length of the dress. Thankfully it fitted like a glove, with no alterations needed. The dress flew with me to Hong Kong then back to Europe for the wedding then I had it with me during our South African honeymoon and finally it flew back with us to Hong Kong. The dress is as international as the couple.
My hair was styled by Laura Cawte; we decided to put my hair up because it was very warm on the day and I would have struggled with my very long hair. Laura threaded some berries threaded throughout my up-do. My shoes were my something old – a trusted pair of gold Jimmy Choos called Lance.
The groomsmen wore velvet tux jackets by Hackett with burgundy Tom Ford bow ties. The ushers wore braces in a burgundy colour from ASOS with navy Tom Ford bow ties. All bow ties were presents from my husband to his friends. The bridesmaids wore Vera Wang White dresses in burgundy with navy sashes. The sashes were made out of the ribbon that I purchased in Hong Kong.
My husband bought his Dolce and Gabbana three piece tux in Singapore, it was perfect for the magical, elegant affair that we both envisioned. All the boys had herbs and berries boutonnieres.
Amy Murrell was our photographer, we chose Amy for her ability to capture the moment and emotions. Deneemotion filmed the day.
To entertain arriving guests and for the ceremony we had the local duo of musicians playing harp and flute. For the cocktails and the party we had the English band “Tomorrow” – the guys were absolutely fantastic!! For our first dance the band played our favourite song “I won’t give up” by Jason Mraz.
Living in South East Asia, Neil and I very much missed cooler European woodlands, hence the choice of venue and the date. Actually, when I chose beautiful Chateau Rigaud having found it online, I had never been to France. As I love wine and cheese I was always going to love it so I was not worried. The stunningly restored Chateau had it all – the history, the vineyards, the forest and the extremely capable team who runs it.
My florist Heidi Lee is part of the brilliant Rigaud team and brought the heart of the woodland into our decor with elegance and finesse. I did not want to have a colour scheme as such; I wanted big blooms in pastel colours as focal points with foraged foliage from the surrounding forest, as well as grasses and berries. We used David Austen roses and hydrangeas in blushes, nudes and taupes with foliage that was mostly green with hints of autumnal colours. The bouquets were also a reflection of the woodland theme.
A real emphasis was put on the meaning of herbs and the wishes for the the bride and groom – through the confetti bar. Guests were invited to fill their own confetti cones prior the service based on wishes they would like to send to us.
During our outdoor ceremony we had a couple of props – the rug we stood on is now in our home in Hong Kong and is a daily reminder of our beautiful day and the vows we took. The slim elegant table for the candle ceremony was provided by the chateau. We also had a stunning floral chandelier hanging from one of the trees outside – with roses, berries, grass and ivy trails, which made for a very beautiful backdrop.
Our celebrant was our best friend Luke, who did outstanding job conducting the ceremony and being such a rock for Neil and I during it. The words and order for the Ceremony were all done by me. The readings we had were “On Marriage”, from the Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, “A Moment of Happiness” by Rumi and a fun piece by Louise Cuddon “I’ll be there for you”.
Instead of a traditional guest book, we asked our guests to sign the border of an antique Hong Kong travelling poster which we brought from Hong Kong; this now framed and hangs in our apartment.
The barn had hessian runners, chandeliers with roses, berries and ivy again and wine crates for centrepieces with foliage and flowers. The look we were going for was a sense of a forest clearing on a starry night – over the dance floor we had hundreds of twinkly lights.
My advice is to put your heart and soul into what is most important to the couple, on the big day all the little things will come together and make for the most memorable day of your lives. Think of the overall look and feel of the wedding and stick with it. When you wake up on the day of your wedding remember to enjoy every second of it!!
Above all, we wanted our wedding to be enjoyable for our guests – we had phenomenal food and free bar for everyone to enjoy. And of course great music! With eco consciousness in mind, both Neil and I wanted to keep paper usage to a minimum. As such, the menus and seating plan were written on chalkboards by the local calligrapher. Instead of place cards we had our guests names written on tree leaves.
For most of our wedding stationery I used Etsy. Our Save the Dates were designed and printed in California, the invitations in Germany and our Order of Service was designed with the help of my husband’s brother and printed in London.