What Nicola did… Went to France!

coverHello lovelies, hope you’re all having a rocking week.

Well, well, well, Jacko and I have been super busy beans since the last time we conversed on these pretty pages. We nipped over to France to see the venue… ahhhh!!! and (big news) we’re currently packing up our Sydney lives to move to New York in wait for it… 7 weeks. I’m starting to think we’re being a little bit bonkers (or addicted to admin). Gee-whizzicals, get me a fan and a stiff drink!

But do you know what? I can’t wait to be a stone throw away from BHLDN or this brideling-cave-of-prettiness… luckily I have saved some craft projects til now so I can take advantage of the NYC pretty.

It Was Beyond Our Wildest dreams

The excitement and anxiety levels leading up to the France trip was in equal proportion. What if the venue wasn’t what we had thought? What if everything else we’ve planned doesn’t work? What if it is too big, or too small, or too anything? Or blooming-heck, it might not be big enough?!

As we drove through the picturesque roads of Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne we distinguished the tingles and butterflies were all charged with excitement, the anxiety had left the building along with Elvis and we were both beaming.

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When we arrived outside the venue we were faced with a long, undescriptive white brick wall. Hmm, OK. But when we opened the heavy wooden doors and stepped foot in to the courtyard it came tumbling down on us that we were stood in our perfect place to get married: it was very French (a big tick) and boy-oh-boy it was pretty (double tick with gold glittery stars!!).

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And things got better. We walked through the courtyard in to the spacious grounds of the chateau, down to the garden and the pool area. Without needing to discuss it, we both thought the same thing – we’d have the ceremony under the tree (chandeliers are going to rock those tree branches, yes!!) and then hop over to the beautiful landscaped Japanese-style pool with a beautiful wooden deck and pagoda for a bubbles reception and canapés.

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Back up at the chateau, The Grange (the reception barn!) was a blank canvas and spacious with more big wooden doors that spilled out in to the courtyard. Oh yes, we could picture having dinner in there, followed by a cocktail hour in the courtyard and then stepping back inside for the party of all parties.

In a word, this place is LUSH!!! Phewf!

I will fill you in on the food and wine tasting, hair trial (which will be part of a full beauty de-brief) and flowers in a couple of posts time. Hold your horses flora fans, I am undecided yet, this is proving the trickiest thing to finalise (along with entertainment, which is a whole other post!)

Come Celebrate With Us!

When we got back from France we were tight on one particular deadline: Must.Finish.And.Post.The.Invites!

As soon we got engaged you couldn’t stop me frantically pinning, scouring blogs and flicking though bridal mags with one bride-to-be mission: show me the pretty paper products. I knew the style I wanted before we’d started thinking about anything else (being a stationary nutbag, Jack was more than happy for me to lead this part of the planning! Yay!). In fact the style of our invitations has directed a lot of the overall styling. You often read that your wedding invitation sets the tone for your day in the eyes of the receiver and I think we have achieved it with our blush pink, charcoal grey and glittery gold bundle of come-celebrate-with-us-lushness.

I was seeking something voguish, elegant and non-traditional with romantic typography, balanced with an air of simplicity and most importantly a hint of sparkle. I would have loved, loved, loved to have a letterpress-friendly budget, but unfortunately, like many of us gals, our budget wasn’t and isn’t Kardashian sized so we had to compromise. But do you know what? I love how they turned out so much that I don’t feel like we ended up compromising at all.

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After looking at loads and loads (and loads) of designs, I decided on a 3-piece-design by the very lovely Chrissy Fitzgerald of Invited By You. I have found Etsy to be the best resource for all things wedding related, I know the RMW girls are with me on this one! Chrissy has an extensive range of gorgeous invitation designs in her shop, I felt spoilt for choice in the end. Although Chrissy is in the states, she has been such a speedy communicator and answered soooo many questions before I had committed any money or anything, the type of supplier any planning-bride could wish for. We saw mock-ups, received paper-stock examples and felt really comfortable by the time we paid any money.

One of the hardest things to decide on was the wording, but I think we found the right tone: not too colloquial so it feels formal (it is our wedding!) but it sounds like us and not too stuffy. For example we initially spelt out the wedding date in words, you know how formal wedding invitations do? But as soon as we saw the mock-up from Chrissy, it wasn’t us at all, like we were pretending to be something we weren’t so we changed it to being a numerical date.

We chose to buy the design and have the invitation suite printed by Chrissy as her prices were so reasonable, in the end we actually came in under our budget! There’s a first, hey Bridelings!?!

I knew I wanted to tie the invitation, details card and RSVP together to keep them neat and tidy in the envelope and what better way to do that than with some glittery gold ric-rac ribbon and a glittery gold disk! I purchased said gold glittery ric rac ribbon from Beautiful Additions (another Etsy shop) < > , some gold glittery card, a 1.5 inch craft punch and a 3mm hand punch from a local craft shop and made a disco-friendly belly band.

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I’m sorry I haven’t got photos to show you how I made and put together the belly bands, I left all my tools in the UK… I’m so cross at myself… grrr…..

It was easy-peasy though:-

Step 1.

Measure the length of ric rac you need to fit all the way around the diameter of your paper products, but ensure it is on the snug side

Step 2.

Use the 1.5” circle punch stamp on the glitter card to make a disk

Step 3.

Use the 3mm hand punch to make the two small holes in the disk (opposite sides ie one at 3 O’clock and 1 at 9 O’clock)

Step 4.

Thread the ric rac ribbon through the disk and secure he ends on the back of the disk with sellotape and Bob’s your uncle – a pretty, glittery belly band!

The finishing touches to our invitations were some gorgeous mini gold hearts affixed to the envelope seal, purchased from Knot and Bow on Etsy (I really am an Etsy addict!) and the Pièce de résistance was personalised stamps from the Royal Mail (the picture we have used in my Rock My Wedding Real Bride button is our wedding picture now.. consistency is key!).

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We’re Well On Our Way!

Jack’s always said that as soon as he’d seen the venue he’d have more of an idea and opinion about ‘all the details’ and it’s been so lush to discuss everything together, as opposed to me having all these ideas swooshing around my head and him not really being able to decipher my harking’s on. It’s like a light went on for Jack and now we can discuss tablescapes, order of the day (and the wider weekend) and décor options and I’m loving really doing it together. It feels like a real shared project now and I am sneaking in many glittery options, much to my surprise and huge satisfaction. Including glittery tablecloths!!

So that’s me, over and out for a few more weeks. Much planning love to you lovelies. Please let me know how your plans are going, I love hearing from you.

Nicola xx

PS In my last post I promised that I would share our wedsite when it was completed, you can find it here.

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

20 thoughts on “What Nicola did… Went to France!

  1. OH MY GOD, I’ve just come back from a summer wedding at this very chateau! St Privat des pres, right?
    IT WAS IMMENSE!!!! The whole area was just stunning. Your guests are in for a real treat!

    1. Oh Becks! Sounds like you all had a fab time!! I hope our guests leave with the same immense high…. awwww… i am craving a croissant just thinking about France 🙂

      1. Honestly, I can say it was the best wedding I’ve ever been to. Champagne by the natural pool, dinner in the courtyard and dancing to the brilliant band in the barn. I hope you dont mind me saying – not sure whether it would be in your budget but this bride and groom put on coaches to pick everyone up from their hotels for the ceremony and then drop them back at the end and that worked soooo well. As you know, everything is so far away. We stayed in Hotel du Perigord and found it to be brilliant. Andy the owner and chef really does some amazing food and his wife is a brilliant hostess.
        Good luck with everything. xx

        1. I lie, I completely lie! We didnt stay at Hotel Perigord (was booked out) – we stayed in Saint Paul Lizonne in a hotel called Hotel La Vielle Maison – which is run by an English guy and his wife.

          1. Oh my goodness!! We stayed there when we went on our French visit. Andy is amazing!! We’re definitely looking into transport for the guests, ease is a priority!! Thanks so much for your thoughts and sounds like you had a rocking weekend xxx

    2. Hi Becks, I have a huge favour!!! We are reeeeally struggling to find a DJ that we like that is in budget. Please could you ask your friends who they had at their wedding if you wouldn’t mind? Thanks so much ! xxx

  2. Gaaahhh!!!! SO MUCH EXCITEMENT NIC NAC!!!!! I really would like quite a lot to gatecrash your wedding. Unfortunatelt I’ll be at my own on that weekend…DAMN IT!!!

    The venue looks incredible!! Japenese-styel pool?? Hello!! And the stationery is just stunning. Soooo perfect. And beautifully fitting with your theme. I’m really glad to see someone on these pages showing the Royal Mail stamp service. It’s such a cool thing to do for your wedding invitations, and so simple!

    This is going to be a wedding to remember my dear, I can feel it in my bones. xxxxxxx

  3. Hey Nicola, great post… And don’t worry – your photos ain’t too shabby 😉

    Does give me an idea for a future post though… watch this space!

    Adam x

  4. What have you been worrying about Nicola, another AMAZING post, oh how romantic france looks….. stunning, I can picture it all through all your words, you clever lady 🙂 your stationary looks gorgeous, so elegantly classy, im getting so excited for you and all the adventures you are going to have from now till the wedding, whoop whoop. Your images look grea. Well done chica xx

    1. Spanks beautiful, ahh, it is so daunting when you are waiting to see what your post looks like “actually on the polka dot pages”. Love this little community, looking forward to sharing more adventures (and hearing about others’ adventures…ie yours and Mickies 🙂 ) xxx

    1. Get to France!!! There are sooooo many amazing venues to choose from. We are planning our wedding using a company called marry Me In France (they do Dordogne weddings, but there are loads dotted around France) Honestly, our short list of three venues was so difficult to choose between…. but I am SO happy we decided on Saint Privat. Pop back and let me know how your venue search is going 🙂 xxxx

  5. Fantastic post Nicola! I love your France update, I was almost welling up when I was reading it, it must have been so emotional and exciting for you both and it looks amazing!

    Snap with the stamps, love personalised stamps they are so cute, we are doing that! Our friends had personalised stamps although the only difference tis there stamp was their picture, that I cannot find and maybe the post office has stopped doing it?

    Beautiful invites too, very classy and so you!


    1. Awww…. Jackie you big softie! I can’t wait to see your stamps lady-friend, please share a pic of your friends’ stamps, they sound fab!

      Thanks honey xxxx

  6. I am counting the days till I see you in your glitterati-goodness in your French paradise! I also love knot and bow – have bought many a twine roll from them. Lush post my Welshy blister! X

  7. Can anyone help with hair and make up in France pls? We are getting married at a chateau in Saint Paul lizonne and am struggling to find someone who has a decent price, they are all so expensive for hair and make up. Thanks claire

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