160 white balloons go by…

CONGRATULATIONS VOGUE AND JELANI

The truth be told, I’m a bit of softie at heart and love a traditional, simple, white wedding from time to time… and so Vogue and Jelani’s wedding remains one of my favourites. Not least because they are a delightful couple who welcomed me into their families, but also because their wedding had everything you need for a great day, all in the right proportions.
Their traditional Christian wedding service was intimate, very emotional and the key focus of the day. The reception was simply crafted but personalised and fun. There was, of course, a bucket load of love, but most of all, the day oozed JOY from every guest and at every moment.

Vogue and Jelani had already chosen their venue Chateau de Malliac (Belle Vie en Gascony) – a venue I know well and a place they had fallen in love with on their first visit. So much so, they didn’t look anywhere else… despite it stretching their budget.

As a photographer, Jelani knew exactly the setting that he wanted to create for their unique day.

Their biggest challenge was the budget that they had for the numbers they were inviting and the day they were hoping to have. But, in their own words, this is where investing in me came in. They knew that if they chose a good planner with the right contacts and expertise in understanding the industry and venue, it would bring them the very best value possible whilst creating the day they had dreamed of.

The style was simple – classic, white and elegant, but with a rustic charm.  The ambience was fun, intimate, something a bit different, reflecting France and, as Jelani does not drink… light on alcohol.

Food was to be local produce but shared platters and grilled food, as Vogue and Jelani and their families were known for their barbecues and informal get-togethers.

And over the following months of site visits, meeting at their family home in the UK and Skype calls, Vogue and Jelani’s wedding day was born… and one comment stood out more than anything when Vogue said, “I would love white balloons, but I don’t know how to incorporate them into the day.”  I love a challenge, and this is how white balloons and movable styling became the theme of the day, in a cost-effective way.

Guests were brought in by bus for the ceremony in the garden. On arrival, they were greeted with mason jars with their names on to use for their drinks throughout the daytime reception – saving on glassware and service.

 

The ceremony took place under a tree in the garden and stylist Jen worked her magic with simple, elegant gypsophilia flower arrangements up the aisle, rustic wooden bench seating and topped it off with huge white balloons up the aisle (that Vogue assumed were to be the only balloons for the day).


The beauty of Chateau Malliac is that you can close off the court-yard so that no-one can see what you are doing. So, when Vogue and Jelani led their guests into the courtyard for cocktails, the last thing she thought she would see was it full of white balloons, dotted amongst the rustic food and drinks stations.

  

The extended timings of the drinks reception meant that the food offering could be more substantial and, in fact, was used as a replacement for the starter without the need for canapés.
The balloons doubled up not only as decoration but also as the table plan as guests wandered amongst the food stations and found the balloon with their name and table number on.  Drinks included a mocktail bar and non-alcoholic punch.

   

When dinner was called, guests were invited to take their balloon with them to dinner and to tie it to their chair which led to an instant white balloon ceiling in the vast rustic reception hall – cleverly at no extra cost! The flowers had been moved in from the ceremony to dot along the table so the only additional was a top table balloon backdrop. It worked a treat and when Vogue and Jelani walked in, they were blown away by the effect.

  

Dinner was high-end regional produce used to create sharing platters that included duck, foie gras burgers and sea bream with bowls of accompaniments passed down the tables.

 

After the main course, the dessert buffet was rolled in, decorated with the huge balloons from the ceremony and the white chocolate choux-bun pyramid.


And the evening rounded off with dancing…

“We just want to thank you once again for making our day possible. And turning all our dreams into a reality. We cannot thank you enough.”
Vogue and Jelani

Photography by Phan Tien

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