Home Wedding in the Lot

Home weddings are always trickier and more expensive than you think – and in this case, Natasha’s family, amongst other things, re-levelled the ground for the dancing marquee and knocked down (and re-built) a garden wall to provide entry to the neighbour’s garden for dining!

But this is what I love about home weddings, the challenge of making a place that is special to someone into something they never thought possible, for the biggest day of their lives. It was worth it in the end…

Congratulations Natasha and Jake

Official Photography by Shanna Jones

Natasha’s family have a beautiful property in the Lot where Jake and she had shared many happy memories with friends and family. They therefore thought it fitting that they have their wedding there.

So they invited 140 guests from the UK and Ireland, for three days of celebrations.

The event kicked off with a cocktail evening the night before at nearby Chateau de Cenevières.

The weather held off for them but back at the house setting up, we had hail – thank goodness we had a plan B just in case!

But, as it turned out, we didn’t need plan B as the sun came out for the wedding day and the rain stayed away.

Jake and Natasha were able to have a beautiful ceremony on the terrace and lawn, conducted by Father Brian D’Arcy and with music by Brian Kennedy, both family friends.

This was followed by a champagne fountain and cocktail food and drink by the pool.

Before moving into the marquee in the (neighbour’s) garden for speeches and dinner.

From dinner back into their own garden for cake-cutting (made by the bride’s mum) and the first dance.

And it wouldn’t have been a McGuigan party without it being kicked off by a rendition of ‘Mustang Sally’ from father of the groom… Barry.

Barry McGuigan singing

The next day it was round the pool for a BBQ and Jake’s favourite… gelato, specially shipped in.

If you are looking to get married at your own place in France or want your favourite gelato shipped in!.. then contact someone who knows how and tell us about your wedding day aspirations. Book a call to discuss you home wedding.

A snapshot of our weddings and events in 2018

2018 was all about ‘experiences’ – something we hear our couples and clients talking about a lot… wanting to do things that are unexpected, different and in such a way that guests leave saying how much fun they had.

As in previous years, our couples journeyed to France from all over the world and we, French Wedding Company, journeyed up and down the country to locations ranging from a moated chateau in Normandy, the front steps of a grand holiday home in the Lot, to a Premier Cru vineyard in Bordeaux.

However, for us, the most important thing was how we worked together with our couples to create something individual and reflective of themselves, yet also with their guests’ enjoyment, front of mind.

So here are just a few highlights from our ‘experiential’ weddings and events that included:

An interactive show with French Can-Can dancers that involved ad hoc performances by the groom and certain guests (lots of laughter and cheering here):

Ballerinas from the Royal Ballet, London performing a specially choreographed piece alongside a harpist, for a bride who was an ex-dancer:

Synchronisation of a couple’s first dance with fireworks, ensuring the first firework went off as the groom lifted his bride up into the air. (You should have heard the gasps of awe from their guests!):

A themed Great Gatsby night including Charleston dancers, cocktail barman, cabaret singer and all the appropriate styling:

A few celebrity guests also made key appearances for their friends…

Plenty of fun was had by all, particularly at the following day’s BBQ and pool parties…

Watch this space for more details of our weddings from this summer…coming soon!

If you are looking to create extraordinary experiences for you and your guests then book a call and see what we can do for you.

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

Tell us your wedding day dream and see how we can bring it to reality.

Advice on how to set your wedding day budget

A Hot Day for a Scottish Wedding in Kilts!

Congratulations Bobby and James

As featured in Le Parisien Magazine

Bobby and James wedding portrait, designed by French Wedding Company at Chateau La Gauterie

Bobby and James had already booked the lovely Chateau La Gauterie when they approached me about planning their wedding.  Being based in Australia meant organising their wedding from a distance, but that didn’t deter Project Manager, James, from drawing up detailed site plans to share his vision of the day.  With guidance from us, a team of creative suppliers and styling from our design team, their 3-day celebration came to fruition.

Here are some of the highlights of their weekend and on what was a boiling hot day in July.

 

The ladies enjoyed fresh fruit and fought over the fan whilst having their hair and make-up done.

  

 

 

 

 

 

The guys found other ways to cool off…. Yes, the trunks say ‘Budgy Smuggler’ and the groomsmen had a pair each.  I can’t say whether they wore them under their kilts!

  

 

 

 

 

 

The colour scheme was blues and white and included thistles… the flower of Scotland, of course.

     

Guests were treated to slush puppies on arrival and who would have thought that water would be the tipple of the day!

  

During the drinks reception guests chilled out in various ways…

   

Styling was mainly in the small details, although the bespoke ceremony draping was a welcome addition for shade.

  

 

As night fell, the temperature cooled and everyone danced under the stars.

  

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the 32 degree heat, a great day was had by all…

 

Photos by: David Page Photography

 

To find out more about how French Wedding Company can help you plan, design and create your wedding day story contact us now.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candice and Carl Part Three – The Wedding Day

A Touch of Provence in South-West France –
An intimate outdoor wedding

Candice and Carl, busy London professionals, contacted us directly looking for help with all aspects of their venue search and wedding planning.

They were looking for an intimate, outdoor wedding, in a countryside venue, with touches of Provence. Having found and visited 6 properties with them, Candice and Carl chose Chateau de Saint Paul for their wedding.

The varied and intimate outdoor spaces were just what they were looking for in their wedding venue, along with the rustic style and charming accommodation.

You can read about their wedding planning journey in their own words in their 3 part blog.

             

The private chapel was ideal for their religious wedding blessing.  The decoration was simple and elegant.

Bridesmaids wore sage green and the groom and groomsmen traded the formality of jackets, in favour of braces and bow ties.

                 

The wedding colour palette was classic whites with touches of sage green and lavender, a reflection of Provence.

The wedding style was elegant and romantic.

Drinks were held in the main courtyard, where guests sipped champagne or made up their own mocktails.

  

The chef cooked mini skewers on the hot skillet whilst a friendly petanque competition took place in the shade of the chateau.

  

The wedding breakfast took place in the garden under the shade of a Mediterranean style pergola, draped in soft white fabric, created especially for the occasion by the styling team.

  

Guests sat at one large table decorated with white flowers and touches of light grey, sage green and lavender.

The wedding menu was served family style with platters passed down the tables for guests to help themselves.

At the end of the meal the a tiered presentation of macaroons were shared instead of a wedding cake and guests were entertained by an interloper!   (Not really, one of the guests is a stand up comedian, and came as the substitute bride.)

                                 

After dinner guests danced the night away to the live music sung by a jazz pianist brought in specially from the UK from one of their favourite bar/restaurants.

The next day everyone was invited back for a post wedding Sunday brunch at the chateau.  A casual affair where we all sat around and shared the memories of the wonderful day before.

Congratulations Candice and Carl!

Wedding in France

Photography by Peter Antoine Photography

A four-day celebration with a ‘jockey race’

Jasemin and John run a busy company in London and were referred to me by one of our agency partners.

“We didn’t realise how much help we were going to need until the first venue advised us how much they did not arrange!  It was then we realised we need a wedding planner”

John said, “I am a natural worrier and it doesn’t matter how much you say it will be fine I still worry, but when I turned up for our wedding and had seen all that you and your team had done behind the scenes I knew it would be fine. Our guests and we had an unforgettable 4 days. Everything that you did for us was worth every penny and more.”

Jasemin said, “You do so much more than anyone can imagine and should shout about it more. Your team were all amazing and the whole thing was a tightly run ship in a way I couldn’t have imagined. Thanks for all your help.

    

DAY 1 — Family dinner

It started small, but as numbers increased the rehearsal dinner went from the Chateau dining room to a black and silver themed, black-tie dinner, in the smaller reception room.  Stylist Jen and her team transformed the room from simple barn to classy dining room with a vintage gramophone, baby grand piano and champagne bar.  The party went on all night.

                                

DAY 2 — Welcome Dinner

The idea for the welcome dinner came to John and me over a glass of wine in the local bar, on their site visit.  John’s dad worked for a racing newspaper and horse racing was a passion of John’s.  He talked about an idea of having a jockey race and so the Malliac Steeplechase was born.

Hosted in the large barn, the tables were set around a parade ring complete with artificial grass, winning post and jump.  During dinner, the sweepstake was run and the jockeys were presented to the guests.

                

DAY 3 – Wedding Day

Classic white and green was the scheme of the day.  Guests were greeted on arrival to gin and tonic ice pops served from a vintage bicycle.  They then made their way to a corner of the garden that had been transformed into a beautiful ceremony area for their religious wedding blessing.

  

The afternoon reception took place under the shade of the mature trees and around the rose arbour of the park garden.

 

 

Before sitting for their meal, the guests gathered on the circular lawn for the big race…

Three laps of the lawn, jumping over cognac barrels, before a dash down the finishing straight.  A commentary was given by John’s dad and it was an eventful race! There were falls, run-outs and even a disqualification.

The gastronomic meal was followed by the presentation of a fantastic vegan chocolate cake made especially at Jasemin’s request.

                   

DAY 4—Departure brunch

After three days of festivities, it was time to say goodbye with a casual lunchtime buffet and a dip in the pool.

               

Congratulations Jasemin & John.

Photography by: Celine Chhuon

 

 

Afternoon tea then off to the market…

We are delighted to say that we were recommended to Stacey and Ben.

Stacey came with some ideas already for their special day: ‘We come to this region regularly and want to show our friends what we love about it. Our idea is to have an afternoon tea and then go to the local night market’, she said.

And so their dream day was born…

The venue was the very special Chateau de Saint Paul, with its private chapel, beautiful on-site accommodation and two courtyards.

Its layout and rustic feel gave the intimate and relaxed setting that Stacey and Ben were looking for in their wedding venue.

The colour was yellow—beautiful for a summer’s day in June. Sunflowers captured the joy of the day and the essence of the French countryside.

                    

The style was vintage and our in-house wedding stylist, Jen and her team, worked with Stacey’s own purchases and creations to create the perfect feel.

Old suitcases, family photos, vintage bicycles and tea sets all came together with country garden flowers to create a charming and intimate atmosphere.

Following a conversation about shade, I suggested an umbrella ceiling and Jen created a beautiful sun-shade from coloured umbrellas and complimented Stacey’s purchases with draping and jute table runners to soften the look.

Fresh lemonade on arrival was followed by an intimate wedding blessing in the private chapel.

The taste of France was dotted throughout the day including an accordion serenade as the couple and guests left the chapel to enjoy a glass of champagne.

The afternoon tea wedding menu served both French and English savouries and sweets.

Pimms was served in teapots and vintage teacups.

Tea closed with a presentation of macaroons rather than a wedding cake.

Then guests relaxed in deckchairs on the lawns, listening to jazz.

As the afternoon came to a close, guests collected their personalised picnic baskets before boarding the coach.

The happy couple headed off in an old Citroen 2CV to join their guests at the local night market for dinner and dancing.

Congratulations, Stacey and Ben!

Photos French Wedding Company and Tim Fox

Candice and Carl, Part 1 – Venue Search

Read about Candice and Carl’s wedding planning journey in the first of this 3 part series – written in their own words.

“We knew we wanted something different for our wedding, we had always loved France; the food, the wine, its beauty, warmth and memories of holidays on the South coast. The idea of making our special day somewhere we would always remember, a unique day just for us, to share with our family and friends, a perfect day….

Wedding in France

Our first thought was that we could get married in a French church and find a venue for the reception, but unfortunately you have to have lived in France for over a month to do that and as much as we would have loved to stay in the beautiful sunny countryside of France, it wasn’t possible. We decided to have a blessing and our reception in France instead. We searched online for venues and found a number of agencies that could help us to find our dream location. Our initial thought was to use a venue finding service to get the ball rolling and then we would organise the rest ourselves. How hard could it be?

intimate rustic wedding venue franceboutique-chateauLuxury Village Chateau Rustic Intimate

We chose to use the French Wedding Company for this as they had a range of venues to suit our budget and hand-picked 12 options for us to narrow our search. We chose to view six and spent an amazing weekend touring the Dordogne countryside and looking at venues. We were met at each one by Laura and her team to walk the venues and give us suggestions about what we could do at each one, which helped us to visualise what our day would look like and the general flow of the day.

Our chosen venue was the first place we visited, although it was a hard choice between the options available. The sun shone on the hilltop Chapel of St Paul’s next to the tastefully renovated stonework gites. The idea that we could have our ceremony in a chapel and have our reception within the gardens overlooking the fields and lake, with accommodation for our closest friends and family was more than we hoped for. St Paul’s was beautiful and we had found our venue.”

Chateau de Saint Paul rustic wedding venue France chapel rustic barn
Photos by Peter Antoine Photography

It takes us just 7-10 days to turn around a wedding venue search.  For Candice and Carl we sourced approx 30 possible venues, contacted 20 who met their exact requirements, proposed 12 that were the nearest match, available and within budget.  Contact us to get your venue search under way.

Read Part Two – Wedding Planning (to follow shortly)

Read Part Three – Our Wedding Day (to follow shortly)

See their wedding storybook, showing how we brought their wedding day to fruition (to follow shortly).

2016: A Year of Contrasts

As this is my first blog I have brought together an overview of 2016, to show the diverse range of weddings we do in a year. Details of individual weddings will be posted either as blogs or in more depth in our storybooks that will follow soon. So let’s take a look back.

2016 was a year of contrasts that started with a welcome dinner that had a French bistro feel and ended with a rustic wedding in a beautiful stone barn.

wedding blog 2016 review
year in review - french weddings


In between, styles included classic and elegant, rustic, neon and vintage.

wedding year in review
rustic-french-wedding
wedding year in review


Couples came from across the globe, including Norway, Denmark, Australia, Canada, India and the UK. The smallest wedding was just 10 guests and wedding blessings were held on a boat, in church and at the venues.

french wedding on a boat
french church wedding
french venue wedding

Wedding reception venues included a Bordeaux vineyard, a Michelin starred restaurant, a hunting estate, a couple’s holiday home and an historic château.

french chateaux wedding
french chateau vineyard wedding

 

There was a traditional Danish wedding cake, gastronomic meals, macaroon towers, afternoon teas and picnics. Accordionists, giant garden games, a comedian and even a jockey race… entertained guests.

macaroon tower
wedding picnic hamper
accordion player


French Wedding Company are proud to have helped to bring these dreams to fruition and we look forward to another year of celebration in 2017. Tell us your wedding day dream and ideal setting and together we will make it happen.

An Indian Wedding in a French Chateau


Tina and Pranay were living busy lives in the US and India. Having already booked the fabulous Chateau de la Bourlie as their venue, and unable to see it beforehand, they contacted us to help bring their three-day celebration to fruition…. We only met in person the day before their wedding.

Here’s what they said:

“First I cannot thank you enough for the beautiful wedding you put together. I didn’t think that a bride would get to have everything she could dream of – but you showed me otherwise. You made my weekend absolutely perfect – I cannot think of a single thing I would change. And please tell me the secret to predicting the weather because that was phenomenal. Your communications and customer service was impeccable.

I have been a business professional for a long time. I have seen factories put up from foundation to machinery – I always thought I was very strong in execution. But you taught me a lot about both details and execution. I respect you tremendously for your capabilities. Probably my favourite thing about the wedding was the way you were always trying to surprise me in addition to surprising my guests. That was very sweet.

I wish you all the luck with the French Wedding Company and I shall always remember you for making my wedding a true fairytale.”

Tina

Family had travelled from across the globe for this special occasion and Tina and Pranay wanted three days of celebration reflecting three cultures: American, Indian and French.

The main colour scheme for the wedding weekend was to be pale pink and white.

 

DAY 1—WELCOME PICNIC

The brief was for a casual pre-wedding picnic in the field, with lanterns and lighting garlands in the trees.

Guests were greeted from the coach and handed individual picnic boxes.

They dined sitting on picnic blankets laid out under the trees, with views over the surrounding countryside… and watched the sunset.

 

DAY 2—INDIAN WEDDING CEREMONY, FRENCH WEDDING BREAKFAST

The Hindu wedding ceremonies took place in the grounds of the chateau, including the Swagatam and Madhuperk, before the groom and bride, made their way to the Mandap.

 

Stylist Jen, and her team created a stunning Mandap draped in white and finished with a frame of white and pink roses with matching tiebacks and hanging chandelier.  This was set at the top of a white carpet aisle, lined with tall flower plinths and candelabra, whilst white drapes hung above.

The traditional Hindu marriage ceremonies took place in this glorious setting amidst the avenue of plane trees and centennial yew trees.

 

Cocktails followed in the venue’s rose garden before dinner was announced in the main reception room.

The beautiful floral decoration was carried through from the gardens and paired with ambient candlelight and pink uplight to create an intimate and warm setting.


A French wedding breakfast menu and dessert buffet awaited the couple and their guests.

 

Day 3—INDIAN BUFFET LUNCH

The wedding guests returned to the venue on the final day for a traditional Indian buffet provided by a local Indian caterer. The reception room was turned into a brightly coloured dining room with ceiling lanterns and decorations from India.

Tina, Pranay and guests were entertained by family members performing traditional dance.

 

 

Congratulations Tina and Pranay!

Photos by Peter Antoine Photography

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