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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A Look Back at 2017 Wedding Venues

2017 was yet another year of variety for wedding venues including:

  • rustic country chateaux and elegant luxury chateaux
  • chateaux sleeping 40 guests and chateaux just for 10
  • wedding barns and courtyards

We revisited our exclusive partners at the Stunning Aristocratic Chateau and long-time friends at Chateau Malliac…

 Large Armagnac Chateau in Gers with ivy covered walls towers huge stone and oak beam receptions rooms, courtyard and park garden

Were delighted to return to Chateau de Saint Paul and Chateau de La Bourlie…

Chateau de Saint Paul former Priory in stone with courtyard and Romanesque chapel  Wedding in France at Chateau de la Bourlie medieval chateau with large courtyard

And established new partners at Chateau La Gauterie.

Wedding Venue France Chateau La Gauterie Manor House with large park

We travelled to new regions with Esther and Kevin who got married in the Vendée, and once again, helped couples plan weddings at their own, or at their parents’ homes in France.

Our new Venue Finding Service went from strength to strength with couples from across the globe engaging our services.  We helped them find their wedding venue in Paris, Provence, Bordeaux, the West Coast, the South and South West of France, as well as a beach wedding, and 3 of these wedding venues were booked from afar, without any visits.  From the wedding venues search service:

  • Total wedding venues found on initial searches 426
  • Total wedding venues presented to couples 112 

We are looking forward to carrying out more personalised venues searches in 2018 and sharing some of the amazing and hidden wedding venues that France has to offer.

For expert help on finding your wedding venue and making head or tail of costs, venue options and suitability, contact us here.

SPECIAL OFFER  

10% DISCOUNT ON WEDDING VENUE SEARCHES

BOOKED BEFORE 31ST JANUARY 2018

 

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

 

 

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