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.

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

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

NEW **French Country Estate with fabulous views & lake**

OPENING OFFERS FOR SUMMER 2018

 

The French Country Estate is the ideal wedding venue for a relaxed country, rustic or festival style wedding for up to 100+ guests.  Its organic and ‘green’ ethic may also be appealing to discerning couples.

It has flat lawns on 3 sides of the chateau and a large barn that will be available from 2019.

 

 

What we love….

We are delighted to be exclusive partners at this property.  The young owners are developing the estate in organic farming and are vibrant, aspirational and extremely hospitable – keen to offer you the very best of the region and venue.  They have a flexible approach and a whole host of additional activities that can be arranged exclusively for your guests and you, around the estate.   

The estate offers:

Weddings and Events

  • fantastic views to mountains and across the surrounding countryside
  • great flexibility in set-up and event spaces, both indoor and out
  • extensive flat lawns surrounding the house on 3 sides
  • large terraces suitable for outdoor dining
  • tree-lined avenue on arrival
  • second avenue of trees suitable for ceremony or shaded outdoor dining
  • interconnecting barns suitable for indoor receptions and events (bar, dinner, dancing, ceremony)
  • 4 hectare lake accessible for barbecues, picnics, etc.

  

  

  

House and Services

  • self-catering, accommodation for up to 16 on site
  • large, well laid out and presented communal spaces
  • pool with spectacular views
  • breakfasts and event meals can be provided for on-site residents
  • other activities such as clay pigeon shooting, hot air ballooning, colour therapy, reiki, massage

  

  

In the Area

  • nearest church – 5 mins
  • nearest airport – 1.5 hours
  • nearest overflow accommodation – 5 mins
  • nearest village with amenities – 5 mins

Rental

  • flexible arrival day
  • flexible length of stay (season dependent)

Contact us for more information

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

Destination Wedding in France – 5 Things You Should Know

Thinking about a wedding in France?  Great choice!

There are a few things however, that when considered in advance, can set you on the right path to a unique and successful wedding.

French business etiquetteWedding chateau France private chapel

With many couples opting for venues in the wonderful French countryside you may find the way of doing business somewhat different to the 24/7, online speed of big city living.  Combine that with a culture of frank discussion, fixed service criteria, and ‘not questioning the expert’ and it can be easy to start off on the wrong foot and find supplier negotiations quite frustrating.  Getting support and advice for your negotiations will make it much easier and quicker.

They speak French!

Yes, I am stating the obvious… but having knowledge of the French language can transform how you plan your wedding. When you are not tied to using English speaking suppliers, an even more diverse world of venues and extremely skilled suppliers are there for you, to help you create a truly unique day.

Marriage is only legal at the town hall

Even the French must marry at the local mayor’s office before they can marry in church. It is pretty much the same as going to your local registry office, before having a blessing in France.  If you meet the criteria for a legal wedding in France, the paperwork can be a bit laborious, but when you know how, it can be quite easy to arrange.  Translation will cost though, so do take that into consideration in your budget.

Legal wedding at French mairieWedding at Bergerac Mairie FranceLegal Wedding France - Signing Contract

It costs more than you think

One of the most common mistakes couples make is underestimating the cost of their wedding day. Setting a budget is a good starting point, but is it realistic for the day you are hoping to achieve?  France offers great value but this is not the same as it being cheaper.  If you are hoping to avoid a packaged wedding in favour of having something more bespoke, be very sure that you have considered all the behind the scenes costs.  This may vary from venue to venue so take advice from those in the know.  It may cost you, but what you could save in time, money and stress, will make for much more enjoyable wedding planning.

It’s a big and diverse country

There is a reason that many French don’t go further than their own backyard for their holidays… France is a wonderfully diverse country, rich in culture, landscapes and architecture. Each region has a very distinct character and there is one to reflect every couple.  They also have their own pros and cons, be it weather, costs or access.  Research your region well or take advice before looking for your venue, to help narrow down the areas that will best suit you.

Luxury Village Chateau Rustic IntimateLuxury villa wedding France beachLuxury chateau wedding venue

The team at French Wedding Company have expertise in all these areas.  We are all bi-lingual, have an extensive database of quality, knowledgeable and flexible, English and French suppliers as well as access to a broad range of venues.  We are based in France so know the regions and culture, understand the legalities and business etiquette.  Our years of experience mean we also know what it costs and how to get the best value from your budget.

To get help and guidance finding your venue and planning your day, your way, tell us about your aspirations for your wedding here.

Please note photos are subject to copyright.

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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