a luxe, rustic French wedding | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe
Lottie & Sandy 196 HI RES Amy Faith Photography

Morning! When Amy submitted this wedding, within the first few photos I knew it would be a yes. I loved the feel of the photography and how she had captured Lottie and Michael’s day. With a mix of rustic french charm and a little bit of glamour they achieved a simply beautiful wedding with an effortless relaxed feeling. The idea of getting married abroad may seem idyllic, Lottie has shared some helpful tips if you have just started the planning process and considering marrying overseas. Enjoy!

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Both Michael and I decided that we wanted a destination wedding. After being to some beautiful weddings in the UK we decided we didn’t want out special day to be compared to anything else and instead wanted something that would be individual to us, which would hopefully also stand out for our guests as one to remember. After extensive research for all over the globe and visits to the Amalfi Coast, Italy, and Crete, Greece, looking at wedding venues I had come to a brick wall. I knew I wanted a wedding in the warm sunshine, I had a vision in my head of how my wedding would look, I just didn’t know where to find it. Then I found a beautiful chateau in South Burgundy, France – Chateau de Varennes. It was gorgeous! Concerned that my time was running out as we wanted to get married early in the wedding season of 2015 and it was July 2014 by this point, we quickly secured a date and booked the chateau without prior visit. Risky – but thankfully on our first visit in the September we were absolutely blown away by the chateau’s beauty. It was perfect. Sonia, who is the wife of the chateaus owner, is also the wedding planner and helped us start planning our special day. She has some brilliant contacts from Michelin star chefs, to the top florists in France. The guests arrived on the Thursday for our welcome BBQ at the chateau, where we all danced the night away until the early hours of the morning (in the pouring rain I might add). This was a great way for all the guests to meet and get to know each other, while, in true Brit style, drinking the chateau’s wine cellar dry! The following day was probably one of my favourites for the wedding weekend. A day spent around the chateau’s stunning pool with all the people I loved in the world. We then all got together to play rounders – again, another memory that will live with me forever. Following the fun and frolics, we all went off to glam ourselves up prior to getting a coach into Charlon sur Soane, where we had a taken over the restaurant for the night.

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Dress – Anny Lin www.knutsfordweddinggallery.co.uk Shoes – Dune

For me I found choosing a dress quite hard. All the dresses out there are gorgeous, but how do you find one that is your stand out dress, the most important dress you will ever wear! This was hard and it took me 4 attempts!!! In the end, and with the help and kindness of Knutsford Wedding Gallery for putting up with me, I finally decided on a gorgeous Anny Lin gown. With individual flower detail around the sweetheart neckline and lovely fine feathers that floated so beautifully as I walked, I fell in love with it immediately. It was a far cry from my original plan of having something as plain as possible! My shoes – well they started off as a stunning pair of Jimmy Choo’s – after all every bride deserves a designer pair of shoes for her big day. However, I decided to return them. When you’re planning a wedding, you originally think it’s all about you, when actually, once you get in the thick of it, you worry more that your friends and family have the most wonderful time rather that yourself. Needless to say, I returned them in favour of some nice touches, like the whiskey and cigar bar for the gents, and the chocolate fountain for the children (although the adults also enjoyed this one.)

Bride’s hair accessories/veil:

I had blown the budget with my dress and was so lucky that the amazing team at Knutsford Wedding Gallery where I had bought my dress offered to throw this in for free. 

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Isabelle Minni www.minini.fr  – The ladies in the florist were so fantastic and, despite the language barrier, we managed sign language our way to my perfect flowers. Luckily they totally understood my vision and they were probably my favourite addition to the wedding.

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Stationery: Too Wordy www.toowordy.com  – Our stationery was done by my very talented friend, Maeve, at Too Wordy. She was so easy to work with and made the design process fun. She designed and supplied my invitations, table plan, order of service, place settings, and confetti cones.

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Christelle Beautot www.facebook.com/bulles-dhair – My make up artist was from Ireland however had found herself in France after marrying a local. She had worked for Mac doing fashion week shows all over the world. I was so lucky to have someone so talented that was local. 

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Groom’s outfit/accessories/shoes: Groom suit hire

The men all looked sharp in their suits from Groom Suit Hire. We decided to go for black tuxedos – as there were no ‘colours’ in the wedding theme, we felt these would look great. – and they did!

Groomsmen’s outfits/accessories: Groom suit hire

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Jo Malone – Wood Sage and Sea Salt moisturiser with Jo Malone Sweet Lemon exclusive to Selfridges. 

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Adult dresses from Coast, kids dresses from Monsoon

The bridesmaid dresses were a hard one. After trying on numerous ‘bridesmaid dresses’, we found that the shapes and styles were not very inspiring. In the end, I started looking on the high street and surprisingly sound some lovely options. I wanted them in a sequin gown, which was near impossible to find – until I managed to find THE one in Coast (and even better, it was in the sale). My adult bridesmaids tried these on and they were just perfect. For my 3 little ones I went to Monsoon and bought a really relaxed white dress for them all. They were so light and floaty, so perfect for a destination wedding.

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Amy Faith Photography www.amyfaithphotography.com

When it came to picking my photographer I wanted their style to totally reflect the wedding styling. With my colour scheme being white, gold and leafy green I wanted my images to look almost dreamy and romantic. I spent weeks looking online for photographers and did not have much luck. It appears that dark moody wedding pictures seem to be the ‘in thing’ at the time, but this just would not work with my theme. I work for a jewellery brand called ChloBo Jewellery and we use a photographer for our lifestyle shots. When struggling for a photographer a colleague mentioned that Amy also does weddings. I knew already that she was a fantastic photographer, however I assumed she focused solely on high fashion shoots, but when I went on her website I was absolutely blown away! She was perfect! I looked through her images and was in love with every last one.

After the buzz of the wedding was fizzling out and we all went back to our daily lives, I had this sinking feeling that perhaps Amy did not get that many images of our special day, as looking back neither myself of husband remembered seeing her very often… It turns out that she captured it all! She was obviously very subtle not to ‘get in the way’, carefully blending in with the guests. The images are absolutely amazing! They blew us away! She really is an amazing photographer and has a wonderfully artistic eye. She also made it fun! We can’t thank her enough.

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My vision was to have a mixture of rustic France teamed with glitz and glam. My colour scheme was white flowers and leafy greens, dotted with gold. The chapel was covered in candles and the aisle was framed with fresh rose petals

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Mini bottles of Crème de Cassis by Gabriel Boudier of Dijon

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To have all the people you love dancing the night away underneath the stars. We were all singing and everyone said they were having one of the best nights of their life. To see my 88 year old Nanna dancing with our friends and then having my 2 year old niece dancing with us … Just perfect and a memory I will keep forever! 

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Michelin star chefs of l’Aubergine de la Charme www.auberginedelacharme.com

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Because we traveled to France for our wedding we felt like we were ‘away’ we decided to travel back through Paris for the night stocking at Le Jules Verne (in the Eiffel Tower) for a VERY special meal, our first just the two of us as Man and wife. We then waited until November to go on our proper honey moon. We decided on Thailand as we wanted an experience and a sense of adventure. I am lucky to have a sister who works on luxury travel who coordinated the whole trip for us … And wow- it was just amazing. We flew to Bangkok for 3 nights and then flew up to chaing Mai where we experienced the four seasons hotel (once in a life time) then we went to khao lak for the final weed to unwind and relax… Perfect.

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Cakes in the City www.cakesinthecity.net

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The band made the night complete! We found ‘The Brightlights‘ online as they advertise themselves as the only British band in France. I think the party at a wedding is so important! We positioned the dance floor outdoors, as it was my vision to dance the night away under the stars and, boy, that is exactly what we did!! I cannot recommend the band enough. People were talking about them for weeks and weeks after.

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All I knew is I wanted to go abroad … Make sure you narrow down where exactly you wish to get married as that was my problem. I wanted an alfresco wedding in the warmth and I wanted to dance under the stars …

My search started with The amalfi Coast in Italy, then Capri, then Crete, Barbados and in the end we decided we wanted our wedding to be the wedding and didn’t want something small abroad and then a party at home. So we decided France would be much more accessible to friends and family – people could either drive or fly. It’s much much easier to know where your searching first of all – and stick to it! 

Where did you find your inspiration?

Pinterest will be your best friend and your Enemy. Great for inspiration but then you can never find what you have seen or when you do its way over budget. Ha. Great for colour ideas though.