A beautiful escape: Catherine and Florent’s French chateau wedding, with Amanda Karen Photography
Catherine and Florent’s destination wedding in France looks like a dream come true. The gorgeous bride and groom travelled to the south-east of France, to a fairytale venue with views of the distant mountains, for their beautiful, intimate summer wedding. I adore the light, bright colours they used to style their day: mint and delicate pink are so fresh and summery – and the images by English Wedding Blog sponsor Amanda Karen Photography are out of this world.
Wedding photographer’s website:
We searched online for a photographer who was willing to travel. We fell in love with Amanda and Hutch’s style of photography. They had taking wedding photos in France and in a chateau in their bucket list, which is exactly what we were planning for our wedding, so it was a perfect match. After meeting Amanda, and seeing how lovely she was, we were thrilled to choose them as our photographers.
I can’t overstate how important Amanda and Hutch were for our wedding. Not only did we end up with amazing photos, but Amanda really helped me get through some really stressful moments (including when the back of my dress broke), and she acted as an amazing calming influence. I had been a bit worried about the preparation photos, as I didn’t think I’d be able to relax in front of the camera. However, throughout this time Amanda (and across the entire day both Amanda and Hutch) made us feel completely comfortable, and this is reflected in the beautiful photos. We were thrilled with the final wedding photos. They really told the story of our wedding, and in a classic, timeless way.
Because our wedding was so small, after our honeymoon we had a small party in France so I (Catherine) could meet Florent’s extended family. For this, Amanda and Hutch prepared an initial slideshow, and chose the perfect music to go with it. Florent and I cuddled up in bed to see the photos together for the first time, before the party. We were thrilled – they were beautiful, and I think we watched it about five times in a row.
Contact & Bookings: Amanda Karen Photography
We focused on having a fairly classic, romantic wedding theme. We had a colour theme of minty green and light pink. It was actually fairly difficult finding many accessories in this shade, so we ended up designing many of our own decorations, and we had to dye Catherine’s shoes so that they were the right shade.
We designed, cut and made a few banners for the wedding, as well as wrappers for some mints, stating “Mint to be” (Florent LOVES puns). I also found a pattern for the candy bonbons and printed these out, filling them with French dragées (sugar covered almonds). I also found a pattern for the pretty bows we placed behind our dessert table. While the pink ones were printed out, I used wrapping paper for the green ones. Florent, Florent’s mum and I then spent an evening putting them together. We were lucky as the chateau we used for our reception already had great decor, and felt warm and cozy. We just added a few extra pieces, which helped to bring our pink and green colour scheme together.
Our wedding ceremony was held in the townhall of Saint-Ismier, a small village nearby Grenoble, as Florent’s grandfather lived there.
Our wedding reception was held in Le Château des Girards ( http://www.grand-gite-vercors.com/ ), situated in the Vercors mountains, an hour from the townhall. We hired it for a long weekend, giving us plenty of time to set up and pack up afterwards.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Intimate, French, Romantic, Delicious, Happy, Sunny
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We found most of our suppliers online. This included our reception venue, photographers, and even our confetti makers. Most of our other suppliers were found based on recommendations from the owner of our reception venue. He recommended our caterer and florist, and they turned out to be excellent choices. The other suppliers, such as our caterers for our sweet snacks, and our hairdresser were found when we visited the town most nearby to our venue.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Focus on the things that are most important to you – for us that was having our closest family there, and having delicious food and drink. If your focus isn’t on food, but on having a big party, then you can consider spending more money on other things.
We also designed and printed many of the decorations for our wedding, which was partly due to the lack of decorations in our wedding colours, but which led to savings.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Food – we’re big food lovers, so we recognised that it was important to us to have a great meal. We taste tested at two different caterers that had been suggested to us by the chateau owner before choosing Feed Traiteur. (http://www.feed-traiteur.com/)
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We designed our wedding invitations ourselves, using Canva.com. This allowed us to have a completely unique and personal invitation, with English on one side of the invitation for Catherine’s family and French on the other for Florent’s family. We also used Canva for a lot of our wedding decorations, as we were then able to easily design decorations in our wedding colours.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes, the three dresses I tried before this were beautiful but didn’t feel quite right. They felt too big, and had too much fuss and decoration. When I tried on my dress for the first time I fell in love, and when they added a sage green ribbon I was completely sold. It made me feel really beautiful, but was actually priced really reasonably as well.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
David’s Bridal (style WG3802)
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I got my shoes from Rainbow Club. I ordered my shoes, and then when I received them, and confirmed I was happy with them I was able to send them back with a fabric sample with the colour I wanted. They came back as a beautiful green. Our photographer even commented on it, as she was thrilled to see wedding shoes that weren’t just white.
I used jewellery that I was gifted by my parents when I graduated with my Master’s degree. It had sentimental value, and acted as my something old.
And what did the groom wear?
Florent wore a tailored tuxedo from Moss Brothers, due to his super long arms (he has a wingspan of 2 metres!) He wore a pocket square in the same mint green as my dress’ ribbon and my shoes, so that we matched.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Because of the size of our wedding we didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen. Instead, our siblings all acted as our witnesses, but we allowed them to choose their own suits and dresses.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Because of the limited services available up in the mountains I decided to do my own makeup. In preparation for our wedding day I practiced regularly until I knew I was completely comfortable with the routine. We used a local hairdresser for my hair. It ended up falling out a bit over the course of the day, but still looked beautiful.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Our wedding flowers were arranged by Flore et Sens ( http://www.floreetsens.info/ ), located in Lans en Vercors. They were recommended to us by the owner of our reception venue, and were incredible. They asked us to talk through what kind of flowers we liked, and we used pinterest to show them the kinds of flowers and arrangements we liked. And while we had given the florist and idea of the flowers we liked, my bouquet was a surprise for the day of the wedding. I fell in love with it – it was made up of roses, baby’s breath and a few snap dragons, and smelled amazing. We also had an arrangement for the townhall, which we then brought back to the chateau, and an arrangement for our wedding table. We also bought petals for the townhall, to act as an aisle runner.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We had both a corquembouche and a wedding cake, to reflect both the French and English sides of our family. Our croquembouche was very traditional with vanilla flavouring. For our cake we had two different flavours – a framboisier (with more raspberry and cream than cake), and a chocolate and pear cake, which was more like chocolate mousse. However, from the outside they looked like a standard cake. We had only ordered two layers, and asked for a fake third layer. However, our amazing caterers gifted us a third layer for free.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We bought giant jenga, giant pick-up sticks and normal-sized croquet for our guests to play. The weather was perfect, so this turned out to be a great idea as our guests were able to enjoy themselves playing games while Florent and I were busy with photos or organizing things.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Florent – don’t feel pressured to spend thousands – there are many ways you can save money. The more you plan your wedding the prouder you will be of the results.
Catherine – there will be times you’ll feel stressed or frustrated during the wedding planning process. That’s okay. Acknowledge it, but then focus on the really important thing – your love for the person you’ve agreed to spend your life with.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Knowing that we get to spend our life with our favourite person in the world.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Photographer – http://www.amandakarenphotography.co.uk/
Reception – http://www.grand-gite-vercors.com/
Florist – http://www.floreetsens.info/
Caterer – http://www.feed-traiteur.com/
Confetti – http://www.shropshirepetals.com/