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French destination wedding images by Chris Bird (28)

Tom and Katrina’s French chateau wedding, with Chris Bird Photography

Today’s gorgeous bride and groom chose a destination wedding in the Champagne region of France. Their August wedding was held at Chateau de Mairy, in the small village of Mairy Sur Marne. I love the bright sunflowers and relaxed atmosphere of their day – it all looks so sunny and beautiful!

French destination wedding images by Chris Bird (28)

The venue itself did not need much decoration however the marquee that we used for the evening reception required lots! We did most of the decoration ourselves but had some added items, such as the large wine barrels and candle holders, from And Then We Got Married. My favourite was probably the jam jars that we used for flowers as well as tea lights and the polaroid station/guestbook. I enjoyed every moment of crafting the homemade elements and seeing everything in place the day before the wedding made it all worth while. Lots of our guests commented on how each detail of the day included an element of our personality. It was our goal from the start to ensure our wedding day was as personal to us as possible.

French destination wedding images by Chris Bird (21)

Wedding photographer’s website:

https://www.chrisbirdphotographer.com/

French destination wedding images by Chris Bird (10)

We visited a wedding fair at Mannings Heath Golf Club and Chris Bird had a stall there. It was his artistic documentary style that first attracted us to stop at his stall and we were soon won over by Chris and Claire’s enthusiasm for wedding photography.

Chris and Claire are simply wonderful. The photographs of the day are exactly what we were after – a good mix of ‘posed’ and natural shots. The natural shots are our favourites by far. Chris and Claire were brilliant on the day, most of our guests commented on how they hardly noticed they were there. We could not be more thankful for the wonderful photos that we will cherish for many years to come.

Seeing our photos for the first time was almost as good as the day itself! We loved every second! The photographs captured some of the more intimate moments between our guests that Tom and I missed on the day and it was wonderful to be able to experience these all those weeks later. The love and happiness captured within our photos was simply joyous to see.

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Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?

Best day of our lives, full of love and joy.

Your wedding style or theme:

French Chateau shabby chic!

Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)

We booked our venue through Olivers Travels who also made recommendations for caterers and other suppliers. We also used wedding supplier/planner ‘And Then We Got Married’ who are based in France. Pinterest was great for wedding ideas and we worked hard on the theme and decorations ourselves.

What’s your top tip for saving money?

Do it yourself! Anything you think you can do – do it! We did made most of our decorations as well as catering the evening reception food. Not only did this save us money but it also meant every part of our wedding had a touch of us. It made the day feel more personal.

… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?

The venue, caterer for the wedding breakfsat and the photographer! Initially we discussed whether we needed professional photos, as neither me nor Tom are big fans of the posed photo shoot effect. However with Chris’ documentary style we have a collection of memories to cherish forever.

Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?

We used Vista Print for our wedding invitations – all other stationery was a labour of love!

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

Of course! I found it at the 2nd wedding dress shop I visited. It was the first one I tried on that day. After trying at least 15 other dresses in the same shop I went back to it!

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

The bridal boutique was Gillian Million, based in Teddington. Fabulous service and an amazing array of dresses. The designer was not important to me, it was simply the dress that made me feel beautiful!

Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!

My dress had lots of detail and so I kept my accessories to a minimum. I wore a head piece that I purchased from Debenhams. My shoes were from New Look, a pair of flat sparkly sandals! I went for comfort and was able to dance into the early hours! Again I kept jewellery to a minimum, I wore an infinity bracelet that my maid of honour lent to me as my ‘something borrowed’ and a pair of diamond earrings purchased from T.H Baker, one of many ‘something new’ !! The earrings were a thoughtful wedding gift from my hubby to be. My last hidden accessory was a garter, my ‘something blue, a gift from my bridesmaids.

And what did the groom wear?

Tom is an officer in the Royal Navy and chose to wear his uniform for the wedding ceremony. For a more casual look for the evening reception Tom changed into a grey Ted Baker suit. The suit had a checked design with purple detail which tied into our colour scheme.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

I had 4 bridesmaids and chose 2 different dresses. The dresses were purchased from ASOS (in the sale!) and were a lavender grey colour.

Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?

I have some very talented best friends! 1 of my bridesmaids designs and styles wigs and another is training to be a hairdresser – they took charge of hair styling for the bridal party. Make-up was mostly DIY, again with a little help from my bridesmaids on the finer details such as eye shadow and lashes which needed a steadier hand!

Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)

Wedding flowers were again DIY. All table flowers were purchased from florists and supermarkets near by to the venue. The bridal party bouquets were made from fake flowers and Hessian to tie into the shabby chic theme. The bouquets were custom made by the very talented Posies and Roses Bouquets.

The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?

Neither of us enjoy weddung cake and the logistics of organising a cake in France were not proving easy! In the end we settled on a cake made of cheese wheels. Being in France the cheese was always going to be tasty and this also meant we were able to incorporate our ‘wedding cake’ into our evening reception food. Lots of cheese, crackers and chutneys!

Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?

As part of our RSVP we requested a ‘dance floor favourite’ from our guests. We used these to put together a party play list and this garunteed garunteed at least 1 person on the dance floor all evening! The Polaroid station we set up for our guests also worked well as entertainment, and provided each guest with a small moment from the day. We chose to use sparklers as our favours which was a nice addition to the evening.

Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:

If you have the time try to be involved in every aspect of the planning of your special day. It will make the day feel like your own. On the day take at least 5 minutes to be alone with your new husband/wife – stand somewhere you can see your guests and just watch your loved ones enjoying your special day and revelling in your love!

What’s the best thing about being married?

For us it was the opportunity to celebrate our love for one another with our closest family and friends. Marriage evokes feelings of ‘forever’ – it is comforting to know you will always have the love and support of your favourite person.

Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:

www.gillianmillion.com
http://andthenwegotmarried.com/
http://www.chateaudemairy.com/

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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