We’ve been hopping around some of the most beautiful regions in Europe over the last week with our real weddings.
Ella & Jay chose the idyllic village of Lourmarin as the backdrop of their day, with its atmospheric Catholic church for their ceremony (we’re definitely pinning the entranceway floral arch!) and picturesque Château de Lourmarin for their foodie reception.
Sophisticated style set the tone for their refined celebration, with Ella’s timeless Sassi Holford wedding dress and Jay’s white tie and tuxedo, while the bridesmaids wore lavender dresses as a nod to the regions’ most iconic botanical.
A US couple, who live in London, Ella & Jay celebrated their wedding on the 4th of July, and while it was quintessential Provencal affair, with French wines and British cocktails, they also made sure there was time for sparklers and sing-alongs to pay homage to their home.
With thoughtful details and classic styling, scroll down to swoon over this romantic French soirée.
We didn’t want to have a “colour theme” per se. Instead, we embraced the idea of flowers of different varieties—all white in colour.
To showcase the lavender, for which the area is famous, we added touches of fresh lavender to the white. We wanted the appearance to be clean, fresh, and bright without drawing too much attention to its particular design.
That being said, we had different sized candles and lanterns all throughout the church and reception venue.
The village of Lourmarin is stunning, but not overly crowded by tourists as are some other villages nearby.
The village also had everything we needed—the church and reception venue—which allowed our guests to walk between the ceremony, reception, and their hotel.
The small Catholic church in the village is romantically old and exudes so much character, and from the terrace of the Chateau de Lourmarin is the most stunning view of Lourmarin.
We knew we couldn’t find a more perfect village as both a lovely church that was perfect for the size of our wedding and the Chateau with its inspirational views were close in proximity.
We had a traditional Catholic wedding.
Our first reading was from the Song of Songs, 2:8 – 10, 14, 16; 8:6-7. Our second reading was a letter from St Paul to the Colossians, 3:12 – 17. The Gospel reading was from the book of John, 2:1-11.
Our string quartet played the bride’s favourite, “Ave Maria” by Schubert during communion, and the bride’s sister-in-law sang heavenly versions of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Here I am, Lord” before the first reading and after communion, respectively.
Processional: “Canon in D,” Johann Pachelbel, then “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin”
Recessional: “Wedding March” from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 61” from Mendelssohn
First Dance: As we had a personally choreographed first dance, we used a mix of Steve Tyrell’s version of “The Way You Look Tonight” and Caro Emerald’s “A Night Like This.”
All of our flowers in the church, centerpieces on the dinner tables, and centerpieces on other reception tables were all varieties of white flowers.
The buttonholes were a white with fresh lavender, and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were purely fresh lavender.
Serving centerpieces had white hydrangeas in tall vases.
After researching many websites of photographers in Provence, we were most impressed with the quality and style captured by Studio A&Q.
They also spoke English, which made it easier for us to convey our wishes regarding the style of photographs that we wanted.
Our videographer, Alexis Arnaud, was recommended to us by friends of ours who also got married in Provence.
After seeing their wedding video and trailer produced by Alexis, we were impressed by his attention to detail and creativity and decided to hire him to beautifully capture our special day, which he did.
We had a cocktail hour (or two!) at which guests were lavished with Veuve Cliquot champagne, Pimm’s (English traditional summer cocktail to incorporate our British home), European beers, and delectable hors d’oeuvres of foie gras, grilled cuttlefish and seabass, herb fritters, soft boiled egg with porcini mushrooms, crab and avocado “tian,” cold melon soup with fresh mint, and other tasty delights.
Dinner was a four-course formal sit down meal, with wine pairings.
Our guests are still talking about the food at our dinner, some fighting over whether the starter of ravioli with summer truffle or the main of veal en croute with foie gras, swiss chard, and pine nuts.
We served wines of different vintages from Chateauneuf du Pape to celebrate the wines of the region.
Advice for Other Couples
Decide what is the most important part of your wedding day, and then spend as much as you need to accomplish that goal.
If you are on a tight budget, then budget for everything else after you have successfully achieved your goal for the most important part of the wedding.
For us, the food/wine pairings were the most important expenditure.
The Decor & Details
In case the church was hot during the ceremony (which fortunately it wasn’t, but one never knows in July!), we handed out specially designed fans that matched our programs and other stationary. They were beautiful!
To add a personal note to our wedding, we also displayed framed photographs of our parents and grandparents’ wedding photos to represent our families coming together with our marriage.
Our guests each had a special favour that showcased local produce, and that was placed at their place setting. They received one of the following three favours: French lavender soap bars, miel de lavande, or Camargue Fleur de Sel.
Very special extra favours that were available for the guests were made by the bride’s mother, hand-made sachets of fresh lavender, held in a variety of traditional, French-themed prints and tied with ribbons.
We decided upfront that the most important area for the wedding was the food, as we are both “foodies.”
Our caterer was known as the “best caterer in the South of France,” and we wouldn’t disagree! Two years on, people are still talking about the food at our wedding.
The quality of the food, particularly our starter and main dishes, was the best that we had ever had at a wedding – and we have attended some very posh weddings!
If we saved any money, it may have been on the flowers, as we didn’t go overboard on the flowers at the reception.
After attending many weddings, we realized that no one remembers what flowers were there, but they remember the food, the venue, and the music, as we do.
That being said, we still paid extra to have a beautiful arch of vines/flowers/lavender as entrance to the church, which we were glad to pay for as it was beautiful and felt special.
Our wedding was a destination wedding to Provence. Our guests were British and American. Bringing everyone to our wedding in a little artists’ village in the South of France made the whole week so special.
Most guests decided to turn the trip into a long holiday, and we essentially took over the village before and after the wedding,
Also, since we got married on the 4th of July, our guests were given sparklers with we special sparkler tags that we designed. The sparklers were then lit in our honour as the cake (croquembouche) was carted out to us on the terrace of the Château, surrounded by larger sparklers.
As we cut the cake, the guests sang American Independence Day and other national songs while waving their sparklers. Everyone embraced the moment!
After spending a week in Provence leading up to the wedding, we then spent two weeks in Lombok and Bali.
We preferred Lombok over Bali (beach over rice paddies) as the weather was sunnier and warmer in Lombok, and it was less commercialized than Bali.
If we went back, we would spend our whole trip in Lombok.
What a romantic setting. I love how they chose to feature lavender details throughout – and that menu sounds incredible, no wonder their guests are still talking about it!
Be inspired by more gorgeous destination weddings.