Tarik and Francesca had a chic and stylish destination wedding at Francesca's family home in the village of Fayence in Southern France.
Their family and friends chipped in with various DIY projects from flower arranging to stringing bunting and DJing, all helping to made it an unforgettable, personal and truly special day.
Tariq wore a sharp black suit and quirky, skull braces while Francesca looked out. of. this. world. A goddess in her ivory silk Anne Bowen gown complete with dramatic shoulder train, tumbling auburn curls, delicate gold jewellery and chic, red nails.
From the pretty paper to the tearful ceremony and speeches, the neutral colour palette flecked with gold to the playful portraits (including shots of an impromptu Pulp Fiction dance by the pool!) this wedding is all kinds of awesome.
From The Bride…
Having a DIY wedding meant that everything had to be bought, hired, or made. It was hard work but it made it all the more special as it felt very unique! Most guests stayed for a week or long weekend and having everyone within walking distance meant that we had more of a wedding holiday rather than one day.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but we opted for a neutral and natural colour scheme to fit in with the landscape. We had gold touches wherever we could…without being too bling!
We chose different varieties of roses, peonies, freesias and hydrangeas for the table centres and bouquets, and craspedia, ornithogalum and eucalyptus for the button holes. It was lovely to be able to pick exactly what we liked, although it was a bit nerve-racking getting the quantities right! Having a DIY wedding meant we had a lovely few days before the day getting creative with flowers, vases, bouquets and buttonholes.
Luckily a friend of mine used to be a florist so she and my Mum were very much in charge and did an amazing job!
Getting married legally in France is complicated so we decided to have a small, legal ceremony in London a week before we went to France and have our ‘proper’ ceremony in front of all our friends and family at the house in Fayence.
We were married by a celebrant we met in Ibiza called Anna Jenssen. When we met her on a holiday in Ibiza we decided there and then that we wanted her to marry us so that part was easy! She sent both of us some questions to answer (and we weren’t allowed to confer!) and she then wrote a very special ceremony which was completely tailored to us. We didn’t hear a word of what she had written until the day and it was one of those moments in life when we felt utterly chuffed that we’d listened to our instincts about choosing her to marry us – I can't imagine a more perfect ceremony!
During the ceremony, Tarik’s sister also read a poem she’d written about us which was both funny and very touching.
We chose Hollyhock Papercraft for our invitations and stationery. They were recommended through a friend and working with them was a dream from start to finish! We went to them with a very loose design idea and what they produced was so much more than we had ever expected! We opted for save the date cards, invitations with a hand drawn map, RSVP cards, table numbers and a seating plan.
Our invitation design looked like a vintage holiday poster of the village we got married in. The invites went down a storm and Hollyhock gave us the original design to keep and frame as a gift at the end!
The Wedding Music
Looking for a band in France proved to be tricky as neither of us speak French very well, so we decided to have some of our closest friends DJ instead. We gave them a list of our favourite songs and they mixed them up in THE ultimate DJ set! It was a great party!
Our first dance was At Last by Eta James. It still makes me well up when I hear it.
Before we decided on At Last, we had almost made our minds up for the first dance to be You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry, so when our photographer asked us to stand on the ledge of the pool to have a photo taken, our friend Simon decided to play that song at the same time! We had an impromptu Pulp Fiction dance on the edge of the pool while our guests cheered us on – that’s a memory we’ll never forget…and all an accident!
I think it was my favourite moment of the day.
The food was spectacular. We chose to have a buffet for each course and it couldn’t have been more perfect – a feast for your eyes as well as your tummy! My absolute favourite food is dessert and I found out along the way that our caterer, Nicolas Denis, is one of the best Chef Pâtissier in France! Needless to say, I was excited when I saw the incredible dessert buffet and croquembouche, the traditional French wedding cake.
Nicolas and his A-team were from Institut Gastronomie Riviera, a professional cookery school in Seillans. He was recommended through a local restaurateur and was a pleasure to deal with from beginning to end. Nicolas and his team not only arranged the food, but also the hired equipment. I couldn’t recommend them enough and I can’t wait to go back so I can learn how to make my wedding macaroons at his school!
Our favours were little bags of our favourite chocolates (liquid salted caramel chocolates from Artisan du Chocolate) which we had carefully transported in the car from England. We had lots of fun putting them into bags and sprinkling with edible gold dust….but we soon realised the error of our decision when some started to melt in the sun! Whoops! They still tasted amazing though!
Photography & Videography
We found Ruby Yeo online through a wedding blog and fell in love with her work straight away. We loved her vintage reportage style. It’s very relaxed and romantic with a lot of cool! We stopped looking after that as we knew she was for us!
I still get emotional when I look through the photos – Ruby and Christine were a dream to work with and you don’t even notice they’re there half the time! They put us and all our guests completely at ease and they were so great at capturing all the love in the air. Some of my favourite photos were of our guests hugging, laughing and crying.
Our very good friends who flew to the wedding from Australia run a wedding video business called You Film It so we asked them to come and film our day. It was perfect having your best friends film you while you get ready rather than someone you don’t know. We both felt totally relaxed and felt we could be funny and silly and just be ourselves. They did an amazing job – the video is very very special.
Words of Wisdom
Don’t sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t matter about all the little things that you think are so important in the lead up. It really is true what they say, the only thing that is important to you on the day is that all your favourite people are there with you in the same place, on your side, cheering you on.
I remember feeling so flustered because I wanted it to be perfect and didn’t want to forget anything. On the day we forgot lots of things! We forgot to throw my bouquet, forgot to do the confetti tunnel we’d planned, and forgot to get a group photo of all the guests together…but neither of us would change a thing because we couldn’t have had a better day!
Congratulations Tarik and Francesca! Thanks for sharing your beautiful wedding with us – I hope you're loving married life to the max!