Good Morning and welcome to a brilliant week planned on French Wedding Style, starting off with the destination wedding at Chateau Lagorce of Karen and Arie, captured by Matt Ethan Photography and Myong-Hun Oh. This is truly and international wedding, the couple met in Amsterdam the bride is Australian and then got married in France!
Bride Karen takes us through their love story and big day: “Arie, a Dutchie, and I, an Australian, met in a local bar on a rare summer’s evening in Amsterdam in 2010. I had been living in the Netherlands for several years, and was immediately drawn to his cheeky smile and playful personality, later falling in love with his wonderful kindness, his empathy, and his super sociable approach to life.
Five years later, Arie proposed to me on Manly Beach in Sydney surrounded by my family. He learned of my family tradition to propose with a symbolic grandparents’ ring, so he proposed with his maternal grandmother’s ring carefully carried over from the Netherlands. Our engagement was particularly poignant as it was the last family gathering before my Nanny passed away, so it meant the world to us that she saw us happily engaged in her last weeks.
As we are from opposite sides of the world, we struggled to decide on a country in which to marry. We chose not to marry in Australia or Netherlands, as it seemed unfair to make one family travel over the other. And as we had 16 nationalities attending our wedding, easy airport access was vital.
We desired a small, intimate wedding in the sunshine, with great food and wine, and a long weekend of celebrations with a rustic and relaxed feel that fit our personalities. France seemed an ideal fit, and after Googling and hearing a friend’s recommendation for Chateau Lagorce 30 minutes from Bordeaux, we took a leap of faith and booked it without visiting. When we travelled there a few months later and met our lovely wedding planner / owner Anna, we knew we’d made the right choice.
Our wedding weekend was over four days at Chateau Lagorce, which accommodated all our wedding guests and we could all enjoy the enormous pool. We greeted our guests on Friday with a spit roast, celebrated our wedding on Saturday, and enjoyed a recovery Sunday brunch with bloody Marys (thanks to Arie’s mother and partner!) followed by a barbeque Sunday night. This was an ideal way to enjoy time with all our wedding guests, as many had travelled long distances.
The sun was shining brightly on our wedding day, and we had an outdoor ceremony in the leafy chateau grounds, with guests provided with some sun protection in our wedding colours of pink and white – Chinese paper umbrellas and funky sunglasses. Together with my parents, I walked down the grand chateau steps – previously built for Napoleon – to Something More, an instrumental song that worked across cultures and had been used in Arie’s company, KLM, to promote the beauty of the Netherlands.
During cocktail hour, we poured a champagne fountain for our guests and enjoyed local band Red Fish Jazz Band, who played a New Orleans jazz style with a French twist. With the sun setting, we enjoyed our evening meal of foie gras, duck and a traditional croquembouche cake. The speeches left everyone in floods of happy tears, as we were blessed to have so many people from so many cultures join us on our special day. Our first dance to Sinatra’s ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ was followed up by surprise fireworks display for guests, with dancing and laughter continuing long into the night.
We were incredibly blessed to have our day captured by our photographer, Matt Ethan , and our videographer, Myong-Hun Oh. They flew in from the UK and Germany respectively, and our guests thought we were old friends as they blended so well into the party!
Due to the stunning location, we preferred to let the beauty of the chateau shine through and minimally decorate. Our favourite wedding details in particular were an enormous blow-up swan for the swimming pool, our beautiful invites kindly printed by Arie’s father, and our wedding favours of a small bottle of Chateau Lagorce red wine. Along with Anna as our wedding planner, I pulled together wedding decorations from a range of online places, relying heavily on imports to save costs and use unique items in Europe.
Anna arranged our flower order, consisting of soft pink and white peonies, hortensia, lisanthenum and baby’s breath, and my aunts kindly helped to arrange them in dozens of vintage crystal vases collected from second-hand markets. We wanted to incorporate the memory of all our grandparents into our day, so included framed photos, an heirloom bracelet from my maternal grandmother, and had my paternal grandmother and Arie’s grandmother’s rings and brooch sewn onto my bouquet.
I had found my dress from David Fielden in London on a girls’ weekend away, which was a lovely nod to my late Nanny who was British. Arie had his linen-wool mix suit made locally in Amsterdam by the personal tailoring store in Suit Supply. My bridesmaid’s dress was made specially for her by her mother and stepmother, both of whom are seamstresses with German opera companies.
Our advice to other bridal couples would be to look around online for wedding decorations to save money. We used a lot of Chinese ecommerce sites and Etsy, but be prepared for long delivery times from China! Overall, enjoy the day and remember to take some time for yourselves to reflect on your marriage away from the guests.
We had a magical weekend and want to thank everyone for their help, love and support.”