We are off to the beautiful Languedoc Roussillon area of France today from Anna and Jonathan’s multicultural wedding at Chateau de la Mogere near Montpellier. This beautiful wedding captured by Meredith Lord Photography, brightened up our day and we can’t wait to share it with you!
Bride Anna takes us through their love story and wedding planning: “We were born in the same day, on separate sides of the world; me in England, Jono in New Zealand. We met when Jono was in London and worked together in the same team for two years. We were friends but we both, unintentionally booked a holiday to Poland at the same time and it was there that we realized we were meant to be more than just good friends.
A year later we quit our jobs and he swept me away from England and over to New Zealand where he proposed at Lake Waikaremoana, New Zealand. We continued travelling for six months before moving to France to live and start planning what was going to be our “dream French wedding.”
A year after we arrived in France, we were married at Chateau de La Mogere in Montpellier, France. It was a headache, logistically, and quite possibly one of the hardest things we’d ever had to organize! Though we spoke French well, it wasn’t just a language barrier, but a cultural barrier that made a lot of the planning process difficult but we got there in the end and our dream French wedding came together.”
Inspiration behind the day:
“We wanted to bring together a little bit of everything – New Zealand, England, Poland (I’m half Polish and have a big Polish family), and of course, France to the wedding. Since people were coming all the way to France for a wedding we wanted to give everyone something new but with nods to our different cultures.
So we kept our food and wine French, with touches of French wedding style in lavender, and our favours (savon de Cassis). But we named each table after a different country in the world that people had come from (there were nine). Our outdoor ceremony held by a celebrant is much more of a kiwi tradition than a European one but we mixed old English traditions, hand binding ceremony, with a sand ceremony as a nod to Jono’s beach upbringing.
We wrote our own vows and kept the ceremony light hearted and fun, like us. We even had classical singer sing Ave Maria as a little touch of the Catholic heritage I’d been brought up with. Our families told us they loved that it was so different but so inclusive. At the ceremony we toasted the speeches with local French sparkling wine and Polish vodka.”
“I loved browsing DIY wedding blogs and spent a lot of time getting ideas together on pinterest. There were a lot of touches I wanted, some which we managed, some which we didn’t.
I designed the wedding invites, table plans and table names, with each one named after a country we’d been to, in a water colour style. I’m not a designer but it was something I enjoyed doing and learning so we thought we’d do it ourselves.
Most of my French wedding-style items came from the UK, since it was so hard to search for things online in France. I found blackboards, lavender confetti, jars for my memory notes and a ‘santa’s sack’ for our cards and gifts, usually on ebay. But our favours were one of my favourite DIY touches. We ordered them from a soap maker we’d found in Cassis.
I then wrapped them while Jono was on his stag weekend in Budapest using paper, tape and twine from the local art shop. Our name tags were on tiny glass vials which I ordered from ebay. We planned to put Polish vodka in each one but when they arrived, they were a lot smaller than I expected so we ended up stuffing them with lavender and sticking name tags on them instead! On the table we asked our florist to put together a mish mash of jars filled with flowers instead of an elaborate table centre.”
“We chose not to have a DJ or a band, going for a playlist instead. I was really nervous about it but it turned out to be one of the best decisions we’d made. Our playlist, made for us by our friend Will, had amazing music from modern dance tunes to eighties classics to laid-back French music for the dinner. Our dance-floor, once opened, didn’t empty until 4am.”
On the day:
“Many things went wrong – the florist delivered flowers to the wrong place, our caterer running out of meat, I didn’t get time to get a pedicure so I had to DIY them too, going for the only nail varnish I had to hand, a mint green to match the bridesmaid dresses. But in the end it didn’t matter. People had a great time and we loved having everyone there with us in the South of France partying the night away.”
Advice for planning:
“Let people help. We had lots of offers of help but because most people were far away and didn’t speak French, this was difficult to take up. But once people arrived, on the days in the run up to the wedding, they’re help was invaluable. Think very carefully before planning a wedding abroad, especially if you don’t speak the language and there isn’t a strong infrastructure in place to help with the whole process. If you do want to plan one abroad getting a wedding planner would be a good investment!”
Photography : Meredith Lord | Venue : Chateau de la Mogere in Montpellier, France | Florist : Josephine Fleuriste | Design : Pink Event | Wedding Dress : San Patrick at Mia Sposa Hatton Garden Z| Bridesmaid Dresses : Etsy | Brides Shoes : BHLDN Groom’s Attire : Burton Menswear | Rings : Jon Keith Diamonds