Today I am bringing you the real life wedding South West France of Dan and Caroline held at Chateau du Puit es Pratx in a rustic french glam style. You may remember Chateau du Puits es Pratx from one of the previous real life weddings of Thalia and Jason’s last year.
There are many weddings that I view for consideration for the blog and I have to say I would have LOVED to have been a guest at this wedding. Dan and Caroline combine their retro style with hand made elements to create a stylised yet personal wedding, and the old school Renault car placement is genius!
“Dan and I are regular visitors to south-west France and have grown very fond of the place over the years. When we decided to get married we both decided it was the place to hold our wedding, and give us a chance to show our family and friends this lovely part of the world. It’s quite tricky to get married legally in France as either the bride or groom must have lived in the town for a last a month.
As that wasn’t practical, we had a quick registry office ceremony in the UK a week before leaving for France but it didn’t detract from our real ‘big day’. Saying our vows in the sunshine, in front of all our family and friends who had traveled so far to be with us, was easily one of the best moments of my life.”
We wanted our guests to treat our wedding as a relaxing holiday, and – I hope – that’s exactly what they got. Everyone stayed on site at the Chateau, or in the nearby town, and our days were spent by the pool, sightseeing, going to the beach, or hiring boats on the Canal du Midi.
The Chateau owners, who worked incredibly hard to make our weekend a very special one, put on a welcome meal for guests arriving on the Thursday, and we organised a meal in a local restaurant the night before the wedding (which turned into a raucous affair!) and the weekend was rounded off with a pool party and barbecue. It was all washed down with plenty of local wine
Our only near-disaster was the wedding tree, which formed the central part of the ceremony. I’d had it printed in England before we left, but didn’t realise it had been damaged until about three hours before the ceremony. Luckily one of the Chateau owners has a degree in Fine Art, immediately picked up her pencils and drew the most beautiful tree as a replacement.
4I was very, very touched. The tree was framed and placed on an easel for the ceremony, pencils attached with lace. We put our thumbprints on the tree during the ceremony, as did our parents, with the guests adding theirs during the course of the day. My mum stitched a swag of fabric for the arch we married under, which was fastened with bunches of flowers and a chandelier I bought on eBay. Vintage paper parasols – again, sourced on eBay and flea markets – were provided for the guests. I drew the chandelier for the Order of Service cards which were designed and printed by my twin sister, Kelly.
When I walked into the courtyard for the wedding meal I was blown away by how beautiful it looked. Jugs and glass bottles filled with flowers sat on each table, and the lighting was stunning. There were candelabras hanging from the trees, fairy lights woven through the branches and Chinese lanterns strung high above the tables.
I drew a lot of my inspiration for the table decor from the local area, and I was keen to use mini-blackboards, like in the markets. I found some pretty fabric-trimmed ones from Gisela Graham which were placed on mini-easels for the table numbers. Ironically, the French soap favours were bought at my favourite shop, RE in Corbridge, and not at the local market in France as planned! They too perfect to resist.
The day before the ceremony my friend Fran and I sat giggling in my room as we put together the finishing touches. She tied the soaps with twine as I made the table seating plan. I stretched twine across the back of a vintage gold oval frame and pegged the seating plans to the twine. I then decorated the whole thing with vintage fabric flowers and jewellery. It was a bit fiddly and we both managed to superglue our fingers together in the process! The frame was then hung from a tree in the courtyard which looked beautiful.
Food and wine was a big part of the weekend so we decided to provide two meals on the wedding day. The first was a pre-wedding picnic which was held in the garden at the Chateau. We brought charity-shop sourced blankets from the UK and bought picnic baskets from the local market in Olonzac which Sasha filled with home-made quiche, cheese muffins and salads, served with wine spritzers and jugs of beer.
The parasols were put to good use by lounging guests as it was very hot in the midday sun. Other guests played boules and splashed in the pool. It was everything we had imagined – good friends having a good time together.
The wedding meal was a buffet spread of suckling pig followed by a ‘buffet of desserts’ – Paris brest, tarte au citroen, cannelet au rhum among others – presented on vintage cake stands and mini blackboards I bought from a little shop in Seahouses, Northumberland. Photos of all the married couples at the wedding were on an adjacent table in frames I had – again! – sourced from charity shops.
My dress was an easy find. I wanted something vintage-looking with lace and cap-sleeves and the first dress I set eyes on was ‘it’. I tried on some others in the shop first, but as soon as I slipped into it I felt perfect. My mum and sister nodded sagely in agreement and that was it! I adored wearing it and refused to take it off on the day, even though I was red hot after dancing in the wine cave all evening.
It even survived a quick bounce on the trampoline in the dark with Dan, losing just two buttons in the process. The shoes proved a little more tricky and I went through four pairs before finding the perfect ones on eBay. Dan wanted to choose his own outfit and looked dapper in his tie and braces!”
Thanks to Dan and Caroline for sharing their big day with us and to Heather from Brighton Photo for capturing the memories.
Please leave your comments for the lovely couple.
Photography Heather Shuker at Brighton Photo
Ceremony Venue: Chateau du Puits es Pratx, Ginestas
Reception Venue: Chateau du Puit es Pratx, Ginestas
Bride’s Dress: Eternity Bride (You Are Precious Bridal)
Bride’s Shoes: Ebay
Bride’s Headpiece: Charlotte Balbier
Bride’s Jewellery: Mum’s pearl earrings, Dan wore my granddad’s Omega watch, which I gave him the night before the ceremony.
Groom’s Outfit: High Street – Topshop, H&M
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Coast
Cake: Cake of French cheese provided by the Chateau
Flowers: Agapanthe, soft-colour roses and freesia Thistles – as Dan is Scottish – in the buttonholes
DJ: Our friend Mark
Stationery: Designed by my twin sister, Kelly, handdrawn by me
Caterers: Chateau Puits es Pratx
Reception Decor/Props: Mixture of handmade by me, eBay and charity shop finds, and Sasha at the Chateau
Favours: French soap