We are opening the book on another fabulous week with the real wedding in Loire Valley in France, of Beth and Steve. The lush scenery, rolling hills and hidden beauty French buildings around every corner, means that the Loire Valley is a treasure trove of beautiful photographic opportunities and a place to let your mind be free. Today’s spiritual real wedding was captured by Ian Holmes Photography, for a truly unique and personalised wedding day for our lovely couple.
Beth takes us through their love story: “Steve and I met through a long time mutual family friend, Lin Martin, who is a transmedium psychic. Lin was at my mother’s house in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving one year when he invited me to join him for seminar on meditation and energy healing he was holding outside of Phoenix, Arizona. When I agreed to join him he became very jubilant and told me there was a young man there that he felt was an old soul friend of mine.
Sensing a set-up, I firmly stated that I was taking a much needed beak from the dating scene and that I would travel to Phoenix for my spiritual enhancement but nothing more. Of course Lin was right, when Steve and I met it was like best friends had been reunited and within days we planned my move to Phoenix, to the great shock of both our friends and family, but not to Lin. We couldn’t imagine our wedding day without Lin and his wife, Torill, both of whom so kindly flew down from Norway (where they currently live) to marry us in France.
Steve and I traveled to Los Angeles to spend Thanksgiving with my family, unknowingly he had planned a surprise adventure for us. He pretended to get lost while drving in the Valley and when I offered to drive, he said to relax and that it would be fun to explore LA. Well, we ended up at a small airstrip where he hired a helicopter and pilot to fly us over the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica beach, before landing on top of a hill in Malibu canyon. It was there with a beautiful view of the Pacific ocean that he said he wanted to have many new adventures together, opened my favorite bottle of champagne and popped the question.
We wanted our wedding to beautiful and intimate and to share a new experience together with our closest friends and family.
We had originally wanted to book a beautiful villa for a week for our friends and family to come stay at and have a wedding on the property. After lots of research on different villas and we figured that coordinating what we wanted to be a simple wedding, would be to complicated with the language barrier. So when we came across a wedding package for the chateau we figured that was the easiest and most stress free option. Also, neither of us had ever been to the Loire Valley and living in Portland, and we were drawn to the lush greenery of the area.
Our style/theme was ever changing, mostly because we didn’t want to restrict our selves or spend a lot of money to make it to theme specific. We cared more about having a beautiful setting, which we felt would inevitable have the most impact on the day. I think the details we did choose reflected our personal style of being classic with interesting organic details.
I had always imagined getting married with flowers in my hair, so for simplicity sake and because I love jasmine, our florist made me a wild flower crown to go along with my bouquet. I definitely used Pinterest a lot and just followed a lot of the wedding blogs (Style Me Pretty, French Wedding Style, Fete in France, etc) to get ideas on hair styles, flower arrangements and special touches, and of course to find the best photographer.
The wedding dress is from BHLDN, Anthropologies wedding store, and the groom’s suit and accessories are from J. Crew. My hair accessories were from the Etsy shop ShesAccessories. Our friend Liz Rohe made special pins for Steve and all his friends to wear with their boutonnieres with a picture of Steve’s brother, Brandon, to remind them that he was there with us.
The day started with a magical “bridal send off” from all the women in the group (and Jean Luc). I was blind folded and led out to a tree with dozens of origami cranes hanging from the branches, surrounded by all the women as they sang In My Life by the Beatles, before individually coming up to me with their well wishes and words of love and encouragement.
Afterwards we had a few minutes to run through the rehearsal, before getting ready and sneaking in a quick boudoir shoot. Although, we had rehearsed a couple of run throughs, when it came time for my father to walk me down the isle, Steve’s two friends who were manning the door shut the them after the bridal party went through, but for got to reopen it for our grand entrance.
We stood their waiting for the doors to open, and soon my dad started saying, “Open the door,” increasing in volume with each request, until I finally had to knock on the door for them to open it, the ridiculousness of which caused me to giggle with my father as we tried to walk slowly down the isle in sync to All You Need is Love. The ceremony was beautiful.
The audience was asked to participate in a short meditation then to put all their energy, love and support in to our rings before we placed them on each others fingers. After the ceremony our guests enjoyed cocktails and canapés in doors, as we tried to catch the hide and seek bits of sunshine in between the short spurts of rain and clouds. We ended the evening with a candlelight dinner, as our friends and family made their toasts, followed by dancing into the night.
Because we chose to do the wedding package we agreed to let many of the details go and just enjoy the experience. Communication was definitely slow (1-2 weeks for an email response) and frustrating at times, but as I understand this is the way in France.
So unlike having a wedding somewhere local, not being able to see the location and meet the people beforehand was definitely hard and lead to some disappointments.
I think my number one piece of advice I would give is that unless you are familiar with the area and it’s vendors and speak really good french, you want to hire a wedding planner. They can make sure everything (small or big) is done the way you expect, so that you can relax and enjoy the wedding and it will also save you a lot of time and stress. France is beautiful and with all its historic architecture and picturesque landscapes, it’s such a romantic place to be married so no matter what happens it’s going to be amazing.“
Read more real weddings in Loire Valley here