Come with us and be transported to the art deco era today, for a wonderful destination wedding at Chateau de Lartigolle in the Gers region of South West France. Today’s couple Mary and Alun, planned a day full of surprises and personalised details to entertain and amaze their guests, at their vintage inspired wedding.
Bride Mary takes us through their big day: “My husband and I got married at Chateau De Lartigolle in a small village in the South West of France.
We chose an Art Deco theme as this has always been an era I have thought is classically beautiful, and fell in love with again after the release of the Great Gatsby film last year.
We designed a webpage to send to our closest friends and family to explain all details of our destination wedding. The art deco theme of the website we kept throughout our wedding and replicated for all wedding items including; wedding invites, table menus, table plans and other decorative items.
My dress was called ‘Daphne’ a 1930’s design by an Australian dress designer called Sarah Janks. I chose a Juliet Cap style veil designed by Vivien Sheriff and an art deco headpiece called ‘Artemis’ designed by Polly Edwards.
My ‘something blue’ were the infamous ‘Carrie shoes’ from Sex and the City – the Manolo Blahniks, recently also chosen by Oliver Palermo as her wedding shoe.
Alun (my husband) had his suit custom made by Dave Berry’s part-owned tailor’s October House, and had our initials embroidered into the collar of his jacket. He matched his jacket lining and waistcoat to my shoes.
Our Groomsmen wore matching blue suits and brown shoes, all not ties.
My bridesmaids wore Gatsby scallop silver dresses with 1930’s style silver shoes. They wore leafy (to match my dress design) silver head bands in their hair. Our flower-girls wore scallop edge pink dresses with gold trimmings and pink flower head bands. Their dresses matched our flower styles. I gave them corsages to wear around their wrists in place of bouquets.
We wanted to make the Ceremony as personal as possible. For this reason we flew our lifelong family friend who is a Reverend, out to France to marry us. I also asked my Mum to sing during the ceremony, my older sister to read a poem she wrote for us, and Alun’s very close Auntie to read a reading she chose, plus a surprise poem I wrote for Alun.
To finish the ceremony we wanted to celebrate with a bang, so given our love for Formula 1 and Champagne we had a ‘champagne spray’ to the Formula 1 celebration music (Bizet’s Los Toreadors). At the same time as we sprayed the guests (it was 35 degrees so a very welcome spray) the chateau dropped a banner from the chateau wall behind us saying “Juste Marie” Just Married in French. We drank our celebratory champagne from 2 vintage antique 1930 crystal champagne saucers.
Our reception featured a local jazz/country band playing in the sun of the back chateau terrace. All drinks were served in champagne saucers we had sourced specially due to their Art Deco link. After having white rose petals as confetti thrown on us, and lots of photos, we moved the guests to the courtyard.
I asked my sister’s tree surgeon partner to make us a swing to hang from one of the chateau trees. He made a beautiful oak double swing that was engraved with our names and the wedding date. He decorated this with flowers and hung the rope spelling “M” from a tree overlooking the valley. It was so much fun swinging on this on the wedding day and made for some amazing photos.
In the courtyard we set-up a huge frame and instant camera link so guests could take photos of themselves. We supplied lots of Gatsby-style dress-up pieces e.g. boater hats, pearls, cloche hats, braces, cigarette holders and feather boas for the pictures. The guests looked brilliant and very vintage. Whilst guests had photos we took the official family/friends shots on some stone steps with the chateau behind us.
For the speeches and dinner we made our entrance after having a quick change which meant losing my veil and Al losing his jacket and wearing his waistcoat.
We sat under a canopy of trees and white pom poms on some old vintage rugs whilst the men gave speeches across the courtyard.
Then we ate. The food was amazing. We chose oysters, prawns and terrine to start. Beef with a range of salads for mains, and eton mess for dessert. It was all served on rustic sharing slates and had a very informal feel.
I bought brooches which I tied to ribbons for every guests napkins and we gave each guest a menu, Welsh slate coaster or golf ball, all ‘branded’ as described above.
I also bought 3 beautifully smelling Jo Malone candles for the tables that became our wedding scent. I sourced silver candle sticks with crystal pendants and bought lots of art deco glass vases for flowers across the tables. I wanted a very white and silver chic feel with only the flowers softening this and introducing some colour.
As the sun set and the candles started burning more brightly across the courtyard we moved to our evening section. I threw my bouquet of hydrangeas, peonies, ornitogale, and roses – that had a very natural fluffy papery look.
Then we moved to cut the cake. We chose to bring a cake from the UK rather than use the traditional French croquembouche. We chose a very plain square design (to resemble my emerald cut engagement ring) with 3 tiers. 1 victoria sponge, 1 chocolate and 1 carrot cake – our favourite flavours. It was decorated with our wedding flowers and candles.
Next was our first dance under the tree canopy now strung with twinkling fairy lights. We gave each of our guests sparklers which they waved as we danced to our first dance song “You are the sunshine of my life”. It was very magical.
We had a few traditional dances out on the rugs under the canopy then I had another surprise up my sleeve for Alun. Lots of us had devised a dance (flash mob style) for the Groom to Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’ song. He was extremely surprised and we had so much fun. Dance/wedding video here.
Our final surprise for our guests was to lead them from the courtyard and down to the Cave. There is a huge underground cellar which we had organised for a band to play in. It was set-up with more rustic carpets and a bar. The guests all partied there until the early hours of the morning and were astonished that this was organised under the chateau without them knowing.
The piece de resistance came the next day when we invited all guests back to the Chateau for a BBQ and sunbathe round the pool. I decided to jump into the pool with my wedding dress on. It was brilliant and all guests followed suit quickly after.
It really was a stunning fairy-tale French wedding that so many guests have told me was the best they had ever been to. I certainly loved organising it and I think the pictures and video will demonstrate just how beautiful it was.”
Photographer: Matthew Weinreb | Videographer : Mischke Weinreb | Venue: Chateau Lartigolle | Wedding Dress “Daphne” by Sarah Janks | Veil – “Cassia” by Vivienne Sheriff | Headpiece – “Artemis” by Polly Edwards | Bride’s Shoes – Manolo Blahnik | Grooms Suit – October House | Bridesmaid Dresses – Monsoon | Flower-girl Dresses – Next | Groomsmen suits – Marks & Spencer | Rings – Eric Ross, Hatton Garden | Caterer – cooked by venue; Emma, Chris & Nick www.lartigolle.com | Reception band – Abarrejadis |Cave party band – Fuzz