Hello everyone! Prepare to be filled with with elegant wedding inspiration this afternoon, as I have the most wonderful Spring wedding celebration to share with you – the prettiest of handmade and DIY affairs set deep within the charmingly picturesque backdrop of the South of France. The bride, a French interior designer and the groom, a designer/animator for Blazar, tied the knot on 31 May 2014, and used their love of graphics, colour, flowers and vintage antique decor as their inspiration.
The couple, who both adore strong graphics and vintage and antique objects, chose to have a colourful wedding, with punchy graphics mixed with bucketful of flowers that were styled in an array of colourful, milk and cut glass vases.
“My Reem Acra gown was amazing to wear, so comfortable, impossibly soft, quite sophisticated with the beads and the pleats work, yet relatively minimalist as it didn’t have any lace in it.”
“I loved the very simple hem of the skirt, and was very pleased with it when I brought my dress to be dry cleaned after the wedding and I saw the damage that lace dresses can occur.”
One of the things I love most about this wedding are the bright flowers. As one of the main features, the couple, together with family and friends, put a lot of effort into collecting, growing and arranging an assortment of colours and styles – so so beautiful!
“Flowers played a very important part in our wedding. We chose to get married in May because we believe that is when the flowers are at their most glorious in the South of France, and it was a set thing that I was to do the flowers myself. Living next to Columbia Road flower market was a very practical things and meant I could ‘train myself’ most weekends. It also meant that we could budget for a very large amount of flowers, and make them the biggest feature of the wedding. On the Thursday, two friends and I drove to nearby Aix-En-Provence’s flower market and filled the rental car with buckets and buckets of flowers. The market sellers were a bit astonished but extremely encouraging!
“All was going well, however over the last two days before the wedding day, more and more things came on my plate, and it seemed that I would not be able to sleep on the night before the wedding if I indeed were to prepare the arrangements! So the night before, a few of our amazing friends and family (men included!) stepped up, and worked quite late into the night cutting and arranging everything whilst the groom and I finalised the table plan.
When I came down for a break, I literally burst out crying from the beauty they were creating. I definitely wouldn’t have done it better.”
On the morning of the wedding, my American friend Echo, who is also a budding florist, created my bouquet from a few choice stems she had set aside and from olive branches and garden roses she picked from the property’s grounds. It was perfect and smelt wonderful.”
“Because we hired the wedding venue for the two weeks surrounding the wedding day, many of our friends came well ahead or stayed afterwards the wedding, and we managed to spend the days relaxing and playing by the pool, while quietly (and not so quietly during the last two days before wedding day!) preparing the wedding, finishing DIYs, setting up areas and cooking up a storm!
Our friends are really keen for group holidays, and the week before the wedding was a great way to enjoy and celebrate our friendship in an even more meaningful way. It was really moving to see to what lengths our friends were willing to go in helping us create our special day and we felt very lucky to have them by our side for the start of our married life. That week, to us, definitely felt part of the whole wedding event.”
“The amazing owner of the first seemingly suitable place we found turned out to be very keen to host our wedding at his beautiful Bastide, a Provencal farm house in South Luberon, France. The grounds were incredible, the house extremely beautiful, and we were able to host about 15 of our friends on the spot for the 2 weeks surrounding the wedding, for the same price we would have paid to book a specific wedding venue for just 36 hours.
It also allowed us to determine every aspect of the wedding ourselves, something that is difficult with venues specialising in weddings in France as, often, they only accept suppliers from their preferred lists.”
“After finishing my degree in 2008, I moved to London as I’ve always been enamoured with British culture. At the time, I was quite involved in the music industry, and had just launched my own record label. Five days after my move, I went to a record release party in Dalston, and as the party went on, and after exchanging numerous stealth glances, I managed to give my name (I didn’t know my new phone number by heart yet!) to a very handsome ginger guy as he was about to leave, telling him to ‘find me on Facebook!’.
He did fine me and our online courtship lasted for two weeks, after which, we had our first date, and thereafter became inseparable.”
“On the eve of our 5th Anniversary, as we were getting ready at home before flying to Copenhagen for the weekend, M asked me if it was ok if he gave me my anniversary present now. I was a bit sheepish, as the present I had gotten him hadn’t arrived in the post yet, but agreed. He asked me to turn around, and when I turned back, he was on his knees trembling a little.
After a manic Barclays bike ride to London Bridge Station, in order to catch our train and then our plane, we got to celebrate both our anniversary and our engagement for the whole weekend in the lovely Danish capital.”
“As French weddings require you to have a civil ceremony at the Mairie, whether you chose to do a religious or humanist type ceremony as well, the groom and I decided to wear different, simpler outfits for that part of the day. For this, I paired a lovely circle skirt from Asos with a lacey top from The Kooples over a silk camisole. It was very comfortable, not too expensive and a little bit more appropriate for that part of the day. The big bonus is that I got to wear the outfit again later on in the night, allowing me to properly let loose on the dance floor!”
“I chose not to have a veil, as it is to me a somewhat religious symbol and we had a non-religious wedding. There were flowers involved in the hairdo however, which we refreshed during the day by picking up whatever was at hand from the grounds!”
I wore ‘Luna’ by Jimmy Choo for the civil ceremony, which were a gift from the groom, and a pair of Chloe ballerinas for the rest of the day, as I did not want to think and worry about tired feet! They also were my something blue.”
The bride wore a divine dress by Reem Acra for the humanist afternoon ceremony. And for the civil ceremony in the morning (and for partying late into the night!) she wore fashionable bridal separates. But it wasn’t an easy process for her – with our bride having a change of heart from her original choice; a French designer dress by Laure de Sagazan.
“I decided to purchase my ‘dream dream’ dress, a Reem Acra design, with the intent of selling it after the wedding, as it was triple the amount of my original choice Laure de Sagazan gown. My dress arrived just in time for the wedding, and everything fell into place. I felt at ease and very comfortable on the day, and I’m so glad I made the decision to go with my gut rather than with reason.
A few months later I read this Love My Dress feature by Emma Meek of Miss Bush Bridal, which made me realise I definitely wasn’t the only one to ‘fall out of love’ with a dress, and it reinforced my sentiment that no one should feel guilty when this happens. One should feel truly confident on her wedding day, and if that means changing the wedding dress, and it is logistically possible, then do it!”
“I always thought it was a bit unfair for the mother of the bride not to have an equally ‘visible’ role as the father on wedding day, and I wasn’t so keen on the idea of being ‘given away’ by a man to another. I asked both of my parents if they would walk me down the aisle together. I think my mum was very touched by this and it was amazing to have them both by my side as we walked towards a new chapter in my life.”
The couple didn’t wear specific scents, but being in a hot climate meant constant use of suncream – and I love this little touch of how a scent can ignite a memory …
“As it was really rather sunny during our two weeks in the South of France and our honeymoon in Italy, we had to constantly apply sun protection. We bought French products from a brand called Hei Poa which smells of Tahitian Gardenia – heavenly. The smell was so prescient, any whiff of it since brings back beautiful memories of our wedding and moments surrounding it; something we really hadn’t planned but which has been really fun to experience. As a result, I would definitely advise to try and find a lovely smell to create an olfactive background to this unique time in your life!”
Talking of the sense, you might want to read this feature about wedding perfume.
According to tradition, the French do not have bridesmaids or groomsmen, so the couple had witnesses, who each wore their own attire, together with the flower girls and page boys dressed in white, and very cute, mismatched styles.
“As a thank you, we both gave items of jewellery to our witnesses. I gave a crystal bullet pendant to my British witness, and an amethyst ring to my French witness, while my husband gave vintage tie-pins to his witnesses.”
“My engagement ring was my husband’s grandmother’s ring, a 1920s diamond solitaire. We decided to keep things vintage, and found both our wedding rings at the Ullmann family’s treasure shop in Hatton Garden. My wedding ring is also from the 1920s, an eternity ring in white gold, and my husband’s ring is yellow gold with amazing cutouts from the 1970s.”
The wedding party walked down the aisle to Hans Zimmer’s ‘You’re So Cool from the True Romance movie soundtrack and the couple wrote their own vows … in both English and French … and luckily had the help of a bilingual master of ceremonies!
“We wrote our own vows and kept them secret from each other until the ceremony. We decided to tell them both in English and French, as most of the guests didn’t speak the other language, and we think the vows are probably the most important and meaningful part of the day… It was a bit stressful for my husband to say the least. Our ‘Master of Ceremony’, who is bilingual, helped him with the translation and pronunciation of his vows during the few days prior to the wedding.”
“I believe this was really the most emotional and beautiful moment of our lives so far, and I am so glad we wrote our own vows. Every marriage is different, and it’s brilliant to have a thought through and personal text to remind you exactly why you decided to get married to this person, and how you hope to keep the relationship as happy and loving as possible.
We are planning on (maybe rewriting them first!) framing them, and hanging them in our wardrobe so that every morning – if we chose to look at them, that is! – we are reminded of the promises we made to each other.”
“My husband’s father used to be a vicar, so he constructed a beautiful and meaningful ceremony for us, to which we asked a few close people to add contributions. It was amazing to have such a close person officiate, and the level of emotion was probably rendered particularly high by having a dad marry his son. As neither of us are religious, the ceremony had more of a humanist touch, but my mum, who is Catholic, sang a version (in French) of the famous extract of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians – whose message is quite universal.
We asked one of our closest friend and former housemate to read out the lyrics of Chet Baker’s Time after Time, a song which we’ve listened to countless time as a couple, and with lyrics that speak of a very simple but comfortable love – something we both aspire to have for the rest of our lives. Finally, my cousin read extracts of Fragments d’Un Discours Amoureux by Roland Barthes.”
“I don’t think I have only one favourite part of the day! But highlights for us were: our sneaking out for a moment, between the civil ceremony and the start of the wedding party proper, when we went for a drive to a nearby village, and walked around, drinking Perrier, just the two of us, as legally married for the first time!
The garden ceremony was incredibly emotional and definitely the most important part of the day; speeches, which were so so hilarious and moving, and in the middle of the night, an impromptu dance show from the male attendants to Kool & The Gang’s Ladies Night.”
“My husband wore two different outfits! He first wore a pale grey and somewhat relaxed suit from Carven for the civil ceremony at the town hall, and then put on an aubergine Burberry suit, which he accessorised with a Paul Smith shirt and Lanvin bowtie.”
“The venue was truly beautiful and magical in itself, the owners having a very keen eye for design and beauty, we did not need to do much. However, as an interior designer, I do have a love for the little details, and we had brought over a (very!) large collection of items to personalise the wedding a little bit further.
We mostly used vintage vases throughout the reception, to display bundles of flowers, but also had antique jugs filled with nice homemade cocktails, a mass of glass candle holders and we must have used about 15 or 20 pressed glass stands to display the cake and cheeses in our deserts buffet. It was a very fun labour of love sourcing all our items, from Devon charity shops to the famous Sunbury Antiques market, and I’m actually really glad we did it, as we now get to enjoy our much too big collection of precious items for the rest of our lives!”
“My husband is a designer, so it was obvious to us that we would design our stationery ourselves. It was actually one of the things he was really looking forward to! As it turns out, we chose to go with a rather complex printing method called Risograph – which produces very fresh and vibrant results – but which also provoked a couple of hair pulling sessions for the poor groom. To complicate things even further, we got the invitations printed and foiled in both languages, as not many of our guests were bilingual. In the end, however, we both agree that the efforts were worth it.”
“Because this was a destination wedding for most of our 130 guests, we decided to make the wedding weekend last longer and, as well as a ‘welcome dinner’ in a local restaurant on the Friday night, we organised a pool party on the Sunday back at the wedding venue.
There was a pizza truck to feed the hangovers, lawn games and badminton, and a lot of very entertaining pool action. Many of our friends told us that, in fact, the Sunday was one of their most favourite days ever, which I’m not too sure how to take, but makes me very glad we decided to prolong the festivities.”
“As a lot of people made a holiday of the wedding, and had rented apartments and villas, we asked, if they were keen, if they could make desserts for the wedding buffet (an idea I found on Love My Dress!). We bought quite an assortment of French cheeses from the local supermarket, my mum made the most official looking naked wedding cake, which was a combination of a simple lemon and poppyseed sponge, with a verbena whipped cream and blackberry jam. She had great fun creating the recipe over the few months prior to the wedding.
My American friend Kat made a chocolate cake covered with whipped cream, one of the strongest memory of my year spent in the US as a teenager… there were also fruit pies, madeleines, lavender shortbreads, a giant pavlova, fresh local cherries and choux à la crème from a renowned local patisserie, La Maison Jouvaud, which to us were the perfect alternative to the traditional – and slightly stuffy – french croquembouche.”
“During cocktail time, we had large dispensers of homemade alcoholic and alcohol-free iced teas, and a certain quantity of Champagne, which a friend working in hospitality helped us source directly from the vineyard, as well as a divine local rosé wine. We had done some local wine tasting with our families, following our previous visit to Provence back in Christmas, and managed to get very good and super local wines for the wedding dinner.
German friends also brought with them bottles of Club Mate, a natural energy drink which is relatively popular in Berlin, and which helped keep energy levels up on the dancefloor.”
“We definitely wanted to gift our guests with some local culinary presents. By chance, the owners of the wedding property make their own incredibly fresh-tasting olive oil from the grove in which our dinner reception was held, which turned out to be certainly the most appropriate, delicious and rather useful present. We made sure to buy 100ml glass bottles, so our guests could take them home by plane, and the handwritten tags served as place cards on the tables too.”
“Our first dance was to ‘The Glow of Love’ by Change, an 1980’s disco track with perfectly fitting lyrics and which is a banging track to boot! We’re very into the old disco and house music scene and my husband and our DJ friend spent hours in the weeks leading to the wedding creating the perfect playlist of 70s, 80s and 90s tracks. We all danced until about 5am, aiming to catch the first sun rays, but tiredness overcame us sadly!”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Definitely set the idea of what kind of wedding you want from the start. There is no need to create extra DIY work, and ultimately stress, for yourself if you are not that kind of girl and your fiancé isn’t that kind of guy. Try to enjoy the planning and be kind to each other throughout. This will only happen once in your life, and is worth taking your time to obtain exactly what you really (both) want, but it would be a shame to have a tainted memory of all the months leading up to one of the most important day in your life
In particular, take the time to really prepare together the wedding ceremony, as it truly is the heart of your wedding and marriage, and what will remain of that one fleeting day!”
“I am very glad that we got married less than a year after our engagement, because we were both eager to become husband and wife and had a couple of other major projects in the pipeline. It also meant that – as a perfectionist – I didn’t spend too much time agonising on wedding decisions, which, in the end, don’t matter so much. As long as you have everyone warm, fed, watered and having fun, and that you get to marry the love of your life, then your wedding will be a wild success. However I would advise any newly betrothed to really enjoy the fleeting moment during which they are engaged but haven’t yet started to organise their wedding. It is a truly blissful moment, and there will always be time later to pull your hair at the guest list and the budget!
On the day itself though, let go and enjoy, even if a few mishaps happen! Hopefully you will have a few amazing friends who will take the reigns and solve problems as they appear, without you even hearing of it! And make sure to plan out a luxurious and restful honeymoon. You will need it!
Oh and one final one! Have a wedding hashtag! I wasn’t too convinced about it at first, but my witness created a rather cute and silly one, which everyone ended up using throughout the times spent together surrounding the wedding, and it has created a rather brilliant and diverse photo album of those two golden weeks for everyone. Really worth it.”
Thank you so much to the fabulous bride and groom for these lovely kind words. I’ve just loved sharing your nuptials – what a wonderful idea to have a 2-week long celebration/holiday, for you and your guests! And the photos by Kerstin and Kirk are just magic and highlight the fun and happy vibe to a tee.
Be sure to click here for more stunning Reem Acra design inspo we have previously featured on Love My Dress.
Here’s to a brilliant sunshine-filled week ahead!
Love Jo xx
Photographers – Kerstin Zu Pan and Kirk Kingston Watson
Venue – A private Bastide (Provencal farm house) in South Luberon, France
Bride’s Dress – Reem Acra + Asos skirt + The Kooples top
Bride’s Shoes – ‘Luna’ by Jimmy Choo and Chloe ballerina flats
Bride’s Hair – fresh flowers
Bride’s Jewellery – Pearl pendant via Esme
Scent/Perfume – French brand of sun protection, Hei Poa
Groom – pale grey suit via Carven, aubergine suit via Burberry work with Paul Smith shirt + Lanvin bowtie
Flowers – bought from French flower market and handgrown and arranged by family and friends
Witnesses/Flowergirls/Pageboys – own attire
Decor – Sunbury Antiques
Catering – supplied via guests + Glaces Scaramouche
Cake – made by the bride’s mum + La Maison Jouvaud
Favours – small bottles of olive oil from the venue
Rings – Ullmann in Hatton Garden
Stationery – designed by the groom and printed by Hato Press
Hair & Makeup – by the bride’s sisters and witness
Tent rental – 10×15
Lights rental – Steel Addict
Entertainment – friends as DJ’s