Caroline Castigliano Elegance and an Evening Skirt by Savin London for a Romantic, Black Tie Chateau Wedding in the South of France

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Wedding dreamers, planners and lovers, I’ve got such a romantic destination celebration to share with you today, which all took place at a fairytale of a French chateau come to life.

It’s also filled with elegant touches; the gentlemen in classic black tie, and a bride wearing two brilliant British luxury designers we love – Caroline Castigliano and Savin London.

Our bride’s outfits, and those of her bridesmaids and flowergirls, are also testament to the vision and skill of a bridal boutique we’re very proud to include in our Little Book directory, too – Agapé Bridal Boutique. This is the wedding of Mr and Mrs Rainford: Holly, who works in corporate finance, and James, who works in sports insurance.

Charlotte Palazzo Photography + Follow

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The couple were married on the 24 August 2019, travelling to the magnificent Chateau de Cazenac in the Dordogne region of the South of France. It was a four day celebration in the sunshine, planned to perfection by Debbie Rainford from Fabulous Together.

Holly wore bespoke ivory heels by Jimmy Choo, and a pair of diamond cluster stud earrings gifted to her by her dad. Her wedding day perfume was Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, and her veil, edged with a shower of delicate applique petals was made by Agapé Bridal Boutique.

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The flowergirls wore ivory dresses made by Karen at Agapé Bridal Boutique, and didn’t they look wonderful alongside the junior bridesmaids in Ghost London dresses? I love the combination of sweet Peter Pan collars, sleeves edged with lace to match Holly’s veil, and pretty silk sashes in ivory and pink, to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.

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Holly visited different boutiques, but was struggling to find the dress she wanted. Until, that is, she stepped into Agapé Bridal Boutique and spoke with owner Karen.

“I really can’t big up this shop enough! When I walked into Agapé, I knew this was where I wanted to get my dress from although I still hadn’t found it. Karen offered to make me one, and we progressed by trying on different styles and picking bits and bobs from different designs to come up with something bespoke.”

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Holly chose the clean, contemporary lines of  Caroline Castigliano’s ‘Simplicity’ dress; a strapless crepe gown, to which a detachable Bardot style neckline detail was added. We adore Little Book member Caroline’s elegant designs, not to mention the fact that each dress is handcrafted in the UK, too.

“I wanted a simple, elegant dress, and a party dress to twirl in for the evening.”

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Holly’s other bridesmaids wore long pink chiffon dresses from Watters via Agapé Bridal Boutique.

The flowergirls also wore gypsophila crowns in their hair, and Holly and the bridesmaids carried elegant bouquets of white roses, waxflowers and greenery by My Wedding Florist.

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Annie Salmon styled Holly’s hair, keeping it loose in beautiful waves, and adding a crystal and pearl floral hair clip from Agapé. Make-up artist Mel Kinsman created a timelessly glamorous look for Holly, too.

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James opted for classic black tie with a cutaway waistcoat from Charles Tyrwhitt, which he wore with shoes, belt and cufflinks by Hugo Boss. The groomsmen wore matching suits, but in contrasting navy blue with black lapels.

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The couple’s ceremony room was decorated with beautiful white drapes, floral chandeliers and fairylights, and Holly and her dad walked down an aisle lined with lanterns, candles and flowers. Entrance music was Canon in D, by Pachelbel.

“We met at a Manchester professionals networking event – we knew a lot of the same people already. We got engaged after 2 years of being together. James took me to Canada for my 30th birthday, and proposed by Sunwapta Falls in Alberta. We were then engaged for almost 2 years before the wedding in France.”

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Celebrant Lisa Lister crafted a unique and beautiful ceremony for the couple, and they decided to write their own vows, which they said back and forth to each other, one vow at a time.

“Lisa kept them a secret, but guided us to ensure there was the appropriate balance of love, soppiness and humour.”

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James’ sister and Holly’s brother-in-law each read a piece they had written specially for the ceremony, and the couple exchanged rings from Philip Stoner, where James had also chosen Holly’s engagement ring.

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I’m delighted to share the elegant work of photographer Charlotte Palazzo with you all today, whose happy, sun drenched images are beautifully evocative – the perfect armchair escape.

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“We would 100% recommend Charlotte to anyone looking to book a wedding photographer! In fact she is doing my best friend’s wedding on the back of ours! We loved her light, elegant, romantic style from day one, and she was an absolute pleasure to be around, going above and beyond what any wedding photographer should do.”

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“Charlotte captured every moment perfectly, she was very proactive, keen to make sure we got all the right photos and so patient. She not only captured our wedding day, but went through the whole wedding journey with us, from an engagement shoot, our legal ceremony in Didsbury, all the various events either side of the wedding day (including the action shots as part of the Team Bride vs Team Groom football game!) and of course the big day itself.”

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As well as creating the floral arrangements for the day, Jenny Fairbanks of My Wedding Florist also styled the venue, with tables laid on the lawn just outside the chateau – what a gorgeous spot for a wedding feast!

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There was a table plan on a rustic wooden easel decorated with eucalyptus, and one long dining table was set up underneath the chateau’s pergola, flanked by large circular tables.

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There were table runners of hydrangea blooms and foliage, interspersed with copper hurricane lanterns, antique candlesticks, and simple, elegant glassware.

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After aperitifs and canapes, everyone sat down to a delicious dinner by Robbert and Dave from La Porte Verte. It began with Bayonne ham and melon salad, followed by duck with truffle sauce, and for dessert, chocolate brownie, Eton Mess and lemon cheesecake.

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It was at this point that there was a quick outfit change for Holly, as she removed the Bardot top from her Caroline Castigliano gown, and added a dreamy skirt by Savin London, which looked as though it had been scattered with beautiful petals.

“A couple of weeks before the wedding I saw the Savin dress in the window, and almost changed my mind! Karen rung round the designers to see if we still had time to swap dresses if that’s what I decided (which she was able to make possible!) but I stuck with my original plan, and then added the Savin overlay to give me the evening/party dress I was after.”

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In the evening there were cocktails as well as a towering croquembouche (which was sourced locally), music from Four Kicks and DJ Happy Daze.

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“Our first dance was Bryan Adams – Everything I Do (I Do it For You) for a few reasons – we’ve both always loved the song, and it was our first concert together, but my favourite was it was the film (Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) that was on TV the night before we got engaged, which made James do it the next day!”

“I love a power ballad, and James loves Bryan Adams! Win win!”

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“Just having everyone together for a prolonged period of time was wonderful. Everyone says how quickly the day goes, and they aren’t lying! We had a rehearsal dinner on arrival for our immediate family and wedding party members.”

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“On the Friday (the day before the wedding) the boys had a football match (Team Bride vs Team Groom) followed by a cheese and wine night for all guests. Then there was the wedding day itself, followed by a pool party / BBQ the day after.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Try not to get caught up in the small details – they can literally add thousands onto your budget.”

“Remember it is your day, and although you want to make sure everyone has the best time, try not to put the additional pressure on yourself trying to make it perfect for everyone else. Have it your way, and remember everyone is there for you.”

“Don’t stress about the weather – what will be will be, and it’ll be perfect regardless. We were lucky and got beautiful sunshine for the whole weekend, but we still had Plan B scenarios just in case. We had a lot of rain at our engagement shoot, and again on our legal wedding day in Didsbury, but we actually didn’t care – in fact you can take advantage of it for different types of photos.”

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Thank you so much Holly and James! What a treat it’s been to take a little virtual trip to France, and enjoy all of the gorgeous details of your day. Many thanks to Charlotte Palazzo for her breathtaking images, too.

With love,


Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.