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Happy Valentines day everyone, I do hope you are having a lovely romantic day and that your other half is spoiling you rotten! Running a wedding blog means that every day is Valentines day as my world is constantly filled with love and romance, however this evening I am making a special effort and taking the evening off work to spend with Nik. A lovely meal and a film are in order, nothing overly soppy but the chance to spend a bit of extra time together will be lovely. Today’s wedding is super romantic as it is a destination wedding from France. Courtney and Daniel chose a French Chateau Wedding and the results are super romantic and super stylish. The early morning rain didn’t stop their outdoor ceremony, they carried on and shared their beautiful ‘Organic Chic’ day with their guests and now with us. Big thanks to Annie Gozard for the lovely images and to Laura Dova Weddings for submission the wedding to me.
Courtney and Daniel were married on the 14th September 2016 at Chateau Le Thil on the grounds of Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux France. ‘Once we made the decision to have a destination wedding we knew it had to be in France (based on our engagement). We settled on Bordeaux specifically because it was an area of France we hadn’t visited and were excited to explore with our families. We came across Chateau Le Thil just by luck! It had enough rooms for the majority of our guests to stay in and was so stunning, I knew minimal decor would be needed which was a bonus. We had 24 guests and It was an entire year between when we first booked the venue, and our wedding planner Laura, to our wedding day. We made a lot of big decisions right at that start though, so we had a few months “down-time” in-between before we started looking at smaller details again.’
How they met
Daniel and I have been together for almost 10 years now. We were introduced in 2007 by one of my best friends and started dating shortly after.
Daniel proposed to me in Paris! We were visiting his brother in London and decided to go to Paris for a few days as we had never been. One night, after dinner, he convinced me to go for a walk even though it was raining on/off. We headed to the Seine and found a ramp that led us down underneath le Pont des Arts (the famous “love lock” bridge). I thought we were just there to take in the beautiful scene but Daniel got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Even though we had been together 9 years it was a total surprise, I think it took me 5 minutes to calm down before I could actually say “yes”.
How did you allocate your budget?
Most of our budget went to the venue and food. The venue served as both the location for the ceremony and reception, but also accommodations for the majority of our guests. With that in mind we knew it would consume a large portion of our budget. It was also so important to both of us that the food be top notch, how could we bring our family all the way to France and not treat them to an amazing meal!
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
The biggest splurge was food, for reasons mentioned above. We hosted a rehearsal dinner at the hotels wine bar, continental breakfast, the reception dinner and a good-bye brunch. The venue was about 20 minutes outside of the city so we wanted to ensure guests did not have to worry about finding somewhere to eat. We saved on decor as the chateau was beautiful on its own.
Why did you choose your photographer?
We found Annie through a wedding blog that had featured some of her work. I loved her candid photos and ability to really capture the emotion of the day. She was so amazing to work with and we got our photos within 3 weeks – I just love all the memories that flood back when I look at them.
My dress was by Houghton NYC, I fell in love with it at White Bridal in Toronto, ON. Because I was wearing a headpiece I wanted to keep accessories to a minimum and only wore feather earrings by Zoe Chicco. My shoes were nude wedges by Loeffler Randall.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Daniel’s suit is from J.Crew and my maid of honour/ sister Chelsea wore a custom dress from BlushFashion on Etsy. Daniels bowtie and my fathers tie are also from a boutique on Etsy, BeauTieUK.
Theme or Colour scheme
Laura came up with “organic chic” as a description of our theme. We didn’t want a specific colour, our focus was on everything looking natural/ ethereal. We stuck to mostly greens and whites with a few hits of red throughout.
I only requested one flower specifically, that was Protea in my bouquet. The rest I wanted to look gathered/ wild, as if they had been collected in a forest. The florist used eucalyptus, flowering splurge, alstroemerias, and I am sure a few others I can’t name, to achieve that look.
Like I mentioned earlier we saved a lot by doing very little in terms of decor. Other than the florals, we had a few wooden signs, burlap bags with birdseed to throw after the ceremony and candles woven throughout the table runner.
Our reception was catered by La Grand’Vigne, the main restaurant on Les Sources de Caudalie grounds.
To start – Tomatoes tarlet , goat’s milk cheese, arugula pistou
Main (choice of one) – Hake cooked into a zucchini’s flower, grilled vegetables, basil jus
Or Lamb shoulder confit, candied tomatoes, potatoes “Anna” with diced bacon
Followed by an assortment of cheeses from Jean d’Alos in Bordeaux and shortly after our delicious white chocolate raspberry wedding cake by Alix. H.
We decided not to plan a dance after dinner as we wanted things to be a little more lowkey and relaxed. Instead we rented a few different lawn games; giant Jenga, Connect Four and Cornhole, to keep guest entertained. The rain prevented us from setting them up outside as planned however we had just as much fun playing them inside. We also created our own playlist for music and by the end of the night everyone was dancing regardless of having designated dance-floor.
We opted not to send out paper invitations as we had such a small guest list, all of who were immediate family. We sent out info and confirmed numbers using our wedding website on the theknot.com. Stationary the day of the wedding was minimal – the restaurant supplied us with a special printed menu and Laura (our wedding planner) made place cards out of leaves.
We set up our own “photobooth”. My sister had purchased us a guestbook that had space for everyone to include a photo. We brought with us to France a bunch of different props/signs and then set them up on a table with a polaroid so that everyone could take a silly photo and include it in the guestbook with their well wishes. We had quite a laugh looking through them all the next day.
Special Moments or Highlights
It had been raining off and on all day with a major down pour starting just before we were going to go to the vineyard to take our first look photos. We had to make an alternative plan and do the first look in the chateau, I was worried we would have to move the ceremony indoors as well. Thankfully the stars aligned and the rain cleared for about an hour giving us just enough time to still hold the ceremony outside as planned. I felt like mother nature had given us a wedding gift.
Advice for other couples
Have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff! This day is about the two of you and no one else, above all your happiness is a priority. Also, if you are considering a destination wedding, hiring a wedding planner is highly recommended! Laura was amazing.
Weddings normally make me super emotional, as soon as the bride walks down the aisle the water works usually begin. I was so surprised that on my own day I held it together and only shed a few tears. I was filled with so much happiness and appreciation for the moment that all I could do was smile.