Wednesday 19 February 2014

A Rustic French Wedding with a Flower Market Theme - The Reception

It's been a long wait, but here, at last, are the incroyable pictures from Kerry and Greg's amazing South of France wedding. As I've mentioned before, Kerry runs her own wedding planning company called Lavender & Rose Weddings, so my expectations were running high - but her wedding reception details have completely blown my mind! I love to see a wedding with tonnes and tonnes of flowers, and there's so many arrangements here, it looks like Kerry and her fiance Greg opened a flower shop for the day! Then there's the clever photo booth backdrop, created with real flowers to look like wallpaper, and the stunning ribbon banner decorations, and I've not even got started on the champagne cocktail bar with six different kinds of syrups to flavour the champagne {lavender, poppy, peach, raspberry, blackberry & blackcurrent}, as well as crystallised flower petals {rose, lavender and mimosa} to pop in the glasses. Every single wedding detail is intrinsically perfect, and brilliantly orchestrated, and yet the day itself was casual, fun and light-hearted - exactly what you want from a perfectly-planned wedding. Have a good read of Kerry's answers to the Before the Big Day Questionnaire - particularly if you're planning a wedding in the South of France, and Alban Pichon's beautiful wedding pictures. Don't miss Part 1 and Part 2 of this gorgeous wedding.

We celebrated our wedding on 13 September 2012, with two ceremonies - a civil ceremony in the town hall {the only legally recognised type of ceremony in France}, followed by a symbolic outdoor ceremony at the a Provencal villa called Bastide St Mathieu, in Grasse.

I wanted an outdoor celebration mixing French {Gregory is French} and British traditions. I really wanted our guests to feel relaxed and comfortable, so made sure not to include anything formal or formulaic. Theme-wise I wanted it to be a beautiful explosion of colour, life and flowers - a real feast for the eyes. Grasse is famous for being the perfume capital of the world, and I was keen to reflect that in our wedding details.

Our wedding photographer Alban Pichon is not only one of my favourite vendors, but a real friend - I love his pictures of our wedding. We chose bright colours as our wedding colour palette - pink, peach, green, lavender, yellow and blue, for starters!

For our drinks reception, we had Perrier Jouet Champagne and a Kir Royal bar with 6 different kinds of syrups to flavour the champagne {lavender, poppy, peach, raspberry, blackberry & blackcurrent}, as well as crystallised flower petals {rose, lavender and mimosa} to pop in the glasses. 

We decorated the drinks reception area with a string of colourful ribbons, vintage-style drinks dispensers and striped straws. It's customary in France, for guests to give envelopes of cash instead of a gift, so I had a nice vintage suitcase ready for this on the drinks table. We also had a guest book, made by Old Black Hen, and covered with the same Liberty print fabric as the place name tags.

Our table plan was frames of different sizes hung from an olive tree. We named our tables after flowers commonly used in perfumes, in keeping with our wedding location of Grasse, and our flower market theme.

Our wedding florist was Wayne Riley. Wayne is one of my favourite wedding vendors. I practically only work with two florists when I plan weddings for my clients in the South of France and he is one of the two. Wayne knows me so well and I knew 100% I could trust him with what was for me THE most important part of the wedding. I love flowers and I wanted them to take centre stage at my wedding, and I knew Wayne would exceed my expectations, which he certainly did!

Our wedding menu was hand-written on a backboard inside an elegant wooden frame propped on a chair. This was beautifully drawn by a calligrapher called Nora from Nice Plume, who also wrote our wedding invitation envelopes, the place name cards, and the table names. Our wedding invitations {not pictured} were perfect, and created by April Ink - a vendor on Etsy.

Our wedding flowers were our biggest extravagance - even considering I had good rates with my vendor. I would not have had it any other way though! For our dining tables, I wanted an explosion of colour and a huge variety of flowers. Dahlias, chrysanthemum, smudgy coloured hydrangea, roses, berries, lavender, solidago, celosia… all arranged in grey wicker and metal vases, with a few wooden boxes and containers mixed in. 

I also collected some vintage perfume bottles that our florist, Wayne, filled with coloured water. We also hung some jars filled with coloured water and flowers from the beams in the dinner area. Our wedding favours were brown paper bags filled with a selection of sweets from the south of France - rose bonbons made with local roses from Grasse, calissons from Aix en Provence and nougat from Montélimar.

Each place was decorated with a name tag made from lovely Liberty fabric on a card backing tied around the napkin with string, all made by Rebecca from Old Black Hen. We also added a small scented bouquet of lavender and wheat. Greg and I chose to have a sweetheart table for two, which I decorated with a vintage lace tablecloth placed over a white linen tablecloth. We had tonnes of flowers on our table and flower garlands decorating the back of our chairs.

Our wedding caterers were the amazing Parfums et Saveurs. In my role as a wedding planner, I've worked with them many times before, and I know their food inside out. After the ceremony, we had a drinks reception followed by a four-course meal, including a cheese buffet {of course!}, and an amazing huge dessert buffet with a mix of traditionally French cakes {raspberry tart, lemon tart, praline chocolate cake} and smaller bite-size desserts {chocolate truffle domes, macaroons, white chocolate lollipops, red fruits summer pudding and cupcakes}. We also had some of Greg’s favourite Haribo sweets!

Our wedding cake was English-style, and created by Debbie’s Cake Boutique. The layers of Victoria Sponge and carrot cake were covered with peach-coloured icing and decorated with real flowers.

During the drinks reception and dinner we had a photo booth & fancy dress box. Wayne helped me create the backdrop, using real flowers pined onto a cream cotton base to look like floral wall paper, which looked fantastic. The booth was a huge success - guests just could not get enough! It really broke the ice and everyone really got into the spirit of the day. 

Two really memorable and emotional moments in the wedding came from our musical entertainment. My father is a musician, and my stepmother a brilliant folk singer. Together they performed their own unique version of Leonard Cohen’s 'Dance me to the end of love'. One of my best friends Lizzy Parks, also happens to be a fantastic professional singer/songwriter also performed a song for us called 'Easy Kind of Love'. She wrote it herself, and I the first time I heard it, I knew I wanted her to perform it at our wedding.

As an extra unusual detail, we arranged for an artist to paint our wedding. Marta Wylder is a friend and colleague, and an incredible artist. The idea is she comes and paints the wedding as she sees it, using watercolour and charcoal. She incorporates all parts of the wedding in one painting and tries to include key members of your wedding party as well. 

Marta paints on the spot at the wedding, and gives you a finished painting on parchment paper at the end of the night. She also takes a photo of the painting in high definition so you can use it for thank you cards, or make any copies. She is amazing! We were so happy with the end result, and had a lot of fun trying to figure out which of our guests were featured in the painting. It’s a truly unique souvenir.

Our friend Thomas Colinet (AKA Super Nacho), who is a brilliant DJ, looked after the dance music in the evening. Our first dance was 'Little Bit of Feel Good' by Jamie Lidell, an artist who we both LOVE. We didn't do a choreography, or any regular couples dance. We just danced like we did the first night we met in Thomas’ old bar. It was one of my favourite moments in the wedding. Greg is a brilliant dancer! 

Our last song was 'I Love You So' by Cassius. Thomas knows us and our musical tastes so well so it was just the perfect night! I wish every night out could be like that ☺

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