First things first, this three-day French countryside fête captured by Polly Alexandre Photography has redefined the romance category for me. How you ask? Simple – hand written letters as invitations. Classic, personal, yet an oh so chic touch – be still my hopeless romantic heart. Of course that was just the first of many reasons I fell in love with this intimate occassion – from the parasol-carrying, blush-wearing bridesmaids to the Bride’s incredibly romantic lace cap sleeve dress to the picture perfect countryside setting, it all makes for a full gallery of romance redefined.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From Polly of Polly Alexandre PhotographyThe couple rented the private village of Castelnau des Fiemarcon in Lagarde, Gascony, France, and held a three-day celebration for their wedding. Kate is definitely up there as one of the emotional brides I have worked with, and the day was an incredibly moving, emotional, fun and relaxed celebration. The beauty of a destination wedding is being able to spend so much time with family & friends and here they all stayed with the couple in the little houses in the village. The night before their wedding was a BBQ (Click here for photos!), and the day after held a wonderful meal and tour of a private vineyard with wine tasting. I love the pretty little French soaps and beautiful booklet that greeted us on arrival — a custom guide to the weekend’s festivities, who was staying where and what was happening. Each morning a little bag of fresh French pastries were left outside our rooms … the perfect pick-me-up with with a cup of steaming coffee. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Mike and Kate, and I wish them lots of love for the longest, strongest and happiest marriage together and many years of dog-owning joy!

From the bride… Mike and I wanted our wedding to be personal and decided that we would do away with some of the formalities of traditional weddings and do it “our way” instead. Our invitations were handwritten letters to our guests, we didn’t have wedding favors or a wedding cake and, instead of a guestbook, we took Polaroid photographs of all of our guests at sunset and asked them to write their messages on the back. We chose not to hire a wedding planner and instead, managed to find all of our suppliers in France with the help of the manager of our venue, Didier, who was fantastic. We also had a lot of help from our friends. The husband of one of my bridesmaids created our table plan, table numbers and little personalized information packs that we left for each of our guests on their beds. My mum created a beautiful pagoda out of white muslin for the aisle, which she made using shepherd’s crooks, ribbon and tiny vases filled with heads of white roses. Our family helped us with the mammoth supermarket shop that was required to ensure that 60 people had enough food and drink for three days! One of Mike’s ushers drove to the bakery at the crack of dawn on the wedding day to ensure that everyone had fresh croissants for breakfast. It was really touching to see everyone pitch in.    

The wedding day itself was completely perfect.  One of the highlights for me (apart from marrying Mike!) was opening the beautiful and thoughtful presents he had bought for me. They were presented to me in a huge white box wrapped in ribbon. Inside there were four individually wrapped presents: something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. The something “blue” was a blue leather passport cover engraved with my married initials. The something “old” was a first edition of Captain Correlli’s Mandolin, an excerpt of which was read during our ceremony. The something “borrowed” was a photo of Pearl, a dog we look after for one of our friends, framed in a vintage silver frame. (I imagine that this sounds very strange, but we have Pearl to thank for meeting our brilliant wedding photographer, Polly Alexandre.) Finally, the something “new” was an amazing pair of diamond earrings, which I wore that day. The rest of the day went without a hitch. Our ceremony took place on the hillside in the afternoon, and after dinner and the speeches, as the sun set, we drank Armagnac under the pagoda that my mum had created. One thing that Mike and I really wanted was for our wedding day to end with a proper party. Since we had the whole village to ourselves, there was no “closing time” as such, and that certainly helped! I am proud to say that Mike and I were amongst the last ones standing at 5 a.m. the next morning! I always thought that people exaggerated when they said this, but I can honestly say that the day I married Mike was the best day of my life.    

Wedding Photographer: Polly Alexandre Photography / Wedding Venue: Castelnau des Fieumarcon / Wedding Dress: Suzanne Neville / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Hair + Makeup: Antonia Krieger of Elle au Naturel / Bride’s Robe: Matinee Kimono by Agent Provocateur / Groom’s Suit, Shirt + Tie: Stowers Bespoke / Groom’s Shoes: Dolce & Gabbana / Flowers: Le Jardin des Fleurs / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Whistles / Bridesmaids’ Shoes: Halston Heritage / Stationery: Smythson of Bond Street / Band: RLS Animation / Catering: Fabrice Biasiolo