France is place of magical possibilities. That’s a given. But while Paris always gets my heart ever-pounding, it’s the stunning landscapes in the South of France that truly take my breath away. With layers upon layers of lovely woven throughout the day by Mary Lee Herrington Celebrations, this intimate affair is the picture of perfect when it comes to destination “I dos.” Polly Alexandre, per usual, captured a slew of stunning images, and the full gallery of photos is a must-see destination in and of itself.
From Mary Lee Herrington Celebrations…For Kate and Dima, the most important aspect when planning their wedding was to have a beach party in a foreign destination that none of their guests could ever forget. We found the perfect location for them at the Royal Riviera in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera. Kate and Dima arranged for an all-expenses-paid holiday at the Royal Riviera for each of their 35 guests, who also found, upon their arrival, a welcome tote bag full of fresh local fruits, a wedding weekend program, and a framed illustration of all of them.
Kate and Dima (and most of their guests) reside in Ukraine, where they are used to attending more formal, traditional weddings. Having lived and studied in London, they wanted something completely different from what they were used to seeing in their home country – a relaxed celebration where their 35 guests could not only enjoy their wedding but also enjoy a vacation with them. The perfect location for their wedding was the Royal Riviera in the beautiful Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, nestled between Nice and Cannes on the French Riviera. This location not only provided an intimate garden ceremony overlooking the bay, but also provided a cocktail reception on a private deck, dinner in the seafront restaurant with a “sea” theme, and a bespoke evening beach party on the private beach.
All of the details in the wedding were custom-made and reflected Kate and Dima’s personalities and lifestyle. As big health proponents, they wanted fresh, local ingredients for all of their catering – this meant everything from only freshly squeezed watermelon juice, fresh pears and apples from the local market upon arrival, a trolley full of local French gourmet cheeses, seafood from the Cap Ferrat, and a custom-made sorbet “wedding cake” tower was made entirely out of shelled out fruits filled with fruit and coconut sorbets. For their wedding invitations, Kate hired an illustrator in Russia to draw a fun depiction of each of the guests – these illustrations reflected something quirky about each of their personalities. Then Kate took the illustrations and created a website, where she wrote “If you are pictured here, then you are invited to our wedding!” These illustrations were weaved through each of the paper and design details for the wedding day – from cocktail napkins, fan programs, drink stirrers, menus, signage, and the welcome tote bag, which contained a framed copy of the illustration for each guest.
The wedding ceremony was held in the private garden overlooking the Cap Ferrat bay with large sailboat and yachts passing by in the horizon. We had an aperitif before the ceremony, with refreshing freshly squeezed juices, served with finger sandwiches. Their best friends from university officiated the ceremony in Russian, and also gave Kate away to Dima. Songs for the ceremony were performed on acoustic guitar with a singer and members from the band Fables & Friends, and included “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles, “She’s the One” by Robbie Williams and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. At the cocktail reception, guests were greeted with 3 signature cocktails: a watermelon-based “Dubilet Eclipse” (named after the couple and based on their favourite cocktail drink from a bar in London), pina coladas (the “Dima Colada”) and mojitos (the “Kate-jito”) Guests also savored gourmet French cheeses and hors d’oeuvres, while the band (a folk, alt-rock band called Fables & Friends, from London) performed. The colors for the cocktail reception were yellow, tan and pink.
After dinner, guests walked down to the private beach, where they kicked off their shoes for flip flops that we had provided for each of them. The beach had a central stage where the band Fables & Friends performed an evening set, followed by a DJ who spun dance tunes until 1am. We also set up a dessert station filled with iconic French patisseries, including mousse and macaroons. We also set up miniature “beds” as lounge areas with coffee tables decorated with candles in wreaths and a late-night cocktail menu displayed on miniature clipboards. The show-stopping sorbet “wedding cake” was also presented on the beach – the perfect light dessert for a very hot summer’s day in the south of France. Late that night, guests lit up lanterns and released them towards the beach.
Photography: Polly Alexandre | Wedding Planning, Design + Creative Direction: Mary Lee Herrington Celebrations | Coordination assistance: Haute Weddings | Location + Catering: The Royal Riviera | Cinematography: Shark Pig | Floral Design: Roni Fleurs | Band: Fables & Friends | Linens, Tables + Chair, Bar, Crockery Rentals: Options | Printing + Day-of Stationery: Coquette Paper & Press | Sound, Ceremony Rentals, Beach Lighting: Atmosphere Sud | DJ: Atmosphere Sud | Illustrations: Grivina | Makeup + Hair: Dessange | Wedding Dress: Elena Burba | Headpiece: Masha Shylyagina | Shoes + Clutch: Alexander McQueen