Destination weddings don’t get better than a 3-day extravaganza in France. With 70 guests from every corner of the globe, this gorgeous duo treated their friends and family to the experience of a lifetime – all while pulling off a dream wedding in the process. Polly Alexandre captured the magic at Chateau La Durantie and the gallery is filled one perfect moment after another.
From Polly Alexandre… Cassie and Benjie met through work and had a whirlwind romance. They have a great sense of fun and absolutely love each others company, partying together as well as building a life together and supporting each other.
Benjie used to be a ski instructor and this sense of fun and adventure is at the heart of their relationship. For honeymoon they even went heli-skiing in Santiago in Chile!
Cassie fell in love with Chateau La Durantie in Lanouaille in the Dordogne region of France. It offered them the opportunity to host a house party style wedding, with their close friends and family staying in the Chateau or nearby for the whole weekend. Rumour has it the night before the wedding was *almost* as much fun as the wedding itself!
A traditional ceremony took place in the local church in the village before a drive through the beautiful countryside to the Chateau, with summer cocktails served on the terrace and lawns accompanied by a local jazz band.
From the Bride… Growing up I never allowed myself to think about my ‘dream’ wedding for fear of jinxing it but after Benjie’s romantic proposal in St. Petersburg on our 1 year anniversary my imagination was given carte blanche to create the perfect party in an idyllic location. We both love to travel and with one of our top priorities being fine food and wine France became the focus of the search.
When I came across the stunning Chateau La Durantie I knew that we had found our dream destination. We gave ourselves 18 months to organise the wedding which flew by. One of the best things about a destination wedding was that it gave us (and family members) the excuse to go out to France beforehand in the name of research, and the more we visited the more we loved it. When Benjie and I first talked about what we wanted our wedding to be like the answer was always “it’s got to be one huge party with the people we love most in the world.”
With the chateau being such a beautiful backdrop I wanted effortless, relaxed glamour to complement the natural surroundings and chose a palette of greys, pale pink and lilac. The stationery was created from scratch by our designer, who struck the perfect balance between elegantly stylish and not too feminine. My bridesmaids wore dresses in grey chiffon from Dessy, and were all allowed to choose their preferred style as I wanted them to wear something they felt suited them best and to be comfortable. Flowers were pale pink peonies in the bridal party bouquets and rustic displays in wooden planters for the tables, incidentally the tables were all named after ski resorts as a nod to our shared passion.
Planning a 3-day extravaganza abroad for 70 guests is a logistical challenge at the best of times but none of it would ever have happened without the extraordinary Charlotte, our planner, who solved issues left, right and centre whilst keeping me calm throughout – an absolute angel.
With guests traveling from all 4 corners of the earth we wanted to make their trip worthwhile and get to spend enough time with loved ones without being rushed, therefore a 3-day event was the obvious solution. On Friday night we had a sumptuous dinner in a local restaurant (complete with impromptu karaoke on the coach on the way home) and on the Sunday following the wedding we made the most of the blue skies with a huge BBQ and pool party.
The use of local produce was very important to us and where possible all food and wine was local and organic, instead of a traditional cake we had a tower of French cheeses draped with fruits and artisan breads available next to it. My mouth still waters when I think of that cheese tower, it was impossible to do it justice but we gave it a good go!
Looking back through Polly’s photos never fails make me smile. I can almost hear the jazz band playing as we sipped cocktails on the lawn and feel the warmth of the sun as it started to set across the rolling French landscape. We are blessed to have had the happiest day of our lives captured so perfectly, I hope you enjoy looking!
Photography: Polly Alexandre Photography | Florist: Lisa Gatenby | Bride's Shoes: Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy Collection By Vivian Diamond | Catering: Michel-Jean Maquet | Bride's Dress: JLM Couture, Inc | Singer: Chris Southgate | Wedding Reception: Chateau La Durantie