So I’m sitting here, staring at these amazingly gorgeous images by Wesley Johnson, thinking how out of control romantic it is to have your wedding in the French Alps. I mean seriously, can you think of a more romantic place than a super old chateau? It’s really all you need to have an unbelievably breathtaking wedding. That, and your closest friends and family. And that’s exactly what this super stylish, not to mention adorable couple did! Drop all your plans for today and head to the full gallery for all the pretty!
From the Bride… Red and I love to travel, so it was only fitting that we would choose a destination wedding. We came upon a chateau in the French Alps by way of Jetsetter.com and were immediately taken with its unique location and the gorgeous surrounding landscape. Chateau St. Philippe was built as a monastery in 1032 by Benedictine monks and is located in Savoie, part of the Rhone Alps region of France. Without hesitation, we knew we had found the perfect wedding destination. We quickly chose to get married there on May 30, 2012, the one-year anniversary of our engagement.
Red and I are fortunate to each have two sets of parents who all love us unconditionally. While it took a little bit of convincing, it wasn’t long before all eight of them were booking flights/rental cars/train tickets to ensure their presence at the wedding. In all, 35 of our closest family and friends attended, including our dear friend and incredibly talented photographer Wes. We hosted 22 people (family and the wedding party) at the chateau for the wedding week, and it was the best possible way to bond our blended families before the wedding. While the chateau and grounds were overwhelming in their beauty, the overarching feeling was very personal, intimate and authentic to us as a couple. I made dinner two nights in a row, we hosted a “Midnight in Paris” screening/baby photos slideshow in the chateau’s cinema, and we all stayed up way too late every night drinking delicious French wine and telling stories out on the balcony. The wedding day came, and we could smell our cake baking and dinner cooking. Jean-Luc, our amazing chef, prepared the entire wedding meal in the chateau’s kitchen. As a French pastry chef, he had never made a traditional, layered American wedding cake or ever heard of buttercream frosting! You could taste his pride in that cake; it was quite a labor of love.
My stepfather is a Methodist minister, and it was incredibly special to have him conduct our ceremony. In fact, we asked all of our parents to play a role, and our sisters were bridesmaids. One of my favorite memories was when our mothers each spoke about the way Red and I were as children. It was in that moment that I realized how uniquely suited he and I are for each other. At one point, when we were serving communion, all of our wedding guests were standing within the garden’s paved circle and I was overwhelmed by the enormity of that moment.
While it took a great deal of planning and coordination (Red played travel agent for many guests), there is no doubt in our minds that we made the right decision. There was huge risk involved because we made the conscious decision not to visit and quality-check anything beforehand. In fact, it was my very first time to visit France! That trust required a great deal of faith on our parts that everything would work out as planned. The resulting countless unscripted moments will serve as some of our most favorite memories. And it was truly a blessing that we shared in much of the same delight and sense of discovery as our guests. In that sense, it served as a beautiful metaphor for the journey that will be our marriage.
Photography: Wesley Johnson / Wedding Venue: Chateau St. Philippe in Savoie, France / Floral Design: ANNYFLOR / Wedding Invitations: A Video on the Couple’s Wedding Website / Wedding Dress + Most Accessories: BHLDN / Bride’s Pearl Clutch: Vintage via Design Archives