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Summer French Chateau Wedding

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 | Florist: Lisa Gatenby At French Flower Style | Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy | Catering: La Table D’Aline | Bride's Dress: Vintage Lazaro | Singer: Chris Southgate | Wedding Reception: Chateau La Durantie

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Style Me Pretty Destination Welcomes Our Advertisers + A Discount!

Saturdays are pretty amazing, but when you throw in a meet and greet with RebeccaMarie Photography, it takes it to an entirely new level of awesome.  I’m talking an entire day devoted to gorgeous imagery that just so happens to be overflowing with love, emotion and, of course, pretty.  Spend some time getting to know her, lovelies… and don’t forget to check out her sweet discount below.

From RebeccaMarie Photography…  RebeccaMarie started learning about photography at the age of fifteen and excelled from there working alongside some of the best in the business, since 2004. Destination travel is a deep passion of hers and so is love. RebeccaMarie believes in combining the two, to capture your love story and has had the opportunity to travel internationally throughout her career.

RebeccaMarie Photography has been published numerous times together with her international friend Isabelle Kline Design, producing beauty through each image.  Her style has been known to be organic, vintage, ethereal and romantic.  A lover of travel and meeting new people.

Check out RebeccaMarie on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  

Discount!  RebeccaMarie Photography is offering a $500 print credit to all couples that book in the month of June and July and reference this SMP welcome post.


French Wedding Inspiration at Chateau Le Val

We love two-for-ones; like when an insanely talented photographer (Sylvie Gil) hosts a fab workshop at a French Chateau with other talented vendors (Jill La Fleur and Max Gill) and we get to reap the benefits. They come in the form of a beautiful inspiration shoot set at Chateau Le Val that will have you dreaming of ways to include any and all things French into your upcoming wedding. Have a look at the rest of this gorgeous inspiration here and be sure to stop by Sylvie’s site for more details on her next workshop.

From Sylvie Gil Photography.. .L’amour et L’image, a Film Photography Workshop in France by Sylvie Gil. With special guests, international wedding stylist Jill La Fleur and floral artiste Max Gil.

The workshop was set against the beautiful 12th century Chateau Le Val, via a long avenue of oaks. While enjoying the most amazing local food prepared by our chef, our attendees were able to upgrade their portfolio with stunning styled sets and models, learn film techniques and relax in a beautiful creative atmosphere.

Photography: Sylvie Gil | Florals: Max Gill | Gown: Claire Pettibone | Gown: Sarah Janks | Attendee Gifts: Mira Ester | Design And Styling: Jill La Fleur | Film: Kodak Portra | Head Piece: Jannie Baltzer | Invitation Suite: Little Miss Press | Make Up And Hair Stylist: Little Miss Make Up | Photography Lab: Lightwaves | Table Decor Items: Avec Moi Decor

Parisian Montmartre Proposal

Every “Will you marry me?” moment is beautiful in its own right, but when it’s set in a Montmartre cafe and captured by the amazing Greg Finck…let’s just say we’re a wee bit jealous. Filled with tears and joy (and some seriously stylish moments to boot!) there’s no reason to miss the gallery of goodies all snapped to perfection. Get started here!

From Greg Finck… Tess comes from California and has been living in Paris for some years now. She met Sebastien, a pure Parisian, through the work. Tess and Sebastien just decided that they would quit their job and leave for a for 12-months trip around the world just before moving to the US.

Just before that, they contacted me to realize a couple session and capture some of the moments they lived, as a couple, in Paris. They really wanted to have that session in Montmartre, as this is the area where they had been living for the past year. I couldn’t really say otherwise as Montmartre is the place where I’ve been living in Paris for some years now, and I know the area pretty well. We met in a café around a glass of Chablis, and we took a date for that shoot.

However, some days before the shoot, Sebastien called me to announce me he had decided to propose to Tess during the shoot. He wanted to start by casual couple portraits in Montmartre, and would then take Tess to Café Francoeur, their favorite place in the area, and propose to her. He admitted he was kind of stressed by the idea to propose with a photographer around but I promised I would be very discreet. Tess didn’t have a clue about it.

We started the session a typical couple session, enjoying the nice view from Montmartre even though it was a cold winter day. We then went to Café Francoeur, where Sebastien had all planned. A waiter then brought Tess a gift. It was an antique book of Winnie the Pooh, Tess’ favorite. On the first pages of the book there were some private words, hand-written by Sebastien, which immediately led to Tess’ tears. I can only imagine the words of love that were written here. Then Sebastien put some earphones on Tess’ ears, playing a song special to them. I was sitting at a table nearby, and they were so much into emotion that they couldn’t even feel my presence. After the song, Tess’ eyes were full of tears, and that’s when Sebastien decided to propose. An intense proposal, where he took the ring he had hidden in his pocket. I think images speak for themselves.

This is honestly one of the most intense session I had the opportunity to shoot, and a very special moment to share with these two.

Photography: Greg Finck | Film Scans: Richard Photo Lab

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Paris Wedding from One and Only Paris Photography

Destination weddings are pretty amazing just in their own right, but when you throw in the fabulous One and Only Paris Photography and the world’s most romantic city (Paris, of course), it takes it to entirely new level of awesome.  This, lovelies, is a wedding that seriously bursts with romance, from the stunning bride and groom (she’s seriously rockin’ that Vera Wang) to a mesmerizing ceremony overlooking the Eiffel Tower to one moment after another of pure, unadulterated pretty.  See them all right here.


From the Bride… Ramin proposed the day after our 12 year anniversary (we’re high school sweethearts!). We went up north to a ski resort for the weekend and he popped the question on top of the hill with no one around us! He pulled aside saying that he had to fix the bindings of his boots. He asked me to pull on his boot strap and it didn’t phase me that he was already down on one knee. He turned my attention to something in the snow and there was the box! When I opened it, the ring was inside.  The name of the ski hill was ‘memory lane’ – my heart melted.

We’ve always wanted a small destination wedding. After going over many locations, we finally decided on Paris! It’s classic, romantic and beautiful. Ramin used to live there as a child before coming to Canada. We both speak French and fell in love with the city when we went earlier in our adults years. We kept it very intimate and had only our close 30 family and friends present. It was perfect and comfortable for everyone. After the wedding, a bus picked us up and we partied at VIP til 6am! (Rihanna made a surprise appearance! – couldn’t get a photo with her:( )

I planned the entire wedding MYSELF, just me and the internet! I initially wanted to hire a planner, but got too caught up in the process that I wanted to do everything myself, and it was very enjoyable! I did a lot of research ahead of time and knew which vendors I wanted. I scheduled a visit in October 2012 for meetings and to check out the location. It was hard staying calm before the big day because I wanted everything to be perfect, but nothing is in our control sometimes! (It rained out our wedding day, but hey we made the best of it and it made for great lighting for pictures!)

My advise for brides planning a wedding in Paris or any destination is to do your research well in advance! Start making a list of the ideas, themes and locations you want and then start to narrow your choices down to your top favorites. Be okay with the fact that not too many people will be able to attend if you are planning a wedding overseas. If you were like us and wanted something small, invite your near and dearest only. We kept it real and what really mattered – the love of two people. Sometimes big weddings take away from the couple and it becomes a party for everyone else. Stay true to what YOU want, (not what others want) and you will not have any regrets.

Photography: One and Only Paris Photography | Dress: Vera Wang | Invitations: Allison Gertridge | Reception: Yacht de Paris | Shoes: The Bay | Jewelry: Cartier | Rings: Custom | Makeup: Sanni Sorma | Hair: Pia Paysant | Bow Tie: YSL | Groom's Shoes: Enrico Piaceri | Groom's Suit: Zegna

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Chanel Inspired Destination Wedding in Paris from Fly Away Bride + Brosnan Photographic

Like most girls, I go weak at the knees for all things Chanel. She’s THE icon of timeless style, so to me, a Chanel-driven shoot only makes sense. Fly Away BrideHouse of Hannah, and Mon Plus Beau Jour planned a Parisian fête that’s WELL beyond my wildest dreams. And the full gallery from Brosnan Photographic? Best described as a little slice of fashionista heaven.

From Fly Away BrideAt Fly Away Bride, our passion is destination weddings, so when we decided to produce another photo shoot, travelling to Paris from Ireland was a no brainer for us and in January, we set off on a 3 day trip to the City of Lights. Both Amy and I are huge Audrey Tautou fans and really wanted to re-create the love story between her character, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel and Arthur Boy Capel from the 2009 movie, Coco avant Chanel. In the movie, Chanel says that I always knew I’d never get married after a heart breaking scene where Boy reveals that he is to marry an Englishwoman of considerable wealth and the shoot was really inspired by the happy ending that they never had. Along with The House of Hannah, we began dreaming and imagining what their wedding would have been like if tragedy hadn’t struck and their love for each other had overcome all.

We were able to take so much inspiration from her life and movie that the shoot took us a day and a half. Simplicity and timeless elegance were the two main elements that we tried to focus on, after all Chanel wasn’t one for frills and feathers. It was really important to us that all of the details and ideas we shot were able to translate and be re-created for a real wedding.

The white wedding dress for look one was chosen for its collared low back, two key features Chanel favoured in some of her older designs. The black sequin dress for look two was also very reminiscent of her own personal style as a young woman and inspired by the night she spent dancing with Boy at the casino. The brief for hair and make-up was to keep it very simple and natural and so we chose not to use a veil or headpiece. The fabric cake with bow detail was inspired by her craft and the stationery was heavily influenced by her signature perfume box design, Chanel no. 5.

The seating plan was made using tweed fabric squares and guest favors were miniature bottles of Chanel perfume. One of our favourite details was the guest book, a French-English dictionary where words circled corresponded to messages left on bookmarks. We wanted to include a drink and cigar bar as it was said that the Chanel No.5 bottle was inspired by one of Boys whiskey decanters and he was fond of a cigar himself. Chanel developed a love for horses and so we were thrilled when we found that Ataturk could star in our shoot. The flowers were a mixture of Juliet roses, ranunculus, anemones and Chanel’s favourite, Camellia.

We were incredibly lucky to have such an amazing team of vendors on board that really made our vision come to life. We can’t thank them enough for their dedication and we had such a great time working together.

Photography: Brosnan Photographic | Cinematography: Best Day Productions | Wedding Dress: Belle & Bunty | Cakes: Eye Candy Cakes | Stationery: Farrell and Chase | Venue: Wedding Luberon | Black Sequin Dress: Covet | Concept + Production: Fly Away Bride | Coordination, Flowers: Mon Plus Beau Jour | Hair + Make Up: Lexi DeRock | Homewares: Home Gallery | Luggage: Steamline | Morning Suit Rentals: Les Deux Oursons | Music: Kerry Muzzey, The Night Sky | Planning + Styling: House of Hannah

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