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French Riviera Garden Wedding

If there’s one lesson we can take away from this wedding, it’s that marrying in the French Riviera is ALWAYS a good idea. From the quiet ceremony nestled in an olive grove to the al fresco reception where good food and wine flowed a’plenty, it’s basically every bride’s dream brought to life, and Katy Lunsford captured every moment to utter perfection. Happy swooning, lovelies!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Styles
Romantic

From the Bride… We met on a little island in the Caribbean whilst both working on different private yachts. He was the dashing Swedish captain and I was the wild and precocious American stewardess and it was love at first date. My original inspiration for the wedding was 1960’s America meets 1920’s France. I wanted to re-create that luxurious lust for entertainment and aesthetic from the twenties and marry it with the grounded natural beauty and community experience that I like to think of the sixties embodying.

After choosing a date, we had to pick a country. I am American, Oskar is Swedish, we met in the Caribbean, and we had chosen to buy our first home in the South of France where many of our friends live. In the end, we picked France, mostly due to it being where the least amount of people were required to fly in long distance. Having the venue sorted so late meant scrambling to plan everything else, and doing this in a new language in a country didn’t make it easier. Plus, I decided early on that I wanted everything unique, everything DIY, no professional help other than catering, AND I wanted it to be very calm and relaxed on the days leading up to the big event. (Anyone reading this who has been married, feel free to laugh loudly and knowingly.)

Needless to say, it was a wild and crazy ride the last week before the wedding. With the help of our amazing officiant we finalized the ceremony two days before, we wrote our vows late at night the night before (but we slept apart!), the venue was still being pieced together until just before the ceremony, the DJ canceled on our way to the wedding, it threatened rain (I had NO rain provision whatsoever as I thought it would ruin the vintage vibe), there wasn’t nearly enough time for photos, half the much laboured over projects never made it out of crates, so many things were missed, so many things were lost…and yet it was the most wonderful, perfect, fabulous, unique, love-filled love fest I could have ever imagined and I wouldn’t change a thing. I married the most incredible man in the world that day and every time I think about it I still get butterflies. 

The venue was so full of natural beauty and color that I knew we could keep flowers fairly minimal. I wanted mostly neutrals, whites, and olive green, but no pink. One incredible bridesmaid is a florist extraordinaire and she so kindly did every arrangement and bouquet for the event and they turned out so beautiful! The table was kept fairly simple, with glass chargers, white plates, white napkins, white table cloths and a natural sand colour linen runner which ran the length of all 115 settings! The floral arrangements were set far apart in order to accommodate food, and my love of all things gold was accomplished with a bag of rough chopped gold foil confetti. I also took ordinary white and wooden candle holders and using spray paint and gold glitter, made them a little more interesting. The day of I never actually had time to put it all together as planned but my bridal party took the lead and did an incredible job making my vision come to life, with no direction from me.

Advice: Keep it simple or get help. I was so set on doing everything myself that it ended up making so much more work for the people around me. Had a hired a weekend of coordinator and made even just a few really comprehensive and easy to follow lists, I could have eased the burden on my friends and family and had even more of the vision executed. Also, not every single that has to be complicated. I love all those complicated tiny little details that nobody else probably notices, but if you are more concerned with enjoying the days before hand and the day of, trust me that in the end they aren’t as essential as you think. And in the end, nothing other than looking into your husbands eyes and saying the biggest, most important, most exciting “YES” of your life will matter. Our day was so fun, so beautiful, so happy, so eventful, and my favourite part is still those moments of holding hands and saying our vows. 

Photography: Katy Lunsford | Flowers: Shalene Hutchinson | Wedding Dress: Gilly Woo Couture | Stationery: Nekolina Griffin | Shoes: Miu Miu | Bridesmaids Dresses: Karen Millen | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Sue Wong | Catering: Red Radish | Make Up: Olga Vashchuk | Hair: Gary Simmons | DJ: Jaz Afroman | Band: Anthony Caligagan | Groom's Attire: Ted Baker | Live Painter: Maerta Wydler | Maid Of Honor's Dress: Handmade | Veil: Sarah Morgan Bridal | Wine: Fine Wine Works

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Elegant Provence Chateau Wedding

There’s nothing quite like the romance-filled air at a chateau wedding in Provence. And when you’ve got Lavender & Rose behind all the pretty planning? It’s bound to be flawless. From Laetita C‘s sweet blooms to the pop-of-pink macaron box favors and all the gorgeous portraits from Caught The Light, you can get your swoon on right here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Chateau

From the beautiful Bride… How did you meet? We got introduced by a friend at a birthday party in Miami.

Why did you choose to marry in France? Omer proposed to me on a beautiful swing in front of a lake near lavender fields in Provence. We fell in love with the area and immediately decided to get married there. We did a lot of research on the internet, as we don’t live in France. Right after seeing some pictures of Chateau du Martinet online, it became my first choice. We spoke to our wedding planners and they highly recommended the chateau, we then immediately scheduled a visit to make the final decision. When we saw it, we knew it was the place.

As soon as I entered the venue the first time, I was breath-taken: it was better than what I had always dreamed of. The chateau was decorated very elegantly and effortlessly French-chic inside and out. We knew we would have good wine, and amazing food with exceptionally good value!

The ceremony area was so magical; a long aisle lined with huge cypress trees on each side. Walking down the aisle was my most memorable moment, seeing the excitement on the faces of our family and friends. We had to hold the legal ceremony in our country of birth, so we had a humorous symbolic ceremony in France where the celebrant was groom’s brother in law. We wanted it to be romantic, elegant. We also wanted it to be very natural, so our guests to feel very warm, welcomed and loved. We chose a colour palette of light pink, green, cantaloupe, white. We wanted a soft, natural cosy look. In order to create a romantic feel with our flowers, we used light colored roses and hydrangeas. I love peonies, but it wasn’t the right season for them, so my lovely florist recommended David Austin roses that looked very similar to peonies. I wanted the nature and the big trees of the courtyard to be reflected at the tables, that’s why we used dark green leaves and boxwood trees. My bouquet was made up of lily of the valley, David Austin roses and white bouvardia.

Our timing was perfect for the ceremony and evening and the sun set exactly after the grand entrance. We were also very happy that the layout of the tables we drew and planned worked out perfectly and exactly as we had envisioned. Our florist and caterers were brilliant and recommended to us by our wedding planners, Lavender & Rose.

We love bicycle riding as a couple. Our save the dates had 2 bicycles printed and Jennifer, one of our wedding planners, had the idea of getting a vintage bike just for photos, she found one in an antique market in France. I sourced our escort fans from a calligrapher in Istanbul and had them printed at a local printing house in Istanbul. Guests used them to cool down and to find their seat too.

We selected each and every detail on the table, starting from chairs, tablecloth, glasses, cutlery, plates and our florist supplied all the candles and vases based on our taste. I created the design of the Menus, and had it printed in a local printing store, which was a bargain. We dined on lobster tail with honey lavender sauce, asparagus risotto with truffles, Herb crusted lamb chops, followed by a fantastic French Dessert Buffet. For wedding favours, we had macaroon boxes, which had to be shipped from United States to Turkey.

We had an extravagant photo-booth backdrop completely from fresh pink roses and props for our guests to hold. The photo-booth printed 2 photos of the same picture, 1 to be kept and the other to be put in our wedding notebook, where guests signed and wrote their wishes to us. It was a huge success, definitely recommended and provided by Alban Pichon. We had asked for the hallway to be filled with black and white round balloons, and our guests loved them and carried them to the reception area and of course to the dance floor.

If you are having a wedding abroad, make sure to organize a dinner or an activity, on each day of the weekend for your guests. Give them a welcome hand-book with details, and timeline of the weekend. The best thing about our weekend was traveling together with family and friends, enjoying and celebrating our marriage the whole weekend.

Photography: Caught The Light | Videography: Can Kinalikaya | Event Planning: Lavender & Rose | Flowers: Laetita C | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Delphine Tollari | Catering: Marrou | Makeup: Camille Bonardi | Hair: Tony & Guy Istanbul | DJ: Aydin Katircioglu | Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren | Groom's Shoes: Dior Homme | Wedding Venue: Chateau Du Martinet | Flower Girl Shoes: Repetto | Furniture Hire: Options | Groom's Accessories: Cartier | Groom's Tie: Papillone | Page Boy Suit: J Crew | Purse: Judith Leiber | Sound & Light: Tropical Fun | Veil: Mark Ingram

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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.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Chateau
Styles
Romantic

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.

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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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