South of France Wedding from Xavier Navarro
May 20, 2013
RomanticDestinationEstate Weddings
When I first locked eyes with this South of France affair, I could have sworn it was a perfectly planned styled shoot. But no. It's a real wedding with all the components to make you believe otherwise. From the model-beautiful bride and groom to the incredible setting of Chateau des Fleurs, this chic Provence soiree embodies everything a fairytale wedding should be, plus more. It's taking all I have not hop a flight to France this very moment, but in the meantime I'll enjoy a virtual vacay through the gallery of photos from Xavier Navarro. Won't you join me?
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From the Bride...Guillaume and I live in Paris but we are really a transatlantic couple, with our families between Paris and New York City... but we didn't want to do a big city wedding. Since we both also have family connections to the Riviera, we decided to have our wedding weekend there. And since so many guests were coming all the way from the States and many didn't know the area, we really wanted to showcase the South of France. Our vision was a chic Provence wedding, with an elegant vintage touch. This is easier said than done as the Riviera tends to be more "bling bling" than elegant. Our wonderful photographer Xavier Navarro was absolutely key in helping us find the right vendors who would "get" our vision and aesthetic, particularly our lovely florist and decorator. I am quite a perfectionist (some might even say control freak, em hem) so it was important to find the right people who I could trust with our big day since we were organizing from a distance.

The wedding colors were inspired by the natural local palette: the purple of the lavender fields and the sagey green of the olive trees. My bridesmaids (my 2 sisters and 4 girlfriends) chose their own lavender dresses -- I loved the mix & match look. My little cousins in the wedding party looked adorable in their outfits: off-white tulle dresses with lavender sashes for the flower girls and grey slacks/white shirts with lavender bow ties for the ring bearers. They loved getting dressed up!

There were many DIY elements and we recruited friends and family to help us out: we assembled the invitations (which a friend designed) and the gifts bags (colorful sachets of dried lavender and mini bottles of local olive oil from my family's property); one of my sisters designed the wedding website; my godmother had custom fans made etc... We owe them all a big thank you!

The 19th century Chateau des Fleurs, with its large terraced gardens, was the perfect venue -- a blend of a traditional Provençal country house ("bastide") with the tailored refinement of a Chateau. We planned an outdoor ceremony in the garden under a custom arch made by our florist, but the weather had other plans... Just as the first reading started, the skies opened up and all 165 guests ran inside. Thankfully we had prepared a backup and the rest of the ceremony, squeezed into the Chateau's 12th century stone chapel, was all the more intimate and emotional. As we signed the wedding certificate, everyone started singing “All you need is love.” The rain cleared just in time for the apéritif, which featured bellinis with sprigs of lavender and small bites like seared foie gras and crispy polenta with olive tapenade. All the food was inspired by local cuisine and seasonal products. The dinner started with a sun-dried tomato and caramelized zucchini tart, followed by fresh grilled Mediterranean sea bream with vegetables, and the obligatory cheese course was a duo of local cheeses. The tables, draped in natural linen table clothes, were named after local flowers, and the table names were written in calligraphy on the backs of vintage botanical prints.

Just before the classic Croquembouche wedding cake, we planned a small surprise for my father because it was also his birthday. We had a special cake brought out and there was a small fireworks display around the Chateau's basin. Then our guests moved inside for a decadent dessert buffet. Our decorator and florist worked together on all the details inside: from the antique trunk for the photobooth accessories, to the vintage mirrors propped up against the walls, to the stunning floral arrangements. The sound system had some issues as we started our first dance (you can't control everything!), so everyone started singing “All you need is love” again... Then the band kicked off the party and we danced with all our family and friends. And ultimately this is what we really wanted: to throw a great party and have everyone dance with us until the wee hours! Guillaume and I had a magical day, but it all went by so quickly... We were so thrilled when we got Xavier's incredible photos, he beautifully captured the love and joy of the day. Thanks to these gorgeous photos, we'll be able to relive this day for the rest of our lives!


Wedding Photography: Xavier Navarro | Venue: Chateau des Fleurs | Floral Design: Sabine Flowers | Event Design: Christine Linder Favier | Hair +Makeup: Revann | Invitations: Marine Duroselle (London-based graphic designer, friend of the couple) | Caterer: One Shot | Wedding dress: Amsale (I had my tailor put in the pockets) | Bride's shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Les Deux Oursons | Ties: Nodus | Flower Girls + Ring Bearers: Les Petits Inclassables
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