A Week in Provence.
Most of the real-life weddings abroad we’ve had the privilege to cover on this site have one thing in common: they’re small. Small but perfectly formed, maybe, but small nonetheless. It’s cited as one of the main advantages of having a wedding abroad. But what if you’ve always dreamed of throwing a huge, sparking affair with all your friends and relatives around you? Can you take the whole event overseas and have the wedding you really want in a dramatic, exotic location?
From: London, UK
Nearest Airport: Toulon-Hyères
Out of the 150 people we invited, 131 attended
According to Charlotte & Christian’s guests, their wedding in La Croix Valmer was “the Wedding of the Millennium; the Party of the Year”. Situated in the heart of the Saint Tropez peninsula is La Croix Valmer, a small Provencal village, quietly nestling in a gently-sloping valley and overlooking the deep hues of the Mediterranean seascape. It has the earthy tones and heady scents typical of wine regions, and the local vineyards are as accessible as the white sandy beaches and meandering coastal footpaths. Lucky enough to have a family home here, the couple could easily fulfil the strict residency requirements, and as Charlotte naturally felt a strong emotional attachment to the area there was no competition when it came to deciding on a location for the wedding.
Whilst the wedding blessing and reception was attended by over 100 guests, the legal wedding itself was a very intimate occasion, comprising a romantic civil ceremony conducted in French at the Mayor’s Office, followed by lunch and attended by close family only. The Spiritualist blessing, conducted by a family friend, was held on the following day and was personalised throughout. The ceremony took place in the family villa high in the hills with breathtaking views of the ocean, although we think that the views probably paled into insignificance against the splendour of the wedding party. “I had a Christiana Couture dress, which was a long, ivory, strapless gown in satin and tulle, and my bouquet was made up of peonies on a bed of olive leaves. The Maid of Honour wore a dress by Prada during the day, and Christian had a simple dark grey suit just for the ceremony, and stunning Gucci black tie for the evening reception”. Did she have Jimmy Choos to complete the ensemble, we hear you ask? I don’t think we really need to answer that one.
Romantic, Sensual, Decadent
The black-tie reception, which took place at a hotel near the villa and with the same beautiful ocean views, was equally magical. “We started at 7pm in order to take full advantage of the sunset”, said Charlotte. “We had champagne and canapés on the upper terrace of the hotel, with our string quintet playing until supper at 8.30pm”. Long tables had been prepared for the meal on a gravelled area by the hotel pool and cloisters, and Charlotte had used a candles theme to highlight the hauntingly beautiful décor she had worked so hard to create. Green and white flowers were displayed in small, irregular vases that dotted the tables, and were surrounded by olive leaves and petals. Scented candles were arranged among these displays, and the hotel was filled with hundreds of tea-lights. The seating plan was displayed in a grotto area which had been filled with soft white cushions and candles, and to compliment the candles theme, the couple had arranged for a Los Angeles company to create scented candles for each of the guests, which were flown to France just before the wedding and placed in the guests’ rooms, ready for their arrival. “We wanted the guests to feel that, at our wedding, they had the most romantic, sensual and decadent fun that they’d ever experienced”, explained Charlotte.
A wedding this extraordinary doesn’t come without a lot of hard work, and for the couple it was a very hands-on experience. The bride, keen to oversee all aspects of the planning, handled the organisation of the wedding with the assistance of her husband and mother, even though this meant several trips to the area in order to attend meetings and fulfil the very complex bureaucratic requirements. As the wedding date approached the couple hired an on-the-day co-ordinator, primarily to help communicate with the French-speaking caterers and to enable couple and their families to finally relax and enjoy the results of their hard work.
When you put this much time and effort into each tiny detail, you can’t fail to have an awe-inspiring occasion. For those of you who are wondering if it’s fair to ask your guests to travel abroad for your wedding, just imagine what it must have been like to be a guest at this wedding. We think it must have been an absolute treat; a once-in-a-lifetime experience; one of those things that money can’t buy. And we think that every couple deserves a dream-wedding like this one, so push the boat out and start planning! (and don’t forget to send us an invitation..)
Story: Callie Copeman-Bryant
The Perfect Partners
Ceremony: Private Residence // Reception: L’Orangerie Parc Hotel, La Croix Valmer // On-the-day Wedding Co-ordinator: Riviera Runners, Lisa // Wedding Photographer: Contre Jour, London // Caterer: Lou Pistou // Wine: Chateau Giscle // Florist: Regis Eberwine, Andrea // Furniture Hire: Aktuel // Favours: Luli candles // Invitations: The Garden Print // Gift List: WrapIt // Wedding Dress: Christiana Couture // Bridal Shoes: Jimmy Choo and Burberry Prorsum // Earrings: Erickson Beamon // Bridal Accommodation: Chateau Valmer // Post Wedding Lunch Venue: Club 55