Tears streamed down my face. The fake eyelashes didn’t have a chance.
Are you supposed to cry this much during your dream wedding?
My maid of honor turned me away from the gaze of the guests to gently relieve my eyelids from the half limp eyelashes floating in front of me like a harassing fly.
The flooding of emotions was unlike anything I expected.
We are raised to visualize this extraordinary day, so much so that we fantasize about it, our dream wedding. The dream wedding that you put your heart, soul, time, and money into something that you’re pretty much gambling on that will match the picture you see when you close your eyes. There is no way to be 100% certain on how it will turn out, but you hope that the result is the dream wedding you’ve cooked up in your fantasy.
Tears and emotions come when something has meaning. And, it meant so much to us.
Days before the wedding I shared my concern with Peter, “what if this doesn’t turn out how we want it? What if it doesn’t feel the way we hope it would, full of joy, love, and laughter. What if our guests don’t understand why we’re doing it this way?”
Peter said, “the only thing we know is that we’re doing everything in our power to make this a reality, you have your dream wedding dress, I have my tux, we booked our photographer, we have the chateau, and we’re getting married in one of our favorite countries. The wedding day will be exactly what it’s supposed to be.”
Our dream wedding wasn’t the traditional American or wedding.
I could see each part of the day like a vivid memory already experienced. The most important people in our lives are traveling to a far-off place, coming together and celebrating this day with us and giving 110% of energy and enthusiasm. We wanted our friends and family to truly be present at the moment, something we all struggle with. This is one of the reasons we had our dream wedding in another country, in a romantic chateau nestled in the middle of a picturesque location. We wanted our wedding to be a permanent memory not only for us but for our loved ones as well.
The journey to achieve our dream wedding may seem like a treacherous mountain trail full of uncertainty, but we were determined to make it happen. And goodness, it did!
Our Dream Wedding
We’re drawn to travel like the sting of hunger after days without food. It’s part of the foundation of our life together.
Peter swept me off my feet on a romantic exploration of France. It was then we decided we would be together forever, that was about eight years ago. It was only natural that France would provide the setting to weld our hearts together in marriage.
The Dream Wedding Location – Château de la Bucherie
Endless green pastures, the splashing sound of waterfalls in the distance, a tree-lined driveway and in the middle stood the perfect chateau, plucked from a fairytale.
We couldn’t visit the chateau before our wedding, so we crossed our fingers and hoped it was like the photos. But to our surprise, it was so much better! Château de la Bucherie is 50 minutes outside of Paris, in a huge forest next to a small charming French countryside town.
After our plane touched down in Paris, we rented a car and drove through the French countryside to the Chateau. It was a delight onto itself, we drove through old french brick town’s, scenic views, large open fields and down winding roads. Driving to the chateau was the start of our wedding adventure, not only for us but our guests as well. Each messaging us in awe of what they saw, each excited for the experience that awaited, and each just delighted and overjoyed that they replied yes to our invitation.
When you travel 15 hours, a weekend wedding would be painful… So, our family and friends had the chateau all to ourselves for an entire week! From the day we decided to get married in France, we knew that it would be more enjoyable for everyone to be there a week. Vacation and a Dream Wedding.
Our Dream Wedding Style
Close your eyes, or look at the pictures, and imagine dark navy linens, gold silverware, crystal glasses, and lots of vibrant purples, pink and blue flowers, classical music from string instruments, and men in black tuxedos.
Style and endless elegance personified our dream wedding style.
Pure romance. Enchanting, everlasting, enduring these are the words that I described to my wedding planner (Vanessa – yes, a funny coincidence is that her name is Vanessa too). She had the difficult task of taking our vision and making it a reality without ever meeting us in-person.
Our Dream Day
Staying in a chateau with all your favorite people in the world made it hard to fall asleep the night before our big day. With only 3 hours of sleep, I jumped out of bed opened the french windows and looked out into our day.
The fresh morning air was crisp. Dewy grass glistened in the light from the clear skies and birds awoke from their night chirping. Our picturesque chateau looked even more magical on that day.
The best part of the wedding location was that all our guests were here when we woke up, so the energy was high, and the fun began downstairs at breakfast.
Everyone came entered the dining room with an ear to ear smile full of excitement for the big day. Everyone told me: “You’re doing great Vanessa.” You’re not like other brides I’ve seen. You’re so chill.” Delighted and on cloud 9, “what is there to be anxious about, everyone is already here, everything was already planned, all I need to do is be here, present, at the moment and have fun.” I was oddly calm, cool, and collected.
Since we planned to have an evening ceremony we had the entire morning to spend time with family, relax and take some fun family photos!
At about 1 pm, I was getting butterflies in my stomach and started to get very excited. It was time to get ready. Harold, my fabulous makeup and hair artist, arrived, and he prepped the beauty area to transform me into a bride!
While my hair was getting curled, twisted and sprayed and makeup masterfully applied, my family and friends would come and go, bringing me sweets, water, and good company.
As the finishing touches for the ceremony were getting finalized the sky turned gray, and it started to rain. Although this is common for October in France, of course, I had the thought “does it really need to rain right now?” I start thinking that we should move the ceremony inside.
If the rain radar shows that it will continue during the wedding, should we move the ceremony inside? I ask my maid of honor (Michele).
Inside? outside? Inside or out, that was the repeated question from my wedding planner for about an hour.
Turning for a 3rd party vote, Michele asked Harold, what would you do? What do you think? He said, just move the ceremony up 30 minutes. There was a break in the rain, and it’s not supposed to rain for the next hour so move it up. Harold is brilliant! Our talented photographer (Carey) was pleased. He wanted to keep the ceremony outside, and as you can see from the photos, you can understand why.
As I finished getting ready, our guests started to gather outside. My window was open, and I could hear the strings of the harpist and soothing violinist swirling in the air. Our wedding coordinator was politely demanding that everyone get to their seats, as it was almost time.
My heart was beating with excitement. The doors of the chateau opened and I saw everyone looking at me, except for Peter. He was waiting for the moment I turned the corner down the aisle. His first look.
The ceremony was joyous, emotional, and funny, and even though it rained a little, the best man and maid of honor were quick with the umbrellas as if planned.
Our friends and family were surprised that the ceremony was so entertaining. And the feelings carried throughout the rest of the dream day. We were in constant flux, either we all had huge smiles or were crying because of the pure heartfelt emotion. Surrounded by special friends that have known us since we met ten years prior, means they’ve seen us evolve and grow and shared this moment as important participants rather than merely as observers.
Inside the stately chateau the decor looked better in-person than in my imagination, the food was divine, the wine spectacular and the heartfelt speeches, oh the emotion and love in the speeches, well those took the tears to a whole other level.
We had started our day at breakfast, and we ended it at 2 am. We drank wine and champagne, flew around the dance floor, laughed and danced some more.
Our dream wedding was no longer a dream but now a permanent memory that we will soon not forget.
Our Wedding Photoshoot in Paris
One of the top items on our list of must-haves for our dream wedding was photos around the city of Paris. We wondered how we would achieve this since our chateau had to fit the number of guests, therefore, had to be a bit outside of Paris. One of Peter’s primary responsibilities for the wedding was finding the photographer and figuring out the logistics of photos in Paris.
He found the fantastic destination wedding photographer, Carey Nash! One of the best in the business. In this wedding package, he offers an adventure session. Since his specialty is destination wedding photography, he makes sure he captures the bride and groom in the environment they traveled so far to experience.
On Saturday we had our dream wedding, and on Monday we had our adventure session in Paris. This was the secret to how we were able to get our dream wedding photos in the city of love, Paris!
If you have any questions about our wedding, please leave a comment. I will share in another post with all the destination wedding details, vendors and our wedding specifics about planning a wedding in France.
P.S. My dream wedding dress is by Atelier Pronovias – Varel.
Dream Wedding Vendors:
Destination Wedding Photographer : Carey Nash Photography // careynash.com // @careynash
Wedding Planner : Vanessa & Caroline – Créatrices de Mariages // vanessaandcaroline.com // @vanessa_creatricedemariages
Flowers : Esther Larmarche Design Floral // estherlamarche.wixsite.com/fleuriste // @esther_lamarche_design_floral
Calligraphy and Menus : Studio French Blue // studiofrenchblue.com // @studiofrenchblue
Caterer : Entre Mets & Fragrances // entre-mets.com
Hair & Make-up : Harold James // jameshairandmakeup.com // @this_is_mrjames
Officiant : LoveGracefully // love-gracefully.com
Harpiste : La Harpe En Folie // laharpeenfolie.com/welcome-1
Tablecloth, napkins, cutlery, glasses : Options // options.fr // @maison_options
Candlesticks : Blanche Patine // blanchepatine.com // @blanchepatine
Guests favors : La Durée // laduree.fr // @maisonladuree
Tote bags : Bagart // bagart.fr // @atelierbagart