France wedding photographer
If you take a drive for about an hour east of Bordeaux, you’ll find yourself deep in vineyard country. Signs pointing towards wine-tasting and different chateaux litter the sides of the carriageways and, on smaller roads, the ranks of vines whip past in-between each town and village. It’s the sort of place where, if you’ve got a roof you can drop, you wouldn’t hesitate to get the raybans out and let your hair go a whole different shape in the wind. This was the setting where, in September and the final days of summer, Emily and Nick celebrated their marriage in the beautiful setting of Chateau Rigaud in Bordeaux. This was also my first foray as a France wedding photographer and let me tell you… this wedding was something else.
Not long after this millennium got underway, these two were both doing their GCSEs when they met at a New Year’s Eve party in their hometown of Tunbridge Wells. Walking through the rain not long before midnight, when Emily got there Nick caught her attention straight away. Since then, the two have been together through thick and thin. After a secret trip to New York and a birthday proposal, the two were engaged and began planning the most incredible French destination wedding.
Canoes, wine tasting, crémant and chateaux
I arrived a couple of days before the wedding itself to meet up with everyone and to capture some of the activities they had planned the day before. The Rigaud team had organised canoeing on the river for all of the guests, followed by a riverside picnic (washed down with plenty of local rose). A few hours later, wine-tasting and dinner was laid on at a neighbouring chateau down the road for all of the guests. It was the perfect way to relax before the big day itself.
The morning of the wedding saw preparations well underway. Emily and her bridesmaids got ready in the tower of the chateau while Nick and his groomsmen were based on the other side of the building. Exceptionally great care was taken with the beautiful silk dress Emily was to wear, provided by Elizabeth Avey. Later, a stunning set of flowers later arrived from the in-house florist, Heidi Lee. In the ceremony room on the other side of the courtyard, Emily’s brother made final preparations to deliver the ceremony.
A wedding ceremony delivered by a loved one is pretty special, to say the least. They’ll know you better than any priest or celebrant ever could, and that was what made this ceremony so special. Because Emily and Nick had done the ‘official’ marriage in the UK earlier that week, their ceremony was theirs to organise however they wished. Her brother delivered a beautiful ceremony, with readings from family and friends and a candle-lighting from the mothers of the bride and groom.
Parties, pools, boules and a recovery lunch
With the ceremony over, it was straight back to the courtyard for a healthy glass of crémant and then onto the veranda for oysters, canapes and perhaps a few more glasses of crémant. In the meantime, Emma and her team at Rigaud had transformed the ceremony room into a stunning dining room where heatfelt and heartwarming speeches preceded a stunning feast. It then wasn’t long before the party well and truly kicked off with music playing well into the wee small hours.
‘Recovery lunch’ is a phrase that has now permanently entered my vocabulary for whatever I’m eating the day after as brilliant a party as Emily and Nick’s was. Cold drinks, cold cuts and fresh salads were laid out for the guests who ate under the shade of the tree in the courtyard, shielded from the sunshine but warmed by the breeze. Croquet, boules, table tennis and – after a few disco naps – a pool party were the perfect way to round out the day and put paid to any lingering hangovers from the night before.
All in all, this stunning French destination wedding was definitely one to remember. It was certainly very hard to drag myself away from afterwards! To Emily and Nick: congratulations once again on your marriage. Also, top marks for creating one of the most amazing weddings I consider myself truly lucky to have attended.
PS: are you getting married abroad? Why not head over to my destination wedding photography page to find out more?
PPS: all supplier links are listed at the bottom of this post! 🙂
Venue, catering and events: Chateau Rigaud
Emily’s dress: Elizabeth Avey
Nick/groomsmen’s attire: Ted Baker and Moss Bros
Planner: Emma Boland (Rigaud team)
Florist: Heidi Lee (Rigaud team)
DJ: Justin Burley