Being a destination wedding photographer means you get to visit some incredible places around the world, and one of my favourites from this year (and ever!) is the South of France chateau wedding of the wonderful Fran and Will.
Fran and Will originally met while doing a ski season in France, and they knew they’d have to return there if they ever wanted to get married. The logical answer, of course, was a chic French chateau wedding…
The chicest South of France Chateau Wedding venue
For their South of France chateau wedding venue, the couple chose Chateau de Brives, a stunning country house in the midst of the Cognac vines. Their wedding was such a special day to be part of, not least because of the stunning setting, but because of the whole vibe of the French chateau wedding weekend.
The beauty of these kinds of weddings – and this South of France chateau wedding in particular – is that whilst every single element looks luxurious, not one moment feels stuffy. In elegant, elevated surroundings you can feel free to enjoy the day exactly as you want. This is especially true at Chateau de Brives, as the building itself – which dates back to the 1800s – sits in the midst of a walled garden, ensuring total privacy for the day. There’s even private access to the charming village church situated opposite!
Charming village church ceremony
This is where Fran and Will had their ceremony, after a morning of nervous excitement and getting ready. (Leading up to their French chateau wedding there had been a heatwave in the country, so we all welcomed the cool 30 degrees that was forecast.) Fran and her bridesmaids entered through huge oak doors, and her and Will said their I dos in front of the altar alcove, which had a beautiful distressed patina to it. Also…more Labradors front-row at weddings, please!
Afterwards I gathered all the guests to line the winding drive up to the front of the venue, so that we could shower the newlyweds with confetti as they made their way to the reception.
Cocktail and canapes hour with Spritz and Salami
Another reason I loved this South of France chateau wedding: where else would you get a drinks hour that consisted of cured meats & Aperol Spritzes?! Guests relaxed on the lawn while sipping and nibbling, alternating between the parasol-covered outdoor seating area, the blazing heat of the sun, and the shade from the huge trees in the grounds.
Whilst the smooth sounds of the Revolverlites entertained the guests, I snuck away with Fran and Will to take a couple of portraits in the chateau itself (in addition the portraits session, which came later.) The couple who own it were there on the weekend, and it was a pleasure to meet them as they’re such lovely people. They’re actually antique dealers, so not only is the place full of treasure, but it’s also kept as faithful to the time period as possible. It’s about as authentic a French chateau wedding venue as you’ll come across.
They actually specialise in antique fabrics – they’ve sold clothes for the new Mary Poppins, for example, and fabrics for the sails of the ships in the Pirates of the Caribbean – but one of my favourite pieces was the striking, royal blue and orange chandelier you can see above Fran’s head as she gets ready to go downstairs for the ceremony. You can even check them out on Escape to the Chateau DIY – they’re the real South of France chateau wedding deal!
Dinner and dancing
When it was time, guests were invited over to the long trestle tables that had been set out for dinner. Each place setting featured gold cutlery, a soft knotted napkin and a mini tambourine with their name on (many of which made a re-appearance on the dancefloor later…)
Fran and Will entered stage right from the beautiful pool next to the tables, to the cheers and hollers of their delighted fans – sorry, I mean loved ones. Fran’s three sisters – who, alongside five of her other closest friends and family, made up her eight bridesmaids – gave a kickass speech, as did Will’s crew. Guests enjoyed the delicious dinner in the setting sun of the early evening, before well and truly starting the night off on the dancefloor, under twinkling lights.
French chateau weddings and destination weddings.
Destination weddings combine all the joy of getting married with the excitement of going on holiday, which is why they’re some of my favourite things to photograph ever. Thank you, Fran and WIll, for having me as part of yours!
If you love throwing a good party and going abroad, and you’re always dreaming of your next adventure, then a destination wedding might be the next thing for you to plan. In particular, you might want to consider a French chateau wedding, as it’s pure perfection: stunning weather, incredible food, and delightful surroundings.
I can also highly recommend the brilliant team I had the pleasure of working alongside to bring Fran and Will’s South of France chateau wedding to life. Some of them, like the super talented florist Mrs Whiterose, I’d been following on instagram for a while, and so it was really lovely to meet in person. Others were new, but rest assured I’m now a big fan of them all!
Florist Mrs Whiterose
Planner Josh Tully Management (With on the day coordination by Steph)
Catering Novelle Traiteur
Dress Stephanie Allin
Planning a South of France chateau wedding and need someone there to photograph it? You can check out more of my destination wedding work here. Or perhaps you’re not planning a French chateau wedding, but are still looking for a destination wedding photographer to capture your day? You can get in touch here - I’d love to hear more
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