This is the story of Rachael & Grant’s Château de Mondésir Wedding. A beautiful day full of colour, family, really lush details & styling and lush food. And some of the best dancing at the end of the day. It was a such a joy to have the honor of being there to document Rachael & Grant’s wedding day and I’m really proud to share it with you.
We finally moved in together for a few months after university at Grants mam’s in Devon, we lived together on and off for a few years due to work etc. Finally we bought a flat in Bristol and we moved in together after another couple of years of long distance due to work (Grant in Devon, Rach in Bristol and London). By the time Grant proposed we had been together for 12 years – so when Grant proposed in St. Mark’s Square in Venice it was a huge (but lovely) shock to Rach but a relief for our friends and family, after so many years we were finally engaged! After being together so long we planned our wedding and got married within a year of getting engaged.
We had always talked about getting married abroad (those chats didn’t happen very often!) and specifically France as we wanted an outdoorsy wedding and lots of good food and wine! Rach’s Mam, Annie did a lot of research into Châteaus in France and we just couldn’t find one that fitted in with our ideas of a relaxed french outdoorsy wedding – either very expensive, very ‘grand’ or they didn’t have a good plan ‘B’ if it rained. When Annie found Château de Mondésir we knew it was just perfect! Annie and co wedding planner friend June went out to visit as both Rach and Grant couldn’t due to work, they reported back that it was everything we had described and we decided to book it without visiting it ourselves – a gamble that paid off! It had vineyards, a large space for the ceremony and drinks reception and a separate place to have the food and dancing afterwards. Also it could accommodate 30 of our guests onsite as well as lots of accommodation in the nearby villages
What We Wore
Grant always likes dressing up for an occasion and has a small collection of tweed jackets. The idea for all his groomsmen and himself to have vintage tweed jackets was a nod to his love of tweed but also not the traditional same suits for everyone and also to see what each person bought that reflected their style. The mustard notes were a pop of colour (and one of Rach’s favourite colours!) and Grant loves wearing bow ties and braces so it was perfect! To make Grant stand out from his groomsmen he chose a blue and white floral shirt which also went with our colour palette for the wedding – blue and mustard!
Rach knew straight away that she didn’t want a traditional white wedding dress and wanted something completely unique and vintage if possible. After a failed attempt in one vintage wedding dress shop, Rach met Jane Bourvis through a friend who worked for her and immediately knew that Jane would have a dress for her. Each dress is made of antique lace and no two dresses are the same. The dress Rach chose was simple but so beautiful and each bit of lace has its own story, it also was very flattering and worked well with Rach’s shape. She wore her great grandmother’s veil from the 30’s which Jane put on a new comb for her. Our wedding rings we made ourselves, a friend of ours, Suzannah Key, makes jewellery and she came to our flat and we spent a lovely afternoon crafting our wedding rings! Rach used her great grandmother’s wedding ring and remodelled it to fit around her engagement ring.
Decor & Styling
We wanted simple decorations and decided that flowers and candles would probably be enough. The jam jars were collected by many friends and family and decorated before we travelled to France. Rach has a small obsession with Dartmouth gluggle fish jugs so we started collecting and eventually had enough for all our centrepieces which would hold our flowers. We decided to use polaroids as our table names because we love taking polaroids, so that reflected our love of travel and photography. We made bunting out of vintage fabric, painted signs on pieces of wood as well as made strands of origami cranes to decorate the venue (a little nod to our love of Japan!)
The flowers were a bit more tricky – the place we were supposed to get our flowers from told us a week before that they had no flowers left….so once we arrived in France 3 days before the wedding we drove around looking for any type of florist to quickly order some flowers – if that was even possible at such short notice. We found one and ordered in very bad french two bouquets and 100 euros worth of flowers and they could deliver the day before the wedding, we left not entirely sure whether we had ordered enough. We then spent an hour picking field flowers from the side of the road and bought two hydrangea bushes from a local lady just in case the florist didn’t deliver. Fortunately they did and the mix of flowers worked perfectly together and we were both so happy with them in the end – it must have been fate!
As we were getting married in France, we decided to get a Celebrant to conduct the ceremony and chose a handfasting to be included. We chose Rach’s brother, Tom and Grant’s sister, Giorgia to do a couple of readings and then Rach’s man of honour, Callum wrote a poem to read as well, which was so lovely and personal. We let them choose each reading as we wanted them to choose something that they thought would have meaning to us. Tom read ‘He’s Not Perfect’ by Bob Marley and Giorgia read ‘I Carry Your Heart’ by E.E.Cummings – both beautiful readings. The hand fasting was great as it again was very personal and and we have the piece of ribbon used as a memento of a lovely ceremony.
For the ceremony we hired a local pianist who played our entrance and exit music, He also played for a bit during our cocktail reception which was perfect. We really struggled to find a band initially and our DJ dropped out 6 weeks before the day which was a huge let down as everyone we spoke to was already booked. However we managed to find a lovely duo who we flew out from London – a singer and a guitarist who played two sets and then DJ’d for us after the meal – it was perfect and they got all the guests up and dancing.
For Rach’s walk down the aisle at the ceremony we chose Nuvole Bianche, which was played by our pianist. For our exit we chose ‘You’re So Cool’ which was also played on piano. We chose these songs as we had always loved the entrance song and the exit reflected how we felt about each other. Our first dance was a swing cover version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ – by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Emoji Antique. We had always joked about having that song as Grant always said it reminded him of Rach, we managed to find the swing version which was really fun to dance to.
Best part of the day
Rach: I enjoyed so many different parts of the day, seeing all our friends and family at the ceremony was so lovely and I felt so grateful. I was super nervous but once I saw Grant I instantly relaxed. I also really enjoyed the speeches, my Mam had written a speech in poem form and included lots of our friends to write a poem each during the speech, it was so special. Grant: I would also say the ceremony was really special and seeing everyone turn up and be there for us was just great. I also really enjoyed the food, it was one of the reasons we chose to have our wedding in France and it definitely delivered!
Words of Wisdom
Make lots of lists and once you’ve ticked everything off make another list. Don’t be scared to delegate to all the people who are so happy to be there to help, communication is key! On the day take a moment for both of you to take it all in, it will go so so fast and try and enjoy every minute. We watched our guests arrive into the area we had our meal and we hid out of the way but it was lovely watching everyone coming through the door and seeing how they reacted to all that hard work we and our friends and family had put in.
We stayed in France for a week after the wedding which we were so grateful for. Our family friends had organised and paid for us to stay in two separate places as a wedding gift during the week – the first was a beautiful BnB about and hour from the Château and the second place was a treehouse just outside Bordeaux. We are currently saving up to go on a month long honeymoon next year to either Asia or South America.
Working with Larissa
We booked Larissa before we had even booked the venue, we knew straight away that Larissa’s style of photography was just what we were looking for and fortunately for us Larissa was happy to fly out to France for our wedding. We were very impressed with how organised Larissa is and right from the beginning when we received our beautifully presented welcome pack we knew we had chosen the right person! From the start we had great communication and this also helped us with other aspects of our wedding day that meant that on the day we didn’t have to worry too much about how the day ran. Larissa got all the photos we wanted and more and we now have so many beautiful photos of our day that we can print out and keep forever. Thank you so much for everything!
Catering: Maison Lutz (Daughter and Son of the owners of the Château)
Pianist: Jim Husky ( friend of the owners of the Château)
Cake maker: Grant’s sister, Giorgia
Hair stylist: https://www.lebrushing64.com
Grant’s Shoes: https://www.herringshoes.co.uk
Wedding rings: https://www.suzannahkey.com