April 23, 2012
Is there anything more romantic than a wedding in a French chateau? For part 2 of her story, Paige Frost takes us through her last-minute preparations for the big day…- Geneviève
Most brides obsess over something. Will the flowers look right? Will my dress fit after the alterations? Will the DJ play YMCA (even though I begged him not to)? Will Uncle Bill get smashed and ruin the reception?
And then there’s the mother of all bridal worries — the one none of us can control and yet endlessly fret over: the weather.
We planned our wedding at a French chateau in May knowing full well that the weather could not be counted on – not in May or any other time of year. (This is France, after all). And so, with a million and one concerns filling my bride-addled brain, I focused on rain. Will it or won’t it? And what will we do if?
Despite my obsession, there was no time to lose: A hundred plus guests were descending on Paris from locales as far flung as San Francisco and Sarajevo. Everything had to be perfect and I had to oversee it all. I’d spent my first year here planning every last detail. If I could just get everyone from Paris down to the chateau in Burgundy, surely the festivities would all come off without a hitch?
La Degustation. Some of our guests had never been to France, let alone sipped perfectly aged Burgundy in the stone-walled cave of a 16th century castle. So the chateau owner (a bonhomme extraordinaire), offered us something special: to host a candlelit wine tasting before our rehearsal dinner, the perfect way to get newly arrived friends in the spirit of events to come. Sublime!
Les Fleurs. Little about planning our wedding followed the traditional formula but there were some aspects that had to be right. So when the chateau florist turned out to be the woman who lived next door and grew her blooms in her own garden, I felt a tad uneasy. After hours scouring magazines and forwarding endless images of blossoming bouquets, she proceeded to ignore me and do what the French do best: Create something beautiful. When I laid eyes upon her perfect peonies and ravishing roses, I realized I’d had nothing to fear.
Le Coiffeur et le Maquillage. An up do or natural(ish) waves? Professional make-up or DIY? I decided – perhaps unwisely – to go with the Parisian pros, who favored shall we say, a somewhat theatrical wedding look. With my hair swept into a gravity-defying chignon, I sat down for make-up grasping a glass of champagne and what little remained of my frayed nerves. When my best friend shot me a look of horror halfway through the session, I knew it was time to scrub my mug and start fresh. With two sisters and a bevy of bridesmaids on-hand, we managed to salvage my face in time for the wedding bells.
Le Mariage: A hundred buttons fastened and trailing veil in hand, I descended the chateau steps to my awaiting carriage, complete with white horse and top hatted driver. Our ceremony was held next to the chateau, in the village’s ancient church complete with worn wooden pews, stained glass windows and the scent of spring blooms and dusty Gallic history. As my dad took my arm and escorted me past dozens of beloved faces, my French wedding fantasies fell away in favor of a moment that was simply perfect.
The celebration that followed in the chateau’s grand salon carried on into the small hours. We dined on foie gras and blanquette de veau, sipped champagne and swilled cases of Burgundy. Of course, not everything went exactly as planned. The DJ did play YMCA (flashing me a wink as he threw his arms toward the vaulted ceiling). And Uncle Bill? Well, that’s another story.
Our night ended with a blazing bonfire on the grass and elegantly dressed guests coupled under the stars. For both bride and groom, a magical night in the French countryside — with nary a cloud or raindrop in sight.
- Are you planning a wedding in Paris? We recommend…
- Parisian Events and Rendez-Vous in Paris to help you plan
- … and One & Only Paris Photography to help you capture the wonderful moments
Written by Paige Bradley Frost
Paige Bradley Frost, a Los Angeles native, moved back to Paris with her young family in 2011 after first living and getting married there in 2000. A lover of French style and cuisine, she spends her days scouting and writing about the city's gems when not chasing after her two young children. Her articles about parenting, culture and lifestyle have appeared on NYTimes.com, the Huffington Post and various other publications. She blogs about her Paris experiences at http://parisdejavu.blogspot.com.
Website: Paris Deja Vu
Tags: bride, burgundy, Chateau des Conde, chateau france, flower factor, flowers, idhren, make-up, one and only photography, Paige Bradley Frost, Wedding, wedding photography, weddings france
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