Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My Beautiful French Weekend

So......a couple of weekends ago I attended my gorgeous friend Natalie's Wedding.
 Actually it was Jubilee weekend so we all had a lovely long holiday :)
I met Natalie on a skiing holiday a few years ago, the same time as she had just met her new husband Olly. We have become firm friends and so I was honoured and very excited to attend their Wedding at the amazing Chateau Des Conde in Vallery, France.

Is this place amazing or what?! And we didn't just have a part of it.....we had the whole place to play in all weekend!!! I felt like a princess and I wasn't even the Bride.

(This is the 'check out MY Chateau' photo)

The Chateau is owned by Patrice Vansteenberghe a talented architect. The small turret like building to the top right in the aerial photo 'Le Pigeonnier' is the biggest dovecot in France with 2,844 pigeon holes.
Lucky pigeons.
It has been lovingly converted into the Honeymoon suite with the most amazing glass domed roof for gazing at the stars whilst lying in the most enormous circular bed.
(I only know this because me and some of the girls tested it out ;)

I loved this place from the minute we all arrived, so relaxed and informal. Natalie is such a gorgeous and naturally pretty girl, this came across in all of her choices and the way that she and Olly planned their big day. No airs and graces. The Chateau very much had this feel about it too. Endless long corridors with little doors leading to a multitude of rooms filled with quirky old French furniture, even an old hippo skull!

The morning of the Wedding the florists had arrived and filled the main room with simple cream roses and the most amazing smelling mint. Natalie even had mint in her Bridal bouquet.
Roses were hung from the ceiling in giant balls with lengths of ivy randomly hanging from swags of fabric. Just lovely.

Here they are taking their vows in the local church, a mere stones throw from the Chateau. Olly is a Major in the Royal Marines hence the smart uniform and Natalie's dress was simple and flattering in shape with a beautiful rose lace overlay and long veil.
She looked stunning.

Not only did they plan treats for themselves, but there was a surprise treat for the guests as we walked through the village and back to the Chateau from the Church.
 The Chateau surround sound system was blasting out a very grand piece of music from a film (I guessed might be Gladiator) and as we approached the main gateway we were greeted by....

A knight in full armour! (actually one of the guests had legged it back through the grounds after the ceremony) it took 13 minutes to put on apparently.
I couldn't help but give him a peck on the cheek as I passed :)

I'm the one in the blue dress!

And if you are ever stuck for a suitable place to pop your champagne glass there is always a hedge. I must admit I lost several empty glasses through this hedge, but that one is just between you and me ;)

Here I am mucking about in the grounds, I think I was starting to get a little drunk at this stage! All of these photos (except the cake ones) were taken by me, but Nat and Olly did have a professional on board, my lovely colleague Rebecca  at Catwalk Wedding. I managed to catch her from an upstairs window taking pictures of the Bride and Groom.

Oh and I must remember the cake!....I offered to make Nats cake when she told me a French man was going to do it for her. He had asked her 'what else other than raisins' should he put in her fruitcake.
I laughed out loud and said 'I know the french make the most amazing patisserie, but they cannot make a good old English fruitcake!'
 The cake was made in 3 parts, boxed up and taken to France in a guests car.
Natalie chose the lace and personalised cake topper and I assembled it all on arrival.

Simple and elegant.....tasty too with plenty of raisins, apricots, currants, prunes, sultanas, dates, almonds, oranges, lemons and BRANDY!

I could waffle about this wonderful Wedding for ages but I will finish of by saying,

'Les plus beaux jours de notre vie'

'The best days of our life'


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