David and I met nearly 9 years ago and have been inseparable ever since. The story of our chateau wedding began in December 2021 when we were preparing to move out of the apartment we had lived in for the last 4 years about to embark on a new chapter. One morning over brunch, we were talking about our future together, all of the things we were so excited for, and he got down on one knee and proposed. It was very sweet, very intimate – and a complete surprise – the perfect private engagement I had always hoped for. After that we went to Balthazar where we had had our first date some 6 years earlier to celebrate followed by an engagement moon to Rio De Janeiro.
He proposed with a bespoke ring choosing the stone with the help of my Godfather. It is the most beautiful cushion cut solitaire and I couldn’t have picked anything more perfect.
We fell in love with No 3 The Chateau which is a gorgeous venue located amidst the Grande Champagne Cognac vineyards. We loved how zonal it was, allowing us to take our guests on a journey throughout the day. It’s also a 5 minute walk from a stunning church which meant we were able to have the traditional ceremony we had always dreamed of. We stayed at the chateau with our families which extended the joy of the wedding celebrations to the full weekend.
The day before our wedding, we had a rehearsal in the church with my bridesmaids, Father and David’s best man, his brother. We then hosted an intimate cocktail welcome with our families and bridal party at Le Lys, a rooftop bar in Cognac.
The day itself began with the ceremony at 3pm. The church was Romanesque style, with an elaborate arched doorway which we adorned in gorgeous hydrangeas and roses. Afterwards, we had champagne on the lawn in front of the chateau before walking through the chateau underpass to canapés and a drinks reception around the pool. We had dinner on the sunset estrade under a stunning pergola overlooking the Cognac vineyards, before invading the dancefloor within the old Cognac distillery barn.
Encore une fois! On Sunday, our guests returned for the pool party at the chateau complete with copious amounts of Provence, DJ and BBQ – it was such a fantastic way to celebrate with our guests one more time.
The entire weekend was planned end to end with exceptional attention to detail by the wonderful Laurence Beal at Peaches and Cream Weddings. We chose to work with Laurence after speaking with a few different planners because, not only did we have great chemistry, we wanted to have a truly bespoke day which we knew Laurence would provide. She was wonderful, unflappable and became a friend over the planning process.
My dress was by Marquise Bridal. I fell in love with it because it was so romantic, feminine and intricate. I paired it with a cathedral length blusher veil for a bit of drama. My something blue was a blue butterfly brooch sewed inside the dress which my Mother wore on her wedding day. I kept jewellery simple with a tennis bracelet on my right wrist. In terms of shoes, my priority was comfort with a pair of Sam Edelmans.
David and his Groomsmen wore morning suits from Neal and Palmer, St James’s Place. The morning suit was a hot debate throughout the planning process as I was worried that, paired with the South Western French sun, he and his groomsmen would be too hot but I’m glad he persisted. He looked so handsome and smart.
My second dress was by Nadine Merabi which I changed into after the first dance. It had crystal waterfall beading making it so fun to dance in.
No 3 The Chateau owns a beautiful red vintage Citroen from the 1930s. On our way to the church, my Father and I were taken on a car ride around the Grand Champagne vineyards. After saying our “I dos,” David and I jumped into the car and were driven around the local area taking a moment to debrief before heading back to the chateau to our friends and family.
Guests were transferred to and from the wedding in coaches, I’ve heard the return coach turned into a bit of a party bus. For some of our elderly guests, private chauffeurs were provided by Aime and his team at Chauffeurs-cognac.
Dinner was under a beautiful pergola lit with fairy lights overlooking the vineyard. This, along with the sunset, was our statement so we wanted to go quite understated with the tablescape whilst still maintaining some glamour. Our planner, Laurence, also took charge of styling for the day with the help of our florist Rose. We had two long tables for dinner with white roses and wild greenery runners in the middle with pillar candles.
The menus, along with all other stationary, were designed by Handcrafted by Hanya, which provided a consistent red thread throughout the day. Hidden underneath each menu was a handwritten note for each guest from David and I, expressing our gratitude for their presence and other personal anecdotes. This was a nice surprise for our guests and went down really well.
Food & Drink
Being in France, we were able to embrace the exceptional local culinary delights. When guests arrived at the chateau post ceremony they were greeted with Champagne. We then walked under the chateau where an Aperol and Rosé bar awaited, accompanied by live food presentations around the pool. These featured Oysters, Serrano Ham carving, and a display of Cognac-flambéed chicken and king prawn skewers.
Dinner was a choice of Filet de Boeuf or Sea Bream along with recommended local wine pairings. Our pudding was a delicious Croquembouche lit up with sparklers.
The evening bar served Espresso Martinis, Caipirinhas, Cognac Tonics (a nod to the region) and G&Ts.
Music was such an important element to us so we were very choiceful about who we worked with. Our wedding planner connected us with Damien Keys and we knew instantly we wanted him to perform at our wedding. Damien is a pianist and a DJ, he covered our ceremony, cocktails, dinner, party and Sunday pool party. We’ve had many compliments from our guests about Damien, he is so talented and worked the crowd expertly. Each part of the day was so carefully thought through.
One of the most emotional moments from the day was when my cousin, a choir singer, performed a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria – Schubert alongside Damien during the ceremony in the church.
We also had a roaming band perform – The Rock & Strollers via Boujee Music – another highlight of the day. They performed their first set outside of the church just after the petal toss and led our guests to the chateau – Pied Piper style. Their second set was post dinner where we all danced and sang our hearts out under the fairy-lit pergola overlooking the vineyard, it was pure magic.
Our first dance song was Lauryn Hill’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You. The week before the wedding, we managed to pull together an amateur dance routine in 40 degree heat at the AirBnb we were staying in.
Beauty Regime & Wellness
About 6 months before the wedding I started to have regular microneedling facials with Emily Jane who transformed my skin. Other beauty prep included chugging 3 litres of water a day and at home red light therapy.
My original makeup artist cancelled on me 2 months before the wedding. It was a blessing in disguise though because it meant I got to work with the incredible Niamh Mcaleenan. Not only did Niamh make my bridesmaids and I feel incredible, she was also so great to be around on the morning of the wedding – it felt like she was one of the bridesmaids. She even stepped in to fix my hair just before I left for the ceremony which I was so grateful for.
Immediately after our wedding we went on a mini-moon to Biarritz and San Sebastien where we spent a week eating, sleeping and going to the spa – it was bliss.
In the New Year we will be heading on our Honeymoon to Tanzania for one week of safari followed by a week of beach in Zanzibar. We can’t wait.
I feel like I could write a book! But my top three would be:
- Trust your gut with suppliers to ensure that you’re collaborating with people who truly understand your vision and needs – and most importantly care.
- If you can, do something on the morning of your wedding to get into your body so that you are present on the day. I started my day off with some meditation and a PT session by the pool with my superstar sister in law, @trainwithkrisi , which made me feel so energised and kicked off my day brilliantly.
- Don’t forget the real meaning. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the planning that you forget why you’re doing this in the first place – your love for each other. Make time for one another. David and I sneaked away for a quick coffee during the drinks reception. It was the perfect way for us to soak it all in together and play a little “spy” on our guests from the chateau’s kitchen
Wedding Planner: @peachesandcreamweddings
Caterer: Aymeric Vitel
Groom outfit: @nealandpalmer
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