After donning the bling on the third finger when Maisie was just 6 months old and knowing how challenging our little cherub could be, we knew 2016 would be the earliest we could tie the knot and enjoy the day. As soon as January reared its miserable head we began our search. Far from being a traditionalist, I desperately wanted a small wedding abroad with less hassle (mmmh wasn’t I wrong) and ideally an elopement somewhere near a sunny beach with crystal clear water. The big fat church wedding just isn’t my cup of tea. The intimate wedding concept appealed to Chris but the Caribbean Gretna Green scenario sadly didn’t! My powers of persuasion failed on this occasion!
We initially began exploring the idea of a French or Italian wedding, with the sunshine, lifestyle and wine appealing to us. Failing to come up with the goods we looked closer to home and visited the stunning Langar Hall in Nottinghamshire and the fabulous Drenagh in Northern Ireland. We came really close to booking Drenagh with it’s ultra cool Moon Garden ceremony area, stunning gardens and impressive stately home interior. This place had the wow factor and just a hint of the off-beat vibe which I craved but I couldn’t get the destination wedding out of my mind. We stumbled upon Marry Me in France, a UK company specialising in French weddings and discovered their ‘Secret Garden Chateau’ venue, a beautiful, tranquil 17th century chartreuse set in a 184 acre estate in the heart of the Dordogne. We knew we would need to visit to either allay our destination wedding desire or get cracking on our dream French wedding!
We fell in love the minute we drove through the gates and both knew this was ‘the one’. The only drawback being their capacity of 20 people max, meaning outside of immediate family and besties we wouldn’t be able to bring anyone else. To make the most of it we decided to book the Chateau for a week and invite our guests to stay. Our thought process was that this could double as a honeymoon as Maisie will be 18 before we get one of those! Fast forward a year, another visit to the Dordogne for menu tasting, hair and make up trials and cake tasting and lots of emails and Skype meetings with our wedding planner, the time was upon us. When we drove through those gates again I knew we made the right choice and I’m positive we couldn’t have chosen a more magical place to say our vows.
If your lusting after a destination wedding I have lots of advice to share but I would say it will probably equally as stressful (if not more so) as planning a big wedding at home and I can’t recommend enough how important it is to visit your venue prior to booking-we visited another venue in France which I came across online and it was truly awful. We struck gold with Forge du Roy!
Wedding pics to follow soon!