PRONOVIAS
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

destination fairytale. bespoke sarah willard for a chateau wedding in pays de la loire – helena & owen

March 16th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (42)

Soooooo over the ‘Beast from the East’, we’re leaving our weather woes behind this Friday afternoon and escaping to a 19th-century chateau in beautiful western France for today’s hugely Pin-worthy real wedding!

Vintage enthusiasts Dick and Angel set about restoring Chateau de la Motte Husson to its former glory and more than three years ago, and today’s bride Helena reports that she fell in love with it immediately. Looking at this veritable wonderland of circus memorabilia, fake taxidermy and eclectic additions (think unicorn heads and butterfly-adorned walls and you’re getting there…), it’s immediately obvious why.

For their magical wedding, Northern couple Helena and Owen chose to decorate the venue with meadow grasses and wildflowers and chose sparkly mismatched gowns for the bridesmaids in delicate shades of oyster grey, gold and pistachio. They ‘ate French’ (beef, baguettes, cured meats, local pork pie and wine) and added a touch of whimsy with hand-embroidered napkins as favours.

In short, the overall effect was sublime and, looking at these pictures, we can’t help but wish we’d had an invitation.

With images by Marie Marry Me.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (30)

helena says: We got engaged while on holiday with two of our closest friends in September 2016. We’d hired a car for the day and were exploring the volcanic Nature Park when we stumbled across a hidden beach. Owen asked me to walk over the rock pools so that we could get a photo together – our friend Ben volunteered to take it. As we stumbled across the rocks, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Naturally, I said yes!

Our wedding date was 28th May 2017. We chose it as it was a bank holiday weekend and we knew we wanted to have a weekend full of celebrations!

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (14)

We got married at Chateau de la Motte Husson in the Pays de la Loire, France. We went to visit the venue in November with our parents and fell in love with it straight away. Dick and Angel, the owners, are the most amazingly accommodating couple and we knew straight away that we would have the most perfect celebration here.

There wasn’t a strict colour scheme. In fact, it took longer to find my bridesmaids dresses than my own! I chose a grey/green for the bridesmaids as it was a colour that all four girls felt comfortable in and suited their different complexions.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (33)

I had a bespoke, couture gown made for me by Sarah Willard. Sarah is a ridiculously talented designer and dressmaker based in Staffordshire. When I went to view her gowns with my mum and bridesmaids, she was so friendly and nothing was too much trouble. She spent almost three hours asking questions and listening to us describe the wedding and two weeks later she sent the most beautiful sketches and swatches in the post. It was a very easy decision to choose Sarah’s dress.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (39)

Owen wore a blue Hugo Boss suit, a white shirt and a red tie gifted to him by my dad. He bought two suits and chose to wear this one on the day as it was slightly less heavy than the other. It was around 27 degrees, so pretty warm for a suit!

My bridesmaids’ dresses were a mixture of Jenny Packham and Adrianna Papell.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (19)

Our photographers were Sara and Will of Marie Marry Me, who travelled over from Spain. Angel recommended Marie Marry Me as they had worked together before. We first met Eva over Skype and described the style of photography we wanted and knew straight away that her team would be able to capture our day just as we wanted.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (24)

Our flowers were a complete mix. Angel sourced all the blooms from a local supplier and constructed the bouquets with her team the evening before the wedding. The reception was decorated with wild flowers and foliage from Dick and Angel’s garden.

Our favours were individual napkins with each guest’s name embroidered on.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (10)

To drink, we had locally produced red and white sparkling wine, which came from a Chateau just down the road from our venue. We enjoyed a deep red with our wedding breakfast from Chateau Moulin de Blanchon near Bordeaux. It’s one of our favourite reds to drink with beef, which was what we had for our wedding breakfast. We also had a three-tier pork pie cake made for us by a local butcher.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (32)

For the evening entertainment, we had the band The Shards. One of our groomsmen is in the band and the rest travelled over to France to play for us.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (40)

On reflection, it’s impossible to list all of the special touches Dick, Angel and the team provided for us. The whole day was filled with personal details and we’d recommend them, and the venue, in a heartbeat. Nothing was too much trouble and the whole weekend was absolutely brilliant. Our guests all had a mini-break in France and escaped into a fairy-tale for three whole days.

Our favourite moment? Honestly, the whole weekend was just amazing.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (43)

We’re yet to have our honeymoon. We travelled down to the south of France straight after the wedding for a week, but we’ve been renovating our house since and so we’ll decide on our honeymoon once the project is finished.

A Destination Wedding in France (c) Marie Marry Me (47)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to just relax and don’t stress about the details. It will all come together on the day. And enjoy every minute because it will be over in a flash!

the big picture

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about the author

Laura McDonagh
Laura is a true Northophile: she married Adam in Durham in 2011 accompanied by 200 Northumbrian lamb shanks and a Mackem 1950s tribute band who did a rockabilly cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. They honeymooned in Northumberland in a 1972 MG convertible, went surfing in Alnmouth and made it to the Edinburgh Fringe (let's ignore the fact that it rained all week). Her big mantra is 'no regrets'...but if she could travel back in time and wear a wedding dress with a Peter Pan collar and pockets, she'd pretty much die happy.

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