Why we chose France and some tips from a fellow wedding vendor
Sean and I got married September 2018 in Provence, France and it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! We honestly couldn’t have planned a better week and everything worked out so well. I feel like most people are happy to be finished with planning when their wedding is over, but I would 100% plan and do the whole thing again!
There were many reasons why we decided to get married in France, even when we live in the beautiful wedding destination of California!
We first decided on a destination wedding because I wanted to be able to spend more than 1-2 days with our family and friends. As a wedding photographer I see how quick the day flies by and I feel like if we are spending all this money for a wedding, I wanted to leave time for everyone to meet and form friendships. It’s also an excuse to keep the celebration going and to make a long weekend/ week out of it :)
We love to travel!! We are super fortunate to be able to travel internationally at least once a year. Traveling is something we enjoy and make it a priority, so that’s where we would like to spend our money. Having a destination wedding was a pretty no-brainer.
France was the first country Sean and I traveled to together so it holds special meaning to our relationship. Sean is a Francophile (sounds so negative, but it really means, “a person who is fond of or greatly admires France or the French”) and spent time after high school and in college visiting, so he knows conversational French. This was super helpful in our planning! It would have been way more difficult/ maybe impossible for us to connect with all our vendors. The French wedding industry doesn’t seem to be as crazy as here in the States (or at least can be), so many of the wedding vendors didn’t have great websites or even a website. I found our florist via Facebook!!
We wanted to give our guests an experience. Many of them had not been to France and for some, it was their first international trip. We were so full of gratitude when looking around and realizing 29 people traveled by plane, train and then car to celebrate us. We wanted to show off how amazing France is and give the experience of the French way. Croissants, wine, cheese and beautiful Provence countryside.
Now a few tips:
It’s so important to decide what is really important to you and your partner. Since I work in the wedding industry and probably follow more wedding accounts than the non-wedding vendor, it was easy to get swayed by looking at others weddings and thinking I needed to do certain things and if I didn’t have things as a part of our wedding, it wouldn’t be great. This is so wrong!! Every wedding is different and if you don’t have things or you have ALL the things for your wedding day, it doesn’t change how important your wedding day is. Remember, your wedding is about celebrating your love and you two, so do what makes you happy! There is no right or wrong way to get married :)
For example: the need for many details, including table design, presentation of food and drinks, programs, invitations, etc.
Honestly, you could have no details and tablecloths on the dinner tables and you would have an amazing wedding dinner. Remember it’s about the people and celebrating your love. Case and point: we had our rehearsal dinner in the same space we were having our wedding dinner and didn’t have anything on the tables (no candles, flowers, tablecloths) and it didn’t affect our dinner. Honestly, our guests probably didn’t notice the things we DID have on the table on the wedding day, haha.
We didn’t send invitations because we did Save the Dates/ tentative RSVPs all-in-one because we needed to know our guest count much further in advance, so didn’t feel like invitations were necessary. We sent these around 11 months before our wedding date. I did ask Stephanie of Bowerbird Atelier to design one invitation for photos though, haha. Kinda silly, but the photographer in me did want one invitation photo!
We did send out “A Pocket Guide to Provencal Success” that Sean created! It was pocket sized so everyone could travel with it and the guide wouldn’t take up too much space. We included our week schedule, directions to the venue, food+drinks to try, road sign examples and what they mean, FAQs and custom wedding playlists for anyone to download. We wanted to give all the info we thought our guests would need in print so they wouldn’t have to depend on phones because you never know if you’ll have wifi access or if your phone will work. I DID want to send something to our guests, so we mailed the pocket guide and our custom made BON VOYAGE luggage tags.
Hire a videographer! Best thing we splurged on. Sean said it was the best thing I convinced him of that we needed. It’s amazing to have video from the day because it captures the movement of the day and us interacting. It also included clips from our ceremony, speeches, and sounds of the French countryside. The video really brings our day to life and makes me tear up every time I watch it (and of course hire an amazing photographer!! Hint hint ;)).
Searching Instagram hashtags was how I found a lot of our vendors. Like I said above, many French wedding vendors didn’t have great websites or even one at all so it was hard to google search and find vendors I wanted to work with. I was able to find recent weddings in the area we were getting married and find the profiles of the vendors they used. I even ended up messaging a bride who got married at our venue to ask her a few questions, which was so helpful! I found her because she had the venue tagged in her photos.
Know that email/ communication response times will take longer - they’re on France (or wherever you’re getting married) time! The time difference made it interesting and not as convenient, as we had a few Skype calls at 11pm or 7am… but TOTALLY worth it :)
Have questions about planning a destination wedding or getting married at Clos d’Hullias? I would be happy to answer any questions!! We highly recommend a destination wedding if it works for you :)
Getting married in Provence? I would LOVE to recommend our vendors!!
venue: Domaine du Clos d'Hullias // planner: Jai 2 Amours // makeup: Belle Comme le Jour // rentals: Couverts Location // dj: Crystal Beats Disco // florist: Ver'Ttige // wine: Famille Perrin (we didn’t use a traditional caterer, so we supplied the wine for the wedding dinner and during the week! So inexpensive :)) // videographer: I am Paul Van (hire him!! He’s UK based, so hire him for any European wedding) // photography: Lindsey Denman Photography (hire both of us for your wedding! She’s one of my close industry friends here in SF <3)