Set on the grounds of a French chateau, Mari & Rowan’s wildly romantic wedding was a celebration that fused nostalgic romance with modern Scandinavian touches.
Whimsical wildflower installations framed their garden ceremony, finished with simple wooden chairs – a scene that felt beautifully organic in the enchanted surrounds. At dusk, a magical reception unfolded within the chateau’s courtyard enclosed by ancient stone walls. Round tables were scattered throughout the space, draped in crisp linens, modern place settings contrasted with muted wildflowers. As night fell, guests dined under a blanket of festoon lights and glistening stars.
After the wedding day, Mari & Rowan invited guests to a dinner amongst the lavender fields at their family home. An infinity table stretched throughout country gardens, for a beautifully languid night of celebrations.
Photography by Pinewood Weddings.
Names / Mari & Rowan
Wedding Date / 29th June 2019
Guest Numbers / 110
Budget / $75,000 USD
How We Met
Rowan and I met online, for our first date he invited me to his house for dinner. I was a little dubious but decided to accept. It was right before the summer holidays, Rowan, who happens to be a chef, made a delicious seafood meal on the BBQ and we stayed up all night talking in the garden overlooking the sea and Oslo’s city centre in the distance. After that evening I was very intrigued and we continued to spend time together, hanging out in the garden all summer, he even accompanied me to Paris for my sister’s wedding just 10 dates in. By the end of the summer we were very much in love, so much so that we moved in together.
Our Engagement Story
Around two and a half years after we met, we took our then nine months old son Atticus for a family holiday to Tulum, Mexico. We stayed in a lovely bungalow right on the beach. Because of jet lag we woke up early, and one morning Rowan suggested we would take a walk on the beach to watch the sunrise. It was a beautiful morning and we had the beach to ourselves, he carried Atticus in the baby carrier and during our walk he got down on one knee. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful moment. Unbeknown to me, Rowan had been planning it for several months before, working with a Corinne Hamak, a jeweller in London to find a very unique stone. Corinne designed it with Rowan’s input to create a clean, simple yet unique setting that showed the stone off beautifully.
Marriage to us means…
Love – family – adventure. These are the words written in our wedding rings and my engagement ring and captures what we stand for as a couple. We both love to travel and are always looking for inspiration and excitement everywhere we go, we believe that family life doesn’t need to change that – it’s something we want our children to grow up with to share the delights of adventure with them.
We wanted an outdoor wedding in a grand, beautiful, yet authentic location. Rowan’s mother lives in the South of France, near Montpellier where we have spent many holidays exploring the beautiful villages, traditional markets, vineyards and stunning nature, forging a deep connection with the area – so it only seemed right to get married there as a destination wedding. After much searching we found the beautiful Chateau de la Mogeré built in 1706, which was exactly what we had been hoping for. It had the perfect balance of being extremely beautiful, authentic to the South of France, yet not overly polished or flashy. The chateau is the home of Clothilde and her family, and has remained in her family for seven generations. It still felt true to its original form – understated, grand and yet welcoming. It was perfect.
The layout of the location also lent itself so perfectly to an outdoor wedding, there was an area for every aspect of the event – the front of the house had the vista and grandeur perfect for the entrance of the guests and a champagne reception, hidden behind the trees was the are we chose to have the ceremony, where the stunning fountain created the most beautiful backdrop. Our guests sat in the shade of the ancient trees providing welcome relief from the mid-summer heat (our wedding weekend was the hottest weekend on record in France!). After the ceremony guests moved to a musical performance in front of the house with a champagne toast, then were lead to another unseen area… each time a new reveal, this time to the courtyard, which enabled us to have an open-air dinner that still felt intimate. After dinner this transformed to a party with the DJ booth set up under the clock tower.
Event Aesthetic & Inspiration
We wanted something that reflected both our own aesthetics, which was in keeping with the beautiful location we had chosen. The incredible backdrop of Chateau de la Mogeré inspired the theme for our wedding, and together with our wedding planner Romain’s vision and exquisite taste we found a style that was a mix between Scandinavian modern, romantic, ethereal and authentic French. The colours, textures and details came together so beautifully – drawing on the fading grandeur of the chateau, its gardens and the surrounding nature.
Photography & Videography
Early in the process we found Pinewood Weddings on Instagram, a lovely Hungarian couple who travel the world shooting weddings. She takes photos and he creates films. Their photos are so modern and different from a lot of other photographers, so when we learnt that they also often work with our wedding planner we knew had to book them.
As part of our package we had a couple shoot at the beach in Montpellier two days before the wedding, they attended our welcome dinner on the Friday, obviously followed us all day on Saturday and even joined our lavender field dinner at Rowan’s mum’s house the day after the wedding. Eni and Levi behind Pinewood Weddings were so easy to work with, they always stayed in the background but managed to get the most beautiful photos, we are still in awe of them. The couple’s love for each other makes them a pleasure to work with, and they brought this romance and love to the beautiful work they do.
I wore a gown by Spanish designer Inmaculada Garcia and made a few custom changes. I found my wedding dress at the beautiful studio White by Green in Oslo. The dress was layered embroidered tulle with a deep V lace neckline and deep V low back, it was very understated and ethereal with a Grecian feel to it. I chose a long simple tulle veil that matched the train of the dress in length.
My wedding shoes were Jimmy Choo ‘Mimi 100’ – from their red carpet collection platinum metallic wraparound sandals.
We didn’t have bridesmaids in a traditional sense, but I had a Maid of Honour – Irene, who wore a dusty pink floor length wrap dress with three-quarter length billowy sleeves and a tiered skirt, in a sheer glitter fabric, by Stella Nova and shoes by See by Chloe. Although she chose her own outfit, the colours matched the wedding palette beautifully!
Rowan wore a black tuxedo from Ralph Lauren, it was a modern take on the classic with a slim silhouette, worn with a white shirt, black bowtie and braces, also Ralph Lauren, and black patent leather shoes by Acne. The best man wore tailored handmade navy blue mod cut cotton/wool blend trousers with a vintage 60’s royal blue blazer, a Peckham Rye Shirt and dickie bow (a men’s independent tie and shirting boutique in Soho, London) with Crocket and Jones Oxblood Brogues.
Flower Girl / Page Boy Outfits
Our daughter Ophelia and Mari’s niece Live both wore simple dresses from Zara with custom made fresh flower headbands from the wedding Florist. The Paige boys wore beige linen shorts from Zara and white cotton shirts and white tennis shoes from H&M, dusty pink braces and bow ties from Etsy.
We had custom wedding rings designed by Corinne Hamak in London. We wanted to create something that was both true to her signature organic style as well as being in-line with our own minimalist aesthetic. As the engagement ring was so big, I wanted something very understated to go with it, my band was rose gold interspersed with small white diamonds that fits snugly under the engagement ring, Rowan’s band is much thicker but also subtly organic in its shape, it looks classic at first glance until you look more closely and see the unique design detail. Corinne’s signature shape makes the bands very comfortable to wear, they feel lived in and are more unique than the usual completely spherical classic wedding bands.
Jewelry & Accessories
I wanted very simple minimalist jewellery that didn’t take attention away from the dress. I wore a fine chain bracelet in gold and small flat round gold studs, both by Pernille Corydon. I also wore a bespoke scent by ALTRA which will forever bring back the memory of the day when I wear it again.
Hair & Makeup
I opted for a very simple natural up-do –a soft low bun at the nape of my neck, which worked well with the simple long veil. For makeup, I wanted something very clean natural and light, with more emphasis on the eyes – soft earth tones and no hard lines and a very subtle muted rose colour on the lips.
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“The backdrop of Chateau de la Mogeré inspired the theme for our wedding. We found a style which is a blend of Scandinavian modern, romantic and authentic French.”
Inspired by Romain’s mood board, we used custom designed invitations in muted nude tones with a watercolour design. The colours and textures were soft and understated in keeping with the rest of the wedding.
Flowers, Bouquets & Styling
We hired an amazing florist Atelier Prairies, who presented us with flowers that were whimsical without being over the top, they celebrated a natural modern beauty in soft dusty tones, she visited the chateau to get a feel for the location and drew her inspiration from there. We entrusted her to use her creativity without much input, as we knew she had a beautiful sensitive style and were delighted with the outcome.
The decor for the ceremony was again inspired by the beautiful surroundings, bringing in the colours and themes from the location, the ceremony was held in a pathway between the trees, which formed a perfect aisle with rows of wooden chairs on either side. A big floral arch framed the fountain backdrop where we stood to exchange our vows. Signage with welcome messages was presented on white metal frames with flowers, bringing a modern touch. The rest of the decor was what was provided by the natural surroundings.
Our reception was held in the outdoor courtyard of the chateau where we scattered circular tables and draped festoon lighting to create a magical atmosphere. Our decor drew palette inspiration from the ageing walls of the chateau in beautiful nude shades, our tablescapes featured ivory linen, place settings in barely-there nude tints offset with brass cutlery, and a centrepiece of wildflowers.
Wedding Planner / Stylist
We used a fantastic Wedding planning firm, Atelier Blanc. As I work as an interior architect and Rowan is a chef, presentation and aesthetics are important to both of us, so we really wanted a beautiful wedding that reflected our personal style. As this was a destination wedding and we have full time jobs and two children, we quickly understood that we needed to hire a wedding planner that understood our aesthetics. We had a talk with three planners, and when we found Romain on Atelier Blanc’s website and had a talk with him, we knew we had found the right person. The beautiful location and backdrop inspired the theme for our wedding and together with Romain we found a style that is a mix between Scandinavian modern, romantic and authentic French. Romain’s vision of beauty and his persistence for perfection is exceptional, we never imagined we could find someone so creative, yet in such control of every detail.
Rowan’s sister has a natural perfume brand, ALTRA, and made custom candles for the guests, we hadn’t seen (or smelled) them before the wedding day so it was such a wonderful surprise! They were made using the organic lavender oil grown by Rowan’s mum at their farm, Villetelle, nearby, along with other essential oils to evoke the scent of the lavender fields surrounded by pines, the midsummer heat on the dusty ground, honey and wild flowers. They perfectly captured this special place and knowing they literally were a piece of Villetelle made it extra special. The candles were made in little glass votives emblazoned with our motto of ’Love, Family, Adventure’ and the date, presented in tiny natural linen bags made by Atelier Blanc.
We had a three-tier semi naked cake filled with fresh peach and lemon verbena mascarpone cream, decorated with pale pink coloured white chocolate.
This was something very close to both of our hearts as we are both foodies, and it is of course Rowan’s passion and speciality – we chose to have the champagne reception finger food in place of the sit down appertizers, serving 18 different flavours from the South of France, unpretentious dishes celebrating the tastes and fresh ingredients of the region. The sit down dinner kept to the theme with a simple but beautifully executed menu, starting with a chilled melon soup with lemon sorbet as a palette cleanser, filet of sea bream with wild herb emulsion and orange zest’chi, or a vegan option of a courgette roulade, followed by an assortment of local artisanal cheeses The wedding cake was served with more champagne as a desert.
Drinks included cocktails: Moscow mule, cosmopolitan and dark and stormy, Magnums of Champagne (Louis Roederer Theoophile brut), Rose (Chateau Sainte Marguerite), local microbrewery beer on tap, and non-alcoholic elderflower cordial. Dinner: white (Chateau Sainte Marguerite).
Ceremony song (Rowan Entrance) – What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, live violin.
Ceremony Song (Mari Entrance) – Can’t Help Falling in Love With You by Elvis.
Live violin during ceremony – Here There and Everywhere by The Beatles, performed live acoustic guitar and voice.
After Ceremony Song – You’ve Got The Love by Florence and the Machine.
Dinner Entrance – For Once In My Life by Stevie Wonder.
First Dance – Crazy Love by Van Morrison.
We had a classic violin solo by violinist Lisa Yung during the ceremony, followed by a Jazz band – Molto Jazz in front of the house for the champagne reception.
DJ – Jarren Dalmeda, an amazing London-based international DJ/ actor played at the dinner and party. We chose Jarren as he came highly recommended and knew he would get the party going without fail – he played everything from disco, funk, house to rock n roll –incorporating some of our favourite songs with a seamless high energy mix that kept guests on the dancefloor until the very end of the night!
We went to Paris for 3 nights, we had been to Paris together at the beginning of our relationship so it seemed the perfect fit for a big city honeymoon without kids. We stayed at Le Roche hotel which was beautiful and very romantic, Plaza Athenee was amazing for dinner, the 3 Michelin star vegetarian restaurant L’Arpège was very interesting and worth a visit.
Rowan’s uncle Jeremy Andon was our celebrant, having a close family member made it feel very intimate. He kept the mood light and fun but heartfelt. An Officient consultant – Alexandra Baro who organized the structure and flow of the ceremony, guided him.
Sources of Inspiration
A lot of the inspiration came from the creativity of Romain and our beautiful Location – Pinterest, Instagram, various blogs, The Lane, Goop & Vogue.
A Memorable Moment
After our couple’s photoshoot during sunset we entered the dinner area where all our friends and family were cheering. The area was lit up by fairy lights and speakers were playing Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life. It was all according to plan, but at the moment felt like such a fantastic, overwhelming surprise.
After the wedding day we invited guests to a dinner held amongst lavender fields at Rowan’s mum’s house, where we wound one long, communal table through the gardens.
One Thing I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Wedding Plans…
Even with a very hardworking amazing wedding planner, it still takes a LOT of time if you want to be as hands on as we were – we loved the process of planning as a couple and enjoyed the team work with everyone involved, it really paid off!
If I could give other Brides-To-Be one Piece of Advice
For a destination wedding we really recommend using a wedding planner. Not just someone who books the providers you, but someone who understands your style and aesthetics. And invest in a good photographer to capture the special moments. Choose the best people for what they already do, and give them creative freedom so they can shine. There is no point hiring someone amazing if you overly instruct them and don’t let them do their thing!
Also, for an outdoor wedding a really good sound system made a big difference to the atmosphere.
Photography & Videography / Pinewood Weddings
Bride’s Dress / Inmaculada Garcia
Bride’s Shoes / Jimmy Choo
Groom’s Suit / Ralph Lauren
Bridesmaids Dresses / Stella Nova
Bridesmaids Shoes / See by Chloe
Flowergirls & Pageboys / Zara
Wedding Rings / Custom by Corinne Hamak, London
Jewelry & Accessories / Pernille Corydone
Stationery & Invitations / Graphikkart
Florist / Atelier Prairies
Catering / Steven’s kitchen
Cake / Clara Jung
Wedding Stylist / Atelier Blanc
Wedding Planner / Atelier Blanc
Wedding Venue / Chateau de la Mogere
DJ / Jarren C
Jazz Band / Molto Jazz
Violin Player / Lisa Yang
Celebrant / Jeremy Andon with professional guidance from Alexandra Baro
Hair & Makeup / Natalia from Daniel Chavey