Real Weddings

A French Chateau Wedding in the Parisian Countryside

Photography by Taylor & Porter.

In the countryside of Paris, at a 18th-century chateau, Alexis and Fabrice wed amongst a meandering aisle of tangled soft foliage growing with pastel blooms.

With the estate as backdrop, the poetic gardens of Domaine de Primard were accented by delicate details that evoked the classic French setting. Rows of wispy, white iron chairs flanking the undulating aisle and the al fresco reception blended beautifully with the historic orchard.

A modern Monique Lhuillier silhouette with voluminous sleeves and a Watteau-style neckline, aptly fit the 18th-century style of the residence.   

The wedding was classically captured by Taylor & Porter.

Our Story

Names / Alexis & Fabrice

Location / Domaine de Primard, France

Wedding Date / June 29, 2023

Guest Numbers / 80

Budget / $200,000

How We Met

I’m embarrassed to say that we actually met through Tinder. Fabrice was my second date via the app after begrudgingly joining. We had quite a few conversations before we finally met in person at a cozy hotel bar in Tribeca. We sat fireside for hours and drank too much champagne! The rest is history.

 

Our Engagement Story

Three years into our relationship, Fabrice rented out the same space in Tribeca where we originally met. It was a horribly rainy day and he had employed my friend to take me to lunch and distract me until he had arranged for me to meet him. I arrived looking like a drowned rat and even though it was completely empty and he was on the same sofa, I was completely clueless as to what he was doing. He proposed, we toasted and then went to dinner at Le Bernardin to celebrate. It was a really lovely gesture and a very sweet evening where we got to celebrate our relationship and how far we had come over the previous three years.

 

Marriage to us means…

As two very independent people, and as this is Fabrice’s second marriage, we both take it fairly seriously, without being too serious about it, if that paradox makes any sense at all. We have been together for nine years now, have a 5 year old son and are also co-parenting Fabrice’s 11 and 13 year olds. We’ve been through A LOT and while we are positive that life will continue to challenge and delight us, we are a solid team that has become a family unit. We support each other and also push each other to challenge ourselves towards growth. We are two very different people with different perspectives and that’s what’s unique about our relationship. There’s a bit of a balancing act and to quote my best friend, our relationship is a little bit like a fencing match.

The Setting

 

Wedding Location

Domaine de Primard was one of the first venues that I found while doing a search prior to hiring Loli. I thought it was spectacular—the gardens, able to house all of our guests, close to paris and able to cater the events. My goal was to find a historic building with gardens and one that was also renovated on the interior. Old on the outside, new on the inside! It’s not as easy as you’d think to find but Primard was the one. It was freshly renovated and maintained its stately vibe of 18th century manor home. It was a great place for our closest friends and family to spend three days together.

 

Aesthetic

The overarching vibe I wanted for the French chateau wedding was a, “running through the garden” feel. Soft, billowy florals and vines that looked like they had overtaken the estate. Understated elegance. Effortless. Think: Petit Trianon during the summer.

Our aesthetic was that of an elevated french historic manoir party, where everything was thoughtfully chosen, but not over the top. I didn’t want anything to be obnoxious or showy. We both wanted the look and feel of something timeless and relaxed yet elevated. I have to say, everyone was truly relaxed and had a wonderful time!

 

Preparation

The day prior to the wedding, I had organized a trip to Monet’s Garden, which was approximately 30 minutes from Primard. Afterwards, I arranged a private luncheon in the rose garden with my friends, Lily, Tom and Scott. It was so perfectly charming and such a special moment to share with my closest friends in such a beautiful environment.

The evening of the wedding, I slept in my own room, alone, which was great! I starfished. The day of, I went on a bike ride around the property with my friend, Lily and then went for a massage at their Suzanne Kauffmann spa. I took my time and lounged in my suite with my son, Léo and stepdaughter, Emma. My mother, mother-in-law, aunt and friend breezed in and out to get their makeup done, which gave me some one-on-one time with each of them.

My favorite moment was actually sitting with Léo while he was drawing and I wrote a note to Fabrice. I gifted him a silver Dupont lighter and had our son deliver it with the note.

Photography

Oh my goodness, Louise, our incredible photographer. I knew instantly that she was the only one to photograph our wedding. With a background in art history and b&w film photography, I was drawn to her incredible eye and photographing style—it is completely unique and unlike most wedding photographers. She also captures killer afterparty photos that are just the right amount of rock and roll! We discussed the photographic desires for the event and how I love more abstract imagery and my detest of traditional wedding photography. Louise and her team nailed it. I love the lighting, the use of film and digital AND the Super8 video. I wasn’t convinced I wanted any video of our wedding until I saw the reels she had done via Super8. Louise is super talented at capturing the overarching event of the wedding and more importantly, the details that usually go unseen. The photos are invaluable.

 

Videography

Louise of Taylor & Porter shot on Super 8 and cut two videos to two of our favorite songs, “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman and “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. I love the vintage feel and she was able to capture really sweet moments between us and our kids.

french chateau wedding

Style Notes

 

Ceremony Décor

The decor was led by the estate gardens and entrance, which has a large fountain in the center. With the estate as the backdrop, we created a soft flowing aisle of flowers that went around the fountain and up to the bridge, where we exchanged vows. Lily Paloma created an exquisite space. We utilized white iron garden chairs for seating, which fit in seamlessly with the garden theme.

 

Reception Décor

The reception tables were beautifully placed amongst the apple orchard trees,  and we included candle light and strung twinkle lights from the trees. My main focus was on the space we were working with and natural light (moon/candle) and we really worked to avoid any harsh lighting. Everyone looks better by candlelight!

Wedding Planner & Stylist

I had a very clear vision of what I wanted for the French chateau wedding, especially once we reserved Domaine de Primard. I brought Loli Events on board to manage the logistics and help usher the process along, but I gave them very specific creative direction, which included moodboards of tablescapes and floral design. With this direction, Loli sought out options for all of our vendors and I would make the final call on who was the most appropriate.

 

Flowers

Lily Paloma did the flowers and their work is just spectacular! I had become familiar with their work prior to planning the wedding and when Loli was able to secure them, I was ectatic. I gave the Lily Paloma team the direction of soft ivory, blushy peaches and silvery greens with a focus on cabbage roses, Queen Anne’s lace, anemones and a dot of black or purple-y black. Their first attempt of a mood board was perfection and completely reflected the soft, loose and natural style of flowers that organically worked with Primard and its preexisting gardens. The most important aspect of the flowers was that they didn’t look too “done”. Effortless was the entire keyword for the wedding.

french chateau wedding

Stationery

For Save the Dates, we sent out a Paperless Post to allow more time to find the right stationery maker. For all invitations and day-of paper, I was lucky enough to discover Sal Studios. We did a semi-custom order using her letterpress Nouveau font but with the flower of Audrey. Sally was a delight to work with and the end product was absolutely elegant.

 

Cake

I ordered a cake from NoGlu as I have celiac and needed gluten free. We went with a lemon scented cake and while I thought we were getting white frosting, the cake showed up pink! That was the most unexpected thing about the wedding, which isn’t such a big deal. The cake was a simple two-tier and we added flowers to it.

 

Food & Beverages

One of the main reasons why I wanted to have a hotel venue was to avoid bringing in an outside caterer. I knew how much work that was from my prior work at The Knot where I worked in branded content production, which involved producing events. Primard’s culinary offering, headed by chef Romain Meder, was exceptional. Their entire concept is thoughtful farm-to-table food with all the produce grown on site. We began with a  cocktail hour of passed hors d’oeuvres and then to a sit-down three course dinner. The food was beautiful and incorporated many herbs and edible flowers.

 

Favors & Bonbonniere

We chose small handmade market totes (like these) that would hold all of the local trinkets but the true gift was the actual tote, which many of us used throughout the rest of the summer. Inside, we included a small glass jar of rose tea, fresh apricots, local snacks, gluten free madeleines from NoGlu, tiny blowing bubbles is champagne bottles and my favorite, chocolate cigarettes, because it’s not a French chateau wedding until there is a favorite, very unhealthy french pastime involved.

french chateau wedding

“The overarching vibe I wanted for the wedding was ‘running through the garden’ – soft, billowy florals and vines that looked like they had overtaken the estate.”

Fashion & Beauty Notes

 

Bride’s Dress & Shoes

Monique Lhuillier Petal solid white full length gown. The shape is a tailored and structured silhouette with billowing sleeves and a detachable watteau train. We did a fair amount of tailoring to lower and reshape the neckline and back. I always adored a Watteau-style back for its nod to a brief period in 18th century fashion. The dress was clean yet still offered that bit of drama that was necessary for the location.

Manolo Blahnik Carolyne slingback kitten heel. Simple, timeless.

 

Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories

Engagement ring is a 2.5 carat oval by Marissa Perry of NYC. We chose classic Cartier 1895 wedding bands — mine in yellow gold and platinum for Fabrice. I also layered a Cartier thinline eternity band atop my gold band for a hint of diamond.

Earrings: I found Baroque pearl and diamond earrings via Etsy.

Pearl headband by Monique Lhuillier

I was lucky enough to wear Fabrice’s great-grandmother’s engagement ring from 1920! It features an incredible old mine cut diamond in the center and surrounded by six hand cut round diamonds. I love old mine diamonds as they’re hand cut and they capture light in a truly different way. They were made to reflect candle light! Not fluorescent light of today’s multifaceted diamonds. The ring was remade in the 1940s by Cartier and is such a modern piece—it resembles the style that Suzanne Belperron created during that era.

 

Hair & Makeup

I had a soft, low french twist.

Allison was amazing. We did a trial in Paris about a month before but the more I thought about the wedding day makeup, I wanted it to be as close to natural as possible. We ended up using all of my makeup, which was mostly Westman Atelier and Chantecaille. The inspiration was clean, dewy skin with fresh blush tones on cheeks, lips and eyelids. The eye makeup was pretty minimal but we did add a very subtle cat eye.

 

Groom’s Attire

Fabrice wore head to toe Tom Ford. We chose an ivory jacket as it felt more appropriate for the June garden setting.

french chateau wedding

“The silhouette is tailored and structured with billowing sleeves and a detachable Watteau train. I always adored a Watteau-style back for its nod to a brief period in 18th-century fashion. It was clean yet still offered that bit of drama that was necessary for the location.”

french chateau wedding

The Details

 

Transport

We originally met with some friends in Paris and arranged for two limo buses to take us to Primard. We were on site for three days, so we did not arrange for a fun vintage car to sweep us away.

 

Honeymoon

We still haven’t taken a proper honeymoon! We did however, travel to Epi Baie de Pampelonne in St Tropez for an extended weekend with a few close friends. Epi was one of the most private hotels I had been too and offered a very secluded feel to St T.

Fabrice was so busy with work, so he returned to New York, but I stayed on in France for the month of July. I stayed at Le Galinier in Lourmarin, France. It was the most charming guest house in a medieval village and perfect for leisurely days with my mother and son. While here, we visited many little villages but my favorites were: St Remy de Provence, Les Baux de Provence, Gordes, Lourmarin and the art center, Chateau La Coste.

french chateau wedding

Entertainment

We had a DJ that managed the music for the ceremony as well as the after party. I had selected the two songs for the ceremony as well as putting together a playlist for the afterparty. The vibe was very much disco-afrofunk.

Ceremony songs for the procession of Fabrice and kids: “Dream 13 (minus even) by Max Richter. Song for my walk down the aisle: “String Quartet No. 3, “Mishima”: VI. Mishima/Closing by Philip Glass, Carducci String Quartet. After the ceremony, Fabrice and I left the altar to “Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Spring 1 – 2012” recomposed by Max Richter.

For the cocktail hour and dinner, we had Sango Ndedi Ndolo and his quartet play. I came to discover him on a trip to Paris with my friend Sara, in May of 2022. After arriving at our hotel, Chateau Voltaire, we went for lunch at Coco in L’Opera. Sango was playing the most incredible covers of Otis Redding, Prince etc. He had such a vibe and exactly the type of bluesy soul music I wanted for the wedding. We had found the band!

 

 

Celebrant

About three months prior to the wedding, I had an epiphany and thought, oh my goodness, who is going to perform the ceremony?! It was the last detail on my mind.

Our officiant was Marianne from Les Crèatures de Ceremonies. After my zoom intro to her, I knew she had the right energy for the ceremony. Fabrice was raised Catholic and I by California hippies but neither of us are religious. Spiritual, but not religious. Marianne fit the bill and understood the balance between Fabrice and myself, and how to speak to two families with different backgrounds. With Marianne, we did comprehensive interview questions and a long zoom to distill both of our stories and perspectives. From there, Marianne wrote a thoughtful story about us. She also included one reading that I requested and one that she suggested.

 

Readings

With Marianne’s guidance, we wrote our own short vows. When we spoke them during the ceremony, we did so without the microphones, so that it was private and just between the two of us. It was a special touch.

french chateau wedding

french chateau wedding

Our Advice

 

A memorable moment…

Instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen (we’re too old for that!) we had our three children walk down the aisle with three grandparents. Emma-Rose with her grandfather, Alain; Armand with his grandmother, Catherine; and Léo with his grandmother, Jan. My father was unable to attend the wedding because he was quite ill with cancer. But I felt his presence through the Apache wedding blessing since he had spent many years working with Indigenous Americans.

french chateau wedding

french chateau wedding

Our Contacts

 

Wedding Venue / Domaine de Primard

Wedding Stylist & Planner / Loli Events

Photography / Taylor & Porter

Videography / Taylor & Porter

Bride’s Dress / Monique Lhuillier

Bride’s Shoes / Manolo Blahnik

Wedding Rings / Cartier

Hair / Allison Depriestre of Modern Beauties Paris

Makeup / Allison Depriestre of Modern Beauties Paris

Groom’s Attire / Tom Ford

Stationery / Sal Studios

Florist / Lily Paloma

Cake / NoGlu

Catering / Romain Meder of Domaine de Primard

Celebrant / Les Créateurs de Cérémonies

Entertainment / Sango

Directory

Bridal

Find our handpicked edit of Bridal brands from around the world on the Directory.