Last summer I photographed a destination wedding in the absolutely beautiful Dordogne region of France for Matt & Rachel’s intimate destination wedding at Chateau Forge du Roy. Having known Matthew for most of my life it was as an honour to be asked as his photographer for the wedding. Having photographed weddings in the mountains of Switzerland & the lakes of Italy, this was my first french chateau wedding.
Arriving a few days early, which myself and a couple of friends enjoyed canoeing 16km down Dordogne River finishing off a stone’s throw from our hotel. A couple of days before everyone was invited to their pre-wedding BBQ which was great to visit the venue and meet some of the family and friends who I didn’t know.
Here are a few words from Rachel & Matt about their destination wedding at Chateau Forge Du Roy.
How did you first meet?
We met quite randomly in a club called Ruby Blue in London (Leicester Square) in April 2012. Rachel was on a friend’s hen do and Matt had just watched Liverpool win the F A Cup semi-final. Over the next year, we arranged to meet up almost every weekend either in Cornwall, Essex or in between until Rachel made the move to Cornwall in 2013.
Please describe the proposal
Matt proposed in Rachel’s birthday card in July 2015 and the following weekend took her to Hatton Garden to chose her engagement ring, followed by lunch and champagne at The Savoy.
The dress – where did you find it, and what was it like? Who did you take with you dress shopping and how did you find the whole experience?
I must admit that finding the right dress was slightly more difficult than I thought, particularly as I would be wearing it twice and I had to factor in transporting it to France and then back again for the party in Falmouth. I know what styles I like and knew that my mum would give me the most honest opinion so I took her with me to all the appointments. I would have also taken my sister but she lives quite far away so it was difficult to coordinate this as well.
Having seen a number of styles I liked in magazines and on Pinterest when I tried them on they just did not suit me at all. I went to appointments at a number of bridal shops in Cornwall and near my parents in West Sussex and must have tried on around 40 – 50 dresses!
I was beginning to feel that whilst I had found a couple of dresses that I liked, I would never find ‘the one’ and that perhaps I would be forever searching for it. The last shop that I went to was in Epsom with my mum and as soon as I tried on the dress I knew it was ‘the one’. It was much more fitted than I thought I would go for but I felt amazing in the dress
Intimate destination wedding at Chateau Forge du Roy
what were the reasons for choosing your wedding venue?
We absolutely love the Dordogne region of France. The food, the wine, the ambiance, the weather really won us over and when we found the Chateau we knew this was the place we wanted to get married for our destination wedding. We wanted to treat our nearest and dearest to a week away enjoying our favourite part of France so not only did we have the wedding day we also arranged trips for our guests as well as BBQ’s and enjoying the chateau facilities.
When planning your wedding, did you have any help or did you do it mostly yourselves? What were the most important aspects for you (eg. the photographer, the food, the decor…)?
We mostly planned the wedding ourselves however we had an amazing Wedding Planner, Beth Stretton of Marry Me in France who helped with dealing and booking the French companies as well as arranging the flowers, hair, and staff for the day. In fact, her sister, Amy of Chez Amis was our chef for the day and her father was, Chris Sait was the Celebrant (both of whom we had already booked before we made the connection!)
he Chateau is such a beautiful setting that we didn’t need to have masses of decorations. The most important aspects for us were the venue, the drinks, the food, and the music as well as of course our fabulous photographer.
What was your wedding inspiration? (think decor, overall theme and feel of the day, etc)
French chic – we gained our inspiration and colour scheme from the beautiful chateau and its decor. We wanted a relaxed and intimate day and for all our guests to have as good a time as we did.
Describe some of your favorite wedding details and how you came up with them.
Our favourite wedding detail has to be the venue and the grounds – the gardeners came the day before so the grounds were spectacular and the weather on the day of the wedding was glorious.
We also arranged a pre-wedding BBQ for all our guests to get to know each other ahead of the big day – this worked so well and on the wedding day everyone already knew each other so we were all relaxed and enjoyed the day.
Our wedding favours were personalised wine stoppers which were perfect for a french wedding – something that everyone can use too.
Some of our favourite wedding details were the welcome packs for all our guests in English and in French, giving information about not only the wedding day but also the local area, places to visit and the week’s itinerary.
We also arranged floating lanterns on the lake at dusk – we wanted to do something special in the evening and originally thought that sky lanterns would work well however there were a lot of trees in the grounds of the chateau so we carried out research and found the floating lanterns which were even better, they looked beautiful (despite a couple that went slightly out of control!).
We took 100’s of solar fairy lights and a couple of disco balls which worked so well for lighting the outside area when the night drew in.
We also had a cheese stack cake of local cheeses with personalised local bread loaf which was just amazing!
Bride: What advice would you give to future couples for their wedding day?
Here are my tips for future brides –
– in the planning stages, everything takes longer than you think so make sure that you give yourself enough time to get everything done.
– Keep a detailed list of when final payments need to be made and diarise these down too.
– Make sure you hire an amazing wedding photographer who will capture every element of the day.
– Have a wedding you would want to attend.
and above all enjoy every second of the day and make sure that you take some time out to take it all in.
Groom: What advice would you give to future couples for their wedding day?
Do as you’re told!!! Make sure you and your wife to enjoy the day to the max, as it will soon fly by.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
If you have the time, try to do as much DIY as you can for the wedding. There are so many options available these days and so many ideas on Pinterest.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The venue which provided our inspiration for the day and the catering. We had a long leisurely wedding breakfast with a 6-course tasting menu of the food from the local area and we also chose our champagne and wine from the local vineyard!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Being married to my best friend and soul mate.
As usual, here is a selection of favourite from Matt & Rachel’s intimate destination wedding at Chateau Forge Du Roy. Please feel free to share on social media, or leave a comment.
Suppliers: Venue: Chateau Forge Du Roy | Wedding Planner: Beth Stretton of Marry Me Dress: Justin Alexander dress from Harrington & Cleur, Epsom | Make up: Sarah Keenan | Hair: Jane Emerson | Bridesmaid dress : Debenhams | Grooms suit: Moss Bros | Flowers: Jenny Moss Flowers – Dordogne | Cake: Chez Amy – we had a cheese stack cake | Guitar duo : Dennis Cook