Grace and Francis are Americans, but soon knew they wanted to have a destination wedding. They chose to get married in France, at the beautiful Domaine de Chantilly above Paris. The historic chateau provided the perfect scene to the elegant and classic look and feel that Grace and Francis wanted for their wedding day. Thanks to a wonderful French-speaking wedding planner and a fantastic team of vendors, they had the most amazing wedding.
A quote from one of the guests: “You’ve officially ruined weddings for other people.”
Lezen in het Nederlands.
Grace tells: “We love to travel the world, so we knew it had to be at an international destination. Otherwise, if we kept it local, we’d probably end up just going to city hall in NYC!
Once we narrowed it down to France, we had initially thought we’d do it in one of the wine regions of France because we love wine, specifically wine from Bordeaux. Eventually we chose to get married at the Domaine de Chantilly.
The first time we saw pictures of the venue, it was aerial drone footage, we immediately fell in love. We were also looking at other chateaus in France and considered going down to the South of France. Ultimately we decided Chantilly was it for two reasons:
One, the team they have in place running the property. Nicole, Celine and Chef Julien are true professionals and went above and beyond to accommodate us during the site visit and ultimately during our wedding weekend.
Two, the location of Chantilly was ideal because 90% of our guests were flying into France. Being that it is only a 20 minute drive from Charles de Gaulle Airport (Paris) and a 40 minute drive from Paris, we didn’t have to worry about our guests having to take another plane or train to get to the final destination.”
“There is so much history behind Chantilly and the fact that it has the second largest painting collection in all of France, next to the Louvre, was very enchanting. The property actually has a few originals in place there and the will of the last person who lived there states the paintings can never leave the property. So to see some of these original works of art, you must go to Chantilly.
Also, the paintings in the room where we had the reception, are not allowed to be rearranged. Therefore, when you look up at the walls, you’ll notice the paintings are not hanging in size order and look a bit scattered, but it works!”
“We wanted to go with an elegant and classic look and feel. Therefore, we added some pink to the wedding for a pop of spring color and worked with florist Laura Le Cam, owner of Oz Home. We were definitely a bit nervous, because she mainly spoke French. But with the help of our wedding planner we were able to get our ideas across. Laura delivered at the end of the day.
The floral arch and the florals during the reception were beautiful! They complemented the outdoor ceremony space and rooms they were in very well. Because the venue is already so beautiful, we wanted something that wouldn’t detract from it. So we were very focused on a classic, clean and elegant look.”
“Walking down the aisle to Kevon (from Shine Live Band) singing ‘Hallelujah’ during the ceremony was one of my most favorite moments. I actually heard him rehearsing about an hour beforehand as we were getting ready at the Auberge, and it gave me the chills. His voice is so beautiful, soothing, yet powerful. He sang it with so much grace, I could listen to it over and over again.
It rained about half an hour before our ceremony started. I saw it coming down as we were finishing up our final touches in the Auberge. I felt really deflated, because our ceremony was set up to be outdoors. We made the call that morning that we would chance it and have it outdoors. Luckily, by the time I was heading over to the ceremony it stopped.
The moment I began walking down the aisle and set my foot onto the white carpet with my mom by my side, I felt a lot of heath on my right arm. That’s when I realized the sun came out. The timing could not have been better!
When it began raining I was worried the guests would be all wet. We sent a group text to all the wedding guests, asking them to bring umbrellas with them to the ceremony. This was 15 min before every one was supposed to show up! But they did and the umbrellas got integrated into some of our wedding photos and it was beautiful! It made the pictures much more dramatic and added a nice flair to the wedding. Luckily, by the time the ceremony started, it stopped raining!”
“My Netta BenShabu dress was custom designed. We actually took ideas from two different dresses that she designed and combined it into one. When I placed the order for the dress, I actually never had the chance to try on the final product as it had yet to be designed. I ended up putting on two dresses at once to be able to see the combination of it.
When the dress arrived, it was close, but we still had a fair amount of work to do. The seamstresses at Wedding Atelier did a phenomenal job getting every piece of the details I asked for in place. Including essentially building out a new upper back for the dress with applique that they had to go back and order from the designer after the dress initially arrived.”
“Francis’ ceremony and reception dinner jackets were also both custom designed, working alongside our good friends / designers / owners of Monsieur Brunold. They happen to be French and transplanted to the US ~8 years ago. When you order jackets from them, they have them completely made in France and then shipped back to NYC. They are so easy to work with and know what their customers want. Francis’ reception dinner jacket was purple paisley, since purple is one of his favorite colors.”
“Advice for any brides-to-be who will plan on going abroad with a destination wedding:
It can be stressful with the time zone difference and not physically being able to visit vendors at your leisure. Having a wedding planner who knows the local market and speaks the native language helps a lot. Also, doing your own research online, using social media tools such as Instagram, and having Skype calls with your vendors can really helps pull things together.
I’d also suggest applying the 80/20 rule when you’re in the final stretch of planning. If it’s 80% there, the 20% is often a nice to have. Obviously we all want everything to be as perfect as we envision for the wedding day. But it is true that there are many small details that your guests will often not realize and/or remember when looking back at your wedding day!
Lastly, it is incredible how our vendors all pulled together to create such a beautiful event for us. We are so grateful that everyone was professional and able to work together, meeting each other for the first time during our wedding weekend.”
Enjoy the photos of this stunning wedding, photographed by Dusty Blue wedding photographer Alexandra Vonk!
Photography: Alexandra Vonk | Styling & Planning: France Wedding Planner | Floral Design: Oz Home | Hair & Makeup: Tatiana Medved | Wedding Dress: Netta BenShabu via The Wedding Atelier NYC | Shoes: Gianvitto Rossi | Groom’s Jackets: Monsieur Brunold | Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Videography: Alex Sofo Wedding Films | Live band: Shine Live band Paris | Venue: Chateau de Chantilly | ‘Getting Ready’ Venue: Auberge du Jeu de Paume | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab
Are you, like Grace and Francis, dreaming of a destination wedding? Then these tips for your destination wedding are for you!
France is home to the most beautiful and royal castles and manors. In this blog we share some of our favorite wedding locations in France.
Dusty Blue Wedding photographer Alexandra Vonk loves France as much as we do and previously traveled to Chateau de Champlatreux. Like Chantilly located just above Paris. Take a look behind the doors of this beautiful chateau in the blog A royal wedding in France.
Please note that the blogs mentioned are only available in Dutch for now.