OUR WEDDING IN NORMANDY

Images from our wedding at Chateau Crosville-sur-Douve.

I’d always dreamed of having a fancy French wedding and several years ago my dream came true. Since we haven’t been able to do much work on our Tour lately, I decided to share some images here with you.

Setting up:

The dining room at Chateau Crosville-sur-Douve is so majestic that we decided to keep things simple. Time and money being short, the decorations were all very easy and DIY. I was blessed to have a great team of friends and family (led by my fearless mother) there to help us out.

We set up and prepped the tables ourselves and then the caterers set them with the rented china, silver, and glass wear. My mom also made an elegant swag with wheat and origami birds to hang over the fireplace.

For the prep we covered each table with a different fabric: Lace, embroidered satin, linen and embellished tulle.

We covered the windows with embellished tulle.

We draped lines of plastic pearls along the candle holders and tables.

The place cards shown above were hand-made tags cut out from the left-over invitations. They were attached to each guests’ dragée bag (a traditional French party favor of hard candy served at weddings, christenings and communions). The bags were just tulle circles tied up with grass twine and various pre-made paper flowers

About the Chateau:

The biggest decision in our big fancy French wedding plans was where to have it and of course, in my fancy French wedding dreams, it HAD to be in a castle.

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The previous Spring we had attended the annual horticulture festival Journées des plantes franco-britanniques at Chateau Crosville sur Douve. I fell in love with the chateau and after comparing the price with some other castles in the region, I knew we had a winner.

Normandy wedding

The castle’s owner, Michèle Lefol, is a warm charming woman who grew up on the castle’s property. Her parents were farmers who tended the land and she was one of ten kids! The castle was in ruins when it went on sale in 1980 and Michèle was able to buy it. She was only 19 years old! Since then she has been on a one woman crusade to save and restore the chateau.

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My favorite part of the castle is the intricately painted ceiling in the master hall which has been painstakingly restored. Inspired by Metamorphoses by Ovid, it was painted by an anonymous Italian painter in 1689.

The big day:

Our wedding took place on the 10th of October which is a day we chose because the almanac said it would be unseasonably warm. Boy did we luck out! A Normand wedding in October with blue skies and no rain!

 

chateau crosville sur douve, normandy

Guests styaed in local B&Bs. Some even camped out on the lawns.

With the wonderful weather, the guests were able to roam the chateau’s grounds, visit the animals…

and watch the sun set from the tower.

normandy tower

My dress was custom-made by a professional dress-maker friend. It had a lace bustier and ruffles in different motifs and although there was a lot of fabric, it was really light to wear.  I loved the way it swished when I walked and danced! It still being October, I wore a little angora cardigan that we had altered to bolero length.

lace wedding dress

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We started with a simple symbolic ceremony presided by my husband’s uncle (in France you can only “officially” get married  in a town hall, and we had already made the trip to le mairie).

Afterwards we had an all-champagne cocktail reception. Guests snacked on assorted canapés et cuilléres porcelaines. There was a gril de crevettes, where shrimp was grilled plancha styleand a slow cooked ham  – le brasero de jambon caramélisé.

champagne please!

Then it was on to dinner. The dining room was lit only by candles. It was magic. We had a 5 course meal. For the entré (starter) we had coquille saint jacques à l’étouffé et julienne de racines épicées – scallops cooked in its own shell with finely chopped root vegtables. It was divine! The plat was an evantail de magret de canard au caramel de sesame – duck  with a carmalized sesame sauce and sweet chutney. This was followed by a papillotte de camenbert chaud et salade – salad with melted camenbert cheese! For dessert we had the dessert en cassolette, a help yourself center plate of assorted cakes, but we also did the traditional piece montée.

food

The sound room was filled with balloons that the kids went crazy with. After dinner we used this room to dance and make merry in. I spent most of my time dancing with the little girls because they thought I was a princess (aw!).

After most of the guests had left, we finished off the evening with a few night owls drinking the rest of the champagne and talking around the fireplace until dawn.

The next day:

The following day we hosted a bbq and buffet. We eat bbq sausages plus the previous night’s left overs. We also had a plate of raw oysters and bulots (sea snails). Zinc is amazing for a hangover!

buffet

Epilogue:

The funny thing about planning your own wedding is that you stress out about it for the longest time, and then when it finally comes, it all goes by so fast. I’m so thankful for all the help we got from our family and friends and to all my friends who were able to make the trip all the way from LA, San Francisco, Portland and Kentucky!

Weddings are expensive, that’s for sure, so we had to make decisions about where we were going to splurge and where we could save.

In the end, we ended up splurging on the following:

  • Location: A castle http://www.chateau-crosville.fr/, but it was comparatively reasonable to others in the region.
  • Caterer: The hors d’oeuvres and meal were prepared and served by the wonderful people at Lombardi Traiteur.
  • Babysitters: We hired 2.
  • Chair-covers, candle holders, sound system, extra lighting, china and silverware: We rented them.
  • Dress: Custom-made by Aiala Assayag Lugassy.

And we saved on the following:

  • Hair: My mom did it!
  • Make-up: My dear friend Thea did it. She is a fancy Hollywood make-up artist, so I couldn’t have been in better hands.
  • Accessories: I wore a pair of Repetto “Salomés I already owned. My jewelry was family. We altered a cardigan I already had to wear as a bolero length cover-up.
  • Invitations: My brother-in-law, a graphic artist, designed them and we did a simple black and white print.
  • Decorations/favors: My mom helped me get it all together.
  • Flowers: We shopped around for the best price and kept it classic and simple.
  • Alcohol/Drinks: Instead of going through the caterer, we shopped around for our own drinks. My father-in-law was able to get a stock of some fabulously priced (and still amazing) champagne and the wine was from my dear friend Olivier’s vineyard Chateau LaGrange. We brought our own soft drinks and juice.
  • DJ/band: Our friend Julien honored us with some awesome sets and my husband spent more time at the turntables than on the dance floor.
  • Planning: Yours truly.
  • Set-up: We did it ourselves!
  • Photographer: We just didn’t have the budget, so everyone took pics.

In the end, I think we got a lot of bang for our buck, and I was able to organize the fancy French wedding celebration of my dreams.

Many thanks to Milli, Gerald, Roro and everyone else for the pictures and their company.

 champagne glass

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3 Comments

  1. so very beautiful thank you for sharing

    Reply
  2. Elle Belle

     /  June 6, 2013

    moi aussi.

    You guys sure gave good time for the guests…
    Great food and friends,
    and we all had wonderful time.

    Reply
  3. Gerald

     /  February 26, 2013

    Nice to reminisce about this wedding. Definitely one I’ll remember forever.

    Reply

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