Céline and Stephen met in Brooklyn. They organized their French wedding from the USA, and the result was a success, as you can see in their beautiful wedding photos by Emeline Hamon of Hé! Capture.
Shades of yellow, white and green take pride of place, reflecting the rustic vintage vibes of their multi-cultural wedding.
The first meeting
One evening in spring 2012, two friends in common decided to introduce us…in a sports bar in Brooklyn, where we were living. Our friends thought they would set us up for fun, and they never imagined it would last. But it was love at first sight!
I had always said to Stephen that I didn’t want a public proposal, but rather an intimate one. We had a whole evening out beforehand – dinner at a great South African restaurant followed by a show. Stephen asked me to marry him when we were on our way home, with his great grandmother’s ring. A huge gesture, yet touching and intimate – perfection! I had always dreamed of a vintage ring, so I couldn’t have asked for more.
We live in New York but we decided to get married in France. We had never been to the venue (we only went to France once during the preparations), so we had to totally trust the people we were working with over there. We did loads of online research, especially on wedding blogs, which made life much easier. It allowed us to read about lots of different opinions and experiences that other couples had, and really reassured us. The most difficult decision was definitely choosing the venue, because we couldn’t go and see it beforehand (by some miracle my amazing mum travelled to see it and confirm our choice for us). We didn’t visit until months later, when the contract was signed, and it was too late to turn back! But we don’t have any regrets – we were blown away by the beauty of the venue, even in the middle of winter!
We wanted a multi-cultural celebration that was chic and beautiful, but that still felt intimate and was near Paris (half of our guests were from the US and didn’t speak any French). In other words, we had quite a precise idea of what we were looking for: a charming country setting, with exclusivity, bedrooms on site so we could spend as much time as possible with our guests, and flexibility with organizers so we could count on the wedding being 100% ´us´. We fell in love with the Château de la Noë Vicaire, whose owners were brilliant and always available to help. The theme of the wedding was colorful, bohemian and chic, just like the château, our guests and us as a couple. We chose a yellow, green and white color scheme, fresh flowers from the countryside, recycled vases (mainly from old whisky bottles we had had for years, as a little wink to American culture), fairy lights and origami decorations.
Céline, who is trained in graphic design, made all the menus, table numbers and gifts herself. The preparations during the two days before the wedding were full of joy and laughter, with little teams working on calligraphy, flower arrangements, origami and hanging up lights. We installed and created everything ourselves thanks to the endless talents of our family.
I found my dress by accident, but it was a heart-stopper! My mum had come to spend a week in New York in winter and we had just one objective: to find a wedding dress. The week was magical but stressful too! It was non-stop. We had started to despair a bit when I found the website of this designer, Shareen. She was amazing – attentive to her clients and passionate about her work. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better dress. She totally took into account my personality and decided to design a one-of-a-kind dress for me – it was fate!
The Wedding Day
Everything was so surreal that morning. Stephen was with his family, and I was still adding final touches to the decorations. My two worlds, French and American, were being united for the first time, and I felt a bit lost until they started doing my makeup…Everything suddenly became magical, like a dream… having my makeup done and being surrounded by my closest friends and family, the intimacy of our first photos as husband and wife, the smiles and the tears during the speeches, the love we felt from our nearest and dearest, but above all the love we felt for each other. It was the most beautiful weekend, full of love, happiness and emotion. We were surrounded by all the people who love us and who we love dearly (some had even come from the other side of the world), who gave us the best present ever by celebrating with us for three whole days!
The stress was minimal on the actual day, because we put all our trust in the organizers and everything went smoothly. The weekend was unforgettable and we have the most incredible memories. One piece of advice: we decided not to call on the help of a wedding planner, but looking back I think I would have liked to have had one on the day itself. I would have liked to unload my family and my mom of all the annoying little last minute jobs. It’s an investment (which is why we decided not to do it in the first place), but I think it’s really worth it.
Loved Céline and Stephen’s wedding? Discover more Real Weddings here.