Real Wedding: A Whimsical Woodland Wedding in the South of France
Laura's bouquet was a staggering four foot long, and fitted in perfectly with the laid-back, joyous feel of the day, which comprised of a four hour long meal with countless delicious courses.
Photographer | Mandorla London
How they met
Laura and Stephen met on the way to Glastonbury in 2008 and spent the entire festival together, laughing and dancing, and the fun-packed weekend paved the way for their whole relationship, as well as the laid-back, joyous nature of their wedding day.<br /><br />"After seven happy years of parties, festivals and fancy dress, Steve swept me off my feet by proposing on the balcony of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul," shares Laura. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/ideas/mood-boards/get-the-festival-wedding-wedstock-look/18613.html" target="_self">READ MORE: Inspiration for a festival themed wedding</a>
The South of France wedding venue
Laura and Stephen held their wedding at the charming <a href="http://saintmartory.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwvuDPBRDnARIsAGhuAmapZDMDbubXzjJRz5ZdYrq5BxPXgfaVZP1_zJ7rY2nkMVHfTQ8olzgaAoedEALw_wcB" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Chateau De Saint Martory</a> in France after being wooed by the fairytale turrets.<br /><br />"We agreed straight away that a wedding abroad in Europe was the way to go. We love a good party and had friends and family coming from as far and wide as Australia, America and Bermuda so we wanted to have a celebration over 3 days to ensure we spent quality time with everyone who came," shares Laura.<br /><br />"As soon as we saw Chateau Saint Martory there was no competition; it was the place for us. The relaxed atmosphere, stunning views of the Pyreneese and Garonne river and easy access from Toulouse made it an easy choice."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/dresses-and-style/wedding-dresses/24-showstopping-wedding-dresses-for-a-castle-wedding/20612.html" target="_self">READ MORE: 24 Showstopping Wedding Dresses for a Castle Wedding</a>
Laura and Stephen's wedding ceremony took place under a 200 year old oak tree, and the rest of the decorations were left minimal to allow the beauty of the setting and ancient tree to speak for themselves. <br /><br />"Our <a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/venues/ideas-for-outdoor-and-woodland-weddings/20535.html" target="_self">outdoor wedding ceremony</a> suited us as we didn't want anything too formal or staid, and we wanted to be among nature as we tied the knot," says Laura.
The wedding reception
"We wanted our reception to be traditional to the region, so we had a long relaxed afternoon of cocktails, followed by a slow meal lasting four hours with many courses and then on to the speeches and the disco. We did away with formality in favour of fun," explains Laura.<br /><br />"A formal wedding wouldn't have felt right for us, and we were lucky that the venue itself was so stunning and had such a magical feeling that helped us make the day as happy and relaxed as possible."
The natural colour scheme
Laura and Stephen avoided particular colours, instead opting for a natural theme with moss, ferns and succulents.
"Formal floral arrangements didn't feel right so instead we covered the centre of the dining tables in dried pressed ferns, fresh moss and succulents," says Laura.<br /><br />"The marquee looked like something out of a midsummer night's dream and was just what we wanted. The flowers were created by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Atelier-Endémik-443085565742884/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Atelier Endemik</a> and were inspired by nature and love of the woodlands."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/ideas/diy-and-craft/how-to-make-a-greenery-table-garland/21948.html" target="_self">READ MORE: How to make a greenery table garland</a>
The trailing bouquet
"I had the most incredible trailing bouquet," says Laura. "I wanted something completely unique that looked like it had been growing in the woods. Nico the florist created a four foot long bouquet of ivy, moss, ferns and other greens and foliage,"<br /><br />The unkempt bouquet perfectly complemented Laura's handmade <a href="http://www.sharonhoey.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Sharon Hoey</a> wedding dress, which was made if several layers of natural silk, with a heavily embroidered cape over the shoulders and back.<br /><br />"I was inspired by vintage brides, fairytales and woodlands," Laura shares.
The bridesmaid dresses
The navy <a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/dresses-and-style/bridesmaids-flowergirls/31-beautiful-blue-bridesmaids-dresses/19618.html" target="_self">blue bridesmaid</a> jumpsuits were purchased from <a href="http://www.phase-eight.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Phase Eight</a>, and each of the bridesmaids, alongside 13 other close female friends wore flower crowns to tie their looks together. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/dresses-and-style/hairstyles/27-ways-to-wear-flowers-in-your-hair-on-your-wedding-day/21156.html" target="_self">READ MORE: 27 ways to wear flowers in your hair on your wedding day</a>
The groom's attire
Stephen chose to wear a navy blue suit courtesy of <a href="https://www.hugoboss.com/uk/home" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hugo Boss</a>, with brown <a href="https://www.paulsmith.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Paul Smith</a> shoes.<br /><br />The groomsmen also wore navy and had matching yellow ties and socks for a splash of colour. <br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/dresses-and-style/grooms/suave-blue-wedding-suits-for-the-groom-what-real-grooms-wore/22357.html" target="_self">READ MORE: Suave blue wedding suits for the groom</a>
Advice for other couples
"Enjoy the planning phase not just the big day," advises Laura.<br /><br />"Choose what you and your husband want for your big day not what others might suggest. You can’t keep everyone happy so make sure you are happy. We loved every minute of selecting decorations, <a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/how-to-create-a-wedding-table-plan-the-ultimate-guide/19358.html" target="_self">planning tables</a>, choosing <a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/favours-and-thank-yous/best-bridesmaid-gift-ideas-under-10/21417.html" target="_self">gifts for bridesmaids</a> etc. and I think positivity is important in not getting overwhelmed."