A fairytale wedding at a chateau in Provence, France

This wedding in France was a true French fairytale wedding! In Provence, France at a chateau straight out of Cinderella. An absolute dream for an English speaking Provence wedding photographer!

Tu Anh, a lovely and kind lady, contacted me more than a year before her wedding in Provence, France, She and her fiancé Tom live in New York, in the United States, and were planning for their destination wedding at an amazing chateau called Chateau des Fines Roches in the charming village of Chateauneuf du Pape, just outside of the city of Avignon in the south of France region of Provence.

I’d never photographed a wedding at this French chateau and was thrilled at the prospect, this area of France is one of the prettiest, especially in summer. I set up a time to speak with Tom and Tu Anh, to discover their plans for their French wedding and how I could be a part of making their dreams come true. I was really thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this amazing couple for their French wedding and also have the opportunity to photograph them among the grandeur of this chateau and famous charm for which Provence is famous.

Tu Anh shared that there would be about 30 or so guests from the United States attending the wedding, and that the ceremony would be at the chateau outside, to be followed by aperitif, dinner and then dancing. Aperitif is very common in France, it’s the time before dinner when people typically have a drink which is set to prepare one for a great meal.

In the year that passed between our first contact and our first meeting on their wedding day in France, I’d felt like I’d come to know Tom and Tu Anh as friends. So when we finally met on their wedding day, it felt so comfortable. We began the day with a few images of Tom and Tu Anh getting ready for their wedding day in Provence, and I also had the opportunity to meet their kind and lovely friends and family, who’d come to France to celebrate with them. Tu Anh was getting ready in her room and her sister masterfully had created her hairstyle and makeup. When she put her wedding gown on, she really did look like a princess, complete with tiara.

Tom was in a room down the hall with his parents getting ready, as his mother helped press his pants. They were friendly and warm and I enjoyed meeting them!

There had been a bit of concern about the weather. The forecast was for very hot weather, but the sky clouded over and while it was still quite warm, the cloud cover was great for photographs.

After Tom and Tu Anh put the finishing touches on their wedding day wardrobes, it was time for the First Look!  This is a private moment between a bridge and groom when they see each other for the first time before their wedding, just the two of them. Tu Anh stood at the bottom of the grand staircase facing to the door, Then, Tom came down the staircase and saw his beautiful bride!

 

After the First Look, we headed outside to the vineyards, which were spectacular. Chateau des Fines Roches in French means the “castle of the fine rocks”, and the vineyard had tons of fine rocks. They were difficult to walk on, but made for stunning images! The leaves were a deep bright green, little grapes hanging off of the vine. Chateau des Fines Roches has so much, not only stunning vineyards,  but you’ll also find a fine dining restaurant, hotel and wine degustation cave (wine tasting room) so you can sample their wines. The staff at Chateau des Fines Roches are also exceedingly kind and helpful, always with a smile on their face and asking how they can be of help.

 

 

After our pre-wedding photo session on the grounds of the chateau, it was time for the wedding itself, the most exciting part of the day!

Tom and Tu Anh’s priest, Father Tony from New York, would be officiating in front of all of their family and friends.

Finally. the big moment had arrived, the wedding was about to begin.

The wedding party and finally, the bride and her father walked down the aisle to meet her groom. The ceremony was super special, and included beautiful readings by the family and Father Tony. But the most heartwarming part of the ceremony were their vows, which were incredibly emotional and personal. Tom’s were amazing but it was Tu Anh’s vows that brought tears to my eyes. She gave an example of how much she loved Tom for his kindness and thoughtfulness. She said that he knew how difficult it was for her to select from a menu when they went out to eat, that she could never decide what she wanted. So Tom always ordered two plates so that she could taste the other plate in case she didn’t prefer the one she ordered. She said she wasn’t sure how she got so lucky to find Tom but that she was grateful to God for him.

I don’t think there was a dry eye anywhere, this is true love and the reason I love weddings so much!

They also shared their ritual of being true to each other and that they came up with something early in their relationship called the pinky swear. With this gesture, they are always assured that they’re on the very same page. It was really cute.

 

 

After I dried my eyes, this beautiful, magical day continued with an aperitif hour where the bride and groom had had the opportunity to greet and be photographed with all of their guests, which included some wonderful college friends from Rice University. Then, to the reception room for an amazing French meal with French wines, dessert and of course, dancing!

 

 

This was the most amazing day, truly like a French fairytale with a beautiful bride and groom who love each other intensely, surrounded by others who love them just as much. It was an amazingly warm and welcoming atmosphere of love and joy.

Tom and Tu Anh, I know you’re going to have the most amazing marriage because you’re both amazing people with warm, kind hearts and genuine love for each other and others. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of your very special day in France!

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