Lauren & Ruari’s Wedding at The Fairytale Château

Written by Emma Hla
Lauren and Ruari’s wedding at a stunning French chateau was like stepping into a fairytale. Choosing their venue online during the pandemic was a leap of faith that paid off beautifully when they saw it in person after a breathtaking renovation.

As a bridal hairstylist, Lauren brought her eye for detail to every aspect of the day, from her elegant gown and accessories to her bridesmaids’ relaxed, stylish looks. Their photographer, Frances Mary Sales, and videographer, Alfie from Clique Visuals, captured the day perfectly. They not only documented the love and joy but also the spontaneous moments, like a surprise dip in the pool, that made the celebration unforgettable.

Notes from the Bride

Lauren says…

Back in Scotland, before we were even engaged, I was styling hair for a bridal client. We chatted about our mutual love of France, and she highly recommended ‘Marry Me in France‘. Intrigued, I did some research and immediately knew that when we got engaged, this would be the company we’d choose for our wedding planning.

As we delved deeper, it became clear that this was the go-to company for destination weddings. Their extensive connections with top-notch suppliers and their flexible approach allowed us to be as involved in the planning process as we wanted while they handled the rest. This removed the extra stress of organising a wedding abroad by ourselves. Our planner, Pamela—a fellow Scot—was amazing from start to finish. Her relaxed, supportive attitude kept us updated and confident throughout the entire process. We couldn’t have done it without her and the exceptional team at Marry Me in France.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, we chose our venue online without the chance to visit in person. Trusting their recommendation, we booked it immediately, enchanted by the stunning online images of The Fairytale Château. A year later, we finally got to visit the chateau. To our delight, it had undergone a breathtaking renovation. The sun was shining, the views were spectacular, and the chateau looked like something from a fairy tale. While updated, it retained its beautiful French charm.

As a bridal hairstylist, the details of styling were crucial to me. I see weddings weekly and always pay attention to the finer points. I wanted a wedding dress with a very detailed fabric. After trying on a few, I found the perfect one—a wild card dress from the Essense of Australia collection at Kudos Bridal in Dunfermline. It had a thick, floral lace pattern and beautiful balloon sleeves, which I loved. I paired it with a short, simple ivory veil, and my shoes were gold plissé bow-heeled sandals from Loeffler Randall. For accessories, I chose clay floral earrings by Pearl & Hugo and stunning hair pieces by Kate Dillon Designs and Pearl & Hugo.

For my bridesmaids, I wanted them to feel comfortable and stylish, so we visited David’s Bridal and chose a palette I would describe as ‘sunkissed’ in satin and silky styles. They wore two gold dresses, two in a copper colour and one in champagne. These colours matched the chateau perfectly, although that wasn’t my initial plan!

Ruari had always envisioned wearing a tuxedo, so he opted for a white jacket from Hawes & Curtis while the groomsmen donned classic black tuxedos. Our dads were dressed similarly. They all looked incredibly smart. Our little page boys were adorable in shorts and shirts with braces and straw hats, stealing the show as they walked down the aisle.

Hair and makeup were significant parts of our day, and I was fortunate to have my sister and friends help ready me and my bridesmaids. My sister and maid of honour, Kerry from Kerry at The Loft, did my makeup. My friend, Sally Drummond, styled my hair, and Jenny Tanner from Jenny Tanner Makeup and Beauty did my bridesmaids’ makeup. Sally and I took care of my bridesmaids’ hairstyles. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. Everyone looked stunning; their hair and makeup stayed perfect all day, even in the scorching sunshine.

For the décor, we wanted it to harmonise with the beautiful surroundings of the chateau. We enlisted Jenny from Our Fabulous Things, whom I knew would be perfect for the job. We chose rustic and natural elements like barrel pots, planters, and crates filled with fresh lavender and greenery. Our colour theme was lilacs, peach tones, greens, golds, and other natural pastels drawn from the flowers. We designed our welcome sign, seating plan, table menus, and weekend itineraries with Mally Crafts. They were fantastic, creating exactly what we envisioned and involving us at every step.

To honour our dog, Heidi, who couldn’t travel with us, we included a special picture of her on the cocktail table, painted by Ruari’s mum. We also had a hand-crafted clay model by ‘Pawfessional Mini-Me Sculptures,’ a keepsake we will cherish forever.

Our tablescape was adorned with potted herbs in rustic pots, colourful candles, and little ribbed tea light jars. We added vintage-coloured water glasses and gold cutlery, finishing each plate with a striped linen napkin and a menu. Chris from Luminous Lighting provided festoon lighting, lanterns, and uplighters, adding a magical glow around the chateau.

Our florist was Jenny ‘Fairy Fleur’, who also runs ‘Our Fabulous Things’ and was incredible. We discussed our mood board on multiple calls, and she offered brilliant advice and creative ideas. For my bouquet, I wanted a natural, slightly undone look with lots of lavender, mauve, honey-coloured roses, and other stunning flowers and foliage. Long trailing lilac, peach, pink, and mauve ribbons added a beautiful touch. My bridesmaids had similar bouquets, each with some ribbon as well.

The men’s buttonholes, featuring lavender and roses, perfectly complemented their outfits. Our little page boys had mini buttonholes, adding a charming touch.

Amy’s catering at Chez Ami was phenomenal. She and her team exceeded all expectations, accommodating everyone’s dietary needs. We had delicious starters of baked Camembert and filo pastry with mushrooms, followed by melt-in-the-mouth duck and chicken with garlic cream for the main course. The sides of creamy potatoes and vegetables were perfect. For dessert, we enjoyed my favourite, Millefeuille, with summer berries. The strawberries from the Dordogne were the sweetest I’ve ever tasted!

Our cake, a classic French Croquembouche tower, was made by a local bakery in a nearby village. The choux pastries were filled with chocolate, vanilla, and coffee cream, drizzled with a beautiful sugar design on an almond base, and decorated with lavender sprigs and our little Heidi figurine on top. It was as delicious as it was lovely.

We were over the moon with our photos and video. Frances Mary Sales, our photographer, perfectly captured the elegance and joy of our day. Her style was exactly what we wanted, and her friendly, laid-back demeanour put us at ease. We were thrilled to receive preview photos the next day, which beautifully captured every detail we had asked for and more.

Alfie, our videographer, was fantastic. Despite a travel nightmare that left him sleeping in his car the night before, he brought great energy and humour to the day. His video transports us right back to the magic of our wedding. Even late into the night, when someone suggested jumping into the pool, Alfie was there with his camera, capturing every fun moment. His cinematic style made our video feel like an action-packed movie.

Frances and Alfie worked seamlessly together, and we couldn’t have asked for a better duo to document our day.

Best part of the day

Choosing the best part of the day is nearly impossible because everything feels like a dream. But if I had to highlight a few moments, it would be getting ready, seeing Ruari shed a little tear, the heartfelt speeches, the delicious food, the limbo game, and the spontaneous pool jump at the end of the night.

From one couple to another…

My advice is to savour every second of your wedding day. It truly does fly by. Don’t sweat the small stuff—nobody will notice if a candlestick is out of place. What matters most is being surrounded by your loved ones. Take a moment alone as a couple after the ceremony to bask in your newlywed bliss before joining your guests. That little breather was a lovely pause amidst all the excitement.

Credits

Venue The Fairytale Château

Photographer Frances Mary Sales

Videographer Clique Visuals

Planner Pamela, Marry Me in France

Hair Stylists Sally Drummond and Lauren Spriddle

Makeup Kerry at The Loft and Jenny Tanner Makeup and Beauty

Dress Essense of Australia from Kudos Bridal

Earrings Pearl & Hugo

Florist and Hire Our Fabulous Things

Celebrant Claudia Bowden

Daytime Music The Highlights

Catering Chez Amis Catering

Evening Music Mixology Sax & DJ

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