Notes From the Bride: Why I Don't Have Post Wedding Blues

Our wedding(s) were spectacular in their own ways..

Prepping them? Well, some would call it a labor of love.. but it sort of just felt like labor. 

In hindsight, we complicated our lives and had sky high expectations of perfection. 

Please, future brides, don't do that. 

We enjoyed our three(!!) weddings enormous amounts. For me, living as an expat, they gave me an incredible chance to spend a ton of time with my extended family which was absolutely a blessing. Those small moments, making endless mojito popsicles with my cousins, ordering my bouquet 3 days before our NY wedding with my aunt, saying a little prayer together before our Bordeaux wedding with my friend and MUHA. I'll never forget them. Ever. 

Those moments make up a huge part of the wedding experience because they're so much more profound than the 100, 1 minute identical conversations you'll have on the day of your wedding ("Congratulations! You look beautiful, how are you? I'll let you go say hello to everyone else, we'll chat later." And then you never get to chat) 

Maybe it sounds ungrateful, but honestly, I'm not going to apologize for wanting better conversation than small talk with the people I love most in the world. That was the thing I absolutely didn't like about the wedding, you have all of these people giving you so much love through their presence, words, and overall energy, and I didn't feel like I could properly thank them, ever, or show them enough gratitude for being there on a day that was so special to me.

It felt, unbalanced. 

I've struggled really hard with trying to get over these feelings and one by one, see all of our friends and family and spend quality time with them, just to thank them for supporting us, lifting us up, and their unending love. It'll take years, a lifetime perhaps. 

But really right now what we are doing is enjoying being together again. This time a bit more bonded then before, but with none of the stress of planning a big event. Now each time we go and visit my in-laws it's just hanging out, and not checking off endless to-do lists. Now when I talk to my cousins, it's catching up and joking around, not asking for advice because I'm stressed. Our life has gone back to being simple. Our free time has gone back to revolving around enjoying time with our families and friends, and traveling. 

Engaged was great, but marriage? Even better.

 Pyk thanking our families and friends.. I could say it every day and it wouldn’t be enough. We are so grateful to everyone for their love. So, so grateful. 

Pyk thanking our families and friends.. I could say it every day and it wouldn’t be enough. We are so grateful to everyone for their love. So, so grateful. 

Notes From the Bride: The Highlights from Our Wedding Day(s) AND OUR WEDDING VIDEO!!

There are so many things I’ve already forgotten but these are what have stayed months later as highlights (video at the end!!):

Bordeaux, Town hall:

(Photos in this section by my amazing associate photographer, Valeriya

Venue: Bordeaux Town Hall and My In Laws home

My dress: Banana Republic)

- My cousins flying in 1-2 weeks before the weddings to be with us. That extra time was sacred!!

- Our best friends flying in for our town hall wedding (my bff came straight from the airport to the town hall with her husband!!) To see her there when we first said "Oui" was absolutely amazing. I'm so grateful. 

 My bff and I being silly

My bff and I being silly

- Tents in my in-laws backyard covering us from the crazy rain as we danced into the night. The rain didn’t matter. 

- My father-in-law opening SO many bottles of wine

- My mother in-law making our favorite sorbets for dessert

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- My cousin playing and singing a few songs for Pyk and I

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- Looking around and thinking how lucky we are

- Wearing my favorite white dress that I wore the day he proposed, and the day we got our civil union, and then the day we were officially married!!

- Face timing with my Brother who couldn’t be there in France

- My Uncle Bob going nuts on the dance floor (aka the back patio!)

- Failing at a balloon arch but laughing about it because it really didn’t matter. People weren’t coming for that. 

 

Bordeaux, Chateau:

(Photos in this section by Bubblerock

Hair and makeup: Kendra Hittinger

My dress: Rue de Seine from Lovely Bride

His custom suit: Samson Bordeaux

Caterers: Deval

Venue: Chateau Isabeau de Naujan )

- HOLY BUCKETS OF RAIN and it pouring up until 5 minutes before the outdoor ceremony

- Praying for it to stop. It did =)

- All of the insane help we got from our friends and family setting up the decorations - Our friend Vanessa making our amazing flower arch, my cousins and friends setting up the whole reception room!!!, soooooo many people putting their love into our day

- How low the cars were after loading them with all the wine and champagne to bring them to the chateau  (ha!)

- Missing Pyk during the day - I wish I saw him more. I would have been more calm. 

- Meeting my 4 month old baby cousin!!

- Having almost my whole paternal family with us

- Feeling TIRED (not a highlight but honestly, was SO SO tired from the week of festivities already!)

- Asking my dad right before him walking me down the aisle if he was happy. He looked me in the eyes and simply said, “Yes”, and the calm I felt after hearing that!

- Brushing my teeth right before the ceremony because I forgot that morning! It was a bit ridiculous because I was already in my wedding dress and about to go outside to our first look!

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- The feeling of shock and happiness walking down the aisle and seeing so many people from so many parts of our lives, all in one place

- Crying during our ceremony - it couldn’t have been more perfect

- Literally tying the knot with Pyk

- THE FOOD BEING AMAZING, OHHHH MY GOODNESS

- The incredible sunset after a cloudy and stormy week (man, did the universe come through for us or what?!!!)

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- My cousin’s amazing toast

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- Falling asleep on the dance floor

- After the brunch the next day, hanging out on lounge chairs with our friends

- Hanging out, wine tasting, and heading to the beach with our friends and family for the few days after the wedding. Coming down from wedding craziness. 

- A few days of relaxing in Tuscany, Italy to come back down to earth and enjoy being married

- Bringing a huge flamingo floatie on our honeymoon. Naming him "Clement" and relaxing on him in the pool for ages. Pyk thought I was insane to take up half my suitcase with him. I have no regrets =)

 

NEW YORK:

(Photos by Jillian Rollins Photography

My dress: Rue de Seine from Lovely Bride

His custom suit: Samson Bordeaux

Tent rentals: Cartwright & Daughters Tent & Party Rentals

Hair and Makeup: Made Up)

- The week spent with my family prepping my dad's house and backyard for 130 people

- Marrying him for the third time

- SO many friends coming in and offering at the last minute to make our wedding even more personalized and beautiful! From stunning handwritten signs to the centerpieces.. it really felt like a family affair and I LOVED it

- The amazing sermon from my pastor during our blessing

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- Good BBQ

- Having my whole maternal family in one place

- My nephew the ring bearer dropping the rings and finding them and then coming up during the ceremony to tell me (It was the cutest thing, he wanted to do such a good job and he did! I LOVED that he was part of our wedding!!)

- Having great American beer on tap

- Not feeling stressed!!

- Feeling so happy

- Dancing with so many people

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- Hanging out way too late

- My two cousins performing their song "Katie, Pyk's Lady" to the tune of My Girl (this was absolutely HYSTERICAL and amazing in all it's forms.. SO GOOD)

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- Smiling so much my face hurt

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AND FINALLY

- Relief that we'd survived 3 weddings and still had our sanity!! Ha! 

As a little end to show you even more visually how awesome our wedding was, here's our Bordeaux wedding video made by Bubblerock.

PASSWORD = bubblerock

Notes from the Bride: What Not To Say to a Couple Before (or on) Their Wedding Day

Oh boy, it's funny, until you've had your own wedding, people don't realize that you are 1000x more sensitive to ANY comment about your wedding day. These are some of the off the cuff comments that people said to us that made us be like, "Did you actually just say this??”  (P.S. Please read all of my responses with a heavy dose of sarcasm.. I didn’t actually say these things, and responded like a normal adult, swallowing my sarcastic replies and replacing them with cordial responses.. people mean well, but sometimes are better off just not saying anything haha)

 

Preface for this first one: It rained literally ALL week before our wedding and downpoured on our wedding day. The rain stopped 5 minutes before our outside ceremony started. The biggest thing we heard around our wedding day was: 

 

"Mariage pleuvieux, Mariage hereux!" Aka "Rain on your wedding day is good luck".  

NO.  

STOP.  

Oh, you actually thought that I didn't notice it was raining and that it's not internally freaking me out? Kind sir, is it really "good luck" when on July 1st, a day that NORMALLY doesn't have precipitation, that it rains? REALLY!???? No, it's bad luck. Stop telling me that it isn't, good luck was that it stopped 5 minutes before our ceremony. And please; PLEASE, just don't even remind me a few days before that the weather forecast is crap. I know. Also, the saying is actually, "Mariage PLUS VIEUX, mariage hereux" aka The older the couple the happier the wedding", Which, well also doesn't apply because I was 25.  

 

 

"So do you have your dress??" 

Ma'am, it's 4 days before my wedding, I freaking hope so. And if I don't, thanks for asking about something that's enormously stressing me out . I actually laughed whenever I heard this.  

 

 

Anything that pertains to vendors not being on time or something not going right. 

There were like 30 things that went wrong or late the day of our wedding and I knew about zero of them until a few days later. Wedding rule numero uno. DON'T STRESS THE BRIDE. If anything, talk to the maid of honor, the best-man, or the day of coordinator. These people are there to be the point people so the bride and groom don't need to deal with it.  

 

 

Any complaints that you have during the reception or things you would have done differently.  

It's not your wedding. It's not your wedding. IT'S NOT YOUR WEDDING.. Let me repeat that: it's not your wedding. The couple has worked so hard for this day and is envisioning that everything is going to go perfectly. They've done their best to be sure that everyone will have a good time and not start their marriage in tons of debt. Keep your comments to yourself and if you notice that something is wrong or dangerous during the reception, talk to the MOH or BM or the vendor in question. They'll help you!  

 

 

A few weeks before the wedding: "Can I bring x person with me?" Or, "Oh just to let you know, I'm coming with a +1" 

  1. No. 

  2. No, you're not. 

This was something to ask when you received your invitiation and RSVP'd and we have every right to decline inviting them.  

 

 

"You should really invite x person."

It's okay to ask the couple if they're inviting somene, and if it's the parents of the couple requesting you invite someone, it's definitely okay. But hounding the couple to invite someone that they've already chosen NOT to invite isn't cool. It's the coffee test, if you would go out alone with this person to coffee, then you should invite them. If you would never do that and only see them in bigger social gatherings, it's not surprising if you don't invite them. Don't hound the couple because you want your friend invited. It's not your wedding. It's theirs. 

 

 

"This is getting really expensive to come. " 

Oof. I can't tell you how much that offhand comment affected me. It was your decision to come, I didn't force you, and I would never ever ever hold it against you if you didn't come because of financial issues. I didn't invite you because I wanted a gift, we invited you because your gift would already be your presence. You chose your hotel, your dress, your gift. You chose how much to spend. You could have RSVP'd no. This was your choice, please don't make me pay for it with guilt.  

 

 

"Your mariage isn't really a true wedding because it's not x religion. "

WHAT?! Please, don't impose your religious views on anyone. If the couple decides they want a religious wedding or not, it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. If you don't support the union, don't come, but more importantly, keep that negativity to yourself.  Marriage is an incredible commitment, and whatever marriage means to the couple is between the two of them. It’s not your place to judge. Please, just be happy for the couple!

 

 

Instead, here are some ideas to talk to the couple about their wedding day: 

Anything you appreciated during the ceremony or the reception..

Things like: "Congratulations, we wish you happiness and love for many many years" 

Beautiful choice on x thing (music, readings, dinner, venue etc.) 

"Your nephew, the ring bearer, was absolutely adorable!" 

"This was the best wedding ever!"

"Can you share your vendors with us for our wedding ?"

or simply

“Congratulations"

Small notes of happiness and positivity towards the happy couple go a looooong way and are always appreciated. Anything that will put a smile on their face is what you should be saying, anything not in that category.. please keep to yourself. 

 

We actually heard all of these things above, the good and the bad. It was like 99% good but that 1% bad seriously weighed down on us! Please know that your words are powerful and can easily change a moment of happiness into one of stress, guilt, worry, and pain. I know this because I lived it. None of these people wanted to hurt us, there was no malicious intent, but that doesn't change the fact that we are still dealing with the after effects months after hearing them. The wedding day is not your day to air dirty laundry about the couple, it's not your day in general. It's their day, and it's your time to support them in any way you can. If you were special enough to be invited to their wedding, it’s guaranteed they will support you in any way they can during your big life events, too.

Notes From the Bride: Things That You THINK Matter on Your Wedding Day (But Don't), and What Really Matters

I stressed over so many SILLY things for our wedding. Literally, no one says to us "wow, I really loved your paper choice" they say "wow, we loved meeting your other friends and family during the wedding" or "We really loved your vows". So many things are secondary, keep that in mind when you're stressing about making 100 mojito popsicles for the big day like I did (ha!). 

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What you think matters (t) VS What ACTUALLY matters (a):

T: How everyone thinks your dress looks

 

A: How YOU feel in your dress. If it's so heavy that you can't dance, or will get a back ache, maybe go with something lighter!

 

 

T: If your dress is from this boutique or is that brand

 A: How the style flatters you and makes you feel confident!

 

T: What the caterer is serving and if it's "classy" enough

A: If the is food actually GOOD and you have full confidence in your vendor. You don't want to be worrying about them on your wedding day. 

 

T: What  kind of paper the menus/Ceremony Booklets are printed on  

A: Creme vs white. Thick vs normal. No one will care except you. And I guarantee the day after your wedding you won't be thinking, wow, those menus looked great! Keep in mind that it's a detail. And in that, it shouldn't be a stresser. If you can get beautiful prints done without stress, fantastic, if you can't, no one will care.  

 

T: If your bridesmaids have matching shoes

 A: If your bridesmaids have been there to help support you throughout the engagement and wedding planning process

 

T: Where you go for your bachelorette party

A: How much fun you have during your bachelorette party. You don't need to go to the moon to have a great time with your best girlfriends. Keep it simple. 

 

 
T: If your bouquet ends up not having a certain flower in it that you wanted

A: If the arrangement is done tastefully.  Though in all honesty, remember, people aren't coming for the flowers. 

 

T: If your vows were perfect

 A: If they expressed your love and commitment to your person

 

T: Band or DJ

A: If there's great music whether it's from an iPod, a DJ, or a 28 piece orchestra

 

T: Gifts for your guests

A: HA! No one will take them, or remember them. They'll remember the great time they had at your wedding and the memories they made. Though people DO love going away with photos.. A great gift for family after is a print!!  

 

There are lots of little details to personalize your wedding but at the end of the day, the details aren't what matter. Your happiness is what matters. The best thing you can do is enjoy your day, enjoy the people around you, and enjoy the luck you have to have SO many people supporting your union and your love. THE BIGGEST THING THAT MATTERS ON YOUR DAY (besides you committing to a lifetime of union and love of course) IS YOU ENJOYING YOUR TIME WITH THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE. So please, don't stress about the little things, trust your vendors as they're the ones who will guide the day, get a good night's sleep the night before so you're well rested, and most of all, ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY. People are there because they love you and want to support you, not for the perfect cake. 

Notes From the Bride: Dealing With Guilt Over Having A Destination Wedding

*** I wrote this on the plane over to NY right before for our August wedding in the US and after our big white wedding in Bordeaux. I was still overwhelmed with so many feelings that were hard to place.. One of which, was, strangely, guilt. ***

When Pyk and I  first got engaged, we already knew that we were going to be having two weddings. Most of my family and friends wouldn't be able to make it to France, and most of his family and friends wouldn't be able to make it to the U.S., so we decided to make it easy for everyone.  

 

The one in France would be a bit more elaborate at a château in Bordeaux, our friends officiating the ceremony, it would be the first that he would see my dress, it would be when we exchanged our rings.. Basically, it would be the "big" wedding.  

 

That said, our American wedding is still going to be gorgeous and very much a wedding. We have an amazing caterer, it's outside, we have tents, we have my pastor coming to do a blessing on our marriage, I'll be in my dress, him in his suit. We are having the same amount of people if not more in NY. It's definitely still a big wedding on most standards. (UPDATE FROM 7 MONTHS LATER: Our friends and family made our day SO special helping us with decorations, beautifully handwritten signs, coordinating on the day of.. It was so much more personalized because of all that extra love.) 

 

But… it's not the first. We already call each other husband and wife, we already feel married.  

 

Our Bordeaux wedding day was a day full of emotion, of stress, of good memories, and a few not so good ones. It wasn't the perfect day, though it was the perfect wedding ceremony. One of the big reasons that I felt (and still feel) mixed about the day, was the enormous weight of guilt about so many people coming so far (both US coasts, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa) to be with us on the day of. I'm very conscious that everyone is on a budget, and if we could have paid for everyone's travel to be there we would have.  

 

I've been struggling with the guilt I feel about people spending so much to be with us and trying to talk to different people about it to understand why I'm having it, and to help me get over it. 

 

The overwhelming response to me is that people came because they wanted to come, and not just because they were invited. People made vacations out of it, they made a weekend out of it.. They were there because it made them happy to be there, not because they did it out of obligation. 

 

In my heart I know this. In my heart I know that my friends and family know us enough that if that they didn't come because of financial reasons, we would have totally understood. I know that people had an amazing time in Bordeaux and through their travels in Europe.  

 

Somehow though, that doesn't replace the guilt. I think it's because this time we were ASKING them to come, instead of them coming to France on their own wishes. For example, Pyk's parents are the only ones flying in for our NY wedding from France and I still feel guilty even though it's their son's wedding.  

 

I never said this was rational. 

 

Where does this guilt stem from? I've dug and dug, and dug some more into my feelings, and I'm sure that I'll keep digging until I hopefully find peace. But what I've found as part of the roots of the problem is that I'm fiercely independant. Probably to a fault. True story: my first phrase was, "I do it.". I'm not in the business of asking for many favors that I can't immediately repay. I need to internalize that inviting someone to your wedding is not asking for a favor, it's inviting them into one of the most intimate moments of your life. It's not an obligation, it's giving them a door with a pretty "Come on In" sign- they decide if they do.  

 

This post was originally intended help you get over your destination wedding guilt, but in the end, I don't have the answers. Sorry! I'm still very much struggling with it. I'm still humbled and overwhelmed by all the faces that I saw walking down the aisle in Bordeaux, and all the faces that we'll soon see in NY.  

 

I just have to keep telling myself that people come to weddings because they want to, they come out of love. That may even be a harder concept to grasp though, that people love us so deeply that they'd travel the world to be with us.  

 

I constantly say to Pyk that we are so lucky. Maybe we're luckier than we even know.  

 

-- 

 

7 months later: 

 

It's been a bit over 7 months of calling him my husband, of feasting in our wedding memories. I'm still overwhelmed by gratitude, and little by little, I've let my guilt go. Writing thank you cards has  been therapudic to say the least. Even if you only spend 2 minutes of real "face" time with some on your big day, just to know that they're there for you is a big deal. You don't need to serve caviar to show them you love them, but just to say it. Thank you cards were a place to put it all down in something tangible.  I'm finally at the point that I can look back on our wedding without most of the stress and guilt weighing down on me. Finally. There are still heavy emotions there, but they're of gratitude and admiration of the people we have in our lives.  

 

I wake up every day and know that we are lucky. That the universe conspires to bring us so much good- That I know in every pore, every muscle, and every heartstring.  

 

I hope that if you've ever struggled with this crazy guilt, or are currently struggling with it, that you know you're not alone. I'd love to hear your story below. If you've ever overcame something like this, please leave a comment and share what helped you.  

 One of our amazing wedding portraits from our NY wedding by  Jillian Rollins Photography    My dress:  Rue de Seine  from  Lovely Bride   His custom suit:  Samson Bordeaux    

One of our amazing wedding portraits from our NY wedding by Jillian Rollins Photography 

My dress: Rue de Seine from Lovely Bride

His custom suit: Samson Bordeaux

 

Notes From the Bride: Was I Crazy to Cut My Hair 8 Months Before Our Wedding?

I've had long hair almost all my life other than when I was, well, a newborn, and for a few months when I was 18 and cut it short before starting photography school. I love my long hair; it's almost always super healthy, is a lovely color that lightens in the summer and darkens in the winter and it's pretty easy to style (Although, it's one defect is that it doesn't hold curls well.)

((Fav hair products for my now short hair: To hold curls, to protect from hair dryer heat, to style in a hurry, to give my new short hair more volume ))

Whatever. I'm already lucky to have easy hair! 

 My hair BEFORE the cut! So long!!

My hair BEFORE the cut! So long!!

I know that for our wedding I want long hair.. but for ages now, I've been sitting on the idea of cutting my hair short. Not a pixie cut or anything but a little shorter than shoulder length. 

I figured the person who's advice I really needed was my wedding hair stylist so I messaged her. Kendra was like, listen Katie, if you want to do it, go for it. We are going to make your hair beautiful at any length. 

Now that's a good stylist (and enabler haha).

My hair grows pretty quickly so by the time of the wedding I'm pretty sure it's going to be back to mid-length. If I reeeealy want longer hair we can always add in clip in extensions. (Even if Kendra doesn't recommend them. She can make anything look beautiful.. I don't doubt her magical stylist powers!) 

 My hair during our wedding. IT DIDN’T GROW!!! Photo by  Bubblerock     P.S. Thank you to our incredible vendors, all photos are from our actual wedding   Photographers:  Bubblerock   Hair and makeup:  Kendra Hittinger   My dress:  Rue de Seine  from  Lovely Bride   His custom suit:  Samson Bordeaux   Caterers:  Deval    Venue:  Chateau Isabeau de Naujan

My hair during our wedding. IT DIDN’T GROW!!! Photo by Bubblerock 

P.S. Thank you to our incredible vendors, all photos are from our actual wedding

Photographers: Bubblerock

Hair and makeup: Kendra Hittinger

My dress: Rue de Seine from Lovely Bride

His custom suit: Samson Bordeaux

Caterers: Deval

Venue: Chateau Isabeau de Naujan

I may be only 8 months from my wedding but I have zero regrets on my new hair. It's such a nice change and honestly is sooooo easy to style! Also, i feel like I have so much MORE hair now that the length isn't weighing it down! 

Tell me what you think! Am I crazy to change my look less than a year from my wedding? 

UPDATE:

Funny thing about planning a wedding is that it's stressful.

Funny thing about stress? It does weird stuff to your body.

Like not let your hair grow.

I swear since our wedding I've grown a wig of hair but between that haircut 8 months before the wedding to that wedding day, maybe it grew an inch. Yah. An inch. SO, if your body reacts to stress like mine and you want long hair for your wedding. Either don't cut your hair or plan on some extensions. (I actually had some for my wedding day but didn't use them, I got them from Barefoot Blonde Hair and use them occasionally to add some oomph to my braids or length to my 'do)

Did you do any major style change in the year before your wedding? I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

Notes From the Bride: Finding Our Perfect Wedding Venue + 6 Important Questions to Ask

If you read my last post about our wedding priorities you'll remember I briefly mentioned that our wedding venue is from the 14th century (and did I mention that it's surrounded by vineyards?). Yah, it's amazing. I want to share the story of how we found it (AND some questions/pros/cons about venues that we discovered in the process.) While each country has its on way of planning weddings, the main questions and concerns are the same. 

Seeing that we aren't living in the Bordeaux region, our venue search was done mostly online through mariage.net, recommendations from family friends who had gotten married around Bordeaux, and from a catalog of reception halls from a wedding fair in Bordeaux (my mother-in-law went for us!). I primarily did the first search and big list and then Pyk and I narrowed it down with different questions we had for the venues (We used an excel spread sheet for this! Super easy and kept everything very organized. Best part is that through dropbox we could both easily edit it). Our first BIG list was about 15 chateaux/domaines around the Bordeaux region; all places that looked nice, could fit 150 guests seated, and were within 50km driving of Bordeaux centre. 

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How we narrowed down:

We would have been happy with any of the 15 original choices had they ticked off all our priorities. They were all stunning and everyone who I talked to at the different venues was absolutely lovely. Some questions we asked to narrow down:

Can all 150 be seated in the same area? (Some places had different rooms and we didn't want to separate anyone.)

- Does it have rooms where we and some of the guests could stay? It was important for me that we (Pyk and I, our parents, and at least some of the bridal party) would be able to sleep at the venue so we wouldn't have to worry about driving home at 6am after a night of dancing.

- How late can we have music/people? Most places in the region only allow music until 4am and Pyk really wanted this unlimited. We started by knocking out any venue that wouldn't allow music until at least 4am. Word to the wise: French people like to party, especially my fiancé who's always the last one left on the dance floor. 

- Can we rent out the space for Sunday as well? The typical American wedding where the reception lasts only a few hours and you barely get time to get up and dance was the last thing I wanted. Rather, I wanted everyone to come and enjoy a whole weekend of festivities. So many people are coming from so far away, I wanted to make it a real event for them!

- Can we have a ceremony at the venue? Most of the locations had outdoor areas where you could have a ceremony, but some were very limited in the space they had available to set up any sort of chairs and altar-esque thing. In the end, the chateau that we booked has a courtyard where we'll be having the ceremony. 

- Is there a caterer or wine that's imposed? This really wasn't a deal breaker for us but we would have to make sure to have a tasting to be sure we liked the chef and what they were proposing. Great food is a HUGE priority for us. We are inviting many people for whom this trip will be their first time in France. You better believe that I'm going to be sure they are stuffed with amazing French food! (Especially the food from the French southwest - it's so so good.) 

In the end we saw 5 venues, 4 with things we both loved and weren't so crazy about, and 1 that was absolutely PERFECT!! 

We took two days off for visiting venues and for two days it POURED… sideways. Seriously.

Complete monsoon.

Fields looked like lakes.

When we went back to our venue the other day (this time with the sun shining!) we realized that many of the lakes we saw were now vineyards. Crazy. 

Needless to say, it wasn't the most ideal way to view our venues but it didn't stop us from falling in love with the one we chose. 

The 4th venue we saw was the one. We walked in through the rain into the cobblestoned courtyard. The chateau was in front of us and both of us knew.

This is it.

This is where we're getting married.

During the tour we saw the rooms where we and some of our guests will stay, the pool and the panoramic terrace, and finally the reception room and we both felt this HUGE weight lift off our shoulders.

WE FOUND IT!

We still did a tour of the 5th chateau we'd scheduled with but we both knew that the other was where we were supposed to marry. 

And there it is! We got in touch with them immediately, READ and signed the contract (please read your contracts people!), put down our deposit, and may or may not have high-fived because HOLY COWABUNGA BATMAN WE HAVE OUR WEDDING VENUE!

A tip for the newly engaged:

Be precise in your venue search and be sure to talk about what you want BEFORE you start looking. Communication between the two of you is incredibly important. Once you have an idea of what you'd like in a venue, look at many different places. I looked online, on wedding websites, on my favorite French destination wedding blog, and talked to family and friends in the area. If you're considering hiring a wedding planner or a day-of-coordinator talk with them, they are sure to have real insight into venues in the area. Also, remember your budget. There was an AMAZING 5 star hotel venue just 10 minutes driving from Bordeaux that we loved… until we found out that it'd be 3 times our allotted budget for it. NOT WORTH IT.  

 

P.S. Thank you to our incredible vendors, all photos are from our actual wedding

Photographers: Bubblerock

Hair and makeup: Kendra Hittinger

My dress: Rue de Seine from Lovely Bride

His custom suit: Samson Bordeaux

Caterers: Deval

Venue: Chateau Isabeau de Naujan