Love in the Dordogne.
The one thing you want when you’re getting married in France is a reliable wedding planner: a consummate professional, someone who can find their way around the bureaucracy in their sleep (which, let’s be honest, is probably the only time you’d want to do it), and someone who is in touch with only the very best suppliers. Beth, who married Huw in the Dordogne region of France, didn’t have to go very far to find just that. In fact, she only had to look in the mirror.
From: Swansea, UK & South West France
Nearest Airport: Bergerac or Bordeaux
Under Azure Skies
Meandering streams in wooded glades; farmhouses with warm, traditional stone facades replete among sun-baked fields; azure swimming pools reflecting azure skies. This is the essence of the Dordogne: a rural heaven filled with fertile vineyards, medieval chateaux and cheerful, ambient towns and villages.
With circumstances such as these, it’s no wonder Beth and Huw chose this location for their wedding. “We love the area and really wanted to get married in a rural setting”, explained Beth. “Because of the contacts I’ve made over the years there was no need for me to employ the services of anyone else, and I could just get on with the arrangements”. And with double the usual celebrations to arrange, Beth certainly had her work cut out.
“In France, religious ceremonies on their own are not legally binding, so we needed to organise a civil ceremony as well”, explained Beth. This was held at 11am at the Mairie in Festalemps, and followed by an intimate lunch for close family and witnesses. “After that we spent the afternoon together, just the two of us, which I wouldn’t have changed for the world. It meant we got to spend some quality time together as husband and wife, happy in the knowledge that the guests were all out enjoying the region and sites, waiting for the big party the next day”.
A Three-Day Celebration
And what a party it was. The religious ceremony, held the very next day, was conducted underneath the pergola in the garden of their family home and followed by the wedding breakfast at the local village hall. Returning to the family home, the evening party (“more of a carnival, really!”) was soon in full swing and continued until 7am the next day.
Technically that adds up to three days of celebrations, so how did everyone keep going? “French wine and plenty of it!” according to Beth, who listed some of the evening’s highlights as “my brother and sister juggling fire, and friends and family taking to the microphone and instruments”: luckily the local band who played at the reception were more than happy for some of the guests to join in and showcase their musical talents. The dress code for the event was strictly casual, and guests were positively encouraged to bring their swimming costumes to the reception in case they fancied a dip in the outside swimming pool. “It was so hot that most of them were in the pool before the evening party began”.
Exceptional Quality and Value
With such a wealth of knowledge about the area it was certain from the start that Beth and Huw were going to have no regrets about their location, which is a strong endorsement in itself. “I would recommend this part of France to anyone”, confirmed Beth. “The quality and value is exceptional. With a good ‘on the ground’ planner to support you it can be easier to plan a wedding abroad and, as the average budget will stretch to the most extravagant of locations here, a wedding planner is very affordable”.
Also, from the point of view of the guests, many find that it is no more expensive than traveling to, and staying at, a wedding venue in the UK”. And it goes without saying that the guests had a wonderful time: “many commented on how amazing the food was, and that the casual style of the event made them feel so relaxed and at home!”
Story: Callie Copeman-Bryant
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