Call me greedy but Olivier and I had two engagement parties! The casual BBQ that I told you all about in my last post, and this more formal affair. It made sense to combine the first time our parents met with the engagement party so we waited until my parents were in Biarritz visiting. We also wanted to celebrate earlier than that with our friends, hence the need for two!
Sylvie and Patrick, my future parents-in-law, were kind enough to offer us their beautiful garden as our engagement party venue. Patrick and the boys put up a sail in case of showers (one always needs a contingency plan and I’m so glad we had ours because it actually rained twice during dinner!) Friends and family came in from out of town, everyone dressed up and looked fabulous, we worked out a seating plan and menu, and speeches were written. The whole evening felt like a mini wedding! Most ‘weddingy’ of all for me was taking the time to pamper and get ready for the evening. I loved having my hair and make-up professionally done and having a photographer there to capture everything…
HAIR & MAKE-UP
Whitney, my hair and make-up artist, from @lebrushing64 was fantastic! We went for gold and iridescent colours to match my dusty-pink, sparkly dress. My hair was half–up and tousled with rose gold clips. I was so happy with the look! Whitney has the most beautifully infectious laugh and makes you enjoy yourself from the moment she walks in the room. If you’re planning a destination wedding in France and need a hair and make-up artist, then get in touch with Whitney, she’s the best!
The photographer was Rupert from @editorialists_wedding. Rupert captured the mood of the evening perfectly and was so much fun to work with! That picture of us kissing with our friends in the background expresses exactly what the evening was about - it’s getting framed immediately! That’s precisely how you should feel about your wedding/engagement photos, so make sure you take your time to choose a photographer you trust and who’s work you totally love.
I ordered my dress in from an Australian company, Runway Scout. I loved the shape and cut out details on the back. The only thing is that, as I’m such a shorty, I literally had to take the scissors to it and cut off a good 15cm! It meant I lost the gorgeous scalloped edge the dress normally has, but at least I didn’t fall over it and end up a heap on the floor with my champagne all over me!
FLOWERS & STYLING
I wanted to create a stylish but still very relaxed atmosphere and I couldn’t really spend a huge amount on flowers and styling, so Sylvie and I both pulled from our supply cupboards. For the table, I went for lots of greenery with a touch of blush and copper and loads of candles. Sylvie sacrificed some of her bright blue hydrangeas growing in the garden. I should have felt guilty chopping down my future mother in laws’ home-grown glories, but then these are one of my favorite flowers, so I quickly got over it! I also spent the morning clipping down greenery for the tables and pampas grasses from the wild hedge rows. I’m not even sure if that’s legal so please don’t go telling the gendarmerie!
The only thing I bought were my 1940’s pink champagne glasses, I saw those in a brocante (French flea market) and just had to have them! I made place names by using gold pen on leaves and a sprig of golden wheat on each serviette.
We added festoon lighting, trestle tables and benches to complete the set up.
We wanted to make the most of the local Basque delicacies so we had local cured ham, grilled pimentos and brebis (Sheep’s cheese) My brother and some of the other lads tended to the delicious mixed grill BBQ of duck, cote des boeuf and marinated chicken (We all know that the boys enjoy bonding over the BBQ) All this mixed with our fanciest salad recipes. To finish we had Gateaux Basque, a black cherry or cream filled butter pastry tart. We also took the opportunity to test some potential wedding wines – that’s the wedding planner in me!
THE PARENTS MEETING
Mum and Dad and Sylvie and Patrick got on well… Phewf! We all worked together to get things ready for the evening and they casually exchanged stories of us misbehaving when we were kids. Olivier and I both welled up when my Dad and Sylvie made their speeches and it gave us a taste of how emotional the wedding day itself will be. (Mental note to make sure I get waterproof mascara!)
Overall, it was a fantastic night that went exactly how I planned it. I felt that I achieved the look and relaxed atmosphere that I was going for and we enjoyed every minute!
The next step for us is invitations and a wedding website. As our wedding will be a ‘destination wedding’ for all my side coming from the UK, we have quite a lot of info to give to people and so we think a website is best. We’re thinking of using the website builder and app called ‘Appy Couple.’ We’ve heard both good and bad things about it so if anyone has had any experience with them, or any other suggestions, we would love to hear them! Please add your thoughts and comments below!
As I finish writing my post, I’m literally just heading out the door to catch a flight to London for my friend Katy’s wedding. I’ll be trying on some wedding dresses whilst I’m there so I’ll let you all know how that goes…
Photography by Rupert from @editorialists_wedding
Hair & Make-up by Whitney from @Lebrushing64