Full disclosure: this sweet wedding story made us cry a few happy tears here at GWS! We’re going to let the bride tell it from her perspective, but here’s a teaser: it began with secret plans to elope one day, a wedding dress purchased *just in case*, a proposal in Morocco and five days later, a wedding at a private castle in Bordeaux. Oh, and did we mention–the bride had no idea?
Yeah, you’re going to LOVE this one! Let’s have a look and the beautiful photos from Bianco Photography and hand it over to the bride!
My boyfriend, Jack and I, live in Vancouver, Canada. In June, we went on a 2-week vacation to Morocco and France. Before we had our trip, Jack casually mentioned that we should elope later in the year. We had discussed getting married in the past but had never reached a conclusion on whether we would actually do it. He suggested I get a dress because that was the only thing that might take some time, and he would start looking into local venues. I found a beautiful Rue De Seine Dress at Union Bridal in Vancouver. Jack and I agreed to not mention to anyone our elopement plans for later in the year.
In the seaside town of Essaouria, Morocco, Jack proposed while we watched the sunrise from our rooftop and I excitedly messaged our families back in Canada to announce our engagement. Two days later we were in Bordeaux, France, on a private wine tour. On the last stop of the tour, the winemaker suggested we go to the back patio of the vineyard to enjoy the views. I rounded the corner and was greeted by my family and Jack’s family, screaming and cheering with champagne. Everyone was weeping and hugging me–I was totally shocked and confused! What was everyone doing there, in the middle of the French countryside?
Jack then revealed he had been wedding planning for months, and we were getting married on Sunday at a château where our families had been staying a week prior to our arrival. They were already together and drinking wine when I messaged to tell them about our engagement!
We spent four nights with our families at the 19th Century castle surrounded by 50 acres of private grounds and a 10-acre vineyard in the Entre-deux-Mers region of France. Jack arranged every detail for the wedding: my favourite flowers (white peonies, roses, and lilies with eucalyptus) arranged beautifully by Le Coeur Savage, an amazing wedding photographer, Anna Ambrosi, who flew from London to be part of our day, make up artist and hair stylist, Laura Cawte, and a private chef. Jack even got him to create a custom ice cream for dessert, based on my favourite flavours. My Mom had secretly snuck into our home in Vancouver and brought my wedding dress to France, enlisting Emily from Union Bridal to help her pack the dress safely.
I get dizzy thinking about all the minutia and ins and outs involved in this grand scheme; it was the greatest gift from Jack and our families, to take care of all the stresses involved in planning a wedding. We had 12 guests total and each person (especially our moms) helped with the details to make our wedding incredibly special. One of the best things about everyone participating in this surprise was how our families bonded so well during the trip.
Our wedding day was very relaxed; the guys played tennis while the women got ready. My aunt gave me a small antique charm to attach to my bouquet that my great grandmother had given her on her wedding day. Lots of champagne was enjoyed as we prepped for the ceremony. Our families gathered under a tree on the château grounds. Jack’s mom brought a chandelier to hang from the branches, the same chandelier that hung at Jack’s brother’s wedding. Jack and I had a glass of champagne together by ourselves inside the château, then walked down the “aisle” to Leon Bridge’s, “The River,” to meet our families under the tree. During our ceremony, we stood on a Moroccan wedding blanket we had purchased in Marrakech a few days earlier.
My brother married us. We wrote our own vows. We did the ritual breaking the glass, followed by a communal, “Mazel Tov!” and then enjoyed hors d’oeuvres with champagne followed by an al fresco dinner on the terrace overlooking the vineyard.
Such sweet moments.
Can you even imagine? So magical!
My favourite part of the evening was during dinner, when we went around the table and every guest gave an informal speech. It was intimate and very meaningful. Jack and I got to say thank you and express our gratitude to each person in a attendance. Everyone was crying throughout the meal, including our photographer! We danced and drank fine wine and celebrated late into the night.
Stunning and effortless in Rue De Seine.
I still can not believe my husband was able to pull off this epic surprise. We were engaged and married within 5 days, a magical whirlwind. He is the perfect partner to me in every way, and it was the perfect wedding for us.
So beautiful! Can you blame us for shedding a few tears? Thanks, you two, for sharing your story and wishing you many more adventures ahead from GWS!
photography: Bianco Photography // venue name: private castle, Bordeaux, France // event design: And Then We Got Married // florals: Le Coeur Savage // wedding dress: Rue De Seine // wedding dress boutique: Union Bridal // hair stylist: Laura Cawte // makeup artist: https://lauracawte.com/