How to Plan Your Destination Wedding in the South of France
If you're dreaming of a wedding with sunshine and stunning scenery, then a destination wedding in the South West of France could be for you.
With picturesque venues, from grand chateaus to rustic barns, affordable short-haul flights and unforgettable food and drink, the South West of France is the perfect place for you to throw the biggest party of your lives.
There are a few things to consider when planning a destination wedding in the South of France, so here I talk you through six of the major planning steps.
Location, location, location
France is a big country - in fact, it offers almost 250,000 square miles of land to explore! Lots of couples planning a destination wedding in France head south. The gorgeous countryside of Provence and Dordogne is a hot spot for weddings, and rightly so.
Not only will you enjoy the beautiful warm weather here, but you'll also find postcard rolling countryside, charming towns and villages and stunningly preserved chateaus. I specialise in photographing destination weddings in the South of France, so I'll make the most of the setting you've fallen in love with.
Choose your venue
When you tell family and friends you're planning a destination wedding in France, their first thought will often be that you'll choose a Chateau venue. There are plenty of stunning Chateaux available for weddings in the South of France. So, if you're dreaming of fairy-tale turrets and opulent ballrooms, you're sure to find the one.
But there is more to South of France wedding venues than chateaux alone. You could choose a rustic barn or converted coach house, many of which are part of a chateau estate. Or, you could celebrate in the unforgettable underground church...
Remember that when choosing your South of France wedding venue, you want it to work for every part of your wedding vision. That means ensuring it has on-site accommodation if you want to stay the night. It could also mean checking they offer exclusive-use weekend hire if you want to make your wedding a three-day bash.
Hiring a wedding planner will help you uncover venues that tick all your boxes.
Consider your ceremony
Most couples choosing to tie the knot in France complete their legal ceremony beforehand in the UK. This takes a lot of the stress out of planning a destination wedding in the South of France. You won’t have to worry about French marriage laws or have all your paperwork translated.
But there are more benefits to this than purely practical ones. Your France wedding ceremony will be a symbolic ceremony or blessing. This gives you free rein to personalise it as much as you like. Anywhere could be the location for your ceremony and anyone could conduct it, including family and friends.
To give you an idea of the variety involved, I've photographed ceremonies outside under floral arches and in garden arbours, as well as ceremonies held in an underground church! But, if you'd like to keep things more traditional, hiring a celebrant is the perfect solution.
Source your suppliers
Choosing a destination wedding in the South of France often means you'll work with local, French suppliers. If you're not confident with the language, a wedding planner is essential to liaise between you and ensure nothing gets lost in translation.
By booking me as your destination wedding photographer, you get the best of both. I live in the Dordogne countryside, so I know venues and vendors in the region well, but you can also spend all your time speaking English with me, so it's totally easy.
Plan a mouth-watering menu
France has earned a reputation worldwide for its excellent food and drink, so why not make the most of it at your wedding? You could choose a local sparkling wine or Champagne for your toasts or indulge in a French-inspired feast, featuring dishes like beef bourguignon or crème brulee.
In France, the traditional wedding cake is a delicious tower of profiteroles. It's called a croquembouche and makes a great choice for a wedding cake that can double up as dessert.
Throw an epic party
If there's one thing I believe about weddings, it's that they should be fun! My wedding couples often comment on how fun I was to have around on their wedding day. This is something I'm very proud of.
Your wedding is a celebration of your love, future and commitment. Let the celebrating part play a big role when planning your destination wedding in France. You could hire acoustic musicians to create an amazing atmosphere during your ceremony or reception, or book an epic band to have you dancing all night.
If you're making a weekend of it, choose a venue geared up for pool parties, spa days or barbecues.
The real weddings featured on my blog will give you lots of inspiration for your South of France wedding. Check them out and start planning today.
Follow these six steps to plan your perfect destination wedding in the South of France, from things to consider for your ceremony and suppliers to the venue
On the hunt for destination wedding ideas and locations? Find out everything you need to know about planning a wedding in the South of France, from the dreamiest venues to considerations for your ceremony in my six-step guide. It’s the most romantic place in Europe to say ‘I do’ – Lydia Taylor Jones Photography, Destination Wedding Photographer