Me & My Wedding: A Stylish Day In Annecy
Me & My Wedding: A Stylish Day In Annecy

Me & My Wedding: A Stylish Day In Annecy

From the proposal to the cake, the flowers to the dress, we love hearing what goes into making someone's big day their own. If you're after some inspiration, look no further – we’re shining a spotlight on some of the most stylish weddings out there. For Jewelle and husband Matthieu, celebrating with friends and family in France was a long time coming…

The Engagement

Matthieu and I met at a Burning Man party in New York – he was over here for law school, but once we met, he decided to stay. Five years later, he proposed in March 2019. We were on holiday on Holbox, an island off the coast of Mexico, for his birthday and while I knew marriage was a discussion – he’d previously asked for my input on ring designs – I was still surprised when he got down on one knee during dinner on the last night. He’d written a whole speech on the back of a receipt, and I remember it was really windy – but of course, I said yes.

The Ring

Matthieu proposed with my ring, which came from The Clear Cut. It was a floating oval diamond on a thin rose gold band. We bought our wedding bands from the same place – so I now have a plain and pavé band to go with it.

The Planning

We’d always known we wanted a French wedding. Matthieu is half French, half British, and I knew my American relatives would be excited at the thought of going over to France to celebrate. When we first got engaged, we had no idea what lay ahead in terms of the disruption, but because of the pandemic, we ended up having to delay the wedding by a year – from July 2021 to July 2022. I think one of my best decisions was hiring Loli Events to help us. They had offices in New York and Paris, and it was invaluable to have someone on the ground when the country went into lockdown to co-ordinate all the arrangements and vendors.

The Venue

I’d always loved the idea of getting married somewhere in the south of France, maybe around Provence, but Matthieu had an inkling that we’d eventually agree to do it in Annecy, which is where he grew up. In the summer of 2019, I went over to France in search of on-the-ground planners, and I looked at venues at the same time. Eventually we settled on two – Château de Duingt for our ceremony and cocktail hour and Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard further up the hill for dinner and dancing. The first venue doesn't normally host weddings because people really live there, but our planner was amazing and negotiated us in. That’s the reason we split the day in two, though – we didn’t want to disturb the residents any longer than we had to.

The Dress

A traditional white dress wasn’t something I’d ever pictured myself wearing – in fact, lots of my friends had placed bets that I’d turn up in black! In the end I wore this floral dress from Monique Lhullier with a matching veil for the ceremony and later changed into a fun party dress from Flora as I didn’t want to get my main dress too dirty. My shoes came from Seychelles Neve and my hair bow came from Lelet NY. The amazing Maeva Samoyau did my hair and make-up. Matthieu wore a suit from Alan David. Neither of us had bridesmaids or ushers.

The Flowers & Décor

I’m quite into gardening and landscape design, so the florals were really important to me. Luckily, Lilas Wood totally understood the vision – which included lots of references to the local area and influences like Dutch Masters art. Sadly, I’m allergic to quite a lot of flowers, so I was worried it might have to be mainly greenery, but they did an incredible job to get around this issue.

The Photographer

It was our planner who found our photographer Sandra but I couldn’t have been happier with the end result. We’d originally booked a different company earlier in the process but when they went MIA, our planner stepped in. Because she takes photographs on film, a lot of her shots look quite candid, which I loved.

The Ceremony

Our entire ceremony was in French, and although it wasn’t strictly religious, we did incorporate something called ‘The Ritual’. In short, before we exchanged rings, Matthieu and I put a collection of meaningful items that told the story of our relationship into a box and sealed it. For instance, I put the receipt Matthieu had written the proposal on in there, and he put a a bottle of wine in that came from region of his maternal family, in the Hérault. I added some American soil from the Berkshires and Matthieu added water from Lake Annecy. It was really special. One day we might open it up again and be able to reflect on our journey together.

The Food & Drink

I’m not going to lie – the food was a bit stressful, mainly because our caterer disappeared on us about three weeks before the wedding. We’d done tastings and everything was set to go and then they just stopped responding to emails. Our planners were so supportive, and the rest of our vendors also clubbed together to try and find a replacement, but staffing was an issue. Luckily, another wedding cancelled, and their caterer was suddenly free – but we had to ask Matthieu’s parents to go and do the tastings as it was all such short notice.

The meal was a mix of plated and family-style rustic serving platters. For our starter we had a tomato tart followed by roasted veal with an antipasti garnish of marinated artichokes, dried tomatoes, pine nuts, green and black olives, arugula, parmesan cheese, and gnocchi. There was also a risotto on offer. Then we had a cheese course – which is very French – followed by a dessert buffet and a croquembouche instead of a wedding cake.

For cocktail hour we served an array of wine and champagne (all selected by Matthieu’s father), as well as local beers and two specialty cocktails. Mine was named The Ispahan after my favourite pastry, with vodka, lychee Juice, raspberry purée, lime juice and rose water and Matthieu’s was named The Overlook Hotel after one of his favourite movies The Shining, with mezcal, bitter orange, blood orange and lime juice.

The Entertainment

Neither of us are really ‘band’ people so for dancing after dinner, we just hired a DJ – Mat from Wildfire DJs – to play some of our favourite music. We supplied them with playlists ahead of the wedding to give them an idea of our taste and let them know they could improvise around these themes.

The Day Before & After

So many of our guests travelled a long way to be at our wedding, so it only felt right to host a welcome party the night before. We hired the top floor of a local bistro, played fun music and it was all quite casual. The day after the wedding we had brunch with Matthieu’s family and then left for our honeymoon – which was an Italian road trip through Piedmont, Santa Margherita, Portofino, Lago Maggiore and Lake Como.

Advice For Other Couples

It sounds like a cliché – but don’t sweat the small stuff. Between the pandemic and a couple of our suppliers going missing, we faced quite a few challenges in making our day a reality, but it all worked out so well. We also built in a contingency plan for the weather as our ceremony was outside – they’d asked if we wanted a tent, and while we decided to risk it, we erected it elsewhere just in case. It actually turned out to be a hot day (the day before it poured with rain!) so people actually used it for shade instead of cover. I also think if you’re having a destination wedding, having someone on the ground is invaluable, even if it’s just a co-ordinator on the day. They can look after all the details and you can really be in the moment.

All images courtesy of Jewelle, Matthieu and Sandra.

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