When you're planning a destination wedding, you really can't go wrong with an all-inclusive venue. No matter where in the world you are traveling, there are plenty of incredible historic venues like this chateau that can not only host your wedding but can provide lodging for all or at least most of your guests. Your loved ones are traveling so far for your wedding, you want them to be able to soak up every minute of their getaway and have the opportunity to truly get immersed in the local scene. Because all of their friends and family were able to stay on-site at Chateau De Varennes, this couple planned three incredible days of fun and activities leading up to the big moment, and they're here to tell you, it was well worth it!
Peony Moments helped Patrick and Karen plan their dream destination wedding and took care of the design and coordination with vendors from afar. They wanted a modern romantic look, and La Maison Dautel, who designed these exquisite florals, certainly nailed the vibe! Ludovic Film Photographer took these dreamy photos and took care to capture the soft color palette in each image. Keep reading to hear more from the bride, Karen, about how despite two postponements, everything finally came together to create this beautiful once-in-a-lifetime moment. You can see all of the photos from this wedding in the full gallery.
Because Patrick is an architect and Karen is an avid foodie, their goal was to treat their guests to a beautiful getaway that showcased unique architecture, prioritized elegant food, and allowed their guests to indulge in Burgundy wines. Karen's sister, Christine, who lives in France, discovered the Chateau De Varennes, which has been in the Truchis de Varennes family for over 400 years, and they instantly fell in love with the historical beauty of the chateau and the modern luxury of the rooms and amenities. Having the wedding at the chateau allowed them to host other wedding events at the same location for their guests’ convenience, such as a welcome pool party with fun mimosas and BBQ, a customized Burgundy wine tour, and blush themed rehearsal dinner on the days prior to the wedding.
Our wedding was originally scheduled for May of 2020, but we had to postpone the wedding twice because of COVID. Many of our friends were itching to travel after having been under lockdown, so our wedding served as a perfect excuse to celebrate when restrictions lifted. Once borders opened back up and our guests were fully vaccinated, we put all of our efforts into planning a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and the wedding of our dreams.
The theme for our wedding was clean, modern, and romantic with a touch of the unexpected while allowing the charm of the chateau to shine through. I worked with a local tailor in Pasadena, California to customize a wedding dress to match the wedding theme and the final design featured clean lines on a modern dress with a daring exposed back. We loved how navy blues and black accents contrasted with the light beige and blush colors in the chateau, which is why our groomsmen, officiants, and bridesmaids wore suits and outfits in those colors.
On the morning of our wedding, the chateau treated our separate wedding parties to crémant, charcuterie, and cheese. For the ceremony, our florist and wedding planner perfectly executed our vision by lining the grand staircase with blush and white flowers along with dried floral accents and white candles for a whimsical and romantic look. In order to add a contemporary touch, guests were seated in ghost chairs on the marble floor in front of the staircase set at an angle. Our good friends Samantha and Todd who have known us since the beginning of our relationship and are happily married were our chosen joint officiants and conducted a unique ceremony that incorporated our vows. To our knowledge, our ceremony was the first one at the chateau conducted by joint officiants who are married! Right after the ceremony, Patrick and I held each other in tears because we had waited over two years during the pandemic for this precious moment.
Guests joined us in front of the chateau for cocktail hour outdoors and lawn games starting with a giant crémant tower. During cocktail hour, we had some alone time hidden away at the onsite wedding chapel with bubbly and our own private hors d'oeuvres tray. For dinner, a three-course meal was served outdoors as the sun was setting, and our guests were seated at a U-shaped table since we wanted an intimate and inclusive arrangement, especially after so many of us had been separated during the pandemic. Our dinner décor was clean, modern, and romantic with black, copper, and transparent accents and romantic blush and white/cream hues. Most importantly, we tried to keep our décor minimal and thoughtful to allow the natural beauty of the chateau to shine through. For that reason, our menu and name cards were printed on transparent material (matching our ghost chairs). After speeches were given by Patrick’s two brothers and Karen’s sister, our DJ started the music in the chateau’s Orangerie so that guests could dance late into the night with cocktails, wines, and late-night snacks. It’s a memory we’ll never forget, and we’re incredibly grateful we were able to share it with family and friends who are so very dear to our hearts.
Trust your vendors, no wedding is perfect but it's ok. It's still gonna be the most beautiful day of your life and you should enjoy every minute of it. At the end of the day, you'll only remember the good moments.