Coralie’s wedding

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Coralie enjoyed recalling her wedding in her lovely story below,
starting with the very beginnings of her relationship with Arthur and ending with their wedding day.

Meeting her significant other, preparing the wedding, choosing the perfect dress…
and many more hints and tips from Coralie, who wore a Romane de Alba dress on her wedding day.

First Meeting

We met on 15 August 2011, on the seafront of Houlgate in Normandy, where my family had rented a holiday home. Arthur is my cousin’s best friend and joined us for a few days during summer holidays.
We first met in the kitchen as he came in from the train station and I was returning from the market.
And there it was – love at first sight – for real! We crossed eyes and never let go.

You’d think it was a romantic comedy!

A few months later, we were back home on holiday after a year spent in a long-distance relationship,

and he was playing the piano.  It was at that moment, looking over at him,
that I knew I wanted to listen to the music my whole life, and start a family with him.

Who mentioned marriage first

I feel like we’ve always spoken about getting married.
We grew up together and we’ve always been very open in talking about all sorts of subjects.

The proposal

He asked me to marry him on the same beach we’d first met, exactly five years later (15 August 2016).
I waited all day for the big question, but was about to give up as evening was drawing in.
We were watching the sunset, in front of the house we met in, sitting on the sand.

He pulled out an old copy of “Far From the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy (my favourite book),
in which he’d added photos of highlights of our relationship.
I was already in tears, knowing what was next.

At the end of the book, he’d carved out a heart in the middle of the pages,

and the most beautiful engagement ring was placed inside. 

He put his knee to the ground and asked me, “Would you like to write the next part of your story with me?”
I can’t remember the rest: lots of tears, a big “Yes,” and the smells of the sea…

Choosing the Wedding Dress

That was tough! My wedding party were incredibly patient with me.

I had already gone to five different wedding dress shops, some wackier than others:
I’d tried big meringue-style dresses looking like Sissi the Empress, dresses with cleavage to match something from Strictly Come Dancing, big crinolines as if from Versailles, and dubious looking lacy numbers.
I couldn’t get my hands on something light, sensual, but rustic.
I found the shop assistants unlikeable and as if they were enjoying making me try on dresses
that were the complete opposite of what I was looking for.

In this state of discouragement, I found myself going to my last appointment, with Le Dressing Club, accompanied by my last faithful bridesmaid, my best friend Manon.
As we opened the door, I told her, “This is my last wedding dress boutique.

If I can’t find anything, I’ll get married in jeans and a t-shirt.”

Yes, I was a drama queen bride-to-be!
But, as soon as I stepped into the showroom, I was charmed: it felt like walking into a friend’s flat.
Soft lighting, sweet decorations, and wedding dresses, one more beautiful than the next.
I thought I was dreaming. I saw one dress and immediately thought, “That’s it!” Trying it on made it even clearer. It was light, silky, rustic but not overly so, its lace equally vintage-looking and modern and the low back added a touch of sexy. I hadn’t even looked at myself in the mirror and I already knew that was the dress.
When I walked into the main room, tears in my eyes, I told Manon: “This is it.” She also had tears in her eyes.
I saw myself in the mirror and I knew this was my dream dress. 

We then took photos from all angles, I tried on veils and flower crowns.
The shop assistants were lovely, giving me hints and tips.

I’ll never forget this special moment.

I finally had the infamous moment where I’d found my dream dress. And I wasn’t wrong!

Wedding planning

We were engaged for two years before we got married and
my fiancé went off to work in Hong Kong during our engagement.

Like a true Monica Geller (those who know, know!),

the day after we got engaged, I already ordered a binder and sheets to plan on,
topped up my pen collection and subscribed to wedding magazines.

My fiancé and I spent a day discussing everything we wanted from our special day: an intimate, rustic wedding, with a book theme (matching the proposal),
with lots of flowers and an “aqua”-style colour theme, and ideally in Normandy.

It’s exactly what we ended up with.
Through constant communication and perseverance, we were able to put together the wedding of our dreams.

For the venue, we went with our instincts.

From our first visit to the Orangerie de Vatimesnil, Madame d’Astorg, the owner,
began to help us out by suggesting florist, DJ and caterer.

We were lucky that the chateau had a chapel in the garden, which meant less travelling around on D-Day.
The garden provided our rustic background, with benches for our guests to sit on during the drinks reception, and we then moved to a beautiful Norman-style hall for the meal.

Moreover, there was a dormitory for our friends who partied the hardest to stop at!

As for our photographer, we also went with our gut and picked Sabrina Dupuy (Au-delà de l’image),
who we met in Brittany and never looked further.
She became a friend and knew how to bring out the best in us,
showing off small details which made all the difference.
Her style was close to mine, which made our photos very true to our character.
It was a magical connection!

We trusted our vendors and they were worth it.
It was great to have complete confidence and relax on our wedding day!

We also created a lot of the decorations ourselves (hanging garlands, place markers, vases decorated with lace, fans, photobooth…), which allowed us to relax (and laugh a lot, too).
We were lucky to have lots of friends around,
who helped us lots and allowed us to de-stress in the run-up to the big day.

The most beautiful memory of our wedding day

I’d have to say “when I first saw my future husband.” It was actually very touching.

However, we were both feeling mostly stressed out and clumsy, and excited for what was to come.
So I’d actually say that the best moment was when my grandfather saw me in my wedding dress for the first time, in the garden behind the house. I could see how happy and proud he was, handsome in his own wedding suit (yes, he wore the same suit he wore when he got married to my grandmother 65 years ago). We have a very strong bond and we both burst into tears. I ran into his arms and felt like a little girl again.
What’s more, I could see how proud he was feeling. It was magical, and I was feeling so beautiful.
He later told me, “I thought I could see the Virgin Mary walking up.”

One piece of advice?

Without a doubt, the “VIP Box” photobooth we rented for the day –

it allowed young and old to have a great time during the drinks reception and up to the following morning.
Our wonderful florist also brought hay bales, crates and flowers for the backdrop,
and our guests enjoyed taking photos of our special day.

They could hold on to the paper copies of their photos and we had access to all of them online.
This way, we helped our guests connect more and made for a fun atmosphere.
I recommend the photobooth to all my friends getting married: it’s the best activity to add to your day.

Advice for brides-to-be

Be yourself. I know it’s cliché you’ll find in all the wedding magazines, but it’s true!
I never felt unnatural or too “done up” on the day.
I trusted my hairdresser and make-up artist as I’d already had trials with them beforehand,

and this made getting ready more relaxing.

They made it all the more special, at home, surrounded by those I love.
I felt beautiful in the eyes of the man I said “yes” to for the rest of my life, and that’s all that matters in the end.

Oh and also… trust each other!
You’re organising a wedding, so love should come first over the miles of decorations and your catering problems. That’s all that matters in the end.