Chateau le Mas de Montet, Dordogne - Charlotte & Alex
It's great how our paths cross and how a customer journey and relationship develops. I met Charlotte and Alex whilst on a cruise somewhere between the Caribbean islands of St Thomas and St Maarten, whilst holidaying with my wife. We sat next to each other at a karaoke bar witnessing an American woman murdering an 80's rock ballad about 'cheating'. Throughout this awkward moment, she continually directed threatening glances towards her husband/partner, much to the hilarious delight of Myself, Maisy (my wife), Alex & Charlotte. 6 hours later, and a load of wine and 'Cuba Libre's', we were exchanging details to meet again the next day.
Several months later, Charlotte & Alex visited me at a Wedding Fayre to share their amazing news. They were recently engaged, and would I be prepared to travel to the countryside, in the Bordeaux region of France, to capture their wedding? Of course I would. And what a location this was!
After 2 nights in Bordeaux sampling the many delicacies on offer (primarily red wine), I picked up a hire car for the 2 hour drive north east to 'Chateau le Mas de Montet' near the beautiful town of Aubeterre-sur-Dronne. It was a beautiful drive passing farm land, sleepy towns and vineyards, until finally descending on this incredible wedding venue and home for the next 2 nights.
Incidentally, this tree, seen from my window was the location for the wedding ceremony. The rest of the evening consisted of guests arriving, beer and wine (not me, I was working) and Pizza. Then, the following morning - coffee and croissants. Beautiful stuff.
For me, when photographing a Wedding overseas, it's important to capture all of the smallest details... even the food. These are all choices that the Bride and Groom have made, its money that's been spent and time given to create the perfect experience for themselves as well as their guests. Also, cultures and traditions vary in different towns and countries, so for me these all tell a story. Onward to the Wedding Preparation.
'Chateau le Mas de Montet' (a.k.a. 'Chateau Charmant' on the 'Marry Me in France' website), with its stunning grounds and opulently decorated interior spaces, is the perfect combination of country living with interior chic. Guests can stay in the main Chateau Building. Its an overall perfect combination of homely and stately - an incredible place for a Wedding and what a wedding it was. 'Prep' took place on the 3rd floor of the Chateau, over looking the huge lawns where the ceremony took place, so there was quite a walk 'down the aisle'.
The congregation continued to the pool for canapes and booze. Meanwhile myself, Charlotte & Alex and the immediate Bridal Party and Groomsmen hung out at the front of the Chateau for Group shots before wandering around the epic grounds. Wow, at this point, it was pretty hot! Thanks Charlotte & Alex for allowing me to wear shorts!!!
As if the Chateau and its grounds weren't enough, there was a big surprise for all of the guests. An enormous barn near to the swimming pool awaited the wedding party for the Wedding Breakfast and reception. Charlotte and Alex have style.... this place oozed class. In fact, the whole wedding did!
For myself as a Wedding Photographer, this was a wonderful contrast to the rest of the wedding - an enormous stairway guided your attention to exposed wooden beams with fairy and festoon lights, creating a lovely ambience.
After wrapping up the speeches, daylight was diminishing, so we headed back over to the Chateau lawns for one big group shot from the balcony, before beginning the party with live music from Liverpool based 'Giant Peach', who had also made the 820 mile trip to the Dordogne.