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Archive for the ‘Wedding Related Articles’ Category

Believe it or not, I am not actually posting this film because of the handsome staring man. Strangely enough it’s actually the backdrop and the amazing hotel featured towards the end of the film that excites me more than the lead male… sorry Jude! The majority of the new Dior Homme Sport advert is filmed on the stunning French Riviera with Jude driving along the stunning coastal roads, ending with a sequence at my fetish venue, the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc with its majestic cream facade and beautiful shoreline. If this advert doesn’t make you want to get married on the French Riviera or at least visit, I don’t know what will! P.s. aren’t the car and boat amazing!

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Browsing wedding blogs has developed into somewhat of a hobby for me. Some, including my Petit Ami, would describe such behaviour as:

A. “a busman’s holiday”
n.Informal
A vacation during which one engages in activity that is similar to one’s usual work

B. “too much of a good thing”
Idiom
Excess which may cause one harm

C. “all work and no play”
Proverb
Without time off from work, a person can become both bored and boring

D. “a mild obsession”
v. Intr
To have one’s mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic

However… there is one person who does not agree with any of the above, that person happens to be one of my clients / Bride to be / brilliant wedding blogger / journalist; Georgia Peters. If you are looking for  inspiration, trends and just beautiful eye candy images, take a look at Georgia’s blog Before the Big Day. In the My Wedding section of her site, Georgia chronicles her wedding planning exploits and I feel honored to be featured in the following article: http://beforethebigday.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-wedding-planner.html

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Otherwise known as an Officiant, a Wedding Celebrant is the person who conducts a wedding ceremony whether it be religious, humanist or spiritual. As outlined in the Getting Married in France section of My Riviera Wedding, the only legally recognised wedding ceremony in France is the civil service, which is often accompanied by a symbolic blessing or religious ceremony. Couples who decide not to hold their ceremony in a place of religious worship can effectively hire an independent Wedding Celebrant to lead their wedding ceremony in their venue of choice; on a beach, in a hotel, in the gardens of a villa or Chateau or even out at sea on a yacht!

The French Riviera is home to many well reputed Anglophone Wedding Celebrants. I have compiled a selection of the most reputed professional officiants in the area currently available for wedding ceremonies throughout the South of France.

  • Anne Naylor: Anne Naylor creates and conducts tailor-made wedding ceremonies throughout the South of France region. Along with the Bride and Groom, Anne prepares the order of service, vows, readings and blessings according to the couple’s faith, religion, spirituality or culture. For her wedding celebrant services she offers 5 packages ranging from as little as 500 euros up to 2, 500 euros. Anne is also a life coach and writes an inspirational weekly column for the online newspaper The Huffington Post.
    For more information about Anne and the different Wedding Celebrant services she offers, you can visit her website and her blog. Please don’t forget to mention that you found out a about Anne on www.my-riviera-wedding.com! By doing this you will be helping me to spread the word about my wedding planning activities.
  • Peter Madan: Based near Cannes, Wedding Celebrant and ordained Reverend Peter Madan runs a team of  10 ministers, located along the French Riviera. All ceremonies are 100% made to measure and Peter personally prepares all the future Brides and Grooms for their wedding ceremony, even if one of the other team members celebrates the actual ceremony. The preparation process usually starts with an initial consultation, Peter then provides the couple with sample ceremonies according to their needs from which the outline of the ceremony is drafted out. With Peter, the couple continues to work on the ceremony over the following months before the big day. Peter and his team of celebrants are all bilingual French/English and can between them offer wedding Celebrant services in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian and Turkish. Although all of the celebrants are Christians, they can all also perform non-religious ceremonies. The team has previously married a large variety of different couples including Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Non-Believers.
    You can contact Peter Madan either by email or by telephone on +33 4 93 69 52 00. To find out more about the wedding celebrant services that Peter offers, you can visit his website. Please don’t forget to mention that you found out a about Peter and his team of celebrants on www.my-riviera-wedding.com! By doing this you will be helping me to spread the word about my wedding planning activities.

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When choosing a table plan for your wedding reception, try to think about what is going to work best in the space that you have to work with. Ask your venue for a floor plan of the reception room so you can figure out visually where and in what formation you are going to place your guests. As well as the room layout, the seating format you go for will also depend on the dining option that you choose (buffet or a seated dinner). To make the task a little bit easier, I have outlined below a range of different wedding table plan options with both advantages and inconveniences of each when appropriate.

  • U-Shape: The U Shape table plan is ideal for a seated dinner at a small wedding. The U-shape formation can be set up around a dance floor. The wedding party are usually placed facing the open end of the U-shape. The U-Shaped table plan is also great if you are planning on having any performances at your wedding as all present will get a great view.

U-Shape

  • Canteen Style: This sociable seating formation is ideal for large groups if you need to pack a maximum number of people into a space. The Canteen Style table plan can work well with both buffets and seated dinners. However, if you are really struggling for space, then a self-service buffet might be a little problematic as it could be a bit of a tight squeeze for guests getting out and back to their seats.

Canteen Style

  • Banquet Style: The Banquet Style seating arrangement allows guests to circulate freely between tables and works well for both seated dinners and self-service buffets. Banquet Style works best using round tables with a maximum of 8 people per table. Between 6 and 8 is the ideal number. Any more, then it becomes difficult to communicate. Banquet Style is also great for padding out large spaces, and making the room feel full and atmospheric. With Banquet Style, there are 3 different options in terms of the Head Table (where the wedding party are seated): 1. a long rectangle, 2. the Bride and Groom have their very own private head table, 3. the wedding party has a round table the same size as all the others in a prime spot.

Banquet Style 1

Banquet Style 2

Banquet Style 3

  • Ambassador Table & Royal Table: The Ambassador Table and Royal Table formations group all guests together on one huge table, oval for Ambassador and Rectangle for Royal. This table seating plan is really only advisable for small, intimate seated dinners or buffets.

Ambassador Table

Royal Table

  • T-Shape: The T-Shape is another good table formation for intimate seated dinners or buffets and is composed of a horizontal Head Table and a vertical table for guests.

T-Shape

  • Dinner Dance Style: The Dinner Dance Style is similar to the Banquet Style with the difference that the tables are arranged around the dance floor. As with Banquet Style, 3 different options are possible for the Head Table. A long head table tends to work best however for the Dinner Dance seating formation.

Dinner Dance Style

  • Hollow Square: Although the Hollow Square table plan is more synonymous with board meetings, this table formation can work as a particularly sociable seating arrangement for a wedding.

Hollow Square

  • Cabaret Style: Cabaret Style is a great alternative to Banquet Style if you intend on having a live band, a dance performance or any other type of entertainment on a stage. Cabaret Style works best with either hexagonal, octagonal or round tables.

Cabaret Style

  • Chevron Style: The Chevron Style seating arrangement is another great space saver and can be used as an alternative to Canteen Style for both seated dinners and buffets.

Chevron Style

If you have decided on one of the table plans above which necessitates a head table (otherwise known as a ‘top table‘), you might be wondering who should be included on this all important table. Traditionally, the top table is composed of the wedding party and is arranged as follows:

Traditional Head Table

However… today, many families (like mine) are fragmented and re-composed following separations and divorces so the above top table plan may not at all work for you. There is therefore no reason whatsoever why you can not organise your top table in any way you please and include brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents and close friends if you wish.

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A wedding favour is a small gift offered by the bride and groom to each guest as token gesture of thanks for their presence at the wedding. Traditionally, wedding favours are sugar-coated almonds with a white or pastel coloured hard coating, presented in a translucent piece of coloured fabric and tied with ribbon to close. This type of confectionary favour is called a dragée in French.

Today, the wedding favour has diversified greatly and many couples offer guests more extravagant gifts, not always edible ones. Wedding favours are often customised too with for example the name of the bride and groom, a photograph or other image, a quote, saying or personal message.  Examples of the many alternative wedding favours that I have come across recently are chocolates and truffles, tea bags, tea leaves, USB keys, seeds for a plant or flower, key rings, match boxes and matches, fortune cookies, note books, scented candles, scented soaps, essential oils, bubble blowers, photo frames… as you can see, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can offer guests as a little thank you.

If you are thinking about an alternative to the traditional ‘dragée’ for your wedding in the South of France, you might like to think about offering a wedding favour inspired by the local area. Below, I have come up with a few ideas and have tried where possible to choose products that can be bought online:

  • Fragonard Perfume Products

Fragonard is the most famous of the perfumers based in Grasse, France’s perfume capital. Fragonard sell online a range of fabulous gifts which would work really well as wedding favours, such as cute pots of solid perfume, scented candles, and sets of perfume sachets.

  • L’Occitaine Products

L’Occitaine is a chic french beauty brand with all products made using natural ingredients found in Provence.

  • Savon de Marseille

Savon de Marseille is the famous square shaped oilve oil based soap originating from Marseille and sold by a company with the same name.

  • Olive Oil

A l’Olivier, an Olive Oil brand with stores throughout the South of France, does fantastic gift sets ideal as wedding favours.

  • Lavender

Lavendar is one of the symbols of the Provence region of the South of France. Why not offer your guests a lavender gift such as a Provencal style sachet or a bottle of lavender essential oil.

  • Honey

Your guests will love a pot of super sweet organic Provencal honey.

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Photographs and film are not the only way to immortalise your wedding day. Here are a few ideas for ways to keep the memories of your wedding day alive.

  • Transforming Your Wedding Dress

Your wedding dress doesn’t have to be something you wear only once in a lifetime. If you take your wedding dress to a good tailors, you can have it transformed into a cocktail dress or simple evening gown. The store where you bought your wedding dress may also be able to customise your dress for you after your wedding. If you prefer to keep your dress in tact, make sure you take it to the dry cleaners right away after the wedding otherwise any stains will become ingrained into the fabric.

  • Flower Art

By drying out your bouquet, you can use the petals to decorate your photo album or make a special potpourri. To air-dry your bouquet the traditional way, hang it still in tact upside down in a warm, dark, dry place with good air circulation. In about 3 weeks time, the flowers will be dried out. To make a potpourri, remove the flowers and add essentials oils. You can also use your flowers to decorate your wedding photo album, it’s best to use pressed flowers for this. To press your flowers, remove the best opened blooms and get a large, heavy book. Cut a rectangle of cardboard to the same size as the book and cut tissue paper and newspaper rectangles also of the same size. Take a piece of cardboard and place a layer of newspaper then tissue paper on top. Lay out your flowers, making sure they do not over-lap. Place another layer of tissue paper then newspaper on top and another cardboard. Repeat the process of necessary. Place your book on top of the final layer of cardboard and leave your flowers to press for about 3 weeks. For a quicker result (about 2 days) for both pressing and drying you can use a silica gel which you can find in most hardware or craft stores. If you dry your bouquet using silica gel, make sure you place the bouquet in an air tight container as silica will  absorb the water from the air as well as the flowers.

  • Freezing Your Cake

It is tradition for couples to eat a piece of their wedding cake on the day of their first wedding anniversary. In order to be able to do this you need to save a piece, cover it in aluminium foil or place it in a plastic container and leave in the bottom of the freezer. The sooner you freeze your cake the better it will taste the following year.

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The one and only moment in a wedding which makes me cringe: speech time! From microphone feedback to drunken slurring and speeches that are so long and boring that guests begin to chat amongst themselves, I have witnessed a fair few delights. Even my own brother at my sister’s wedding had his screw-in tooth fall out into his champagne glass at toast time (I am still not sure today if this was a pure accident or an attempt at gross man humour). I am not saying that all speeches need to be solemn or slushy but there are certainly limits.

Here are a few tips that will help you to make sure that your speech time is a cringe-free moment!:

  • Organisation is key: make sure that you organise  the order of the speeches well in advance. Traditionally the father of the bride or another close family member makes the first speech either during the pre-dinner cocktail or once everyone is seated either before or after the first dish is served. Next up is usually the groom who thanks both families for their blessing and thanks guests for attending. If the groom feels uncomfortable with public speaking, it is not uncommon for the bride to make a speech instead or for the couple to do a joint speech. The bride and groom’s speech usually takes place directly after the father of the bride. Last but not least comes the famous best man’s or lady’s speech which usually comes after the main course and before the dessert. Make sure those people concerned know exactly when their speech is going to happen and let the DJ know so he can lower the music at the appropriate moment. The kitchen should also be aware so as to make sure that there is not too much background noise and movement made by the servers and kitchen staff.
  • Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance: Remember the 6 Ps! When preparing a speech, jot down as many ideas as come to mind; anecdotes about how the bride and groom met or the proposal, things that make the bride and groom special, the bride and groom’s love for one another etc. Then sort out which ones you are going to keep and those you will discard. Try and combine sincere, thoughtful comments with more light-hearted fun material. You then need to develop your thoughts into a coherent speech, with a beginning, middle and end. Finishing your speech with a toast inviting everyone to raise their glasses is an excellent way to end on a high note.
  • Practice makes perfect: Once you have prepared your speech, make sure you practice. Try not to speak too fast, project your voice and take a firm posture. If you can do the speech on the day without a prompt card then great, but if not then it’s no big deal.

  • Less is more: It seems to me that in the UK, we just do not know when to shut up. I have been to at least 3 weddings in the UK where the ushers have organised actual betting contests on the length of the speeches. I definitely think that less is more. Best keep it short, sweet and to the point rather than rambling and unorganised. 5 minutes per speech is more than long enough. Any longer and people tend to switch off.
  • Go easy on the private jokes: Private jokes are great as long as everyone at the wedding is in on the joke. If not it can make people feel left out as they will just not get it.
  • Be nice, don’t offend: It is also tradition in the UK for the best man to insult the bride and groom and bring up embarrassing childhood tales or stories about past dating escapades. I am all for humour but sometimes with a few drinks it can be a little close to the bone. Make sure you warn your best man to cut out anything offensive. Even if you have a brilliant sense of humour, when emotions are high on your special day, you might not see the funny side.

  • Special equipment: Today it is common place to accompany a speech with a PowerPoint presentation or picture slide show. If anyone plans to use a presentation to accompany their speech, you will need to make sure that the reception venue has the correct equipment such as a video projector, screen and all the necessary cables. If you are going to use microphones for the speeches, it’s a good idea to let those involved have a go during the sound check so that they feel 100% comfortable.
  • Lay off the fizz: You might be quite nervous about making a speech and feel like a few drinks will ease the flow. It usually however has the opposite effect and makes you even more worried about messing up, so save the champagne until after your speech is over.

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