A Celtic Themed Vintage Wedding in a 16th Century French Chateau
When Scottish bride Imogen got engaged she envisioned a Celtic ceremony to reflect her roots. Living in Paris with her South African fiancé Matt, the beautiful region of Brittany known for its lush green fields, rocky coastline and Celtic heritage was a natural choice. With the help of Fete in France, the couple found a picturesque 16th century manor house as the setting for their wedding weekend.
“A celtic handfasting ceremony should be outdoors, within nature, so having a beautiful ceremony spot was high in the criteria for our venue. We fell in love with Chateau de la Motte Beaumanoir, a beautiful mini castle with five guestrooms before a serene lake ringed by trees, which we were able to enjoy to ourselves for 4 days. ”
Imogen wore a custom Eliza Jane Howell 1930’s-inspired wedding dress and the groom wore the traditional Celtic formal-wear of a kilt in a tartan to match the deep sapphire blue that ran throughout the wedding décor. Sourcing local vendors and producers was important to the couple so the florals and table decor contained only locally-grown plants and seasonal fruits.
“I’m a wordsmith by nature, so I was always going to be fussy about all things stationery. I found Elisa from Designed with Amore on Etsy and she had the most perfect ready-made design for us with wild bohemian foliage that picked up the greens and blues of our colour scheme, printed on beautiful linen paper. She was a delight to work with, so generous with her time and so fast.”
“Matt proposed with a beautiful 1920’s/30’s gold and diamond ring, and he’d convinced the skeptical jeweller to swap out the original opal for a deep blue lapis lazuli – my favourite stone. That lapis blue then inspired the touches of deep blue velvet that were peppered throughout.”
“I had never imagined getting married, so had absolutely no idea where to start looking for my dress. Originally I didn’t want a white dress, but I couldn’t find anything that looked ceremonial enough. In the end of months of searching, I came back to the Jayne in antique silver by Eliza Jane Howell – the first dress I had seen and loved online. I loved the bias-cut and the asymmetrical beauty of the beaded pattern, which made me think of sun, moon and stars.”
“My bouquet included giant protea – national flower of South Africa – and Scottish thistles, as a nod to our respective countries.”
“Matt wore the Robertson tartan kilt, representing the clan heritage of one side of my family, and a Fraser of Lovett crest plaid brooch as a nod to the other half.”
“We had a fabulous Breton piper who had a full Scots repertoire!”
“I was thrilled that my bridesmaids picked out the tones the Robertson tartan perfectly in their Ghost London dresses!”
“It was always going to be Highland Cathedral on the bagpipes that would accompany me into the ceremony. I deliberately gave myself a marathon of a walk so I could try and compose myself before arriving in the ceremony circle.”
What were your favorite parts of the day?
“Without a doubt, our ceremony was our favourite part of the whole day. It was really important to us that the ceremony reflected us, and we chose to have a Celtic hand fasting in the Scottish tradition that acknowledged us making a non-religious commitment to each other as equal partners before a circle of our family and friends.” “There were a couple of beautiful and spontaneous moments that we’ll always remember; Immediately after the ceremony, we were standing at the centre of the circle, hands fasted together, bathed in light, in love. And being at the centre of the circle just drew everyone in towards us. Everyone wanted to come forward and embrace us, so we ended up with a thirty-minute circular receiving line of sorts, but it was so moving.”
“One of our favourite wedding finds was our guestbook by Spellbinderie. FounderKaren lives in Lyon and rebinds battered but beautiful French books from the 19th and early 20th century into guestbooks. Ours was a 1923 edition of the Swiss Family Robertson and had a gold heart on the front cover.”
“We wanted the dining tables to resemble fine art still life paintings, with wild flowers, antique brass candlesticks and fruits and vegetables. Clementine of Bloomette incorporated some wild looking purple and yellow carrots into our arch – someone fed them to us on the dance floor along to chanting about fertility offerings…they were delicious!”
What did you do for favors?
“We wanted to create as little waste as possible, hence the edible fruit table decorations, so buying loads of decorating stuff for us just wasn’t an option. All of our guests looked so elegant! Our people were the decoration. We were really disciplined about not getting carried away with Pinterest-y inclinations. If it wasn’t going to either feed our guests or make them feel fuzzy inside, we didn’t do it. Instead, we poured our energy into writing 7000 words of handwritten thank you notes as favours for each guest, telling them what they meant to us in our lives. These were under the napkins at dinner and went down a treat. Some people were crying – again – at their seats.”
Tell us about your wedding cake….
“Our beautiful little wedding cake was blue velvet on the inside, decorated with gold leaf and wild plants. It was created by Beatriz Belliard Cake Design.”
And last, but not least, tell us a little bit about your photographers…
“We couldn’t recommend our photographer Yann Audic of Lifestories enough. He photographed our engagement pictures and our small legal ceremony in Paris, so by the time the big day came round he knew us really well. His pictures speak volumes about his skill at seeing what’s the most important at a wedding. He’s a pro at putting people at ease and capturing the magic in front of his lens without needing to resort to overly stylised images.”
Such a beautiful day, I am completely smitten with every detail – especially their stunning venue. Huge congratulations to the happy couple, Imogen & Matt, and a heartfelt thankyou to them and their photographers Lifestories Wedding, for not only capturing every detail so perfectly, but also for allowing me to share it with you here. If you love these photographs and would like to see more of their work, take a peek at their website lifestorieswedding.com and be sure to follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Or if you love this Art Deco inspired wedding and are looking for more inspiration for your own big day, then you might want to see Elizabeth & Matt’s Downton Abbey inspired affair or this opulent gold & black art deco wedding inspiration, or is pretty pastels are more your thing you will love this romantic Great Gatsby inspired wedding editorial and this inspiration shoot in rose quartz and serenity – complete with moon backdrop!
Contributors & Credits
Photography – Lifestories Wedding Photography // Venue – Chateau de la Motte Beaumanoir // Event Planning – Fete in France // Floral Design – Bloomette // Stationery – Designed with Amore // Videography – Lifestories Wedding Photography // Wedding Cake – Beatriz Belliard // Hair & Makeup – Michel Le Du // Catering – Les doigts dans le pot // Officiant – Scot AnSgeulaiche // Wedding Dress – Eliza Jane Howell // Bridal Boutique – Plume Paris // Bride’s Shoes – Laurence Dacade // Bridesmaid Dresses – Ghost London // Guestbook – Spellbinderie // Wedding Ring – Paulette à Bicyclette // Submitted via Matchology