French Chateau Wedding Hattonchatel Metz
|20th February 2019
photographer - Eight bells
It is funny how random meetings can lead to bigger things in life. Polly met Tiphaine on a yoga paddle boarding class on our local lake near our home in Morzine. When Tiphaine returned to Paris after her summer holiday in the Alps, she stayed in touch with her new friend via social media. A year later we were invited to photograph Tiphaine’s wedding in the North of France.
As much as we love shooting weddings around our home in the Alps, we also love travelling around France and exploring its many traditional villages, so you can imagine our excitement to discover a new area and photograph a true French wedding in a Chateau.
Tiphaine and her husband-to-be, Jérémy, decided to marry near Metz in the Lorraine region of France to be close to Tiphaine’s family, and in particular so that her grandmother could easily attend. Fans of Game of Thrones, they were immediately attracted to the gothic style and splendid interiors of Hattonchâtel Chateau.
The castle, with its gables, tall chimneys and pointed towers, stands proud on a hillside overlooking the Woüvre Valley. First built in the 9th century, the castle was later left a little abandoned, but was bought a few years ago and lovingly refurnished to a standard befitting of its splendour. Once visited, Tiphaine’s parents also fell in love with the place.
With a magnificent castle as the venue it was hard not to imagine a princess as the bride, as Tiphaine explains:
Once we booked the castle, I wanted to play the game thoroughly with a true princess wedding. At first I did not want a big dress, but after trying several styles, I loved the strapless dress by the boutique Déclaration Mariage, which gave me the impression of being a real princess.”Tiphaine
The wedding took place in October in the peak of Autumn, with the pale pink and burgundy hues of the wedding attire and flowers looking stunning against the chateau’s grounds, which were brimming with the colours of the season. In the morning, the elegant interior of the Chateau, with its church-like windows, luxurious textiles and antique furniture, made a beautiful setting for the dressing and preparations of the bride.
In line with French law, the official ceremony took place in the village hall, led by the Mayor, with a second more relaxed ceremony with speeches from friends and family, taking place in the chateau’s glorious garden.
As wedding photographers we get to experience many different wedding traditions, and we love seeing the special activities that make each culture unique. Rather than tossing the bouquet, French brides, like Tiphaine, get to cut ribbons. These ribbons are attached to the bouquet and given to every non-married female (and sometimes male) guest to hold. The bride closes her eyes and cuts the ribbons until only one is left, the person holding it wins the bouquet!
As you would expect of a French wedding, food was an important part of the day. A huge wedding feast took place in the magnificent vaulted dining hall, “La Salle de Burgraves”. This was the perfect place for the customary games and shows that happen during the meal, with lots of laughing, dancing, eating and drinking all afternoon and into the night. The multi-course meal was finished off with a croquembouche, which is a traditional French wedding cake, made from a tower of profiteroles and decorated with sparklers.
Later, outside, there was a stunning sunset and during an atmospheric moment after dark, paper lanterns were set off into the night sky. These romantic moments have contributed to a stunning photo album.
From the Mayor of the village to the caterers, musicians, and Fabien the Chateau’s caretaker, lots of good humour surrounded the wedding and its preparations. The couple’s family came together to help with the special touches, the ‘boite a dragées’ (boxes for the sugar coated almond wedding favours) were handmade by Jérémy’s grandmother, and his grandfather helped shape wooden logs for guests to inscribe their well wishes for the newlyweds. We also greatly felt the warmth and generosity from the couple and their family, who welcomed us wholeheartedly and smiled throughout the whole day.