Getting Married in a Normandy Village
It was around this time last year when I met with Elly and Jack in pub on Marylebone High Street to discuss their wedding. Having already photographed a wedding in the Netherlands last summer, I was especially excited about Elly and Jack’s wedding as it was to take place at Jack’s parent’s home in the rather picturesque village of Pont d’Ouilly in Normandy.
After spending most of the day on trains and braving Paris during Friday rush hour in my little hire car, I arrived in the village just in time to check in to my little hotel. I quickly put my weary bones to bed. The next morning, I woke early and had a little walk around the village after breakfast. I wrote a little blog about it which you can see here.
Bridal Preparations in a French Country House
Just before lunch I drove the short distance to the nearby village of Falaise, where Elly’s family were staying in a beautiful old country house and which acted as the venue for the afternoon’s preparations. Quite a few of Elly’s family had made the lengthy trip from New Zealand to attend the wedding. A trip I had a little experience of, having been over there three times in recent years. It was great to see her with her family. Kiwi’s tend to have a wonderful attitude and outlook on life, and it was loads of fun spending the afternoon with them.
Back at Pont d’Ouilly the guests were all seated in the back garden of Jack’s parent’s beautiful home. The setting was wonderfully decorated and they couldn’t have asked for better weather. Having technically already tied the knot back home in London, Jack’s dad conducted the short wedding blessing and the exchange of rings as their friends and family looked on.
Laid Back Garden Party in a French Village
What happened next was the most wonderful garden party style wedding you can imagine. The chairs were quickly replaced by tables and benches decorated with wild flowers. At the bottom of the garden, by the river, little grottoes had been created out of crates and cushions for people to relax on. There were the obligatory garden games and even a couple of fishing rods set up. Idyllic.
After a while, Elly’s mum along with Jack and his best men took to the balcony overlooking the garden to give their speeches. Elly’s mum gave such an honest and emotional speech, I don’t think it was just Elly with tears in her eyes. These tearful moments were always followed by hearty laughter though. Following the speeches, Elly and Jack were hoisted up on garden chairs and carried around the garden by their guests. Jack didn’t stay in his chair for long though, and soon found himself sat on the ground dusting himself off. I’m not normally one to point fingers, but I suspect one of his carriers had maybe had a bit to drink!
The party stretched on into the evening, and as the sun began to set the fire pit was lit and the blankets were brought out, and people huddled together to keep warm whilst chatting away well into the night. My hotel was only a 10 minute walk down the road, so having dropped my car off there earlier, I grabbed a wine glass and a blanket and sat back to enjoy the fire pit, sparklers and the cooling French summer night air.