Summer weddings in South West France are truly one-of-a-kind. As a wedding photographer, everything just shines a bit brighter in the summer: clear blue sky, sunlight is divine, blooming summer flowers and, of course, outdoor dinners. What more could you ask for? Well, perhaps a bit less of a heatwave. I get it. But on the flip side, you don’t want your guests turning into ice cubes by the end of the cocktail hour, right?
Guess what? None of that was a problem for Danielle and Stephen during their stunning July wedding. It was pure perfection. And, of course, they picked the Château La Durantie as their wedding venue. This place is nestled in the beautiful landscapes of Dordogne down in southwestern France, and it’s like a living piece of 19th-century architecture art. What really grabs me about this place is its enchanting magical garden, offering a bunch of sweet outdoor spots for saying “I do”.
And if that’s not enough, there’s even a pool and a tennis court to keep your guests entertained while they chill at the chateau. And entertained they were! Although both from the UK, Danielle and Stephen had 60+ guests fly in for three days of good wine, delicious food, and to simply celebrate their love!
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The day kicked off early in the morning with bridal preps. Danielle was surrounded by her trio of bridesmaids and, wait for it, a bridesman too! All the prep action went down at the chateau in the super cool mint-colored suite. Let me tell you, the lighting in that room is photo perfection. The bride rocked a lovely lace mermaid dress by Milla Nova and some drop-dead-gorgeous Jimmy Choo heels.
Not too far from there, Stephen and his crew, including Danielle’s brother, were getting their act together in the Coach House. With the Cottage House, the Château La Durantie can sleep 44 guests in total. Pretty convenient, right?
When the ceremony period starts with a first look as emotional as Danielle and her younger brother’s was, you know that you will have tears rolling down your face during that day. They share a special bond, and he was the one to led her down the aisle.
The ceremony was an emotional moment for everyone, even for me (yes, photographers are human too!). A total professional celebrant, Lisa Lister, led the way, and it was all about love. Love for each other, and a whole lot of love for and from their guests. There were plenty of laughs and a few tears to go around.
Right after dinner, we sneaked outside of the chateau to enjoy the beautiful landscape that surrounds the property. The chateau is located in the heart of the Dordogne valley, where, at the sunset time, a warm light hits over the hills. Surely the perfect backdrop for some couple photos!
Upon our return to the chateau after the sunset, we found that all the guests had relocated to the marquee and eagerly awaited the arrival of the newlyweds for their first dance. Delicious cocktails and a variety of beverages were being served from the chateau’s unique and charming bar, a trailer.
The wedding day was so darn good that it felt like it was on fast forward. Right after their first dance, Danielle pulled off a jaw-dropping outfit change – yep, you guessed it, another drop-dead-gorgeous Milla Nova evening gown! As a result, people were left in shock when she returned, and they barely had time to catch their breath before the fireworks lit up the night sky, leaving everyone in absolute awe.
As the wedding photographer, I was over the moon to be part of their special day. And I can only imagine how it felt for the guests. At the Château La Durantie, staff was lovely and collaborative with us wedding vendors, which is always appreciated. Finally, seeing all that love and joy that I captured in these photos just make me adore my job even more!
photography: Joanne Rabenarisoa Photography // venue: Chateau La Durantie // officiant: Lisa Lister Celebrant // florals: Jenny Fairbanks flowers // videography: Katleen Spears // make up & hair: Ausra Ruksene // ceremony music: French Wedding Music by Samantha Bramley