CHATEAU DE BLOMAC WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
I LEFT MY HEART AT CHATEAU DE BLOMAC
From the moment I arrived I knew I wanted to be the resident Chateau de Blomac Wedding Photographer. I mean, the place is a visual delight and a photographic paradise. I first visited about six months before whilst on a reccy with another one of my couples, checking out different venues in France for their wedding. Photography was super important to them and they wanted a trained eye on what to look for in a venue. I know, such a chore, right?
Well, we all fell in love with Chateau de Blomac immediately – for a photographer, as well as a wedding couple it has it all. Set in a charming little village about 25 mins from Carcassonne, with its foliage-clad and wooden shutter frontage it has that authentically French feel which will delight your guests no end as they pitch up for their weekend of bonhomie! If the front wasn’t impressive enough, when you step out onto the terrace at Chateau de Blomac, the views over the parkland, with its magnificent trees, centuries old, will take your breath away. And you turn back to look at the chateau from the garden, and never want to leave.
“Oh my giddy Aunt…you are fricking amazing! They are just BRILLIANT!!! No wonder you get all the awards!“
Sadly we did have to leave, but on the car journey to the next venue I got the enquiry through from Julia and Faris about photographing their wedding at Chateau de Blomac a few months later and I could barely contain my excitement. I knew from my first chats with Julia that this was going to end up one of my favourite weddings of all time and I wasn’t wrong. However beautiful (or not) a wedding venue may be it is always the people that truly make a wedding, and Julia and Faris had the best of friends and family flying in from all over the world to celebrate their wedding weekend with them…and celebrate they would.
PHOTOGRAPHING THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING
One of the things I love about photographing destination weddings is invariably the celebrations are spread over at least two or three days which means I usually get to meet many of the closest friends and family before the big day, and in a really relaxed setting too. We first met the crew at the super-informal gathering around the pool which would later become the welcome BBQ to settle everyone in and instantly, I felt like I’d known Julia and Faris forever…like meeting up with old friends, except we’d never actually met. I could tell from the banter, pink speedos and general tom-foolery that the next day was going to be a live one!
THE BIG DAY AT CHATEAU DE BLOMAC
The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and the champagne was already flowing when we arrived at Chateau de Blomac which is how I’d start every day if I could. The rooms in the main house are gloriously spacious, perfect for a girls’ gathering so Julia invited all her girlfriends up to the bridal suite for a cheeky glass of bubbles before lunch. Meanwhile, over at the guys’ quarters, things were warming up nicely courtesy of a little Scottish tradition at clan gatherings – sharing a dram of whiskey from a quaich (Gaelic for cup) which symbolises friendship, love and trust between those drinking from it…pretty perfect for a Celtic infused wedding.
THE PERFECT OUTDOOR WEDDING VENUE IN SOUTH OF FRANCE
Chateau de Blomac is beautiful both inside and out but the lush gardens are a real treat for the eyes with an abundance of palms, colourful flowers and ancient trees reaching for the sky. Julia and Faris opted for an outdoor ceremony on the lower lawn with views back up to the house, which made a particularly pleasing backdrop. The walk from the house was long enough for Julia to share some quiet, reflective, nerve-calming moments with her father, and all beautifully out of sight from the clan, eager to get their first glimpse of Julia, owning it like no other in her Pronovias dress.
Needless to say Faris had a grin from ear to ear watching his best friend and bride walking down the grassy aisle towards him. Having their close friend David officiate the wedding made for a super relaxed ceremony but no matter the size of the wedding or how relaxed it is, you never escape the enormity of the event and the emotion it inevitably invokes. Julia and Faris are the laugh-a-minute type of couple on the outside and big softies on the inside – quite possibly my favourite moment during a ceremony ever was seeing Julia overcome with emotion during the vow exchange, and in an attempt to suppress it and keep it together she blurted out “Dog shit, dog shit, dog shit!” It certainly cut through the tension and lightened the mood again.
AN AL FRESCO WEDDING RECEPTION
For the middle of June it was exceptionally warm but the enormous trees at Chateau de Blomac provided some welcome shade and a perfect spot to cut the delicious fresh fruit topped, naked cake, homemade by Jacqueline and the Blomac team. It was also the perfect place to honour the Scottish tradition of the bride and groom sharing a whiskey from the quaich before passing it round to the guests – but these two don’t do things by halves. Why take a sip when you can valiantly see it off in one go, however Julia’s triumphant celebration quickly turned to regret. I love the sequence of three photos of Julia and Faris at this point – for me it captures the very essence of the relationship between these two…admiration, determination, solidarity, and laughter…plenty of laughter and I couldn’t love them more for it.
Once they’d celebrated their newly-wed status with their friends and family (over the most delicious canapes I should add) we snuck off into the gardens for them to enjoy a little alone time in front of my camera and take it all in. With the abundance of palm trees you’d be forgiven for thinking we were in the tropics and they make such a photogenic backdrop. Before they rejoined their guests there was time for some group photos and a bit of kilt-twirling – not specifically a Scottish tradition but I’d be in favour of making it one!
The speeches have always been one of my favourite parts of the day. I’m a people person and love hearing about relationships – not just the circumstances about how they got together but their deeper feelings about each other, the quirky random things that make them uniquely loveable. More often that not though, its hearing from the parents, the brothers and sisters, best friends, and occasionally heckles from the crowd that moves me the most. This grand occasion gives licence to people to speak up, to say the things they maybe always feel but rarely say out loud – that it so often makes people on the receiving end cry always serves as reminder that we shouldn’t just leave it to the ‘special occasions’ to tell people how much they are loved.
There were tears aplenty at this particular gathering, both happy and emotional ones, with Faris’s brother Amir, perhaps stealing the show. There wasn’t a dry eye around the tables, or behind the camera at my eye, strategically placed to keep it all together! Seeing the other guys wrapping some reassuring arms around him whilst simultaneously giving him some stick was something quite beautiful.
PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO STAY LATE
…capture all the best stuff! I cannot imagine having left after the first dance, or anytime soon after. It all started in the most romantic of settings, at blue hour, with the festoon lights twinkling overhead for Julia and Faris’s first dance. And then….well, I think the expression ‘it kicked off’ pretty much covers it. A few team drinking games, semi-naked dance-offs, and perhaps my favourite icebreaker – the Oreo Challenge – getting a cookie, placed on your forehead into your mouth, hands-free, using nothing but the most elaborate of facial expressions to manoeuvre it there, all with the added pressure of your teammates helpfully hurrying you on. Not only was it hilarious to watch it resulted in perhaps my all time favourite award-winning photograph I’ve ever taken, so that was even more of a winner…check out Faris’s sister, Lara in the red dress – the girl’s got skills I tell you. These wedding guests know how to party and I was in my happy place, in the thick of it all and right to the very end, capturing material for some pretty decent future blackmailing should it ever be required…none of which is evidenced here for the record…I’m honourable like that!
If you’re getting married at, and looking for a Chateau de Blomac Wedding Photographer then ‘allez tout droit’ to my contact page and say Bonjour. I’d love to hear from you. If you’re getting married anywhere else, but like the look of what you see here then please do the same – there’s nowhere I won’t go for a good wedding.
A special shout out to the rest of the amazing team who helped make Julia and Faris’ wedding so epic.
Venue: Chateau de Blomac
Dress: Pronovias, supplied by Ivory Whites Boutique
Florist: Details available through Jacqueline Mangelaars and Sjoerd Bakker at Chateau de Blomac
Cake: Supplied by Jacqueline Mangelaars and Sjoerd Bakker at Chateau de Blomac
DJ: Romain Laval at Group Ideal