An Opulent Wedding at a Château in Provence, France
Though Janet and Patrick had known each other for a decade, they'd only been dating for six months when he planned an elaborate proposal in Paris: After a day of sightseeing with a professional photographer in tow to snap pictures of the pair around the city and a decadent dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, Patrick planned to pop the question on the balcony of their hotel room overlooking the lights of the Eiffel Tower while a violinist serenaded them.
His well-laid plans went off flawlessly—and Janet said yes—except for one small stumble: The photographer Patirck hired through a local event planner had missed the actual proposal. "That is when I realized the importance of finding a good planner," Patrick says. When Janet and Patrick decided to host a destination wedding for 110 guests in France on August 8, 2018—followed by a celebration later for 550 in their hometown of Hong Kong—they put their big day in the hands of event planners Lavender and Rose.
The end result was an opulent celebration at Château de Fonscolombe with a topiary garden theme and gold-black-white-and-emerald color palette. The soirée also featured a mirrored aisle, an endless array of white flowers, and live art performances from the Italian company Nuart. But despite the precise attention to detail and the stunning beauty of their big day, Janet and Patrick's favorite part was the people: "Overall, the best moment was choosing a venue that we could spend the three days together with family and friends," says Patrick.
An invitation suite from Yonder Design set a luxurious tone for the wedding weekend with save-the-dates backed by gold leaves, invitations tied with a black ribbon, and a sketch of the venue that appeared on several different elements. Emerald green accents—including the printing on the invitation and the velvet debossed menus—brought in the rich colors of the landscape around the venue.
As a contrast to the 18th-century château they chose for the wedding, the couple hosted their rehearsal dinner at Château La Coste, a vineyard and contemporary art center in Provence, where guests dined under an installation by Frank Gehry. Janet and Patrick, who liked the way the venue incorporated their shared passion for art, chose décor inspired by the Provence countryside, wine, and art, with "happy, summery, cheerful" yellow as a main color.
In the Country
The Instagram-inspired "Take a Hat" station gave guests a fun opportunity to accessorize for their photos while also offering a little relief from the heatwave that blanketed Provence in the days leading up to the wedding.
Long centerpieces of wheat, chamomile, and craspedia stretched down the tables, while cork-inspired place setting accents, linen napkins, and lemonade with tiny floating flowers gave the evening a relaxed, countryside atmosphere.
Guests took home a collection of some of Provence's most famous foods, including honey, olive oil, and bread. "We wanted them to be something that fits the theme of Provence chic, so it was different from the welcome baskets," says Janet.
In the Bag
A Lucky Find
Janet had a specific wedding-day style in mind when she began shopping for her dress: "I wanted a classic look to match the château," she says. She had her eye on an A-line ball gown with a V-neck and long sleeves, so the Pronovias wedding dress she chose fit the bill perfectly—she also found it just in time. "I went to many bridal shops in Hong Kong and couldn't find what I want," she says. During a one-day trip to Paris, she found the gown while shopping with Patrick. "I was lucky the dress fit without the need to return to Paris for a fitting!" She chose a matching veil from the same brand and silver Jimmy Choo flats.
A Perfect Pair
Patrick chose a custom tuxedo from Hong Kong tailor W.W. Chan in midnight blue with a black velvet collar. "The aim," he says, "is to keep it classic and elegant." Janet wore a vintage pearl and diamond necklace from Patrick's mother, paired with floral diamond earrings that coordinated with the lace on her gown. The couple didn't worry about seeing each other before the ceremony: "We weren't supposed to," says Patrick, "as I understood it—that was the Western culture during the wedding—but we did it anyway." Janet adds, "We were together for breakfast on our wedding day!"
Janet's eight bridesmaids, a group of her close friends and relatives, wore silver Needle and Thread dresses with ruffled cap sleeves, tiered skirts, and a dose of sparkle on the bodice.
The couple exchanged their own written vows during a non-religious ceremony performed by Peter Meden. White chairs and emerald green pillows coordinated with a stunning floral arch from Miss Rose by Perrine, while a mirrored aisle lined with white roses reflected the colors of the scenery and the clear summer sky. Patrick's father escorted Janet down the aisle to the song "River Flow in You," a moment that had her unexpectedly tearing up, she says.
Setting the Bar
At the bar, guests chose from a selection of wines that included red Château Calon Segur 2003 and the Château de Fonscolombe white and rosé. Louis Roederer Champagne, gin and tonics, and an array of juice, soda, and cucumber water (they helped ward off the heat!) were also served.
The couple rented sapphire, emerald, and onyx-toned furniture to create elegant outdoor lounges where their friends and family could relax during the cocktail hour. Large arrangements of white flowers in rustic urns gave the seating areas a garden atmosphere that matched the rest of the décor's topiary theme.
At the Table
The August heat forced Janet and Patrick to push their wedding day timeline off by 30 minutes, but the weather cooled down enough that they were able to move forward with an outdoor reception on the green in front of Château de Fonscolombe. "The next day was raining like cats and dogs," says Janet. "We were extremely lucky." In keeping with their color palette, they chose gold chairs with emerald cushions and white linens from Options, and centerpieces filled with white bombastic roses.
The Golden Touch
Matte gold flatware, gold-trimmed china and glassware, and black accent plates and candles shone against the white linen. Crisp white napkins were embroidered with the couple's custom monogram in emerald thread and placed under dark green debossed velvet menus.
During the reception, Janet changed into her "dancing gown"—a blue and black strapless Oscar de la Renta tea-length number that she bought online and customized with blue beading and a shorter hemline. "It was a coincidence that my blue dress matches with Patrick's midnight blue tux," she says. "How perfect!" For their first dance, they chose "Beauty and the Beast" with a personalized twist: The song was performed in French.
A six-tier confection from Made in Cake was decorated with white and green icing and white roses, creating an eye-catching focal point during the reception. The couple also served plated desserts: red fruit crisp with verbena lemon cream for the women and a Tonka chocolate dome for the men.
Up in the Air
One of Janet's favorite parts of the day was the balloon heliosphere performance from Nuart. "The performances made our wedding very classy and elegant," she says. "Some guests thought they were at a fashion gala dinner!"
All Fired Up
A fireworks display scheduled for the couple's first dance was delayed when it had to be reset, but Patrick credits their DJ, Heart Music, with saving the day. "These guys made the crowd's energy go wild during the wait before we showed up," he says. "They delivered the job amazingly."
Photography, Laura Gordon Photography
Location and Catering, Chateau de Fonscolombe
Event planning, Lavender and Rose Weddings
Flowers, Miss Rose by Perrine
Videography, Pascal Dele
Officiant, Peter Meden
Stationery and Calligraphy, Yonder Design
Cake, Made in Cake
Makeup, Wong Wing
Bridesmaids' dresses, Needle and Thread
Groom's tuxedo, W.W. Chan
Menswear, Derby Suit and Tailoring
Lighting, D&X Events
Live Performances, Nuart Events
Rehearsal Dinner Location and Catering, Chateau La Coste