A Formal Wedding with Whimsical Touches in France
Tomoko and Romain met in New York City, but a wedding abroad was in the cards for this international couple. On September 8, 2012, they tied the knot a stone's throw from Paris in the groom's native country. Even with guests from all over the world, the couple's love for one another didn't get lost in translation at this destination fete.
Tres Bon Paperie
The bride and her graphic designer friend created much of the stationery, including the save-the-dates which were Parisian postcards. Invites designed by Kate's Paperie were written in both English and French.
Chateau de Dangu, in Haute-Normandie, France, was not only chosen for its visual appeal, but also its ease to get to for those flying in from various countries (including Jordan, Indonesia, and Egypt), as it's about 90 minutes from central Paris. The couple rented the property for their celebration, and most of their family stayed on-site.
The First Look
Tomoko and Romain snapped photos with Mademoiselle Fiona prior to the ceremony by the chateua's main staircase and on the upper terrace overlooking the countryside.
With the location's abundance of ornate detail and views, floral arrangements were kept to a minimum. A few focal pieces, like this urn of roses, hydrangea, eucalyptus, freesia, dahlias, gerbera daisies, amaranth, and ornamental grass were scattered about the property.
The groom's grandmother also helped out, making topiaries to flank the couple during the ceremony.
The bride's brother officiated the personalized ceremony, while the groom's sister translated into French. For the couple, having both of their siblings there with them in front of the rest of their loved ones was a very special part of the day.
After I Dos in the front of the chateau, guests moved to the side and back gardens for cocktail hour with views of the landscape surrounding them.
Clad in different shades of peach and coral, the bridesmaids swapped their petite bouquets for oversized balloons, and snapped a few pictures during cocktail hour. "For some reason, balloons feel happy and so French—maybe it's those Hermes and Dior ads," Tomoko said.
Tomoko found French and American toothpick flags and asked the caterer to stick them into the hors d'oeuvres.
A Shocking Surprise
Romain's little sister Barbara organized a flash mob, with all 105 guests dancing to "I Follow Rivers" by Lykke Li. She sent attendees a video of the choreography prior to the wedding so they could learn and practice their moves. The couple later danced their first dance—a waltz—which was much more traditional.
A Festive Entrance
Sparklers greeted the couple as they entered the reception while "We Are Young" by Fun. played.
A Touch of Heritage
To honor her Japanese roots, origami cranes doubled as escort cards holders.
The Reception Room
Dinner took place in the main salon. Tables were dressed up with delicate peach floral arrangements.
A French Feast
A bi-lingual menu outlined the five-course meal.
Made by Mom
Romain's mother made jars of plum-rhubarb and apricot-orange blossom jam, which were packaged with stickers made by a friend of the bride's. Another friend, an architect, illustrated the chateau.