A Chic, Family-Oriented Destination Wedding in France
Jannicke Steen and Paal Andre Utvik first met in 2009, while working in Manila, Philippines. Paal was instructed to find his replacement, before moving back to Shanghai, China, where he was primarily based. He contacted Jannicke for an interview. Little did Paal know, he had found a worthy candidate—and his future wife.
Over the next few years, Jannicke and Paal kept in touch occasionally for job-related matters, and met from time to time if they were both in Shanghai or Manila. Both originally from Norway, they met for dinner in 2015, with their children in tow. "It was a sweet and cozy dinner, where we were mainly fascinated with how our kids talked and seemed to get along," Jannicke recalls. A few months later, they went on their first "real" date and their years as just friends were behind them.
During a road trip up the California coast, the couple were cruising along when Paal asked what Jannicke would say if he asked her to marry him. "Bluntly and probably without thinking too much over the question, just knowing in my heart and mind that I was happy, I told him I would have said yes," she says. So, they drove from San Francisco to Las Vegas, secured their wedding certificate, planned an intimate wedding at a hotel the next day, and were married in a spontaneous ceremony on November 3, 2015 with two dear friends as witnesses.
About ten months later, Paal proposed to Jannicke in the garden of the home they share with their three children. And on July 1, 2017, Jannicke and Paal tied the knot in Provence, France, at Chateau d'Estoublon. Over the course of three days, the pair celebrated with 180 guests, and in Provencal style. With soft, sophisticated colors inspired by the venue's exterior, and a ceremony among 100-year-old olive trees, Jannicke and Paal's château wedding was charming and chic.
The Stationery Suite
After using Paperclutch for her daughter's birthday invitations, Jannicke reached out to owner Pam Baldwin about designing the wedding stationery. The invitations were elegant and sophisticated, featuring simple fonts. Light-blue string added a delicate touch of color to the otherwise white stationery.
A Château Celebration
Jannicke and Paal were drawn to the authentic, warm, and welcoming atmosphere of Provence, France. They chose to spend their wedding weekend at Château d'Estoublon because of the stunning location, beautiful décor, and the variety of spaces for the different events. Working with wedding planners Lavender & Rose, they chose a color palette for the wedding that drew inspiration from the limestone used in the construction of the main building. Light blue, beige, off-white, green, and gray tones were married with natural wood, linen, and touches of matte gold to create a refined, organic look.
A French Welcome
Upon arriving to Château d'Estoublon, guests received welcome boxes with French-themed favors. The blue boxes were personalized with "Bienvenue!" (that's French for "welcome") on the lid and a sachet of Provence lavender, small bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar produced at the château, and a welcome booklet tucked inside.
After seeing Lihi Hod's wedding dresses, the bride reached out to the designer to see if there was enough time to get a dress made. With the atelier based in Israel, trips to the Mediterranean were necessary, but Jannicke got the dress of her dreams and added a vacation and planning meetings in France to the trip. She paired the V-neck, empire-waist "Luella" dress with earrings and a floral design headpiece by fellow Israeli designer Keren Wolf.
All in the Details
Jannicke walked down the aisle wearing the "Ava" satin sandal by Monique Lhuillier. Paal designed Jannicke's engagement ring with a jewelry designer in Hong Kong. The 3.2 carat diamond ring with a diamond band has a heart beneath the diamond that can be seen looking at the ring from the side. The inside of the band is engraved with "American You," which was the first song the couple listened to on their California road trip. The bride and groom had Tiffany & Co. bands from their Vegas wedding.
The Bridal Bouquet
Nearest & Dearest
Jannicke and Paal's bridal party included their children, their two maids of honor, and their two best men. Jannicke's attendants wore Monique Lhuillier gowns. The couples' daughter, Sofia, was the flower girl. Their sons, Benjamin and Theodor, walked down the aisle behind Sofia as the ring bearers. Overall, the guests were a well-traveled bunch (including the Manila-based couple and their family), hailing from the States, Australia, Brazil, China, Singapore, Philippines, and Canada.
The couple exchanged vows on a sprawling green lawn set with white bistro chairs among 100-year-old olive trees and the château in the distance.
Arriving in Style
The bride arrived at the ceremony in a vintage white Citroen 2CV. "You don't get more French than that," Jannicke says.
Precious Moments in Provence
Seeing Jannicke coming up the aisle was Paal's favorite part of the day. "She was stunning, radiant, and took my breath away," he says.
Sofia did the first reading of the ceremony, "Love Is Friendship Caught Fire." After the couple's daughter came Paal's friend and then Jannicke's for the second and third readings. As the newlyweds walked down the aisle at the end of the ceremony, guests tossed flower petals and their musician friends sang "Rhythm of Love." After the ceremony, guests were invited to light a candle, say a prayer, or make a wish for the couple inside a small chapel between the ceremony and cocktail hour areas.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Eight-year-old Sofia wore a dress designed by Filipino designer Rajo Laurel to match her mother's gown. It had its own unique design elements, with a focus on using Filipino materials, and paired with flowers in her hair made for a sweet, boho look that matched her mom's.
A Family Affair
The couple's children played significant roles in their wedding festivities. Sofia surprised Jannicke and Paal by singing during the welcome dinner, and Benjamin and Theodor gave a speech during the reception, which Jannicke described as "a very unexpected, personal and loving part of the wedding."
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktail hour in a courtyard across from the venue's chapel. Friends and family of the newlyweds sipped Champagne and ate while a string quartet performed.
Escort cards were arranged on a rustic wooden board decorated with a floral garland, which was displaedy beneath a tree in the middle of the courtyard.
Dinner was held outside between rose gardens and the château's façade. Guests sat at round tables set with custom blue cotton tablecloths and upholstered chairs.
The head table ran parallel to the château, and like the others, boasted white taper candles and flowers arranged in a mix of elegant vessels. "The château was beautifully lit at night and was used as the backdrop for speeches," Jannicke shares.
The delicate place settings included glass chargers, matte gold cutlery, tulip-shaped glasses, and porcelain plates. Gold rims added an extra touch to the tableware. The menus, offering local seasonal produce from Helen Traiteur, were printed on light blue cards. Place cards were tied around the napkin with hand-dyed silk ribbon and accompanied by a spray rose.
Like a Fairytale
"Tale as Old as Time" was an easy choice for the bride and groom's first dance. "We watched Beauty and the Beast with Sofia and following the dance scene in the movie, we began to rehearse after the movie in our own living room," Jannicke says. "Eventually it just became our first dance song," the bride says of the Ariana Grande and John Legend tune. A surprise confetti burst, arranged by Lavender & Rose, added to the magical moment.
The revelry continued—as guests celebrated until 4 a.m. thanks to an after-party in the on-site bistro.
Photography, Greg Finck
Location, Château d'Estoublon
Event planning, Lavender & Rose Weddings
Catering, Helen Traiteur
Flowers, Miss Rose by Perrine
Videography, Pascal Délé
Officiant, Peter Madan
Cake, Made in Cake
Bride's dress, Lihi Hod Bridal
Hair and makeup, Olga Elite
Bridesmaids' dresses, Monique Lhuillier
Flower girl dress, Rajo Laurel
Groom's suit, Tai Pan Row
Lighting, Mister Prod
Transportation, A&N Prestige
Bride & Groom's wedding bands, Tiffany & Co.
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