Soft Colors and Touches of Gold Accented This Gorgeous Garden Wedding in France

bride and groom walking holding champagne
Gracie Byrd Jones

Marrying abroad was the goal for Alexis Bishop and Jay Levinson, and France proved to be the ultimate scenic backdrop. "We knew we wanted a destination wedding, and after many hours searching we discovered Château De Mairy," says the bride. Located in Mairy-sur-Marne amid the country's famed Champagne wine region, the 17th-century "monument historique" offered 30 acres of lush grounds, a medieval tower, and on-site accommodations. "We absolutely loved the rustic and antique aesthetic of this location, as well as the proximity to Paris (about a two-hour train ride)," says Alexis. "The way it all worked out felt like serendipity!"

Luckily, the pair never—not once—had to reschedule their plans due to the pandemic. "France's travel restrictions for Americans lifted just a few weeks before the wedding. While there were moments that we thought we were going to have to reschedule, we were ultimately able to stick to the date!" Alexis recalls. And while navigating the constantly changing status of international travel was stressful, the two were in the very capable hands of Rachael at Rachael Ellen Events. "She was amazing every step of the way," Alexis enthuses. "Extremely organized and helpful. There were so many unknowns about how it would all work out because of COVID, but Rachael remained positive the entire time."

With the vision of an intimate dinner party in the French countryside in mind, the couple embraced a soft, romantic color palette of blush, white, and French blue. Décor was elegant, but minimal. "We definitely relied on the simple beauty of the chateau to inspire," says the bride. Timeless details, such as fine vintage china and music from a live trio, elevated the event without diminishing the charm of a close, outdoor celebration. A gourmet meal enjoyed by all in attendance sealed the deal. "We both love to eat, so we made careful menu selections to include authentic French cuisine," says Alexis. In the end, the sun-filled day was everything the pair hoped it would be. "The Champagne was flowing, the music was playing, and everyone was having a great time," Alexis remembers—but one thing in particular stood out. "It was an amazing feeling to finally be married!"

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Dream Destination

Château de Mairy wedding venue
Gracie Byrd Jones

The charm, size, and rural location of Château de Mairy was exactly what the couple sought in a wedding venue.

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French Garden

painting on wall of château wedding venue
Gracie Byrd Jones

The lush gardens surrounding the château made a picturesque setting for the couple's special day—inside and out.

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A Sweet Setup

wedding ceremony set up
Gracie Byrd Jones

Chic seating and two pairs of floral arrangements were set up for the intimate ceremony, which took place on a pebbled lane on the property.

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Utterly Ethereal

bride in Stella York gown with lace and English tulle
Gracie Byrd Jones

The bride's exquisite Stella York wedding dress was composed of English tulle and featured just a hint of a train.

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On the Hook

bride in off the shoulder cap sleeve dress and bridesmaids in french blue
Gracie Byrd Jones

The bodice and off-the-shoulder cap sleeves of Alexis' gown were intricately detailed, as were the tulle-covered buttons that spilled down the back to the waist. Strappy Azazie gowns in classic French blue looked beautiful on the bridesmaids.

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Sharply-Dressed Groom

groom in a classic tuxedo
Gracie Byrd Jones

Jay donned a classic tuxedo with all the accessories, from a cummerbund and suspenders to button covers and a bow tie.

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Baby Blues

ring bearer at wedding
Gracie Byrd Jones

The couple's diminutive ring bearer was turned out in a vest worn over a crisp blue shirt and plaid tie.

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Walking Distance

bride walking down the aisle with father
Gracie Byrd Jones

Alexis was accompanied down the short, pebbled aisle by her father to "Shining Star" by The Manhattans.

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Traditional Vows

bride and groom during wedding ceremony
Gracie Byrd Jones

The service borrowed heavily from the legal ceremony the pair had in the States prior to arriving in France; it included scripture readings from the Bible and the exchange of traditional vows.

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On the Run

bride and groom walking across lawn
Gracie Byrd Jones

A quick dash across the lawn brought the couple back to their guests before the reception began. "We absolutely loved the cocktail hour," says Alexis of one of the pair's favorite big-day memories. "Attending it was definitely one of the perks of having a small wedding."

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Delicious Delicacies

oyster appetizer at wedding
Gracie Byrd Jones

Oysters on the half shell were just one of the amazing appetizer options attendees had to choose from.

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More Sweets

appetizers at wedding
Gracie Byrd Jones

Tomate caramélisée, a traditional French hors d'oeuvre, was served on a vintage dish.

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Alfresco Charm

A king's table draped in blush for wedding reception
Gracie Byrd Jones

A king's table—draped in blush and surrounded by the same garden-appropriate chairs seen at the ceremony—was situated in the sunlight for the reception.

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Center Showpiece

wedding centerpieces with roses and peonies in shades of white, butter, and blush
Gracie Byrd Jones

Romantic arrangements of roses and peonies in shades of white, butter, and blush ran the length of the station. Antique white chargers made a beautiful base for settings of vintage china in blue and gold. Gilded flatware dipped in ivory pulled the layered shades together; a box of Ladurée macarons for each guest added just a touch of pale green to the soft color scheme.

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On the Menu

wedding menu with macarons
Gracie Byrd Jones

Catered by Benjamin Gilles, the meal included beef tartare, escargot, and duck fillet; culinary details were printed on neutral menus by Ink & Press Co. and topped with a wax seal.

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Garden Memories

groom kissing bride on shoulder during reception meal
Gracie Byrd Jones

The peaceful, garden setting made a romantic and memorable backdrop for the gourmet meal.

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Sweet and Bubbly

bride and groom kissing during cake cutting
Gracie Byrd Jones

Alexis and Jay punctuated their cake cutting with a kiss—followed by Champagne from the region for everyone.

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bride and groom facing building
Gracie Byrd Jones

Photography, Gracie Byrd Jones
Venue, Château de Mairy
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Rachael Ellen Events
Videography, Jennifer Affleck Films
Flowers, Rachael Ellen Events
Invitations, Minted
Day-of Paper Goods, Ink & Press Co.
Officiant, Spencer Deutsch
Bride's Gown, Stella York
Shoes, Nina
Hair and Makeup, Jennifer Lagers
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Azazie
Groom's Attire, Tommy Hilfiger
Music, Elisia
Catering, Benjamin Gilles
Cake, Benjamin Gilles
Rentals, Madame de la Maison
Favors, Ladurée

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