CHÂTEAU BOUFFÉMONT LIVE! All You Need To Know About Wedding Photography with Kristine Grinvalde

Our series “Château Bouffémont Live” features interviews with guests from the world of events and weddings to provide you with expert advice and insider insight. In this episode, Château Bouffémont’s General Manager, Sarp Gogebakan, sat down with renowned destination wedding photographer Kristine Grinvalde who gave us her expert advice on how to really enjoy your wedding planning and wedding day experience and ensure you come away with wedding photos to last a lifetime.

SG: Hi Kristine, thanks for joining us today, we love your elegant, timeless photographs and are thrilled you could join us today, so could you start by telling us about yourself?

KG: I am a destination wedding, portrait and editorial photographer from Riga, Latvia although I work extensively in Paris and in Italy. I’m very much inspired by travel, fashion, interior design, architecture, nature and destination wedding photography brings all these elements together in most magical way. I actually have a background in finance, so that helps with the organisational and logistics side of the work – it’s a good balance with the creative side.

SG: What are the key things a couple need to think about when choosing their wedding photographer?

KG: Before you even start contacting wedding vendors it’s important to define an overall wedding style and the story you want to tell as a couple. You can do this by writing down key words about what inspires you in your life to make sure your wedding planning is true to who you really are. The photographer and the wedding venue will then fit into this style.

Word of mouth is the most common way to find a good photographer, but it’s not one-size-fits-all so make sure you look through one or two full wedding galleries before making this important decision not just the main show pieces presented on the website. It’s really vital that you have an introductory call or meeting with the photographer, you’ll be working very closely together so make sure you vibe together!

SG : What advice can you give to couples ahead of the wedding in terms of preparing for their photos, is there anything they can do to make sure they get the best photos on the day?

KG: Firstly, you need to know what you want. It’s really important that you have in mind your wedding day priorities and tell your photographer what these are to ensure you get meaningful photos, special lifetime memories. An experienced photographer will forward plan but they can’t read your mind so communication is key. They will also need to know about any special moments, people, surprises or issues within the family to avoid any faux-pas on the day.  Plan the timeline in collaboration with the photographer and allow plenty of time so not to feel rushed during the day. It also means you can relax then if something goes wrong or the schedule gets delayed. Most of all you need to strike a balance between getting beautiful couple portraits and enjoying your time with your guests. If both are priorities, consider doing a couples session or engagement lifestyle session a day or two before the wedding.

SG: What about for people who don’t like having their photo taken, how can they take the stress out of the experience?

KG: The key is to trust your photographer to guide you and of course voice any concerns you may have beforehand. Having lifestyle or engagement portraits taken a day or two before the wedding is a great option to help the couple become more comfortable in front of the camera and build their confidence. I also strongly recommend you have your photographer at the welcome event the day before the wedding, this will really help get the best photos on the wedding day itself as both the couple and the guests will feel more relaxed around the photographer, more themselves.

SG: What about the organisation on the wedding day – do you pre-prepare the list of photos you’ll take and how do you decide who will be in which photos?

KG: I usually plan the prime photo locations ahead of time, based on the wedding timeline which we will have worked on together. I personally prefer not to work with a shot list as I think it is restrictive and stops me capturing the moment in the most natural way, so I prefer to discuss with my couples what are the most important moments for them and they trust me to capture their day in a unique way. If you want formal family photos then a shot list will help and it is also useful to designate a contact person amongst your guests who can quickly locate the people needed for each photo.

SG: Well, that’s a lot of great advice for our couples! Finally, before we wrap up, you’ve worked on weddings at Château Bouffémont in the past, what do you like in particular about the venue?

KG: Château Bouffémont is not only a beautifully preserved historical venue with very welcoming staff, but also has great diversity – from elegantly appointed suites with stunning views, to the light, airy and elegant Grand Salon, to the smaller salons and state rooms, each with different lighting and moods. The terrace overlooking the pristine green landscape and grand staircase, and twin terraces to the side all offer great opportunities when planning your wedding day – with multiple ceremony and reception locations which can cater to every taste.

Keep in touch at @chateaubouffemont

Château Bouffémont Live! Stress-free Wedding Planning with Marie Chicchirichi

Our series “Château Bouffémont Live” features interviews with guests from the world of events and weddings to provide you with expert advice and insider insight. As the 2022 wedding season gets into full swing, Château Bouffémont’s General Manager, Sarp Gogebakan, spoke to lawyer-turned-wedding planner Marie Chicchirichi about how to take the stress out of wedding planning, and how to decide if you really need a wedding planner.

SG: Hi Marie, we’re so pleased to have you with us today, can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what attracted you to wedding planning as a career?

MC: So, I actually got into wedding planning when I was organizing my own wedding. I couldn’t find the right wedding vendors and services to create the experience I wanted and realized I probably wasn’t the only person in this situation so I decided to train as a wedding planner. I specialize in destination weddings inspired by nature and by the wedding venue, from which I draw a lot of inspiration for the wedding style, colours and design.

SG: Couples often ask us if they really need a wedding planner: what are the advantages of using a wedding planner?

MC: The main advantage is to be supported and advised throughout the process. Your wedding planner will tell you what order you need to do things in, which vendors to choose to achieve the desired result, will guide you step-by-step through the process, and manage things on the day. A wedding planner will think about all the details a couple might forget and will take the stress out of the planning. They can also suggest innovative ideas to make the day really special. Using a wedding planner also means you will keep to your budget.

SG: Let’s talk about the different planning stages, what information do you ask couples for when you first meet with them?

MC: When I meet a couple for the first time I need to find out if their vision of their wedding is something I can help bring to life or not, so I try to fully understand their needs to produce a proposal aligned with their vision. I’ll need to know exactly where they want to get married, how many guests they want to invite, whether they want a religious or non-religious wedding ceremony etc.

SG: What about on the wedding day itself, what is your role on the day of the wedding?

MC: My main role is to be available to the bride and groom, as a kind of personal assistant, my team and I are also there to welcome the vendors and the guests, to make sure everything runs as planned and to time – which is very important. We handle any unforeseen events so the bride and groom don’t have to worry about anything. We also act as the master of ceremonies telling people where they need to be and what they need to do at each stage of the day.

SG: One thing a lot of our couples ask us about is the timings for each part of the wedding, can you tell us a bit about how you manage this both before and on the day?

MC: So, first of all I ask the couple what they want, then I cross reference this with the vendors to establish what is feasible and how the logistics will work. Of course, the starting point is what the couple want, but it needs to be able to work in practice. Typically, a wedding will start the day before with a welcome dinner, on the day it will kick off with welcome drinks, followed by the ceremony, then a cocktail hour before the evening reception, and the next day there is usually a farewell brunch to wrap up the festivities. For the wedding day timings, I start with the start time for the evening reception and work backwards to reverse schedule the day.

SG: The 2022 wedding season is ramping up, how are your couples feeling about 2022? Are you seeing any specific trends emerging for weddings this year?

MC: This year, most of the couples I’m working with are simply very happy to be able to get married! Their focus is really on enjoying their special day and making the most of their loved ones. They are keen to grasp every opportunity to spend time together. So, this means some of our couples have actually increased their guest list and in some cases upped their budgets to be able to do more on the day.

SG: Finally, what are your top tips for couples preparing for their wedding right now?

MC: My advice to couples is to be yourselves both in the preparation and on the day to make sure your wedding day is meaningful and special to you. I also urge them to let go on the day because it will be over in a flash, so trust the professional vendors you have chosen to get the job done and don’t worry about the details. Finally, I would say that couples should focus on the essentials, especially if they are planning a last-minute wedding, and of course I recommend that they get professional support from a wedding planner, it will save a lot of time and effort!

Keep in touch at @chateaubouffemont

Château Bouffémont Goes Green

Green is an unusual choice for a wedding color palette but this wedding inspiration shoot at Château Bouffémont designed by Details Depres and Laura Andrea Wedding and shot by Aude A Deux Ailes shows how it can be used to create a truly amazing look in this modern take on a traditional estate wedding.

The shoot tells the story of the wedding of a Sino-French couple Jialin and Jean-Charles at a classic French chateau. Jean-Charles offers his bride a replica of the jade pendant that her grandmother always wore. This token of his affection is the centerpiece of the shoot and the color scheme that runs through the wedding design.

From this starting point, shades of green from pale mint, through to dark emerald and striking jade are used across all aspects of the wedding design.

The wedding flower design by Histoires Sauvages offsets the various shades of green with white, salmon and soft orange flowers mirroring the bride’s peach skin tones and the color of her engagement ring. This creates perfectly-balanced flower compositions including the wedding bouquet and the decoration for the cake table and reception tablescape which also features rich green table runners and candles for a truly refined and elegant look.

The wedding stationary from Promesse Graphique also makes use of this vibrant green and pays tribute to this outstanding luxury wedding venue, featuring a bespoke imprint of Château Bouffémont.

Even the Synies’ Paris wedding cake celebrates this unconventional color, with its jade icing enhanced by an airy wrap-around finish of white and gold petals. 

The color scheme is perfectly suited to a fine art wedding set against the backdrop of the muted tones of Château Bouffémont’s exceptional architecture and the natural greenery of the surrounding gardens and countryside. It gives this French chateau wedding a fresh, contemporary look thanks to its unique, unusual choice of colors.

Planning your own French chateau wedding? Make sure to request our latest brochure for full details of our wedding services and rates with bespoke exclusive hire options starting from 8,300 Euros.

Keep in touch at @châteaubouffemont


Photos are a huge part of our daily lives, we take, post, share and send photos every single day. But on your wedding day those photos take on huge importance, they will be the lasting record of one of the most important days in your life, which means choosing your wedding photographer and getting your wedding photography right is a key part of your wedding planning. So how can you make sure you make the right choice and end up with the best wedding photos possible?

Château Bouffémont met up with Paris-based fine art wedding photographer Jérémy Froeliger to get his expert advice on the question.

CB: As an experienced wedding photographer what are the key things a couple need to think about when choosing their wedding photographer?

JF: I have been shooting weddings now for eight years so I can tell you that there is one thing couples – and even wedding planners – nearly always forget to do when selecting their wedding photographer: ask for a complete photo gallery.

A lot of couples base their choice of photographer on their website or Instagram, that’s a great place to start, but remember they will always have chosen to publish their best photos and what you see there is not necessarily representative of all their work. With a full photo gallery you can see their photos from lots of different types of weddings and at different points in the day – the preparations, ceremony, meal, evening event etc. When you view the gallery check that the style is consistent and corresponds to what you really want.

Obviously, it is also really important to then meet the photographer and make sure you get on with them.

CB: How far ahead in their planning do couples need to be when they contact their wedding photographer?

JF: There’s no fixed timing, but when I first meet with the couple I will need to have at least a rough idea of what kind of wedding they are planning, so it’s good if they have the basic information to hand: location of the wedding, how long they want the photographer for, the number of guests, and which vendors they have already selected.

The number of guests allows us to work out if a second or even third photographer might be needed and I always ask about the vendors because that helps get a feel for the style of the wedding and also means I can help the couple find any services they might still need from my network.

CB: Is there anything a couple can do to prepare for having their wedding photos taken?

JF: Actually there is – drink lots of water the day before!  It really helps to get your skin looking great for your photos. Otherwise, the main thing you can do is be as relaxed as possible on the day. The timing of the photos can help with this, very few couples are naturally at ease in front of the camera, but as the day goes on they become more relaxed, so I recommend you schedule the couples photos later on in the day, just before the evening dinner. I always remind people that they will never be as beautiful as on their wedding day, they will have the best hair, the best make-up and the best emotions – and that’s what really makes great photos, the emotion.

CB: How do you as the photographer help to make sure your couples get the best wedding photos possible?

JF: It depends on the couple: people who are very comfortable don’t need any direction, so I tend to just let them interact and the photos come very easily.

The interaction is key for people who are not so comfortable, they need more direction but I get them moving about, interacting with each other, and they revert to their usual behaviour as a couple. They forget they are having their photo taken and that’s when you get the best shots. The more relaxed and confident they feel the better the photos, which is why it’s so important to choose a photographer you feel comfortable with and trust

I also really recommend that couples do a first-look photo, sometimes couples are worried that it will take away from the ceremony but the two are complementary. The private first look between the bride and groom is very intimate, whereas the arrival of the bride at the ceremony is more public, so the emotion is different.

CB: The 2022 wedding season is about to really ramp up, what wedding trends are you seeing for this year?

JF: Every season has its trends and for 2022 I definitely think that intimate weddings are still very popular – now by choice not by obligation. I really enjoy these weddings, because an intimate wedding is a great option for spending more time with each of your guests

I’m also seeing a shift in what clients want from their wedding photographs they are really looking for more playful and fun wedding photos, in a style that’s joyful and dynamic. That’s a really interesting trend for photographers as it allows us to have more fun too!

CB: Finally, what recommendations do you have for couples preparing for their wedding right now?

JF: I would say the key thing that couples should think about coordination on the wedding day. If they don’t have a planner they may end up being solicited all day long to answer people’s questions and sort out minor logistics. If they want to make the most of their wedding day they should at the very least assign roles to key family members, the best men and bridesmaids etc. Ideally, they should have someone on hand to coordinate everything, like you do at Château Bouffémont. 

I also recommend that clients ask selected vendors to recommend other service providers in their network. If the different vendors involved in the wedding know each other and are used to working together it makes the coordination much easier.

Floral designer @lindachampenoiswedding
Videographer @tuan.nguyen.films

Keep in touch at @châteaubouffemont

An intimate Parisian elopement at Château Bouffémont

Château Bouffémont was thrilled to accommodate this styled luxury elopement hosted by Heather Benge Events and Julie Paisley Photography as part of their Voyager Et Inspirer Workshop.

A genuine fairy-tale wedding brought to life by a team of expert wedding vendors featuring everything you could want from a French chateau wedding and more: a stunning bride and groom, incredible flower design, customized wedding stationary, luxury across the board and all against the magical backdrop of this picture-perfect chateau located right outside Paris.

The venue and its proximity to Paris are a key inspiration for the wedding design. The wedding stationary features a print of the chateau alongside the most iconic Parisian monuments. For a French-inspired wedding a French blue color scheme is a must, here it is used to great effect on the table cloths, accessories and stationery in particular.

The bride’s shoes, worthy of Marie-Antoinette herself, also reprise the French blue color and work perfectly with the bridal gown by Galia Lahav.

The natural flower compositions designed by Lettre à Elise Events are clearly inspired by the bucolic setting of this stunning French château wedding venue. Even the floral finish to the bridal gown evokes this natural beauty.

The surrounding architecture and stunning grounds provide the perfect backdrop for taking romantic, elegant, timeless photos of this idyllic intimate wedding.

Photography by @kellilynnphotography

Keep in touch at @chateaubouffemont


Our series “Château Bouffémont Live” features interviews with guests from the world of events and weddings to provide you with expert advice and insider insight. As the autumn nights draw in it’s the perfect time to get started on your 2022 wedding preparations and who better to turn to for inspiration than florist Flavia Dausoa-Dautel from La Maison Dautel, who sat down with Château Bouffémont’s General Manager Sarp Gogebakan to talk wedding flowers, wedding decoration and all things floral design! 

SG: Hi Flavia, I’ve got lots of questions for you so perhaps you can first tell us about yourself and how you got into wedding flower design? 

FDD: Well, I come from an artistic family and I always loved flowers as a child, but I actually started out by studying economics and worked as a Project Manager. When I had my first daughter, I decided I needed a more creative outlet, so I trained at the Floral School of Paris and it was a real revelation for me. I loved everything about it. So, I first opened my own florist’s before specialising in wedding flower design and artistic floral design which is when I founded La Maison Dautel.

SG: Where do you get your inspiration from for your floral designs?

FDD: I actually spent a lot of time in museums as a child – my father works for the Museum of Fine Arts in Lille, and I can see that this really inspires my floral designs. Nature is also a very big influence on my work. What I love about wedding flowers is that every project is unique, it’s months of preparation, spending lots of time with the couple, and that feeds into the process and the design. That’s what I enjoy most about my job, the time I spend with the couple, helping to take a little bit of the stress off them.

SG: What are the current wedding flower trends?

FDD: I definitely think that colour is going to be a major trend. With the health crisis we have come through I feel like people are looking to bring some fun, some playfulness and some colour into their lives, so I expect a lot more requests for more colourful designs. Arrangements in Medici vases are another key trend particularly for outdoor weddings or the church ceremony.

SG: How do you choose the wedding theme and the style?

FDD: The theme and style really depend on the venue, I’m quite conventional in this area – if you want a folksy, country wedding but you’ve chosen a venue like Château Bouffémont I’m going to advise against it! I like everything to match – the containers, the flowers, the design, the venue. For a château wedding you can go for a period look or for a modern look but in a timeless design that won’t look out of place.

SG: What about choosing the flowers themselves and the colours?

FDD: It really depends on the couple, their origins and how much they want to push the boundaries. I always say that when couples hire me as a vendor what they are actually buying is my eye for design. They can look at my portfolio and my Instagram to see what I do and how I go about it and if they like it then they just need to trust me – I’ll go to the flower market and pick out what I think works best. That’s why I do a lot of inspirational photo shoots to test out new colour combinations and ideas to show to future clients – it’s like preparing a collection for a wedding dress designer.

SG: What advice to you have about the floral decoration for the wedding ceremony in particular?

FDD: When I prepare the floral design for the wedding ceremony I try to keep in mind the visual impact and how it will look in the photos, so I prefer larger displays like arches or Medici vase arrangements rather than small bouquets along the aisles. Ideally, you’ll need to think about having aisle decorations, a full or half arch, a large bouquet behind the chairs and then you can play with arrangements of different shapes and sizes to complete the look. If budget is an issue then we can mix up the composition and include more greenery or plants, I really like working with ferns which have a great impact.

SG: How can you personalise your wedding flowers?

FDD: One trick is to use fabrics which can really look great when interwoven into the design. You can even decorate trees with flowers and fabric to create an original display. You just need to be sure you have a lot of fabric! Wood is great for a natural arch structure and if your structure is attractive in itself you can let some of it show through the decoration. I’m not a big fan of a very conventional, symmetric arch, I prefer more natural forms and patterns.

Keep in touch at @chateaubouffemont


Our new series “Château Bouffémont Live” features interviews with guests from the world of events and weddings to provide you with expert advice and insider insight. With the wedding season already underway in the US and restrictions gradually lifting here in France, this week Château Bouffémont’s General Manager Sarp Gogebakan met with Rachael Ellen from Rachael Ellen Events to talk about organizing a post-lockdown wedding in 2022 and the future of weddings. 

SG: Thanks for being with us today Rachael, perhaps you could start by telling us how you got into the wedding business?

RE: I actually always thought I would work in interior design, but when I was at college I was introduced to events planning and I loved it. From there I started to get involved with planning destination weddings and really found my sweet spot because they are so romantic and offer such a great experience for the couple and their guests. That’s how I got started with organizing weddings in France, because it’s such a standout destination for a wedding.

SG: What’s the best thing about a destination wedding in France?

RE: With a destination wedding you automatically have a smaller guest count. When you come to France and bring all your close family and friends together at an exceptional location, like Château Bouffémont, they are guaranteed to have the most incredible experience. It’s also very intentional, you can’t just drop in on a destination wedding like you can at a local event!

SG: What are the biggest challenges in organizing a wedding in 2022? 

RE: Safety is of course the number one priority and there are lots of things you can do to make sure your guests feel comfortable and safe while attending your wedding. Each couple knows their wedding party and what specific requirements certain individual guests or groups might have. Some couples are asking people to be vaccinated before the wedding or at least to inform them if they’ve had their vaccination. In the US people don’t have to wear a mask once they’re vaccinated so there is less mask-wearing but that was something we saw a lot of this year. The general trend across the wedding industry is towards smaller weddings which automatically makes for a safer environment. Finally, the seating plan is a big factor, seating people by household and making sure they are properly spaced helps everyone feel more comfortable.

SG:  What should couples focus their attention and budget on while organizing a wedding in 2022?

RE: With smaller guest counts, couples often have more budget to channel into the wedding experience, so they can use it to add in some special personalised details like a welcome hamper for guests or an activity like a wine-tasting tour. It also means you can drill right down into the finest little details like getting just the right table decoration, tons of flowers, beautiful stationary, amazing entertainment, wonderful food and drink, it all adds up to making the day a real treat for guests. 

SG: How can we be creative and organize an entertaining wedding despite the potential restrictions?

RE: This is something I talk to my clients about a lot, sometimes they think that having a smaller wedding means they should skip things like a band for the evening event, or a change of outfit etc. But everyone is there to have a good time and just because there are less people doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change your plans, you can still have the wedding you dreamed of!

SG:  What are your tips and suggestions for brides & grooms organising a last-minute or express wedding in 2022?


· Firstly, familiarize yourself with your contracts and know what is and isn’t possible under the terms and conditions for your wedding venue and wedding vendors. It’ll save a lot of headaches if you do need to postpone or adjust your guest count etc.

· Communicate clearly and openly with your vendors, inform them of any changes as far ahead of time as possible so all the necessary arrangements can be made.

· Things will change: food and beverage regulations, seating arrangements, guest numbers etc. lots of things might have to be adjusted in the event of new restrictions so be as flexible as possible.

· If you do need to postpone your wedding for some reason create an availability table for all your key vendors and colour code it to find a date when everyone is available so you can push back your date without changing suppliers.

· People get discouraged if their plan A doesn’t work out but don’t worry your wedding planner will always have a plan B, C and D in mind! So, even if things have to change and adapt you can still have the wedding of your dreams! 

SG: What final message would you like to leave for couples watching us who are planning or thinking about planning their wedding?

RE: Everything is looking really positive going forwards. So, any brides and grooms out there who are thinking about getting married this year or next year and considering a destination wedding you should know that all the vendors and venues are here ready to make it happen for you.

Keep in touch at @chateaubouffemont

A five-point guide to a perfect product launch

Planning an event to launch a new product? With our extensive experience of hosting corporate events at Château Bouffémont, we decided to share with you our five-point guide to making your product launch a resounding success:

  1. Align to your target market

You know your product better than anyone, so when planning your launch remember to focus on your target market. The launch event is about showcasing your product not organizing a fun event for your staff so think about what will appeal to your future customers.

  1. Choose an appropriate theme

Keeping your target market in mind choose a theme that is relevant to your product and reflects the key messages you want your clients to take away. This theme will then guide how you organize your event, the vendors you choose to work with, the entertainment and catering and so on. Here at the chateau we work with a range of top-quality vendors who can adapt their services to a wide variety of themes.

  1. Get the right venue

Once you have your theme, choosing the right venue is an absolutely crucial phase in planning your corporate event. For a product launch the venue needs to be relevant to the product and the chosen theme – a luxury product for example requires a prestigious venue for a truly memorable launch. There are also practical considerations such as ease of access and flexibility in terms of the indoor and outdoor areas available to you in case the weather is changeable. Your venue should also provide a scenic backdrop to your event photos which will be used in your post-launch promotional materials and social media.

  1. Plan engaging entertainment

Every single detail of your event is important but if you want your product to truly shine, make sure your guests have a good time – it’s as simple as that! Offering a form of entertainment that genuinely appeals to your target market will make sure your product sticks in their minds and will also generate positive feedback on the event on your social media accounts, so whether it’s a DJ, a stand-up comic or a hip-hop dance troupe, make sure you put some thought into the entertainment on offer. 

  1. Focus your budget

Gone are the days when companies had unlimited budgets for their events. Your return-on-investment is key to a successful product launch so when organizing your event think about where you will get the biggest returns: fabulous photos you can use for ongoing product promotion, top-class entertainment and a standout theme to generate social media interactions, a truly memorable venue to offer opinion leaders, influencers, future clients and the press a night (or day!) to remember!   

Of course, we think Château Bouffémont is a great fit for all kinds of product launches and here’s why:

– Easy access just 30 kilometers from the center of Paris and 20 minutes from Charles de Gaulle Airport

– A stunning location with magnificent views from the gardens and historic architectural features

– 5 conference rooms (300m2) with a capacity of up to 70 persons, 140 for seated dinners, 200 for cocktail dinners, 9 suites and sumptuous gardens and grounds

– A team of expert staff working behind the scenes to ensure your event goes smoothly

– A pool of first-class vendors the château can call on to meet your every need 

Our team is on hand to provide their expert advice and support right from the start of the planning stages. So why not get in touch today to find out more? Fill out our contact form here or call us on +33 (0) 1 39 91 20 94.

Château Bouffémont Live! Laurie Arons & Château Bouffémont

After our successful series of live interviews “Let’s Talk Weddings” launched during the first lockdown in France, Château Bouffémont’s General Manager Sarp Gogebakan is delighted to propose a new series: Château Bouffémont Live, over the course of which he will interview a whole host of interesting guests from the world of events and weddings to provide you with expert advice and insider insight.

To kick off this new series we are joined by a very special guest: one of the world’s top wedding planners, Laurie Arons, joining us live from the US. 

SG: For those tuning in who don’t know you, who is Laurie Arons?

LA: I started my wedding planning journey in 1994 when I founded Laurie Arons Special Events. Before that I was a marketing manager for a biotech firm, but when I was made redundant, I decided to follow my heart and set up my own business. 

SG: What services does Laurie Arons Special Events provide?

LA: We are a full-service wedding planning provider, which means we guide clients through the whole planning process from finding a venue right through to the last little details.

SG: I know your firm specialises in multi-day destination weddings, how do you plan a multi-day destination wedding and how long is the ideal duration?

LA: Yes, the majority of our clients now want destination weddings. In terms of the number of days I think 3 or 4 days is the ideal duration for a destination wedding. For example, the guests can arrive on the Thursday for a welcome party, devote Friday to activities, then have the wedding and reception on Saturday, before finishing things off on the Sunday with a lunch and farewell get-together. As regards the planning, we usually start with the choice of venue and the location which is the cornerstone of the whole event. We then work back to look at what is available in the local area in and tailor the activities to the interests and the composition of the group. Anything is possible in terms of activities, hiking, rafting, yoga… if you are coming to France for example you might want to put on a wine tasting or cookery class. The really great thing about a destination wedding is that it allows everyone time to relax, get away from everything, spend time with the couple, and bond as a group.

SG: What should you think about when planning a wedding in France?

LA: It’s much more complicated organising an international wedding than organising your wedding in your home area which you know really well. For a wedding in France or anywhere overseas I really do recommend that people use a full-service planner with experience of the chosen location. For the planner, this type of wedding will require a reconnaissance trip to identify the best local vendors, venues and activities. When we do these types of events we always use a maximum number of local suppliers to support the local community.

SG: What are your five top tips for planning a destination wedding in 2022?

LA: First and foremost, you need to really establish what kind of experience you want and that will form the basis for all the rest of the planning, the venue and location really are the key to a truly unique wedding. I suggest that couples think about their shared history and choose a place which has a personal connection for them. I also think it’s important to find somewhere that has capacity to accommodate all your guests, so they can spend time together over the duration of the vacation. In 2022 we will certainly be in a better place but I still strongly recommend that you carefully check all your contracts for cancellation terms, just in case new Covid restrictions are put into place. And of course, I really do recommend that you hire a wedding planner!

SG: Thank you so much Laurie, that’s great advice and we are very privileged to get these great tips from you. I believe that you also run wedding planning masterclasses?

LA: Yes, I have been running wedding planning masterclasses for 5 or 6 years now and our next event is coming up in December 2021. We’ll be getting together for a 4-day retreat with 12 participants, myself and some hand-picked speakers will share our expertise and I will explain how I have grown and developed my business over the years. The aim is to help less experienced planners take their businesses to the next level, I really love doing these classes and meeting people from all over the world! 

Keep in touch at @chateaubouffemont

Getting married in a French Château

There’s a reason France is considered to be the most romantic country in the world (or are we biased?). Who could avoid falling in love in the land of haute cuisine, fine wines, and high fashion, with its fairytale châteaux, emblematic architecture and famous French flair?

So, it’s no surprise that France features in all the top rankings for destination weddings with Paris, the city of love, right at the top of the leader board.

Château Bouffémont is perfectly located just 30 minutes from Paris and here’s why so many couples have chosen us for their exclusive private-hire venue for their French chateau wedding:

  1. A picture-perfect setting

Inside and out, Château Bouffémont is the epitome of elegance, with its five hectares of grounds on three levels, the terrace with its magnificent views, five reception rooms and nine suites and rooms to accommodate your wedding guests. Each and every one is decorated with the exceptional style and refinement unique to a historic French château, in this case the former home of the Marquise of Preignes and Baron Empain.

  1. An easy-access location

With easy access from the center of Paris and the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Château Bouffémont not only allows for easy and short transfers for your wedding guests, but will also allow you to take in an array of Paris attractions including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the river Seine after your wedding as part of your honeymoon or an extended stay with your family and friends.

  1. Bespoke service

As well as being able to help at all stages of your wedding planning to help you find the right vendors (photographer, videographer, caterer, DJ, florist, wedding planner etc.), during your stay at Château Bouffémont, our dedicated team will be on hand to meet your every need. The team offers butler service, a full housekeeping team, security staff to ensure your privacy and a concierge service to facilitate your day-to-day living, as well as a private chef so you and your guests can enjoy that famous French gastronomy throughout your stay.

  1. A range of activities

Our private grounds provide the ideal space for both leisure and sport and are conveniently located close to top leisure facilities, so after your big day why not spend some time during your stay at Château Bouffémont getting active with your guests on the tennis courts, horse riding or playing a round of golf? What’s more, we can also arrange activities such as cooking classes, champagne and wine tasting on-site or at an outside location in Paris to give your wedding guests that truly French experience.

  1. An exclusive hire package

Chateau Bouffémont is available for your exclusive hire which means the entire 2000m2 of the Chateau is entirely privatized for you and your guests. Not only does the private hire option mean you have the whole place to yourselves but you will also benefit from the full and exclusive attention of our service team so you can enjoy your French chateau experience with total peace of mind.  

Want to find out more about hiring Chateau Bouffémont for your destination wedding in France or family event? Contact us here or call us on +33 (0) 1 39 91 20 94.

And if you think we might be exaggerating just how wonderful Château Bouffémont is, don’t just take our word for it, read what our guests have to say about us right here!

Editorial for @wedluxe 
Photography: @photographerinparis 
Planning: @sweetcandyshower 
Styling: @estellemonnotevents 
Floral Design: @floret.france 
Stationery: @graphikkart 
Rentals: @maison_options 
Celebrant: @celebrantinparis 
Video: @paris_krup 
Shoes: @jimmychoo 
Hair and Make-up: @jhocruzat 
Cake: @sweet_creations_cakes 
Suit: @chrisvonmartial 
Jewellery: @myrtillebeck