Category Archives: TIPS

CHÂTEAU BOUFFÉMONT LIVE! WEDDING CAKES 101 WITH SYNIE’S PARIS

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. This week Château Bouffémont’s General Manager, Sarp Gogebakan, spoke to one of the most renowned cake designers in Paris – Synie – to talk about what’s hot in the world of wedding cakes this season!

SG: Hi Synie, it’s great to have you here today, we love what you do at Synie’s Paris and are always impressed with your wedding cakes, but before we talk about that tell us how you got started in this field.

SP: I’ve always loved cake since I was a little girl. I actually started out creating recipes, but there is something really special about cake design and wedding cake design in which drew me in. I love the creative aspect, especially with my background in art history, and the fact that you have to draw together all the different aspects of the wedding into this one creation: the cake needs to fit with the wedding design, the couple themselves, the event, their style. It’s a challenge but great fun!

SG: What options do couples have when designing their wedding cake?

SP: The options are limitless! We really can work to incorporate anything the couple wants into their cake. For example one groom loves apple pie so we created a customized flavor with apple, cinnamon, crumble to mimic the pastry. The same goes for the decoration, we take inspiration from all aspects of the wedding, for that particular cake we used the clip in the bride’s hair to create a decoration of gold-edged flowers. The key is to ask couples lots of questions and to look at the wedding dress, the stationary, the venue, as well as asking them about their taste and style, you never know where you will find the inspiration so it’s good to cover all bases.

SG : What about flavors? Do you have any advice on choosing flavors for your wedding cake?

SP: I always tell couples to think about what they really like, but in actual fact most couples want to go with flavors they know the majority of their guests will enjoy, so in the summer it’s often vanilla and summer fruits – raspberries and strawberries – sometimes with champagne. In the winter it’s usually richer flavors like hazelnut, chocolate and caramel.

SG: There are a lot of different options for wedding cakes ranging from the most traditional to the most modern, what fun things have you been asked to do with a wedding cake and what are the key trends for this season?

SP: One thing I have been asked for which I think it going to become more popular is to incorporate a couple’s pets into their wedding cake design. So, this year I had a cake which had pawprints on it and next year I have an order which will incorporate three cats ! In terms of the trends we are seeing this season, florals are still very big and there are a lot of white-on-white designs which play with texture. Next season I think the textural aspect will stick but there will be more color and probably more painted cakes.

SG: Dessert buffets are still very popular, is this something you recommend for couples or is it a bad idea?

SP: It really depends on how important dessert is to the couple themselves. If they have a sweet tooth and like to eat lots of cake then it’s a great idea. When it’s well done a dessert buffet table can become a decorative feature in itself and this is where you can include a croquembouche or macaron pyramid or anything else you particularly enjoy.

SG: You’ve often worked on cakes for weddings held at Château Bouffémont in the past, if you were to make a Château Bouffémont cake what would it be like?

SP: I absolutely love Château Bouffémont – it’s a great wedding venue, the space is amazing, it has incredible views, it’s light and airy and the staff are all so helpful and friendly when I deliver my cakes. So, if I was to make you a customized cake I think I would start with a pistachio base as a nod to the green room which is absolutely beautiful. Then to balance it out I would add in a more acidic note like raspberry and a bit of crunch to finish it off. The decoration would need to be bright and airy like the spaces in the château so it would be very delicate.

Keep in touch at @chateaubouffemont

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 LIVE! LA MAISON DAUTEL & CHÂTEAU BOUFFÉMONT

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