So as most of my wacky plans start, it was just an idea. An idea that had been brewing for a while. I just wasn’t sure how to execute it.
I love France. If there’s one thing that you should know about me, it’s that I love France, deeply. When I was about four years old, my dad’s job was transferred to France, to a little town about 6 hours south of Paris by car, called St. Just-St. Rambert. It was the eighties and big opportunities like this still came around. So we moved out there. My parents, me, and my mom’s cat Ziggy. I attended French pre-school, and learned to speak in French in a very organic way (almost like a real French kid…almost). I learned to read and write in French before English. My sister was born there, and technically, she could try and apply for citizenship, but there are a lot of hoops. You know, to jump through. And even though, I only have vague memories of my time there as a small child, it will always hold a special place in my memories and my heart.
Then in college, I studied abroad there. It seemed like a natural thing since I knew how to speak French and there was a program in Lyon, the big city closest to the little town we lived in. So I did. And it was an amazing experience. If you ever have the chance to travel abroad, or live there for an extended period of time, I highly recommend it. In a nutshell, France is super special to me.
I had heard about this new online wedding magazine called Nonpareil that was in its second or third issue and I decided to contact them about submitting a photo shoot. And I learned that they did things a little differently from the typical magazine. They came up with the themes for the future issues of the magazine and then put out a call for contributors (wedding pros – planners, photographers, stationers, etc.) to submit ideas for the upcoming issues.
So for this issue, the editors called for working within main color and pairing it only with neutrals – black, white, or browns/tans. And it brought me back to this idea of creating a French inspired shoot of some sort. Plus, the name of the magazine means “none like it”, it was a perfect fit. So I thought of lavender, and the lavender fields of Provence in the south of France. And I knew I had a good idea brewing. But it needed a twist. I didn’t want it to be cliché, so I thought about pairing it with the South. Southern treats, because shoot, we all know how much I love dessert. And the concept was born: The South of France Meets the South.
This has been under wraps since July, but since the magazine published the latest issue earlier this week, I’m excited to share!
The ever-amazing Erin of Red Sole Events styled all the floral arrangements. I just gave her some guidance as to what I was looking for and she rocked it out.
To add some French flair while keeping some Southern whimsy, I made a bunting banner and wrote “happy marriage” in French.
My favorite calligrapher in Dallas, Nicole of the Left Handed Calligrapher created all the gorgeous stationery and did all the calligraphy of course. I sent her my original inspiration board that I submitted to Nonpareil. She took it and ran with it.
Part of the contribution requirements for Nonpareil is providing Do-It-Yourself projects as well as professional printables. Nicole graciously shared the menu card and place cards, which you can download from Nonpareil here. I also styled these favor boxes which is totally easy. A box from Michaels, ribbon, and twine. And voila, pretty box!
Nicole is so awesome. At the last minute, I asked her if she could do chair signs, but instead of “Bride” and “Groom”, have them say “Monsieur” and “Madame” and play on the French theme. She totally didn’t have to, but she did. Thank you Nicole!!
Reasons you should hire Erin for your wedding floral design? She designed this gorgeous arrangement. In. A. Birdcage. I loved it!! I trust her 110% to do a fabulous job. Because she has. And she does.
All of the Southern treats were made my Enjolik of Low Country Quisine. I love her desserts, although she really does specialize in the main entrees, the savory stuff, if you will. But when I knew that I would be needing Southern goodies, I thought of her immediately. Because she makes THE BEST Red Velvet cake in Dallas. For. Real. And hopefully you know I have an unhealthy obsession with that cake.
And her mini caramel cheesecakes. Delicious! And less guilt-inducing. You know, because they are mini. Of course, that probably doesn’t matter if you eat four…just sayin’.
She also brought her Key Lime Cake, which is also quite yummy. I’m not a huge lime person, but I do enjoy this cake. A lot.
So to tie in the French flair again, I made another bunting banner that reads “Congratulations” in French.
Oh and the cupcakes, those are Enjolik’s Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes. SO YUMMY. I can attest to all of the treats, because as soon as the shoot was over, we all dug in. Me, especially.
Seriously, I can’t get over the beauty of Nicole‘s work. It’s just impeccable. Always.
And I don’t know if you noticed, but we had three looks for our table, thanks to Erin. She brought her ideas, and executed LIKE A BOSS.
And I can’t forget to thank my sister for her contribution to this shoot. So on a whim, I decided that we needed some French macarons for the shoot. The weekend before the shoot, I went back to California for some portrait sessions, and I asked my sister if we could make these. She’s waaaay better in the kitchen than I, and wasn’t afraid to tackle making these. Once we were done, I carefully transported them back to Dallas from California. So thanks Steph!
Thanks to Jessica Goldfarb and Lucy Williams of The Gallery Events for additional styling assistance and creating additional inspirations boards for each part of the shoot.
Thanks to Chris Ryan of The Ryan Manor for letting us borrow his outdoor space to shoot in a pinch. I got 36 mosquito bites (my fault for shooting around dusk) but it was well worth it.
Thanks to Big D Party Rentals for saving the shoot! Apparently, you should order specialty linens well in advance (and I wanted lavender and purples!), but Pete and Jamie hooked me up and tracked down the right pieces. And they were able to wedge 4 Chivari chairs into my little Volvo. I understand why planners drive SUVs!
Catering: Enjolik Oree-Bailey, Low Country Quisine
Calligraphy: Nicole Black, The Left Handed Calligrapher
Floral and Table Styling: Erin Daniels Holme, Red Sole Events