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Destination Wedding: Place des Conde, France – Stephanie & Sivan

Happy 2015 everyone! To celebrate the New Year – and a very spectacular wedding – it’s an extra long post for you today. This is Stephanie and Sivan – a properly international couple who met in Israel, live in London and got married in France, which is Stephanie’s home country. I actually first got to know these guys on a pre-wedding shoot around London, and you can see some of those pics below too.

The pre-wedding shoot was a great way to get to know this ultra-cool couple, and really useful because their wedding was a bit Crazy! There was so much going on that I ended up bringing two other photographers with me – my lovely usual assistant Will, and Tom, who now runs his own very successful photography business and who it was brilliant to work with again. Between us and our combined camera equipment we managed to completely fill my car for the long drive across the Channel. Our destination – a beautiful chateau just South of Paris. We arrived in the neighbouring village after dark, at a guesthouse with a lovely landlady who didn’t speak a word of English (our French isn’t so hot either!).

The three of us split up for the first part of the wedding day. I joined Stephanie and her bridesmaids, who were in a room in the chateau. We divided our time between getting ready and keeping an eye out for the weather, which was changeable to say the least! Tom spent the morning with the groom and his team, who were getting ready in a gorgeous dovecote on the grounds. And Will managed to capture the venue being turned into a really magical place to get married, as well as the arrival of the guests.

Luckily the sun came out for the ceremony – incidentally, my first Jewish wedding. There was a little bit of panic just beforehand, as the rabbi suddenly realised that he didn’t have a bottle of wine needed for the ceremony: cue me radio-ing Tom to tell Sivan to send one of his able groomsmen out find one! The ceremony itself was not only stress-free; it was incredibly emotional and joyful. Tears from the groom, and once the traditional glass was smashed, everyone went crazy with laughter and hugs, really kicking off the celebrations.

We only had a short time before sunset, so while I spirited the bridal party away for formals, my handsome assistants took shots of the rest of the guests enjoying the many different rooms in the chateau, from an incredible Moroccan-themed room that became a shisha bar in the evening, to the conservatory, which contained some of the most amazing canapes I’ve seen (well, I guess we were in France – the cooking should be brilliant, right?!). Sivan – something of a magician himself (he was very excited to have a new ring to practice tricks with!) – even got one of his mates to demonstrate magic tricks for entertainment.

Then the crazy really began, kicking off with several rounds of Israeli dancing – turns out you need a practice dance (in this case taught by an Uncle) before dinner, so that everyone knows what to do when it’s time for the real first dance. I was also happily surprised by Sivan and Stephanie’s alternative to Chinese lanterns: they released loads of coloured helium balloons into the night, which was absolutely magical. Much as I can’t sit down for long on the job, I was so glad to have both Will and Tom helping me out, and Stephanie and Sivan knew how to put us all to maximum use! They sat us each at a different table at dinner (my second time this year at the top table – truly honoured!) so we could each get a different perspective.

The food was, as you might expect, incredible. The croquembouche was particularly impressive, apart from the fact that the bakers had managed to spell Sivan’s name totally wrong. Still, at least it was damn tasty! And that’s even before we attacked the downstairs dessert room. Yes, you read that right – an entire room FULL of desserts and dancing. Let’s just say that sweet-toothed Alex was in heaven. And so the fun went on seriously late, with a polaroid crazybooth and cheese and whisky into the early hours…

I think I’ve probably raved enough by now, so I’ll let you take a look at the photos and just give a final shoutout to my old OTC pal Patrick, who was one of Sivan’s best men – great to see you again man – and to the lovely couple Stephanie and Sivan – you guys absolutely rock!

Yes Tom, Will and I may have sneaked our own little crazybooth photo ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bonus! Here’s some of the London e-shoot photos!

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