Meet the newlyweds

Jennie & Chris

Wedding day at MB: 24th August 2023
Wedding style: Elegant, rustic, yet refined

Why did you choose Manoir Beaulieu?

Hilariously, one of Jennies bridesmaids actually asked her if she’d consider a destination wedding when we first got engaged, and the answer was a firm no. But after a fruitless search for a venue we liked in the UK (well, Jennie liked, Chris liked them all!) we ended up extending our search to France. We just wanted something a little bit different, and to avoid that run of the mill “wedding-factory” wedding we’d seen a hundred times over; and nothing in the UK quite did that. After months of searching, we came across Manoir Beaulieu and the promise of a blank canvas at a venue that prided itself on being unique and not there solely for the wedding churn – and we knew we’d hit the jackpot! Within a couple of weeks’, we were on a flight to Bordeaux to visit and thankfully it was just as stunning in reality as it looked in the brochure. But what sold it to us in the end? Lauren and James! Everything they said felt so refreshing and aligned exactly with what we were looking for and we just knew our wedding was going to be in safe hands. When we arrived back to the UK two days later, our venue was in the bag!

 

Describe your overall wedding style or theme

We used lots of natural and reclaimed materials, in-keeping with the rustic French farmhouse style of Manoir Beaulieu but pulled them together in a refined way with influences from both a classic English country garden wedding and French provincial. Rustic linens, herbs and wildflowers made up the main décor, but we also incorporated some more elegant and classic design elements such as a champagne tower, white fans, and our bridal party wardrobe was very ‘classic white wedding’. We’d also envisioned lots of white candles, both on the table and throughout the venue, but our wedding day was a very hot 40 degrees and melted candles wasn’t quite the vibe we were going for, so they didn’t make it in the end!

 

How did you two meet - is there a juicy story behind your first date?

We met in 2011, on our second day at Plymouth University having been assigned to the same flat in Halls of Residence. Fun fact about us – we’ve therefore never not lived together! We then spent the first few weeks of university together – our days revolved around exploring our new city and getting to grips with things like cooking, shopping and washing for the first time, and our nights were spent partying hard! We definitely had an instant connection and within the first couple of weeks we were already cooking and eating dinner together like an old married couple. The only juicy thing about our first date was the chicken – being poor students at the time it was just to the local Nando’s!

What was your dress goals or inspiration, and who was the designer?

My dress was the ‘Mimosa’ by Alena Leena, and it took me a long time to find the right one! I knew from the off that I would be picky, but after 6 months of searching every bridal boutique, Instagram page and wedding website, I got to the point where I was genuinely starting to panic that I wouldn’t find a dress I even liked, let alone loved! I remember a lady in one of the bridal boutiques telling me that brides crying when they found their dress was rare and to not expect to feel that kind of emotion – but by that point just something I vaguely liked would probably have made me cry with happiness! I wanted something classic, timeless and quite plain – sparkles, sequins and lace were all big no-no’s for me, but I also didn’t want it to be too plain – it was my wedding dress after all. After months of searching I stumbled across the one I eventually chose online and visited a boutique about a three hour drive away from us to try it on. And, yep, you guessed it – I cried! It was everything I was looking for and more. Plain, but not too plain – the gorgeous (detachable!) ruffle sleeves and incredible train added just enough detail, and the unique polka dot taffeta material took it from being quite a classic white wedding dress to being a bit more playful which fitted with the venue perfectly. And the best thing? It had pockets! 100% one of the saddest things for me about our wedding being over is not being able to wear my beautiful dress again. 

Where did you get your theme inspiration from?

Instagram mainly, plus a bit of Pinterest. The Instagram algorithm definitely figured out we were planning a wedding and fed us a continuous stream of stunning wedding content for the 18 months leading up to our big day. We also loved looking through the real weddings on Rock My Wedding – they gave us a lot of ideas as well. Manoir Beaulieu itself probably provided the main inspiration though. We were struggling to visualise our wedding at any of the other venues we visited before we found Manoir Beaulieu, but from the moment we saw the photo of the gorgeous front courtyard with the house and blue shutters in the background, it just all clicked into place and our theme and wedding inspiration just spiralled from there.

Your wedding feast, what did you eat?
What didn’t we eat!? It really was a feast! We knew the food was going to be good (another reason we chose Manoir Beaulieu!), but it was actually incredible! For starter we had local cured meats, wood-fired tomatoes, cornichons, marinated olives, breadsticks, artichoke & lemon pesto, black olive tapenade and celeriac remoulade, all served family style; followed by a refresher of a cucumber and pea soup. For main it was Wood-fired chicken with a herby lemon crunch, served on a bed of chargrilled vegetables with rosemary and parmesan potatoes, romesco and smoked aioli, again, served family style. And for dessert, the most incredible raspberry tart ever. All our guests commented on how great the dessert was, and it was probably up there with one of the best desserts we’ve ever had! Can you send us the recipe please?! 
What was your first dance song?
We didn’t actually have a set first-dance song. Both being introverts, the concept of being required to dance together in-front of everyone at a set time just wasn’t something we wanted to do, so we gave it a miss in favour of a Champagne tower. BEST DECISION EVER. We had an absolute blast and it was definitely one of our favourite memories of the day! Of course, after a few glasses of Champagne we did hit the dance-floor, and we’re told our unofficial first dance was to Beyoncé, Love On Top.
What was your favourite part of the day?
There are too many to chose from! As we mentioned above, our Champagne tower was a highlight, as was the wedding feast – the food was just amazing and looking around at all our friends and family gathered round one table in sunny south west France was a bit of a pinch-me moment. We also had these heart sunglasses that we gave out to everyone later on in the evening and for some reason as soon as people had those on they just let loose! The memory of looking round the barn & seeing everyone dancing and having a fab time with those glasses on is one we will treasure forever! 
What do you hope the future holds for you two?
Hopefully just a long, happy and fulfilling life together. We met when we were 19 so we’ve already done a lot of our growing up together, and our wedding was kind-of the end of that chapter, and now we’re ready for the next one! Hopefully the next stage of our life will start out with a bit of travelling, and a few more adventures overseas – we‘ve missed out a bit on that due to Covid, before settling down and hopefully starting a family together. We also definitely need a wedding reunion at Manoir Beaulieu in 5 or 10 years time. Because our wedding was so intimate, all our friends really got to know each other during both the wedding, and the week leading up to it, so it would be lovely to bring everyone back together for another week of fun and frolics in the sun.
What wedding advice would you give to future couples?
Easier said than done we know, but don’t sweat the small stuff. We poured hours into the details of our wedding, and whilst we don’t regret any of it, we didn’t really notice them on the day, and all that really matters is being surrounded by your family and friends, with good food and good wine (and at Manoir Beaulieu both of those come in bucketfuls!). We’d also say don’t get led down a set path for your wedding that doesn’t feel authentic to you as a couple. Its so easy to just get swept along in the tried and tested wedding formula – its what most venues sell to you – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t want to do a first dance? Don’t do one – have a champagne tower instead! Want a curry for your wedding breakfast? Go for it! Find a venue that will let you be uniquely you, and who’ll help you create a wedding day to reflect that – they are harder to find, but they are out there (Manoir Beaulieu definitely being one of them), and it is so worth the extra searching!

Suppliers:

Photographer (and all photos featured on this page by) – Lauren Knuckey  |  Props and styling – Our Fabulous Things  |  Dress – The Bridal Boutique  |  Shoes – Ted Baker  |  Rings – his Blue Nile hers Evorden  |  Make up – Skin 23  |  Hair – Eleonora Hairstyliste  |  Grooms attire – Marc Darcy   |  Bridesmaid dresses – Pretty Lavish  |  Flowers –  Fairy Fleur  |  Band – Mixology Sax DJ  |  Cake – Chloe Belles Cake  |  Celebrant – Lisa Lister

Kind words from Jennie & Chris

It was everything we dreamed of and more. We stayed for a week, and it was the perfect location for a relaxing holiday in the sun, before transforming into an absolutely stunning wedding venue for our big day. Lauren and James worked tirelessly to ensure our wedding ran without a hitch, coordinating our suppliers and cooking up the most incredible food. They also catered our welcome meal the night before (we highly recommend you try their pizzas!) and a BBQ for all our guests the day after. It truly was the most perfect day, in amongst the most perfect week! Thank you Lauren and James!

See more real life weddings

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Charlotte & Peter

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