Wedding of N & D
An American/ Swedish wedding at Chateau de Malliac, Gers, SW France
As I pulled into the tree lined avenue leading towards Malliac, dotted along the road were women collecting greenery.
The courtyard was in the process of being set up. Much laughter as two people on a ladder were attempting to tie paper lanterns on the wires strung between two buildings. The sky was an uncontrasted grey but we all hoped the rains of that week were over.
In a corner, some Swedish family and guests brought together wild flowers and leaves to make little bouquets to adorn the tables already set out as a capital E with the spine of the letter being the head table. No placement names were needed on the other tables - no table plan; everyone was to just sit where they wished.
Familiar faces greeted me from the kitchen - the catering team under management from Anneli of Delicieux and the planner, Abby from La Boutique Event - as I passed through to search out the bride.
It was my first wedding at the venue. Green. The gardens were lush with greenery and growth. Roses clambered up the Gascon stone surrounding the pool area. Towering trees framed the landscape. Chairs in rows of about 12 and 5 deep had been placed just further than and either side of the rose bower. Women were here too, threading greenery around the wooden trellis.
A bridal suite - an unmade bed, gilt edged mirrors, tall windows, the green from the garden spilling into the room, rose petals silently dropped and lay curled along the varnished wood of the chest of drawers.
Swedish and American accented English. Hair curled, eye liner applied, red nail polish. Two faces shared their reflections. The celebrant, Sandy Smith arrived. Wanting to capture the correct pronunciation of the Swedish names - and again and again and then she had it.
More raucous energy in the groom’s suite - a bedroom borrowed as suitcases were quickly filled and lids closed.
The cork popped and despite previous assurances the erupting champagne left a wet path to the bath, the holder looking astonished - ‘this never happens to me’ shrug.
A line of old and new friends gathered tightly, with the window light behind me and glasses were raised.
Nerves. Silent stress. The dress was stepped into. Reading, holding, concentration, the bride’s ceremony words for the groom to hear. Too many people in the room. Everyone out, says the bride……
And so it starts…….and it is beautiful. The wind whips up and the trellis topples forward to be caught, mouths wide open, arms stretched out, and is held and kept in place by the two fathers.
Aperos, speeches, dinner, more speeches, cheese & coffee, more speeches, time for the couple to step away from the crowd and into the evening light……and then a party under the stars.