We have a real international affair for you today featuring one truly spectacular couple, Don and Marion. They met back in 2008 in Shanghai where they now live together, and after a shock proposal in Hong Kong (where Marion only “thinks” she said ok!) they set about planning a very intimate wedding on the French Riviera. With guests travelling from the Philippines (where Don is from), the States, China, Singapore, HongKong, Germany, Italy, the UK and Austria it was important to Marion that they showed them a great time in her home country. The perfect location was found in Chateau de la Colle Noire for a relaxed wedding day and with so much to see around the area, it’s no wonder most of their family and friends stayed on for a few weeks. Captured to perfection by the undeniably talented Chris Spira, destination weddings don’t really come better than this.

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From the Bride..

“Don and I met in Shanghai in 2008. I went there to study Mandarin after graduating in Edinburgh and he left the Philippines in 2007 to open his family photography studio. As he was working with French clients, he wanted to learn French (we are reputably bad at speaking English) and I was a French teacher.. We got together a few months later! Very cliché teacher-student situation!”

“The engagement was a big surprise. Don prepared a trip to Hong-Kong and we stayed at the Upper House boutique hotel.  On one of the nights there, he just gave me an unwrapped box. I wished for anything but an engagement ring.. I wasn’t ready. I started crying when I saw “bague de fiancaille” on the side of the cartier box and started saying “oh no no no, why now?”. He just said “it’s always been you, why wait?, let’s do it!”. After much crying I think I ended up saying “….ok…! “ – Amy and I found this particularly amusing, poor Don was made work for it but wasn’t she worth it?

“We had our civil wedding in Shanghai with only a small bunch of friends who were based locally. No family were present. It was very last minute. We really were deciding things one week to the next! We had a champagne breakfast together before going to the local authorities to arrange the legal side of our marriage and then went for a dim-sum brunch with our friends. For the wedding day, we wanted a wedding party and celebration with all our closest friends and family present. Shanghai has really poor choices for celebrating a wedding and I wanted to show my husband and his family and friends where I grew up,  so France it was.”

“It was very natural to opt for the French Riviera. It’s beautiful, has nice weather, good air! Also, a very down-to-earth explanation would also be that our Asian wedding guests could afford the travel and were more flexible, which wasn’t the case the other way around. Our european  family and friends would have struggled to make a trip  to Asia with work constraints. In any case, when you compared Provence versus Manila … It was a no brainer. The Philippines islands are to die for, the beaches, the food, the people….Great atmosphere. But Manila doesn’t have that beach vibe. Manila is polluted, has a lot of road traffic, and as a tourist there is not much to do. It’s a shopping mall culture. Also we wouldn’t have had much choice in terms of the reception venue and no freedom when it came to the guests list. My in-laws would have invited the whole of Manila and we wanted an intimate wedding! In the Philippines, a wedding can have up to a thousand guests, 200 is considered intimate!”

“For our wedding in France, the theme was elegant in green. All shades of green were allowed except lime, turquoise, and neon. 
I love green and I don’t like girly stuff so no pink or purple was allowed. Same with feathers, glitter, and fluff.  I’m simple, I like vintage, and I feel better barefoot! The goal was to make everyone feel like home and enjoy the place playing petanque or having a glass of pastis!
 We decorated the place with olive tree branches, white flowers, and candles. The venue was stunning itself so there was no need to overdo it and spoil the natural beauty of the Chateau and its garden. We decorated the inside of the Chateau with antique frames we brought from Shanghai and photos of our guests with us to show how we met. We also handmade and prepared lavender bags that we put on each guest’s bed.”

“We didn’t have any music so there was no band, no DJ and no MC so there was no stress or place for things going wrong. But our best decision was by far he venue! It was super that 90% of our guests were able to stay with us at the Chateau the nigh of the wedding and the night before, it had enough accommodation for us and it made all the difference.”

“There isn’t one particular moment that was most memorable, but loads of small ones, like the warmth of the sun, the silver green of the olive trees around, the candles lit around the fish pond, the foie gras lollipops, the champagne and the many beautiful green dresses. Everyone crammed into the small chapel, the funny slideshows, my elder brother’s tears were all very intimate moments for us.”

“As a nod to Don’s Filipino heritage, we asked the Filipino guests to wear their traditional outfits: the barong and the terno dress. We also included Filipino snacks and deserts at the reception that my in-laws were so good to fill their luggage with.”

“For our guests that had travelled so far, I planned 5 days of activities around the wedding day and rented 3 mini-vans to tour people around the area. On one of the days we had a gastronomic lunch at Chateau Eza, then a stroll in Nice followed by an apero in a local bar. Other days we visited Seillans, a typical Provençal village, Grasse and its perfumeries, and Saint-Tropez by boat.”

Photographer: Chris Spira | Chapel: Garden of the Chateau de La Colle Noire  | Reception: Chateau de La Colle Noire | Bridal Gown Designer: Chris Diaz | Groom’s Outfit: Tailored locally in China | Bridal Jewellery: C de Cartier Necklace and Bride’s Great-Grandmother’s Engagement Ring (Art Deco style) | Florist: L’Arum in Saint Raphael |  Wedding Cake: Traditional French “Piece Montee” | Ring Designer: Diamond-set Cartier | Catering: Matyasy | Hair: Local Hair Dresser | Make Up: Bride’s Friend

10 Responses

  1. Canny Loh

    Sounds like the bride was kind of forced into it. Romantic!

    Reply

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