If you are thinking of getting married in France, le Château de Mesnières En-Bray in Normandy has to be on your list. It’s easily accessible from southern England, being just a few short hours drive from many of the main ports in France such as Le Harve or Caen, especially if you choose to arrive by Brittany Ferries. It’s also a fairytale castle that gives your special day the perfect backdrop for a truly amazing wedding in France. You can also host hundreds of guests in the grounds as there are plenty of rooms available for everyone to sleep, so everyone can party into the night and stagger back to their rooms.
Weddings in France are a little different than in the UK as you don’t really have a time limit on the partying. Rather than everything finishing at midnight, you can party into the small hours – I finished photographing this wedding at around 2:30 am, and it was well worth it.
Marie and Antoine had the wedding service at the local mayors office close to where they live, which is traditional in France. You do the official ceremony in your village at around 1pm, to sign the relevant documents and make the marriage legal. We then headed off to a local church for the religious ceremony, and the church was packed full – I think at least 250 people.
With both official services done and dusted, we headed off to the fairytale castle for the shindig of the year. Luckily the three of us arrived before anyone else so we can get some beautiful photos of Marie and Antoine together with the castle as the backdrop – without anyone in the background to spoil the view; and it was well worth it. Once everyone had arrived, the drinks and canapés we served along with some medieval entertainment (more to come later) that really gave everyone something to keep them entertained. We’d already take the formal group shots at the mayors office and church, so all everyone had to do was enjoy the day.
Their parents had also organised some medieval fighting demonstrations, but from the looks of the guys doing the fighting, there was not ‘demo’ about it. These guys really went for it, with some full-on battling with swords and shields. There were two acts, and by the end, you could see they were exhausted from all the hard fighting.
This led nicely onto everyone getting changed into medieval outfits for the evening party. I have to say, if you are thinking of this, it’s well worth it. To see everyone dressed up in something different really made the wedding memorable.
The whole weekend was one to remember. The food, the wine (I was lucky to have a couple of glasses at this wedding as I was staying at the venue), the people, the château; one to make 2023 stand out.
A big thank you Marie, Antoine and both of their parents for inviting me to a truly incredible wedding in Normandy. I hope I will be back soon.
Château de Mesnières Wedding Photo Gallery