Dave and Alison Bevan's Perfect Wedding
(& Perfect Wedding Entertainment!).
Our wedding took place in the south west region of France, on the grounds of a former cognac estate. We chose Manoir De Longeveau as our perfect wedding venue as we wanted all of our guests to be able to stay on the grounds, and rather than it being a one day event we wanted to turn it into a holiday attended by family with a sprinkling of close friends.
Although we’d always planned a band for the evening's entertainment, the live music during the ceremony and drinks reception really made a huge difference and created a great talking point for guests. The atmosphere wouldn’t have been the same without them, definitely recommended
Our wedding took place in the south west region of France, on the grounds of a former cognac estate. We wanted to enjoy our wedding in warm and sunny climes, at a place that guests could get to easily without it costing the earth.
We chose Manoir De Longeveau as our perfect wedding venue as we wanted all of our guests to be able to stay on the grounds, and rather than it being a one day event we wanted to turn it into a holiday attended by family with a sprinkling of close friends. The Manoir was a perfect backdrop to our wedding as it was thick in green ivy and all elements of the day skirted the Manoir.
Our wedding party consisted of 38 adults and 8 children, with some travelling from as far as Australia to share it with us.
The theme for our wedding was “romantic” and we wanted it to feel relatively informal. My dress was glamorous, a Maggie Sottero in diamond white, which looked great against the green ivy backdrop. Bridesmaids wore wild rose coloured dresses by Phil Collins, and flower girls led the way strewing dusky pink rose petals. The majority of our wedding party were in couples, so this romantic theme worked really well. My shoes were Jenny Packham with Swarovski crystals attached to the front, which can be recycled after the wedding and worn as a necklace or bracelet. My hair jewels were very sparkly crystals from Glitzysecrets.
My bridal bouquet and bridesmaid bouquets were a combination of pink peonies and pink French roses, whilst the table arrangements were scented sweet peas and garden herbs.
As we were in France, we opted to have a tower of cheese instead of a wedding cake, which was made from French cheeses stacked high. The cheeses were later served as a cheese course during the evening alongside fig chutney, bread, grapes and red wine. We ended the night by setting off sky lanterns into a clear starry sky and making wishes.
The wedding ceremony took place at 4.30 pm on a hot and sunny day in June, under the shade of an apple tree. The ceremony was performed by a celebrant who gave a humanist blessing and Dave’s sister read a poem.
We had a local four piece strolling band called Hicksville that played “Here, There and Everywhere” for the arrival of the bride, “Pachobels Canon in D” as the bride and groom signed the register, and “All You Need Is Love” as the bride and groom left the ceremony together.
Afterwards, we had a champagne reception with canapés, and the band played a strolling set. Photographs were taken using the pigeonnier as a backdrop.
We had a first class wedding meal in the courtyard, at the back of the Manoir. The menu we selected included local specialties specific to the region we were in, and complemented by good quality wines from Bordeaux. Speeches followed the dinner which were brief and meaningful.
The wedding party moved to the restaurant courtyard where the band had set up for the evening entertainment. Our first dance was "A Rainy Night In Soho" by The Pogues, as one of our dates early on in the relationship was to see The Pogues play around Christmas time in Manchester. It was a good opening song to the evening.
Most of Dave's best friends are, or have been, members of Alive Network's top function band 'Hipster', including his best man Joe Jennings. It was an amazing surprise when Joe got on stage to play an impromptu version of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Andy Williams, joined shortly after by Melodie Forrester (another Alive Network singer and friend) who sang "Songbird" by Fleetwood Mac, backed by the guys from Hicksville.
Drinks were free until midnight and sky lanterns were set off at the 9th hole of the golf course at the end of the night.
From my perspective, the whole day was wonderful and memorable from start to finish. I loved the wedding ceremony as the words spoken were personal to us, which made it all the more meaningful. Seeing everybody smiling all day long was magical, and the photographs reflect the happiness experienced by all.
The wedding meal was outstanding and the catering company we used, The Three Little Pigs, exceeded our expectations and really did deliver on the day. This was extremely important to us as part of the reason we chose to get married in France was our joint passion for good food, and the menu was a reflection of our combined personalities.
My father’s toast was extremely memorable as he put so much effort in to it, and was applauded by the rest of the family. The live music in the evening certainly added to the overall success, as energy levels were raised and the majority of the wedding party danced for the whole evening.
What pearls of wisdom or words of advice would you extend to future brides who are planning their perfect wedding?
To enjoy the planning process and remember that it is your day, so do it your way. During the early planning stages, we kept our ideas private so that we would not be swayed by other people’s opinions. Also, we wanted it to be a surprise for our guests so didn’t want to divulge too much information.
Although we’d always planned a band for the evening's entertainment, the live music during the ceremony and drinks reception really made a huge difference and created a great talking point for guests. The atmosphere wouldn’t have been the same without them, definitely recommended.
Make sure that you forge close working relationships with your wedding coordinator at the venue, as they will be ultimately responsible for it flowing seamlessly on the day.
We had a four piece strolling band that played “Here, There and Everywhere” for the arrival of the bride and “All You Need Is Love” as the bride and groom left the ceremony together.