A European wedding out of a fairytale, this Australian couple tied the knot at the Chateau Robernier with their closest family and friends. We chatted with the beautiful couple and here’s what they had to say…
Michelle and Bayard (aka. Bay) have been together for almost 8 years now, they met when they were in High School (a whole 15 years ago). Bride Michelle said she still remembers “ meeting him across the road from Claremont, where all the kids used to go after school to hang out. At this point, I hadn’t touched make-up, had some hideous eyewear, and was wearing my forest green knee-length school uniform, so I doubt he thought much of me (but I certainly thought he was ever so cute! Blond tips and all!). After many years they met again and had partners. Eventually when they were both single, they rekindled and shared their first kiss at their University Law courtyard show! After buying a diamond ring at an auction, Bay had a bespoke band crafted and had the ring ready to go. Planning on proposing in Marseille in August 2020, Bay was devastated when COVID crashed his proposal. After the pandemic eased, the London couple took a trip to Lincolnshire where Bay popped the question, Michelle told us that “ I don’t remember much after that, but apparently he asked me to marry him! We then hugged and kissed for a long time, and made our way back to the villa to tell our friends. My hands did not stop shaking for about an hour”. Post-proposal, they popped a bottle of Ruinart then rang friends and family back home in Australia to tell them the good news.
Attempting 3 trips abroad to select their wedding venue, Michelle and Bayard were forced to cancel due to consequences of Covid. Dates had booked out so fast, so they had to secure a booking without touring the venue. Booking Chateau Robernier without even seeing it the couple said “we were not disappointed, the wedding day was perfect in so many ways”.
Having huge families, the couple mentioned that they “had to be quite strict with who we invited, even though we would have loved to have invited everyone. In the end, we had about 145 guests as some guests couldn’t travel internationally”.
The morning of the wedding, Bride Michelle arranged a “yoga class first thing on the morning of” in the grounds overlooking the Chateau. She shared that “ I love yoga, and thought it would be an excellent start to the day to calm us all: It was so nice doing this with our bridal party”.
The entire wedding was an absolute french dream! From the wood parasols, paddle fans, locally sourced wines and crafted beers, live musicians, oyster bar, canapes from Gaude Froy reception and a magician, Michelle and Bay made all of their wedding wishes come true. The couple also incorporated some sentimental moments into the big day. The Bride’s Mum’s family is Italian, and her Nonno is from Calabria, she mentioned he “absolutely loved the Tarantella, we had this on the must play list for the DJ, to play this in his memory as he recently passed”. To Commemorate her Dad’s mothers French heritage, the wedding was held in France and the menu featured French delicacies. Overall, their favourite moment was “when all the wedding guests grouped together for a photo in front of the chateau” the couple arranged metre-high balloons that were released into the crowd moments before the photos were snapped. “It was so picturesque with the balloons floating about above our heads, with many of the guests bopping them to each other, smiling and laughing, just after our ceremony. It still brings that raw emotion just now, thinking of it!”
The Bride shared her dress details with us, saying “I had a custom-made Elbeth Gillis gown, sourced from Angelica Bridal in London. I had a few alterations made to it – most notably, I changed the neckline, added detachable straps, and I got buttons done all the way down the back to give the dress, two different looks.”
“For the ceremony, I wore the straps, along with Bay’s great-grandmother’s gorgeous pearl necklace and some basic pearl studs. The necklace was slightly too long for the look I wanted, so Bay’s mum cut a piece of the lining from the inside of her dress, and tied it up higher around my neck. This was all the more meaningful, especially for this part of the day.
“For the reception, I took off the straps, to show the neckline in full (which was the main look I was going for), and had some pearl drop earrings custom made from a gorgeous family-run business based in Portobello Road markets”.
Inspiration behind the destination
“Bay and I are both from Perth. All of our extended family is from Perth as well. However, Bay, myself, his parents and siblings all live in the UK/Europe. The easy choice would have been to have a wedding in Perth, at the lovely Margaret River wineries, or along Matilda Bay but nothing really screamed out to us in terms of venues. We wanted to do something different.”
“Of course, that came with its difficulties. Most notably, a lot of my extended family weren’t able to be there in the end. This was a risk we took, and although we hoped they’d be there, it wasn’t possible in the end. I was really lucky though – my mum’s three brothers (my uncles) all surprised me on my wedding day in London (we had a separate ceremony in London with just 15 guests, as we weren’t able to get ‘legally’ married in France). They had told me that they weren’t coming and then as I was walking down the aisle, I saw them all there smiling at me. It was such a beautiful surprise and I’m so, so, so glad they were able to be there for all the celebrations”.
“Having a destination wedding in a non-English speaking country was another reason that I was dead-set on needing a wedding planner. The language barrier was the main ‘reason’ for sourcing a planner. However, I couldn’t be more wrong – a planner is probably THE most essential part of your day for a larger wedding. If you want to enjoy yourself on the day, and in the lead-up to the wedding, it’s an absolute must”.
Advice to Future Brides
“Reiterating the above – CANNOT recommend a planner enough. I’d also remind yourself that weddings are incredibly expensive, you will never be able to have absolutely everything you want, so try to think at the beginning what are your “must haves”. We would’ve loved to have a live band as well as a DJ, but the cost outweighed the benefit for us – the bands we wanted would’ve taken up a huge chunk of our budget, so we decided against it in the end, and stuck with a DJ only. This budget meant we could have all the little details as mentioned above. And also, the DJ was absolutely excellent – thanks to Wildfire DJs for creating the atmosphere of a lifetime!
On the other hand, we really prioritised spending on photography and videography, as these were key to us (and how you remember the day!). Lost in Love and Dear Vincent were absolutely incredible and I highly recommend them – they were such an important part of the day and made us feel so at ease, especially during the pre-ceremony nerves.
My biggest tip for any bride planning a wedding would be to get a planner. The TWBI team were amazing if you’re looking for a French or Italian wedding. It’s already such a stressful experience planning an international wedding, if you have any hope of enjoying it, please get a planner!
Another small tip – we WAY over-ordered on red wine. Don’t bother in the peak of summer 🙂 stick with your rose’s and your whites (and cocktails if you can!)“.
Photography: @lostinlove_photography Event Styling: @theweddingboutiquefrance Events and Flowers: @theweddingboutiqueitaly Makeup and Hair Artist: @jessicaberullier Videography: @dear.vincent Entertainment: @wildfire_djs Bartending:@philoxenia_events Wedding Gown: @elbethgillis Prop hire: @popandbloom_ Events and Flowers: @catherinebradfield_design