Exclusive advice from a real live French wedding planner!

Aneesha has written this post giving three top tips for finding your ideal wedding venue in the South of France.  You’ll find Aneesha, planner extraordinaire, at Lace & Lavande.

You’re engaged! Yay! Félicitations!

And so it begins 😉…

Now, there’s a pretty good chance that one of the questions at the top of your list is – “Where are we getting married?” Let’s assume you’ve decided to go the destination-wedding route (Yay you!). And you would like to have sunny weather, fantastic food and wine, history, romance… some je ne sais quoi? “Well then!” says this author nonchalantly, whilst daintily sipping (gulping) a glass of (previously-mentioned fantastic) wine, “How about the south of France?” Ok then, France it is! Now, maybe you’ve mastered “Bonjour”, “Au revoir” and “Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir”? Fabulous, well done! If that’s as far as it goes however, to preserve your sanity, hiring a wedding planner might be in order. Make this step one before taking further steps in planning your wedding in the south of France… However, if you’re fluent in French, you could get away with searching for a venue from your home country.

French Chateau wedding venue

Your chateau for the day? This is Château de Varenne, Sauveterre. Photo credit Claire Macintyre

Tip numéro 01: Prioritize vendors in your budget

Every couple has a unique vision of how they would like their wedding experience to unfold. Therefore, the top 5 vendors on the vendor list tend to differ. So far, in our experience, the venue and the caterer tend to take the top 2 positions on the list. These two also tend to be the most expensive vendors (Quelle surprise!). So once you prioritize your vendors,  making money-related decisions will be a little easier moving forward. Venues in the French Riviera and Provence can quickly go for over 15,000€ for a weekend in the high season ( May to September). So, if the venue isn’t your top priority, then perhaps you could move your attention to nearby regions, like Occitanie, for example. You will have sun-kissed skies, delicious food, and wine, along with a lot more choices in venues better-suited to your budget.

Tip numéro 02: When (and for how long) do you have access to the venue

Outdoor French wedding venue

Ensure you have time to get things perfect. Château de Varenne, Sauveterre. Photo credit Claire Macintyre

You’ve now selected a couple of venues that are within the budget limit you had set. What should you look out for next? It’s important to know when you’re allowed full access to the venue as most venues host other events besides weddings. Let’s assume your wedding is slated to be celebrated on a Saturday. However, you don’t have access to the venue on Friday because a seminar is taking place. If you don’t have access to your venue the day before, you could have a problem. This is because you’ll be far more chilled knowing décor (excluding flowers), ceremony chairs etc are ready the day before the wedding. If this is an issue, but you’re still absolutely in love with the venue, you could always ask the venue manager if they could ensure that you have at least half a day before the wedding for set-up. It never hurts to ask 😊! It’s also important to know for how long you will be allowed full access to the venue. Say you’re planning on having brunch the day after your wedding, it would help to know whether that day is included in the price.

Tip numéro 03: Ask about « Droit de bouchon » a.k.a Corkage fee

French wedding food

Château de Varenne, Sauveterre. Photo credit Claire Macintyre

Watch out for this one! It could make a nasty hole in your pocket if you aren’t careful. « Droit de bouchon »  (or corkage) is the fee you pay the venue or caterer if you want to serve alcohol other than theirs. This is usually done to recoup revenue lost by the clients not purchasing wine from the venue/caterer. Many venues would request that you buy at least one colour of wine (red/white/rosé) from their wine-list. In return, they would impose no corkage fee. So there you go, folks! Some tips to keep in mind whilst looking for that gorgeous venue in which to say “I do” 😊! I’ll be back with some more tips to help you on your quest to find the ideal wedding venue in the south of France.

Many thanks to Aneesha for creating this blog for us! If you’d like to talk over a wedding in France with me, just jump to my contact page, it’s good to talk!