An Elegant Chateau Wedding in France's Loire Valley
In May 2017, nearly seven years after they first met in a masterâ€™s program at Georgetown University, Monica Gorman and Robby Pixton headed to Europe for an epic road trip. â€śWe started in Lake Como, then drove through the French Rivera, Aix-en-Provence, Burgundy, and the French and Italian Alps,â€ť Robby says. â€śOne afternoon in St. Tropez, after hiking to a secluded beach, we stumbled on a bluff overlooking the sea that was surrounded by wildflowers. I knew that would be the perfect place to propose to Monica.â€ť
Inspired by their memorable trip, the couple decided to do it againâ€”this time as a destination wedding. They invited 130 guests to join them in Pays-de-la-Loire, France, for their June 30, 2018, wedding, filling three chateaus and a nearby compound with their loved ones for an incredible weekend of celebration. â€śWe loved the idea of bringing everyone together so we could share this experience with them,â€ť says Monica. They hosted their wedding at Chateau du LucĂ©, hiring Matthew Oliver Weddings to help with the design and execution of their far-flung wedding. â€śEven with such great help, a lot of the process required in-person visits," says the bride. "Getting to go to France so many times during our engagement was definitely a plus!â€ť
Keep reading to see Robby and Monica's gorgeous wedding weekend in France, as photographed by Rebecca Yale.
The couple's classic invitation suite featured gilded line drawings and a weekend itinerary schedule featuring thematic icons. When guests arrived, they were greeted with French favorites including champagne, madeleines, baguettes, and jam.
The weekend reception took place at Chateau du LucĂ©, which features pristine gardens, gorgeous interiors, and plenty of room for guests to gather and celebrate together.
Monica got dressed in one of the chateauâ€™s gorgeous suitesâ€”which was the perfect bridal suite thanks to its towering windows and natural light. The estate's stone staircase also made for a perfect photo op as Monica revealed her classic Reem Acra dress to her bridesmaids.
Monicaâ€™s silk Reem Acra dress made an understated statement, thanks to its scoop neckline and full skirt. She asked her bridesmaids to wear gray tulle Jenny Yoo dresses in a variety of styles, a shade that worked perfectly with the chateau backdrop. Robby wore a midnight blue tuxedo with black velvet slippers, while his groomsmen wore classic black tuxes.
The ceremony took place in Lâ€™Ă‰glise Saint-Facile in Le Grand LucĂ©, where the entryway and aisle were laden with lush white arrangements of delphinium, hydrangeas, and roses tucked into garlands of crisp greenery.
Robby couldnâ€™t contain his joy upon spotting the coupleâ€™s flower girls and ring bearer, or his bride, who was making her entrance behind them. â€śThe ring bearer threw the pillow and the rings went flying,â€ť Monica says with a laugh. â€śWe had to pause the ceremony to look for them!â€ť
Guests tossed rose petals as the newlyweds made their way back out into the French sunshine.
Back at the chateau, guests sipped the couple's signature cocktailsâ€”Kir Royales and French 75sâ€”on the pristine lawn.
Dinner was served in the garden, where guests sat at tables draped in textured linens and topped with ornate accents. The chargers, plates, flatware, and glassware all featured gold detailing, while blue water glasses and napkins added a subtle hint of color. For dinner, guests enjoyed a terrine of foie gras with raspberry chutney, chateaubriand with chanterelle mushrooms, Scottish salmon with a champagne cream sauce, and ProvenĂ§ale vegetables.
â€śWe carefully selected one friend and one family member each to make a toast, limiting it to just those four for the whole weekend,â€ť says Monica. â€śWe put a lot of thought into choosing the right people, and they did such an amazing job.â€ť
A live band kept guests dancing until 2 a.m., pausing only briefly for a dramatic fireworks display. â€śAs the dancing started to wane, there were still almost 100 people up with us,â€ť says Monica. â€śWe all ran from the dance floor and jumped into the pool, fully dressed!â€ť
For the couple, having so much time outside of their wedding day to spend time with guests while in France made the stress of planning worth it. Says Monica, â€śThere are so many responsibilities on your wedding day that consume the precious time you have with your loved ones. By building in a few extra formal and informal eventsâ€”like a welcome reception, day-after brunch, and casual tour around the countryside with our friends, we were able to extend that little time we had as much as possible.â€ť