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French Fancy

Eleonore and Vianney's woodland setting gave a fairytale feel to their chic Parisian do

Eleonore & Vianney – From Paris with Love

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Eleonore, 28, first met Vianney, also 28, when he sat next to her in maths at school, but she had no idea how much he liked her until he plucked up the courage to confess – which led to their first kiss. “One day he gave me a letter telling me how much he fancied me,” she says.

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It was 10 years before the Parisian teenage-sweethearts started planning their big day – all themed around magic and fairytales. “We wanted a cool, fun wedding to reflect our personalities,” says Eleonore. “And I’m not a fan of convention.”

Photography by Marianne Taylor, mariannetaylorphotography.co.uk

Eleonore & Vianney – Stepping Out in Style

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Cue the bride in bright-red Sonia Rykiel sandals with touches of Perspex, teamed with a knee-length, strappy cotton and tulle dress custom-made by a friend at L’atelier d’une Fée.

Eleonore & Vianney – Suits You

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The groom wore a navy Samson suit for their civil ceremony at the Place de la Libération, Rambouillet.

Groom’s outfit by Samson and Old England

Eleonore & Vianney – When You Go Down to the Woods Today

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Next came the piéce de resistance: a reception on the outskirts of the city of love in a romantic forest. “It took us nine months to make it pretty, working with our families every weekend, including building a candyfloss shed,” says Eleonore.

Eleonore & Vianney – Making an Entrance

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They created a pink and green haven of fun and fantasy among the trees, where guests ducked under an archway of pastel balloons and into a clearing. “I loved arriving in the forest with my husband,” says Eleonore. “All the guests were smiling and throwing cotillons (small favours, confetti and streamers).”

Eleonore & Vianney – Raise a Toast

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Even the pre-reception drinks took a leaf out of the woodland fantasy book, with rose water, orange blossom water, and just a hint of classic champagne – personalised with a cartoon of the bride and groom!

Eleonore & Vianney – The Food of Love

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For the wedding breakfast, tables were laid under a marquee with charity-shop chairs and vintage dishes that the couple had collected. The place names were paper butterflies that were perched on each wine glass, and the pair printed their own candy-striped place mats.

Eleonore & Vianney – Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

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Each table had its own theme, from Alice in Wonderland to The Wizard of Oz, and guests wore pins naming them as different characters. “It was fun: I was Alice, my mum was Cleopatra, and one of my uncles was Tinkerbell!”

Eleonore & Vianney – Sweet Harmony

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Guests filled their plates with hamburgers and hot dogs from the barbecue, then treated themselves to marshmallows, candyfloss and popcorn.

Catering by Marie Chemorin

Eleonore & Vianney – Light of My Life

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As night fell, 25 extra evening guests began to arrive, guided through the trees by a trail of tiny lanterns and the distant sound of music.

Eleonore & Vianney – A Slice of Happiness

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As the midnight munchies struck, guests tucked into a fun and quirky wedding cake by Bogota – a scrumptious mix of genoise, chestnut and blackcurrant topped with cartoons of the happy couple.

Eleonore & Vianney – Twinkle Toes

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For the first dance – a remix of Beggin’ by Frankie Valli – Eleonore slipped on a sequin bolero and took to the dancefloor she and Vianney had built – complete with bunting strung overhead and a pink star in the middle. “My sister choreographed our dance and it made our guests roar with laughter. Absolutely everyone joined in – even Grandma, to a Lily Allen song!”

Eleonore & Vianney – Sweet Dreams

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As dawn broke, some of the day guests had already picked their way back through the forest – but the bride, groom and remaining guests had other plans. “We built a campfire and ended up dancing around the flames, before gradually drifting off to bed as the birds started singing.”

Read Eleonore’s blog at leblogdelamechante.fr

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Photography by Marianne Taylor, mariannetaylorphotography.co.uk