Lovely lavender, beautiful southern French rural countryside and a rustic-chic aesthetic define today’s delightful real wedding – Gladys and Jonathan are, amazingly, our first STG French-born Jewish couple to tie the knot in France, and boy, was it worth the wait!
The day was full of beautifully personalized details – the portable chuppah with its adorable lanterns, the lawn games for guests, the country-chic floral arrangements, totally a treat for the eye. Gladys managed to secure her dream photographer, Rémi from Une Vie en Provence, to capture all of the pretty!
We adore the rustic aesthetic, but also all the heart and soul that Gladys and Jonathan poured into making their day just perfect and so ‘them’. We also think Gladys’s advice at the end of the post is absolute gold dust – so do keep reading until the end!
Over to Gladys for the big-day lowdown!
How we met
Gladys, the bride: Jonathan and I met at work in 20th September 2012. I worked in a PR agency and he was working for one of our clients. I met him during our annual open-doors event: I saw him and told to my colleagues that he was exactly my type of man!
Of course one of them couldn’t help to go and repeat to him what I said (like we were in high school!) He came and spoke to me, but nothing else happened.
A few weeks later, he added me on LinkedIn, then we realised we had several mutual friends on Facebook as we went to the same synagogue, and we started to talk more often.
It was a very busy period at work for both of us so we didn’t have time to see each other, and we also had the weeks of holiday season. After few weeks of speaking on the phone for an hour every evening, sharing dozens of texts messages each day, we started to date on January 5th 2013! We shared so much during the previous weeks that it was obvious. Our respective parents already knew about each other, we were just waiting to start our story.
A typical south of France venue
We got married in a small village in the South of France, close to Marseilles, named Gemenos.
We wanted to get married in Marseilles where Jonathan comes from. We started to look for a venue more than a year in advance, but we couldn’t find a typical southern place for 200 guests in the centre and that was not too posh.
We had to look around 100km around Marseilles, but finally, someone on a wedding website mentioned a nice, typical place in Gemenos called Le Mas de Garguier. We went there and immediately loved the place!
We wanted a wedding that felt like ‘us’, where our family and friend would say “that’s typically you guys!”
We chose the lavender colour because lavender is typically from the south of France (and because John loves purple) and some of our friends were coming from abroad, and didn’t know a lot about the south of France.
We wanted everyone to have fun so we planned games, provided a dress code with bow ties for the men and comfortable shoes for the ladies. We had several outdoor games, and children and parents alike had a lot of fun.
Straightened hair and natural makeup
I have very long and curly hair and not every hairdresser know how to deal with it. Lea did a great job with my hair. She straightened it and created the romantic-but-modern hairdo that I wanted.
As I didn’t want to have my makeup done too early (the ceremony started at 4:30PM) and Lea couldn’t come later, I asked my friend Shanti to do my makeup and she did great! It was natural and sophisticated, just like I wanted.
A bespoke lace, open-back dress
I wanted a designer dress but when I tried them on, none of the dresses I liked suited me! I visited six designers, and even when I liked some details on one of the dresses, I couldn’t find ‘the one’.
One of my friends told me about Alice Touvet, who creates costumes for operas, and as soon as we met, I knew she understood me! We created my dress together, a simple one with lace and an open back, exactly what I wanted.
I wanted a long veil with lace, but when I received it, I realised that the veil didn’t cover my face! Luckily, Alice fixed it.
The weekend before the wedding, I still didn’t know what kind of jewellery I wanted to wear because I am not really into romantic jewellery. In the end, I ordered earrings on Odette & Lulu, a French website that I love for original rings and necklaces, and my pearl necklace and bangle came from So Helo, another lovely French website dedicated to wedding accessories.
I didn’t know what I wanted for jewellery, but I knew exactly which shoes I wanted! I loooove Patricia Blanchet’s shoes: they are comfortable, girly, sparkling… I love them!
I wanted the ‘Claudette’ style, but when I arrived at the shop, they didn’t have my size. I tried ‘Gaby’ and they were just perfect! Perfect heel size (7 cm), perfect shape: I love them and the best part? I can wear them every day if I want to!
The handsome groom
My fiancé was very stressed about his suit, because he wanted to be in keeping with the ‘lavender’ theme, but without having a lavender suit!
He was absolutely awesome in his blue tailored Les Nouveaux Ateliers suit. He couldn’t have been more gorgeous, and he added the lavender touch with a perfect bow tie.
Ladies in lavender
We decided to have four bridesmaids and four best men (including our religious and civil wedding witnesses). For the ladies, I choose a lavender boho-style skirt that perfectly matched our countryside and effortless chic-style wedding.
Lavender is not an easy color to wear, so I choose a white top to suit everybody! I also ordered flowers crown on Etsy to complete the look. The girls were gorgeous.
For the best men, we offered them lavender bow ties that could pair with any suit so they won’t have to ask too many questions about what to wear. With my lavender bouquet and John’s lavender bow tie, we matched perfectly.
A hand-held chuppah
We bought four wooden curtains rods, a white veil, ribbons and lanterns, and we made it ourselves. We had fun, and we were very proud of our chuppah. It was beautiful, and suited us perfectly!
A traditional ceremony with progressive elements
We are members of a liberal synagogue in Paris, and we wanted a progressive wedding. By getting married in the south, Jonathan could have the ceremony conducted by the rabbi he’s always known, who wasn’t that progressive…
In the end, we had a traditional wedding, with a traditional ketubah and progressive elements!
We wanted modern songs, but our rabbi wanted traditional Jewish or Israeli songs. Searching on YouTube, we found a very emotional cover of Al Kol Eileh by a girl named Naomi Censored. We downloaded from her Soundcloud, and it was just the perfect song for the procession. We ended the ceremony with the traditional hora songs and started to dance almost immediately after we broke the glass!
Perfect floral touches
We choose our florist following our event designer’s advice, and we didn’t regret it. Our florist, Corinne from Corinne L Designer Floral, helped us to create the perfect floral decorations.
She understood what we wanted, our type of wedding and the ‘effortless chic’ style we were looking for. My bouquet was just perfect, and she created 18 lovely table centerpieces, that we also used for the ceremony decorations.
Our fabulous photographer
I think I chose my photographer before anything else! Rémi’s artwork is so sunny and full of emotion. The hardest part was to convince Jonathan that we needed him.
Rémi from Une Vie en Provence was my favorite, but he was out of our budget. We contacted other photographers, but we realised that their fees were quite similar for a job that I liked less… We contacted Rémi, spoke over the phone and he charmed Jonathan, too!
Traditionally in France you offer ‘dragées’ (sugared almonds), but they were a little bit too traditional for us! We decided to offer candy that everyone loves: Tagada strawberries! As three ranges of them exist in France, we bought a pink one, a purple one, and the traditional red one. Most of our friends ate them during the evening.
Two weddings and a hip hop song
As we had two weddings, separated by one year, we created two hashtags so that we could easily find our friends’ pictures on Instagram! Our four witnesses organized speeches during the evening about what how they met us, small stories about our lives – it was very funny.
But the best part of the evening was when John gave his groom’s speech: he wrote me a song! As we both love hip hop, and John used to sing in a hip hop band, he slammed a hip hop song like I never saw him do before! I was really impressed.
Advice to brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
Focus on your wedding and nothing else! On the morning of the wedding, give your mobile phone to your witness (even if you said it won’t change anything, it will, trust me!).
I didn’t do it, and when I started to receive text messages from people who were lost/late or finally couldn’t make it, it made me nervous and I arrived upset to the ceremony.
If my friend would have had my phone, I wouldn’t have noticed who was there or not until the end of the ceremony, and it would have been much better! When the D day arrives, everything happens really fast, you don’t have time to think about anything else if you really want enjoy the day.
Gladys and John’s little white book
Photographer – Une Vie en Provence
Venue – Le Mas de Garguier
Event designers and DJ – Monsieur plus Madame
Bride’s dress – Alice Touvet
Bride’s jewellery – Odette & Lulu and So Helo
Bride’s shoes – Patricia Blanchet
Groom’s attire – Les Nouveaux Ateliers and Finsbury
Hair + Makeup – Lea Assuline and Shanti
Flowers – Corinne L Designer Floral
Flower crowns – Etsy
Favours – Haribo