So the pieces are almost there, groomsmen, date and most importantly, the bride-to-be. The next move is coming to a decision on where this wedding is actually to be held.
Deciding on a venue may cause more problems than you might think, for two reasons, all the nice places know that they are and so charge a premium that borders on extortion, and all the rubbish places are, well, rubbish.
Traditionally, the venue is associated with the bride's childhood, so it will often be in her hometown or better still, her home. This should be respected, if she is to take your name she should absolutely be allowed to get married wherever it was that she came from. In my case, it was a small railway project in the United Kingdom called HS2 that would slice rapier-like through my beloved's garden that put the kibosh on that idea.
So, what to do? Well ideas were passed around for ideal London based venues that would work, but none of them really clicked. Then came the idea of her families house in Bargemon, a tiny medieval village on a hill slope in the south of France. Initially I, for people pleasing purposes, was reluctant to ask people to travel for a wedding. But, having done the rounds asking friends who had actually been there - whether it was the natural water spring to collect water from the Provençal vistas or the sandstone buildings - it was backed unanimously as the ideal option. I had also been to a friends wedding an hour or so away and a trip with friends over a weekend was an absolute blast. Most importantly, somewhere we can go back to visit. So Bargemon it is.
Bargemon is idyllic, it's about an hour and a half from Nice and Marseille by car, down the A8 and then up into the hills near Draguignan. The buildings have that gorgeously romantic scorched, crumbly faÃ§ade and the views are pretty spectacular. The image in this piece is the view from the house where the reception is to be held. The church is absolutely stunning, with aincent shrines to Joan of Arc and assorted Catholic demi-gods, high ceiling and ornamental altar. It is the perfect place to kick things off and perform the ceremony. To the agnostic/atheist, don't feel too dismissive too fast at the idea of a church. There are ways of having a non-denominational service, but, frankly, nothing really matches up to the majestic surroundings of a church. Town halls that do not bear the charm of an NHS waiting room are few and far between, and also think about the options for the photographer.