photography by Sarah Falugo; planned by Mon Plus Beau Jour

I’ve been looking forward to the holiday season as much as the next girl, don’t get me wrong, but if you asked me what’s really given me butterflies over the last month, it’d have to be my anticipation of this very moment. Finally, this week, Eric and I get to share some of our favorite photos from our destination wedding weekend in France. And it starts today with our epic picnic.

On the Saturday before the wedding, we kicked the festivities off with a picnic lunch at Chateau du Grand-Lucé. Thirty of our closest friends and family members had arrived to the property the night before and settled into their accommodations, but for the rest of our 90 guests, this picnic was the first time setting foot on the 75-acre slice of heaven. The gates flung open, the bus slowed to a stop, and the weekend began.

Enjoy some of our favorite photos from the magical afternoon below, and tomorrow, we’ll be sharing more photos from the event.

The picnic took place in the meadow, a grassy area speckled with huge trees just a short walk from the chateau through the gardens.

Upon arrival, guests made a pit stop at our welcome table where they grabbed a picnic basket, carafes of water and bottles of rosé.

While the scenery was stunning, I thought the picnic might need a decorative element to add color and whimsy. My friend Annie and I made these felt pennant flags to identify the different areas, and also, to act as fun photo props.

Guests making their way to the meadow.

These friendly geese acted as our welcoming committee. They were hilarious and so loud, squawking at everyone who walked by.

Our friends Brandon, Paul and Ali on the hunt for the perfect picnic spot.

Our picnic baskets were provided by the caterer and were absolutely gorgeous. Each had a wicker exterior and an insulated interior, and held enough food to feed four people.

John claiming his spot.

Our beautiful friend Michaele looking effortless and chic, as usual.

Each basket contained:

  • French cheeses
  • Roasted vegetable and roast beef sandwiches
  • Smoked salmon, cream cheese and veggie sandwiches
  • Quinoa salad
  • Chocolate and pistachio financiers

Jenn Rose and Michael looked positively picturesque.

I insisted on snagging a pic with my friend Scott, whose blush and powder blue outfit complemented mine perfectly.

I wore this Taylor Poplin Dress by SAU with a peach colored paisley bandana around my neck, plus my Freebird Sunglasses from DITA.

Once guests were done eating, they played lawn games, rode bicycles, and explored the wooded trails through the property.

Here, Eric is playing frisbee with his brother-in-law.

Eric’s sister Eve is a talented film maker, and she brought a Super 8 camera with her to France to capture the magic.

Wine was certainly the signature drink of the weekend.

My three favorite people: my husband (!) Eric, my sister Sivan, and my not-so-little brother Jonathan.

Doesn’t my mother look radiant? She’s convinced she lived in a French chateau in a past life.

The best part of having a small guest count and several days of events? I feel that we truly got to soak in quality time with every person at the wedding.

Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience… Le Chateau du Grand-Lucé is officially our happy place, and I swear I could have hibernated within its walls for months on end.

Eric and I hamming it up with a felt flag that reads Les Tarlo (“The Tarlos” in French.)

Eric is a ping pong master, so we were thrilled to learn we could have a table set up in the meadow for guests to play during the picnic.

I loved this moment. My friends Lexi, Samantha and Sowmya joined me pond-side to enjoy the geese’s entertainment and soak in the scene.

We were wise to bring an extra bottle of rosé and a wine opener along.

A few hours before the picnic, Eric texted all our guests to bring bathing suits. Thank goodness he did, because by noon it was hot enough to jump into the chateau’s gorgeous round swimming pool. How lucky were we to get this weather in late-September in Central France!?

Around the pool, some guests dipped their feet in while others napped in the breeze. The perfect finish to the first event of the weekend.

See more of Sarah Falugo’s stunning photography here, and be sure to stop by again tomorrow for more photos from our big weekend!

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Chanel Dror