I have shot a few stunning French destination weddings, but not too much that can prepare you for Les Trois Garcons Chateau. It's an absolutely mind-boggling location. This renovated chateau -- Château de la Goujeonnerie -- is the brainchild of the owners of Lounge Lovers, and Les Trois Garcons — a wonderfully eccentric curio of a restaurant that was the location for Madonna’s 50th birthday party not too long ago. It’s impossible to do justice to the place. From the outside it stands as an almost surreal embodiment of the kind of chateau Vegas or Disney would imagine and inside it’s a crazy treasure trove of just about everything ornate and otherworldly, from a light-breathing golden Pegasus to glass telephones to two unicorn heads standing sentry in the hallway. Then you take a look inside the astonishing Les Trois Garcons chateau. Walking through it, taking photos, is like walking through an even more postmodern version of Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. Because this part is really what I meant about the holy union of wedding and fashion photography.
In terms of the photography and the overall process -- what I always enjoy about a documentary wedding edit like this, looking back over the final images is seeing the way the day unfurls. From the giddy, drum-tight nerves at the start of the day to the glow of the ceremony and then on into the ragged night. This section is the first dance and party. It was a small room so there are no elegant shots of the couple dancing alone in soft cones of pale light. What there is is a heat and crush and happiness and then, brilliantly, a surprise guest appearance by the amazing Cuban Brothers, suddenly there, up on the tiny stage, deep in the heart of France. To say they put on a show is an understatement. The night went from a contented post-prandial haze to a kind of raucous elation in seconds. I’d never seen them before and seeing them up close and personal like that was A LOT of fun… And then suddenly it’s the end of the night and people are drunk and wilted on the stones steps, huddling around cigarettes beneath the bursting fireworks.
Enjoy…. a very special wedding, French destination weddings or otherwise.