Rarely do we hear from a groom, and we’re honored today to share some of the most beautiful words from a groom reflecting on his wedding. Read on for his story:
“The wind ripped a page out of a man’s book, anchored in the Dordogne river, which once translated, spoke of love and would become the words for a ceremony. The sky had been clear for two weeks and the air warm and dry until we sat on the steps of the chateau and spoke about gratitude and love and what France had given us. We spoke so much that we broke the sky, and it rained momentarily, spreading ink across the few already incoherent notes that had been prepared. We had no music prepared because the catacombs of a castle don’t allow for wifi reception, so we gathered copper pots as symbols and wooden doors for bass drums and let our bodies shake the earth well into the night. Something special happened in France.
It takes a lot of courage and commitment to embark on an adventure like France, and for those willing to abandon logic momentarily and be swept up in the story, it’s resoundingly powerful. For about two years we discussed how to capture, in a ceremony, the expansive feeling of love that drives two people to go through life together. Not being tied to any great tradition or ceremony proves, in many ways, more difficult, because you’re searching for a physical representation of something that is entirely illogical and without boundary or restraint. And that’s what a wedding meant to us – to be engaged in a story together, whether it took a few days or weeks, that could somehow surpass logic and be free of expectation. Something that could evolve and change in the moment. Just as love does.
We had spoken at length about a renegade week-long wedding in the desert, logistically unimaginable. Over time we began to see that it is less about being in the desert but the feeling of the desert being in you. Out there you’re humbled, stripped back and raw. This feeling of letting go, is precisely what marriage meant to us, and it made sense that a place like the desert could deliver such a message to those willing to be there. Eventually, like all good and lasting things, the answer came from some side passage of the mind, like it was always there just waiting for the dust to settle. We heard that the South of France was going to be home to some of our dearest and closest this European summer, and it would therefore be entirely sensible to fly over and create a wedding in whatever way we could, with whoever could drop everything and fly at such late notice. We eventually realised that it’s not necessarily about where you are or why, but rather, who you’re with. Close companionship rivals the powerful nature of a dramatic landscape, and it was the dedication of an idealistic few willing to embark on a last minute two week wedding in the small towns of Beynac et Cazenac and Lamostonie, that did justice to the kind of love that forces two people to never want to leave each other’s side.
The journey was relatively effortless, due to the fertile nature of the French countryside, with fresh fruit, bread and wine. Spirits remain high because that is the reward of commitment. You’re all sharing a common goal that is less about the people getting married and more about the tribe looking after each other in a foreign land, without time to question or regret, only to enjoy, and let go. Just like love itself. There were no schedules or plans, only a possible date at the end of two weeks, when there was enough wine collected to create an evening worthy of feeling ceremonious.
The week leading up to the wedding in the chateau was full of celebrations of other kinds, birthdays and engagements and quite purposefully, the ‘wedding’ day itself dissolved seamlessly into the journey that was France. Calmly and peacefully we gathered in the music room of the chateau on the ceremony day and sipped on whiskey. One couldn’t help but feel that it was less of a sending off, and more of an arriving somewhere together. As predicted, the collective energy of a small group, all willingly to put each other before themselves, far surpassed the need for planning, for ‘things’ or for dramatic landscapes. In that moment, you’re all on an island, and everything is sacred. No one was left tearless, and everyone, a little coloured and subdued by the french heat, was floating in a reasonable state of euphoria. To care about each other in this way, in a place so far from home, and to not only remember it but be given a canvas to express it, was the illuminating joy of France.”
Photography: Joseph Willis and Tane Meiring | Dress: Houghton | Suit: Patrick Johnson | Rings: Bvlgari and Heirloom from Jacq’s father | Videography: (Super 8) Matt Johnson