A MULTICULTURAL WEDDING AT THE CHATEAU SEGUIN
Gabriela and Clément’s wedding is something out of a fairy tale. It combines an unexpected encounter, love at first sight and a trip. It is also the story of a glance, a smile and a castle.
Gabriela Vasquez is a dress designer from Bolivia, Clément Moutard is a student at the Polytechnic school of Palaiseau. The couple met each other thousands of kilometres away from their home countries- in Peru. In the heart of the mysterious lost city of Machu Picchu is where love struck the two of them unexpectedly.
After falling head over heels, Gabriela followed Clément back to France where they prolonged their romance by tying the knot in one of the Gironde’s most spectacular castles: the Château Seguin.
As a professional photographer based in Bordeaux and the Arcachon Bay area, I accompanied this lovely couple throughout their entire wedding. Through my lens, I managed to capture and immortalize the bride and groom’s elegance, joy and affection for each other.
GABRIELA AND CLÉMENT: INTERCULTURAL LOVE
He is French, she is Bolivian, together they decided to share their lives as well as their cultures and families. In order to become husband and wife, the couple celebrated their love for one another with a Franco-Bolivian wedding ceremony in the majestic church of Notre-Dame de Bordeaux.
Each in their own way, the bride and groom were getting ready for the most wonderful day of their lives. Clément, accompanied by his classmates from the Polytechnic school, was dressed in the traditional uniform. Since the 18th century, “l’X” as the school is known, trains some of the best engineers in France. As the worthy successor to the “ Ecole royale du génie de Mézières, this establishment is renowned for having constantly survived through difficult times. First a civilian school, then militarized by Napoleon it has managed to keep its prestige throughout the centuries. To this day, its reputation is still unrivalled and distinguishes itself with elegant uniforms worn by the most talented students in the country. Following Polytechnic tradition, Clément chose to get married wearing the full attire. Wearing his black trousers lined with a red stripe, his jacket decorated with two rows of seven buttons, Clément made his way to the church of Notre-Dame de Bordeaux. With his whipcord bicorn hat in hand, the groom marched down the Baroque church’s magnificient aisle.
Putting her seamstress talents to good use, Gabriela crafted her own gleaming white wedding dress before elegantly making her way to the altar side by side with her father.
Surrounded by religious artwork the two lovebirds said “yes” to each other for life. Behind them, a sea of international smiles relished this special and beautiful moment which seemed to unite the cultures of two distant continents simply by the power of love. Notre-Dame’s sublime setting allowed me to capture the guests joy, respect and appreciation for one another.
The unique woodwork, sculptures and gold leaf finishes caught my wedding photographer’s eye, allowing me to enhance the ceremony pictures. During the exchange of vows and the witness signatures I used the main altar’s white marble to give a feeling of solemnity and prestige to the photographs.
Upon departing the church, both tradition and modernity went once again in perfect harmony.
The newly-weds were showered with rose petals as they went through a guard of honour formed by the raised swords of Clément’s Polytechnic friends. It was in the heart of Bordeaux, catching the attention of a few curious onlookers that I set up my professional photographer equipment in order to take the first wedding group photo. The natural light of the South West as well as the site’s unique architecture made this picture perfect material.
THE CHÂTEAU SEGUIN: A BUCOLIC WEDDING VENUE
Located just 15 kilometres from Bordeaux, the Château Seguin is one of the most gorgeous wedding venues in the region. In the heart of a 432 acre vineyard, this castle has overlooked the commune of Lignan-de Bordeaux since the 18th century. A perfect setting for a bucolic wedding, the Château Seguin offers a wide range of spaces where the lovers can celebrate their union. The wooded park, the rose garden, the ancient trees all create a natural haven just perfect for a couple’s photo shoot. The 1130 m2 yard and 165m2 courtyard are particularly fitting for a wedding reception. Gabriela and Clément chose this area to welcome their guests in a Franco-Bolivian environment. In a decor featuring the colours of the two countries, the guests enjoyed a multi-cultural cocktail.
Under the Bordeaux sun, friends and family gathered to wish them the very best, during which a live band started playing. The sounds of the banjo, clarinet and trombone started off the festivities with rhythm and joy.
After this emotional moment, I suggested that the guests and newly-weds take part in a wedding photo session. Making the most of the setting sunlight I photographed the couples, families and children who were present this special day. After that, Gabriela and Clément posed on bales of hay for some country-chic shots. In the shade of the trees is where we immortalised their love, laughter and affection for one another. Opposite my camera lens and as though they were alone in the world, the couple expressed their love for each another through their tender looks and beautiful smiles. Moments like these allow professional photographers like me to capture the sparks that light up their eyes as they gaze at each other.
The joyous atmosphere carried on through the evening in the “Grande Salle de Seguin’. Renovated in 2017, this large room combines authenticity and design. In this timeless environment where nature is queen, the exposed stonework of the old wine cellar adds a certain softness and warmth to wedding receptions. As a wedding photographer I was particularly fond of the simple yet refined and elegance of the Château Seguin which lent itself to some original photographs.
THE WEDDING RECEPTION: A MOMENT OF ENJOYMENT AND SURPRISE
Gabriela and Clément are both passionate about history, which is why they chose to celebrate the anniversary of man’s first steps on the moon. Exactly 20 years after Apollo 11 landed, the couple gave their guests an incredible bride and groom entry. While the guests were soaking up the last sunrays, they both discreetly escaped for their carefully prepared surprise. Hidden from the unsuspecting guests, they quickly traded their wedding outfits for a more suitable attire and entered the Château Seguin reception area on a tandem bycicle, dressed as astronauts. After this humorous surprise, the tone was set: amusement and laughter would be the keywords for the rest of the evening!
Again, a perfect combination of tradition and modernity prevailed throughout dinner. The night was filled with eclectic music from around the world bringing everyone together on the dancefloor. Games, speeches and surprises accompanied the dishes from the Gironde region, accompanied by several Bordeaux wines. Celebrating one’s wedding in a wedding venue surrounded by several grape varieties allows the guests to discover the delicious local wines.
In the warm and friendly atmosphere I made the most of the undeniable charm of the building to capture the evening’s special moments. The Bordeaux stone used for both the original building as well as the renovation gives the Grande Salle Seguin a great deal of character. The lighting was perfect, allowing me to immortalize the wedding without ever having to use a flash. This resulted in pictures with a gentle finish to them which retained the joyful atmosphere of the event.
For a wedding photographer, celebrations like the one provided by Gabriela and Clément are a real pleasure. Respect, affection and love were the benchmarks of their wedding. I really had a wonderful time taking pictures of their happiness. Always remaining discreet, I captured their spontaneity, the intricate details of the bride’s dress, their parents’ emotion and the friendship among the guests. I organised photo shoots for the bride and groom both in the town centre and in the haven of the Château Seguin. Urban and pastoral memories of this beautifully sunlit day reflects the couple’s sunny disposition. The Château Seguin’s majestic setting and large reception area inspired me to transcribe into a few pictures the wonderful love story of Gabriela and Clément.