Édith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose" Inspired This Wedding Weekend at a 15th-Century Château in France
When Asheton's friends invited her to an SEC Championship football game tailgate in 2011, she didn't have high expectations—as a self-described "die-hard Clemson Tiger fan," the game didn't interest her. But a fellow tailgater did: "Freddie approached me with a bag of Rold Gold pretzels and said, 'Might I interest you in a pretzel?'" she says. "His pick-up line, no matter how cheesy, was perfect to me, and once we parted ways, I told my best friends that I had met the man I was going to marry." Freddie relocated to Paris shortly after, but he and Asheton kept in touch as their relationship deepened. After six years of transatlantic visits, he proposed on the rooftop of a hotel in Greenwich Village, and the couple began planning a wedding weekend in Montlouis-sur-Loire, France.
"Though we met in Atlanta, France is where we got to know one another and fell in love," says Asheton. "For our wedding, we wanted to start our lives together with family and friends in the country where our love story began." They hosted a full itinerary of events for 115 guests at Château de la Bourdaisière, culminating with their wedding ceremony and reception on June 29, 2019. "Our vision was to create a three-day fête du mariage that reflected our love of French culture and history—and each other—that would result in an unforgettable weekend for the guests who crossed the ocean to be there," says Asheton, who used the iconic phrase "La Vie en Rose" as the wedding's themes. "Every detail of the wedding weekend was intended to tell our story and our love of France and to celebrate it with our loved ones that helped us get there. Nothing is easy about planning a wedding, but all the hard work and attention to detail pays off in the end!"
A Meaningful Wreath
The invitation's custom artwork included an elaborate crest designed by Kinship Press and inspired directly by Asheton and Freddie. "On my first visit to Paris, we shared a magical evening that ended with us lying on our backs in the square in front of the Church of Saint Sulpice, holding hands and admiring the stars," says Asheton. "Freddie played 'La Vie en Rose' by Édith Piaf in the background, and it was in that moment I knew that I had met the love of my life."
Garden roses and stars in the crest called back to this relationship milestone, while dahlias represented the wedding location: The château grows more than 200 varieties, says Asheton. Custom matches—or allumettes—from Get Matches had an image of the château printed on them and read, "Asheton and Freddie have allumette their match!"
The couple also designed an 11-page booklet for the welcome bags and a tri-fold itinerary with the weekend's schedule, complete with a map.
A Classic Couple
For the rehearsal dinner, Asheton wore a white dress from Maticevski and pearl earrings from Rebecca de Ravenel; Freddie donned a suit and tie from Sid Mashburn, where Asheton works as a buyer. The couple then surprised their guests with a cruise on the Cher river to Chenonceau château. "The setting, paired with classic French tunes by a roving accordionist, was truly magical," recalls Asheton.
Cave of Wonders
For their fête de bienvenue, Asheton and Freddie turned the château's trogolodyte cave, which dates back to the Middle Ages, into an intimate candlelit dining area. Old wine crates topped with cushions served as seats, while potted herbs, placed down the length of the tables, created a striking row of centerpieces.
By the (Text)Book
Louis Albert de Broglie, who owns the château, also owns well-known Parisian taxidermy store Deyrolle—an inspiration for the aesthetic behind Sid Mashburn, the bride's employer. "Deyrolle was the first global supplier of educational posters and has marked generations of schoolchildren in the subjects of botany, zoology, entomology, geography, and human anatomy," explains Asheton. The couple used the table names for the welcome party as a nod to the iconic texts: "Freddie found a vintage book of the posters that we scanned and printed. To hold the table numbers, I glued together wine corks that we had accumulated."
After the meal, Asheton took the microphone to serenade Freddie with a surprise performance of their song, "La Vie en Rose," blending, she says, "my lifelong love of karaoke with a desire to prove to him that he's not the only one in the relationship who can learn French."
A Dream Location
Asheton found Château de la Bourdaisière while researching the owner for a work project. "We visited the chateau and what struck us was its authentic, lived-in feel that we knew would make guests feel at ease in a setting that might otherwise intimidate them on a formal invitation," says Asheton. "This, coupled with the breathtaking architecture and gardens provided the perfect setting for the wedding we had always dreamed of."
The bride didn't need to try on a single wedding dress to know her blush-colored tulle ball gown from Marchesa would be perfect—not even the gown itself. "I never went dress shopping!" she says. "I saw this dress walk the Marchesa runway and I knew it was the one. The whimsical, romantic, and floral design felt like it was meant for a wedding in the gardens of a French château. I pre-ordered the dress online and it was delivered to my door."
Her only issue: Finding a veil in the right shade of pink to coordinate. But after a colleague spotted the perfect tulle on a trip to New York, Asheton had a custom one made, and finished her look with earrings from Marie-Hélène de Taillac and Jimmy Choo shoes.
In Asheton's bouquet from Nivéole, O'Hara roses, cafe latte roses, peonies, sweet pea, and blushing bride protea were contrasted by bunches of burgundy scabiosa and foliage that included olive branch, eucalyptus, and blackberry.
Going to the Chapel
Asheton's colleagues at Sid Mashburn outfitted Freddie in a made-to-measure tuxedo, a royal oxford spread collar dress shirt, and a black silk faille bow tie. The iconic look included black calfskin Gibson dress shoes and a white pocket square with a romantic accent: "It really meant a lot to me to have Freddie wearing pieces that I play a part in producing at Mashburn," says the bride. "I surprised him by having the pocket square hand-embroidered on the corner with 'La Vie en Rose.'" The couple shared their first look in front of the château's neo-Gothic chapel.
In the Garden
Freddie and Asheton chose an outdoor spot for their ceremony. "The gardens of the château are incredibly beautiful, and the aisle decoration was made to look like a romantic garden path, with soft pink dahlia mixed with delphinium and wild grasses for height," says Asheton. "At the end of the aisle, we used the centuries-old neo-Renaissance limestone exterior of the château as the backdrop, beautifully adorned with a climbing rose vine."
Tears of Joy
Asheton's father escorted her down the aisle as the string quintet played "La Vie en Rose." "We were holding it together until I told him, 'I love you,' as we made the final turn before the aisle, which of course made him, and then me, cry," says Asheton. As she walked towards the altar, she saw that Freddie was misty-eyed, as well.
"By the time we reached him, everyone was in tears," she says. "Freddie lightened the mood by putting his hands out and offering some words of encouragement—'We've got this, guys!'—which made everyone laugh."
Coming Up Roses
Asheton and Freddie exchanged their vows in a traditional religious service officiated by Freddie's best friend, Sean. The floral arrangements on the aisle, the detailing on Asheton's gown, and the climbing vines on the château all worked together to illustrate their theme. "'La vie en rose' translates to 'I see life through rose-colored glasses,' and is truly how we both feel when we are together," says Asheton.
The New Mr. and Mrs.
The Orchestra Philippe Lebel string quintet provided music for the ceremony and cocktail hour, performing "Arrivée de la Reine de Saba" as the newlyweds recessed down the aisle after being pronounced husband and wife.
Time to Celebrate
Asheton and Freddie joined guests at the cocktail hour, where Champagne from a friend's vineyard was the drink of the day. "From our point of view, why mix something together when you can have perfection?" says the couple. Small bites included melon and Parma ham and tomato gazpacho. The newlyweds relished the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones after the ceremony. "As the sun began to set behind the château," says Asheton, "I had a 'pinch me, I must be dreaming' moment as I watched everyone enjoying each other, the Champagne, food, music, and gorgeous setting."
Though the couple decided not to have a bridal party, Asheton asked one wardrobe favor of her friends. "I did want a picture with all my girls, so I asked them to choose dresses that complemented one of the many pastel colors on my wedding dress," she says. "I thought all of the dresses looked beautiful together and my friends all looked like movie stars!"
"We wanted the reception to give our guests a dreamlike experience that felt as if they had been transported into the time of the French royal court," says Asheton. "We felt that the best way to do this was by hosting the dinner outside in the courtyard of the château, overlooking the magnificent domain, illuminated by hundreds of pot de torches that lined the entire property."
Low centerpieces encouraged conversation and allowed the ornate drama of the château to shine. Dahlias, roses, peonies, scabiosa, and sweet pea were collected in antique brass coupes and surrounded by taper and votive candles.
Place cards from Calligraphy by Kim were written in the formal French style and included the bee illustration from the couple's invitation suite. The couple named the tables after streets from their previous addresses, while menus decorated with the garland from the stationery detailed the meal from Hardouin: salad with strawberry and pine nuts, filet mignon with pepper sauce, and puff pastries filled with ice cream.
A Bit of Bubbly
In lieu of a cake, the couple chose to pour a Champagne tower for their guests after dinner. "The French don't traditionally make wedding cakes, and when I saw a caterer offer it as an 'American-style cake,' I knew to steer clear," says Asheton. "Later on in the night, we brought out a cake that is traditional to French weddings, croquembouche, which consists of cream puffs piled into a tall cone shape bound with threads of caramel."
Hearts on Fire
After dinner, the couple surprised their guests with a fireworks show from Fêtes et Feux, the company behind the shows for Bastille Day and at Versailles.
The couple's final surprise for their guests was a selection of baroque-inspired wigs that friends and family donned for dancing. "Everyone loved having an opportunity to feel like they were a member of the French royal court and party like it was 1719," says Asheton. "It was very surreal looking out onto the dance floor of the château's orangerie to witness our friends and family wearing powdered wigs and dancing the night away."
After a first dance to "La Vie en Rose" (of course!), and parent dances to "How Sweet It Is" and "Cheek to Cheek," Asheton changed into a blush silk cocktail dress from Marchesa for a night of celebrating (and grooving to music from Midnight Avenue and late-night tunes from a DJ friend). "The best part of the dress was the ostrich feather fringe at the bodice and hem," she says. "So festive, and so very me."
Photography and Videography, Bubblerock
Location, Château de la Bourdaisière
Event planning, Fête in France
Flowers, Nivéole Fleuriste
Calligraphy, Calligraphy By Kim
Bride's accessories, Lizzie Fortunato (welcome party earrings); Rebecca de Ravenel (rehearsal dinner earrings); Gianvito Rossi (welcome party and rehearsal dinner shoes); Marie-Hélène de Taillac (wedding day earrings); Jimmy Choo (wedding day shoes)
Hair and makeup, Taylor Heintze, The Brass Bee
Groom's tuxedo and accessories, Sid Mashburn
Lighting and sound, Scene de Nuit
Engagement Ring, Laura Pearce
Fireworks, Fêtes et Feux
Matchbooks, Get Matches
Vintage Postage, Magnolia Postage
Wedding Rings, Pickens Jewelers, Inc.