Exclusive! Go Inside Margo & Me's Jenny Bernheim's Dreamy Wedding in France
Jenny and Freddie
, describes herself and her husband, film producer, director, and photographer Frederick Cipoletti as "old souls" at heart. When, after five years of dating, it came time to plan their wedding, there was no question that it would be black tie and have the feel of another time. In fact, they had just the place in mind: a historic château in France.
What drove this Los Angeles duo to head to—and wed in—such a bygone, bucolic setting? In part, it was their engagement bash. Two hundred guests dressed to the nines, dancing, dining, and drinking at the Sunset Tower Hotel, in West Hollywood, made for an unforgettable party, but also one that had the hosts socially swamped. "The next morning we realized we'd hardly seen each other all night," recalls Jenny. "We felt an intimate destination wedding would let us focus on the moment—and each other."
The idea of a French fête also had sentimental value; Freddie had proposed over rosé and baguettes in a Parisian park while they were on vacation in 2014. Plus, throwing an event in Europe made planning an adventure in itself, as they hit the road, driving through the French countryside to choose from among eight different, but equally stunning, castles. "That château-hopping was a fantasy come true," says Jenny. In the end, Château d'Esclimont, a turreted, moated castle built in the 1500s on 150 acres of forest, lakes, and gardens about an hour outside of Paris, "just stole our hearts," she says.
It also inspired the style of their regal celebration. "We looked at hundreds of antique French crests," says Jenny, as a starting point for their own, which was engraved on invitations and embroidered on dinner napkins. The nuptials on July 25, 2015, were just the highlight of a fun weekend that began with a boat ride on the Seine to welcome their 60 guests, giving the pair plenty of time to spend with them. After the Christian vows came cocktail hour on a stone bridge over the moat, and dinner in a lakeside tent that ended with an explosion of fireworks. Happily, at this party there were multiple moments the couple enjoyed together. The most special took place just before the ceremony, when the bride emerged from a vintage car, took her father's arm, and headed down the aisle toward the château doors. "I could only think about getting to the end and holding Freddie's hand," Jenny recalls. "As I walked, our eyes locked and nothing else existed."
Guests received passport-inspired booklets asking them to "Save-the-Weekend" for the destination affair in France. Along with outlining four days of events, the pamphlet introduced the couple's custom crest, which was foil-stamped on the front, and the wedding's signature shade. "The colors of our wedding were inspired by all of the things that we love about France," says Jenny. "We started with French Blue as our main focus; on our previous trips to France, we kept seeing this color in the Parisian doors and throughout the countryside. Building on this, we wanted to complement the soft tone with a metallic. Gold was an obvious direction as all of the architectural elements throughout Paris are gold."
The invitations by Jonathan Wright and Company featured rounded edges and a mix of black letterpress and gold engraving. An illustrated map detailed the capital and its surroundings. Everything was bound with a velvet ribbon and mailed in a calligraphed envelope with vintage stamps.
Upon arrival, each guest received a straw bag with a baguette, cheese, macarons, sparkling water, a picnic blanket, a list of the couple's favorite local spots to "eat, drink, and be merry," and a French translation card for essential words like kiss, thanks, and coffee with milk.
Gifts for the Girls
Jenny gave bridesmaids lace-trimmed French blue robes from Cloud Hunter embroidered with their initials, and matching sleep masks that were customized with the phrase "en France." Her own getting-ready robe matched her attendants', but was a cream color befitting a bride.
Gifts for the Guys
The couple had linen handkerchiefs embroidered with each groomsman's initials to give to Freddie's guys on the big day. The groom carried one as well.
The First Look
Before the ceremony, the couple met on the grounds of the Château to share their first look and take portraits with photographer Polly Alexandre. Recalling the first time he met Jenny, Freddie says, "from the moment I first laid eyes on her, I thought she was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen."
Inside the Château, Jenny took a few minutes for bridal portraits in her Pronovias lace ball gown, a princess style that fit right into the castle setting. Jenny's grandmother wore blue gloves to her wedding in the '50s, so Jenny had a piece of one sewn inside her dress along with her own wedding date for her "something blue."
A White Bouquet
Jenny's all-white bouquet of garden roses, peonies, sweet peas, and scabiosa was tied with a raw silk ribbon in the day's signature color.
The Bride's Accessories
The bride's day-of accessories included her something borrowed (the XIV Karats bracelet she spotted on a visit to her jeweler to pick up the wedding rings). She also wore her engagement ring and carried a Jimmy Choo clutch. She considered diamond earrings set in platinum from XIV Karats, shown here, but ended up going with her something old (the diamond earrings her grandparents gave her on her 16th birthday).
In Her Shoes
Not only does Jenny love Freddie with all her soul, but with all her soles, too; her bridal Jimmy Choo sandals were stamped with a sweet sentiment in gold.
Champagne-Colored Bridesmaids' Dresses
A Family Photo
The bride took a family portrait with her sister, parents, and brother.
All Together Now
The groom's side: The couple took a portrait with Freddie's parents and sister. Jenny and Freddie felt it was important to honor their parents, grandparents and great grandparents in some way during the wedding, so they framed all of their wedding photos and placed them around the guest book for everyone to view. "We spent two weeks before the wedding in Paris sourcing frames," says Jenny. "That was a really exciting part of the lead up to the big day. Scouring through vintage markets in Paris is my dream come true."
A Classic Car
The bride arrived in a retro ride: a Rolls-Royce decorated with an ivy and hydrangea garland.
The Ring Bearer
The ring bearer, wearing a tuxedo by Neiman Marcus, carried the rings down the aisle.
The Ring Pillow
A lace-trimmed linen ring pillow was embroidered with the couple's crest.
The Ceremony Décor
The couple opted for traditional tunes played by a string quartet during their vows. The processional was "Air on the G String," by Johann Sebastian Bach, the bride entered to Pachelbel's "Canon in D," and the newlyweds recessed to Mendelssohn's "Wedding March." They shared their first dance to "Opus 23" from the Marie Antoinette soundtrack.
Jenny and Freddie exchanged vows under an arch of white birch boughs covered in olive branches, hydrangeas, and roses. "Something the pastor said while marrying us was so beautiful it will always stick with me: 'Fall madly in love and never recover,'" Jenny says of a particularly memorable moment.
Post-vows, guests tossed lavender from linen pouches stitched with the pair's insignia.
Three Little Ladies
Jenny and Freddie paused on a stone bridge, which was lined in floral arrangements meant to look as if they had naturally grown on the site.
The florist tucked hydrangeas, roses, and greenery next to the low stone walls of the bridge.
Photos Around the Chateau
The pair took photos on the grounds of the Château d'Esclimont, which was the first of eight castles they visited during a venue-scouting road trip. "The grand style of the chateau made it undeniably the most breathtaking of them all," says Jenny. "The property truly stole our hearts."
A View from the Bridge
The backdrop for this portrait: the stone bridge crossing the river. The cocktail hour took place in front of the castle before guests made their way to the reception tent next to the property's lake.
At cocktail hour on the bridge spanning the moat, partygoers sipped vodka infused with honey-lavender.
The Escort Cards
Guests found their seats with the help of calligraphed escort cards adorned with wax seals.
Framed wedding photos of the newlyweds' parents and grandparents were displayed next to the guest book.
Sparklers and a Second Dress
Ready for the Reception
Jenny carried a coupe of champagne (which happened to match her champagne-colored reception gown) as the couple walked to their tented reception. "The canvas tent's interior was draped with gauzy fabric and an antique brass and crystal chandelier hung over the sweetheart table," says Jenny. "Guests were able to gaze out of the tent into the Château's grounds while dining. The overall effect was Old World opulence, which mirrored the style of the Château."
Centerpieces of dahlias, roses, scabiosa, sweet peas, and hydrangeas decorated tables along with blue taper candles in brass holders.
The Place Settings
At the plated dinner, each place was set with French blue china, gold flatware, and a calligraphed menu personalized with the guest's name at the top. Custom linen dinner napkins were embroidered with the newlyweds' crest. Centerpieces consisted of an array of vases in a range of sizes, filled with white flowers including dahlias, roses, sweet peas, and hydrangeas. The four-course dinner began with foie gras, followed by veal filet mignon, assorted cheeses and greens, and a dessert of chocolate and lemon iced parfait.
The Chair Backs
At dinner under the tent, the newlyweds' chair backs were draped in Silk and Willow fabric in the day's signature blue shade, topped with swags of ivy, white statice, and baby's breath.
Dancing with Dad
The father-daughter dance, to Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," sparked laughter and happy tears.
The Wedding Cake
The five-tiered strawberry cake was covered first in cream cheese frosting and then fondant, and topped with fondant details based on the venue's architectural moldings.
A Firework Finale
At the end of dinner, white and gold fireworks exploded as "La Vie en Rose," by Édith Piaf, played.