An Elegant Garden Wedding in Southern France
Julie and Christopher
Under the watchful gaze of the Matterhorn, Julie Forsberg and Christopher Neubauer were engaged on March 3, 2014, while on a skiing trip together in the Swiss Alps. Fourteen months later, the San Francisco couple's love of food, wine, and travel led them abroad once more, with a destination wedding in the Provence region of Southern France. With 36 close family members and friends accompanying them on a weeklong vacation, Julie and Christopher planned day trips for everyone—including a wine tour of the Luberon, a truffle tasting in the village of Menerbes, and a private Provençal cooking lesson from Chef Jonathan Chiri.
Introduced by their mutual friend (and the wedding weekend's event-planner) Shannon Leahy, the couple met at a San Francisco pub trivia night in 2011 and founded the creative firm Yonder Design together two years later, so it's no surprise the bride and groom implemented gorgeous design elements when planning their wedding. Using their idyllic Provençal farmhouse venue—Petit Hopital—as inspiration, casual yet elegant details were incorporated into every aspect of their French destination wedding on May 14, 2015. Housing all their guests in the Provençal home and three nearby boutique hotels, this couple truly embraced the Southern French culture from their rehearsal dinner in the garden to the poolside brunch following their wedding day.
Inspired by a family ring her Nana had when she was younger, Julie's emerald and diamond engagement ring was custom designed by Prestige Jewelry in San Francisco.
Julie and Christopher's save-the-date was inspired by the architectural rosettes and finials common to Provence. Printed on a silk scarf, it was rolled into a cylindrical wooden box, and secured with a decorative brass piece.
The invitations were housed inside light blue, asymmetrical leather clutches, created by the Yonder Design team. The main invite was letterpressed and mounted to a linen-covered board, additional cards inside were letterpressed along with traditional French rosette motifs, and an itinerary booklet was created using antique brass eyelets, deckle-edged paper, and blind embossing.
Linen welcome bags included local wine from Chateau la Canorgue, laser engraved wooden tags, a welcome itinerary with the week's events, and Provençal cookies.
The First Look
"For me, this moment was a peaceful realization that I was going to marry my best friend. Touching his hand calms me down instantly, so I didn't have the urge to cry—it was later when I was walking down the aisle and I felt my handkerchief was filled with his tears that I started crying," Julie admits.
Although she didn't expect to be wearing blush silk organza on her wedding day, Julie fell in love with this softly-hued Rafael Cennamo gown. "I tried on about 15 dresses over the course of a week, but I knew right away this was the one when I put it on," says the bride. She completed her look with matching blush Nine West heels and vintage family jewelry.
Christopher wore a classic black tuxedo by Hugo Boss.
Julie carried a simple bouquet made up exclusively of lily of the valley by Laetitia C. Fleurs.
The Ceremony Location
The couple was married by Julie's oldest friend, Anjali, beneath a semi-circle of tall plane trees on the property of Petit Hopital. Chairs were arranged in an arc, with swags of French linen tied with fresh blooms adorning those along the aisle, and the couple standing within a curve of hedges.
Letterpressed with deckled edges and continuing the rosette theme, the programs were overlaid with white French linen and bound with brass eyelets and silk ribbon.
"Chris prepared the entire ceremony himself, so seeing it all come together was gorgeous," says Julie of her favorite moment of the day. To make for a simple ceremony, the couple decided to not have a bridal party or anyone else walking down the aisle with Julie. Jazz Mood played French jazz for the bride's solo entrance, and for the rest of the evening.
On the couple's first date, Christopher waited for Julie outside of the Ferry Building in San Francisco, where a statue of Robert Frost stands and his poem "A Peck of Gold" is inscribed. "I memorized the words that day, knowing they would someday hold more meaning," says Christopher. The couple's dear friend Jon Parker recited the poem during the ceremony, along with "The Road Not Taken"—one of Frost's more well-known poems and the first that Julie ever printed when learning to letterpress print.
Now matted and framed in their home, Julie and Christopher designed a scroll for their wedding that included their vows, the date, and room for the signatures of each guest, in lieu of a traditional guestbook.
Jazz Mood continued to play during the poolside cocktail hour, and guests enjoyed drinks along with hors d'oeuvres like grilled eggplant rolls stuffed with walnut coriander paste and pomegranate molasses; and chilled vichyssoise of potatoes and leeks with toasted local ham and white truffle oil made by Chef Jonathan Chiri.
Signature cocktails for the evening included an old fashioned for Christopher and The Monarch (made with gin and elderflower liqueur) for Julie. The two drink options and their ingredients were etched onto a wooden menu.
The escort cards were plaster architectural versions of traditional French rosettes. Placed underneath each piece was a digitally printed piece of Belgian linen with each guest's name to guide them to their assigned seat.
The reception took place in the inner courtyard of Petit Hopital, where tables lined with blush linens by La Tavola Fine Linen Rental and tulle overlays custom-made by the couple were set on cobblestone and separated by a fountain. Atop Neiman Marcus baroque wood chargers sat letterpressed menus with the finial logo mounted to Belgian linen-wrapped book board. Dinner included local wine handpicked by the couple earlier in the week, tomato gazpacho and crab beignets, farro risotto and grilled seasonal vegetables, crispy-skinned Mediterranean sea bass with aromatic vinaigrette, and lavender-marinated duck breast with porto caramel.
A two-tiered cake with a vanilla genoise and fresh raspberries was enrobed in vanilla buttercream and garnished with fresh fruit and flowers. It was served along with local cherries in a light lemon verbena geleé with citrus crème fraiche.
Photography, Josh Gruetzmacher
Location, Petit Hopital
Event planning, Shannon Leahy Events
Catering and Cooking Classes, Chef Jonathan Chiri
Flowers, Laetitia C. Fleurs d'atelier
Stationery, Yonder Design
Music, Jazz Mood
Rentals, Options Marseille; La Tavola Fine Linen
Candles, Sur La Table
Chargers, Neiman Marcus
Bride's gown, Rafael Cennamo
Bride's shoes, Nine West
Engagement ring, Prestige Jewelry
Hair and Makeup, Ylva Langenskiold
Groom's suit, Hugo Boss