A Fashion-Forward Wedding Overlooking the Rolling Hills of Southern France
Jared never thought he would get married—nor did he want to—but when he met Thomas at a restaurant in Denver, Colorado, that all changed. "I told him to never propose to me, especially in public, because I'd say no," says Jared. Their five-year relationship progressed happily, and soon, Jared began to realize that marriage might be for him after all. He knew, however, he'd have to be the one to pop the question. That autumn, the couple took a trip to Montreal, where, on top of a hill overlooking the city, Jared got down on one knee and became the future groom he never thought he'd be.
Jared and Thomas enjoyed a one-year engagement, during which they planned an intimate and magical wedding in the south of France. "The theme, I guess, was French country chic with a little hillbilly," they explain. To get their 39 guests excited for the main event, the couple hosted a welcome party upon everyone's arrival to the region. And then finally, on September 22, 2018, the small group gathered on the grounds of Chateau de Panisseau near Thenac, France, to watch Thomas and Jared say "I do" in front of a stunning 12th-century castle with a bright blue door (the perfect backdrop!). The grooms' Baroque-inspired suits (their intricate patterns complemented each other) tapped into the Old-World locale—but also added a high-fashion moment to the pastoral setting.
Ultimately, their unique wedding was one to remember: "We will never be able to recreate that group of people or the feeling we all had with each other over the weekend," says Jared.
The couple wore suits that complemented one another but did not match. Before his death, Jonathan Skow of Mr. Turk cut Thomas a beautiful suit that wasn't even in production. "He was so amazing and was honored to do it. He had the warehouse cut one in my size and overnight it," says Thomas. "His handwritten notes and messages will be items I cherish forever."Jared's ornate wedding suit from Topman featured birds of paradise.
All in the Details
Jared knew Thomas would want to help design his own ring, so he proposed with a necklace inscribed with the phrase "All In," which was meaningful to them both. As for Thomas' official ring, the couple chose a Todd Reed distressed silver and gold band with seven raw black diamonds. Jared went with a simple hammered metal ring from Etsy.
A Very Warm Welcome
Before the wedding, the couple hosted a welcome dinner complete with wine and a food truck.
Dahlias were the only request Thomas and Jared had of Lara of Fiori Flowers, who flew in from Denver to bring their floral vision to life. After shopping at local flea markets for vintage bowls, tiny vases, and gravy boats, she decorated the venue to beautifully complement—but not overshadow—the surrounding vineyards and greenery. Grapes, figs, wildflowers, and, of course, dahlias abounded.
The Most Magical Venue
The ceremony took place on the grounds of Chateau de Panisseau, in front of an amazing 12th-century castle. A stone walkway led to an intimate enclosed area shaded by trees. Their planner, Leah from La Dolce Events, created a half-moon-shaped arrangement of chairs for guests.As for why the couple chose their bucolic venue? "We wanted it to be in the rolling hills of southern France because we had been there before, and we wanted a celebration that incorporated a strong connection with the land, food, and culture of the region," they say.
A Colorful Crowd
The couple had one rule in terms of a dress code for guests: No one could wear black. Since Jared and Thomas wore colorful suits, a few guests dressed in all-white.
A Ceremony to Remember
At 5:45 p.m., the ceremony began to the tune of "Simply the Best" by Noah Reid—a tribute to the couple's love for Schitt's Creek. The sky was clear (a perfect day!) as the couple began to make their way down the aisle. Thomas was escorted by his aunt Kathy and cousin Amanda, while Jared processed in accompanied by his father and stepmother, Candice.The processional wasn't entirely without kinks. "I slipped and almost fell coming down the stairs," Thomas remembers. "There are some great photos [like this one!] where you can see us laughing!"
The Ring Warming
The service became even more personal during the ring warming. Right before Thomas and Jared exchanged their vows, the wedding bands were passed around to guests who "warmed" them in their hands with love and well-wishes. "I got to see each person and look them in the eyes as they held our rings and winked, whispered to us, held them silently, and passed them onto the next person," recalls Jared.
The couple asked their long-time friend, "soul brother," and tattoo artist Lance Talon to officiate. Several other guests also read original heartfelt writings during the ceremony.
Thomas and Jared enjoyed some alone time right after the ceremony, but planned a chic cocktail party for their guests. The event took place behind the castle, overlooking the rolling hills of the vineyard. Small bites and signature cocktails were served.
Throughout the evening, a local band comprised of guitars, a violin, and an accordion played traditional French café music to set the mood.
Easygoing Escort Cards
Instead of assigning seats for dinner, Thomas and Jared let guests sit wherever they liked. Escort cards featured each celebrant's name and a small picture of a duck, fish, or a carrot, so the service staff would know what dinner entrée each guest had selected no matter where they situated themselves.
A Family Dinner
Dinner took place in a beautiful tree-filled space in the shadow of the castle. Tables were in arranged in a giant U-shape, so guests would feel like one big family. After dinner, attendees made their way to the courtyard for dessert and dancing.
An Authentic Menu
Thomas and Jared let their caterers Melanie and Charlie—the owners of a small restaurant, Le Vin'Quatre, in Bergerac, France—take the reins for dinner. They developed meat, fish, and vegetarian options for an intimate three-course menu.
Vintage dinnerware adorned the tabletops, while various colored linens (handmade by one of Thomas' clients) made the whole setup one-of-a-kind. Most of the tabletops' pieces and runners, along with the candlesticks and candles, were provided by La Dolce Events. The flower vases were thrifted from local flea markets.
A Traditional French Dessert
On par with French tradition, Thomas and Jared decided to forgo a cake. Instead, they served a traditional Croquembouche, complete with cream puffs filled with espresso or vanilla crème.
The First Dance
Instead of just one first dance, Thomas and Jared each picked out a song with personal meaning. Thomas chose "Glitter in the Air" by Pink, while Jared selected a classic: Neil Young's "Harvest Moon.""I have to say that I wouldn't change a single thing [about the wedding]," says Thomas. "People came together as strangers and left as lifelong friends, and that really was what it was all about for me."
Photography, Poppy & Co.
Location, Chateau de Panisseau
Event planning, La Dolce Events
Catering and Croquembouche, Le Vin'Quatre
Flowers, Lara DeBroux of Fiori Flowers
Officiant, Lance Talon
Stationery, Abigail Butler of Chirps and Cricket
Music, Djangophil: Bib Bourdie, DJ Lexi
Rentals, Souchon Reception