Photo by Firehorse Photography
How to Create Your Dream French Château Wedding
Without Breaking the Bank
Have you always dreamt of having your wedding at a gorgeous French Château, but are worried about it being beyond your budget?
It may seem like just a dream, and perhaps an expensive one at that. But that certainly doesn’t have to be the case. With careful planning and some of our money-saving tips, it’s possible to have an amazing wedding weekend or week in beautiful France for less than the cost of your wedding day in the UK.
We’ve put together some budget-friendly ideas to help with your château wedding planning.
Choose a relaxed venue
Some destination wedding venues offer a lot more flexibility than others. It really depends what you are looking for as some venues can offer a complete package – which can take the pressure off planning a wedding from afar but it will cost more.
Alternatively, why not look at a venue which also doubles up as a French holiday home or “grand gite”? There are simply stunning venues available which in effect offer self-catering Airbnb style accommodation where you are able to then plan your wedding precisely to your tastes, style and budget.
Here are Chateau du Raysse, we offer holiday rentals as well as a beautiful backdrop for your destination wedding in the south of France. This means that we are fully flexible when you plan your wedding. You are welcome to choose a wedding planner and have every element of your day organised by the very best French suppliers in the business. Or, you are can choose a more laid-back approach which is often more budget friendly.
You can choose to “do it yourself” and below we have included some great tips and ideas on how you can make your dream wedding take shape.
And, of course, we will still be here to answer your questions and provide guidance and support from the moment you enquire with us right up until the big day!
Do it yourself...
Don’t get us wrong, wedding planners are amazing and their experience and expertise is to be highly valued. However, if you have a little more time on your hands and you are conscious of keeping down the costs then there are plenty of DIY tricks and hacks to take advantage of when it comes to destination wedding planning.
Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and take charge of elements of the wedding yourself – organising your own suppliers, décor and music can save lots of cash and you will be in control of all the aspects of your day. A DIY French destination wedding is easier than you think, especially if you follow some of our tips below.
Use the destination wedding community
Find amazing support from fellow brides and grooms as well as industry professionals. There is an excellent online community for those looking to marry in France who will be able to share experiences, advice and suggestions together.
Our favourite is French Bridal Café over on Facebook – this is a no sales zone and instead is a supportive and creative place for destination brides past and present marrying in France to share their experiences.
Here are a few other useful groups for advice:
Décor and flowers
Undoubtedly, flowers and decoration can add significant extra cost to a wedding. This is no different in France and florists can be expensive.
Luckily, you’ve chosen to get married at a beautiful historic castle in the French countryside. This instantly makes your job much easier as the surroundings are already fabulous so you just need some finishing touches.
To complement that sought-after rustic style, why not use greenery from the estate for extra sprigs of decoration? This could be used as centrepieces, to add to the bouquets, general decoration and more.
Obviously you can’t go digging up flower beds, but with acres of woods and grounds there’s plenty of natural decoration to take advantage of.
Another tip is to use artificial flowers. These can be added to the real foliage to add pops of colour and to create your perfect colour scheme. If you combine artificial flowers with sprigs of the real thing, it will create a lovely, natural effect.
Artificial flowers will last throughout your entire stay at the chateau so can be used as decoration for the whole week. Not only that, but you can sell them on afterwards. Sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace are excellent for making back some money after the event… just make sure you keep back one or two special sprigs for your wedding memory box!
Your catering choices
Your catering options for your chateau wedding can have a big impact on your budget. A lavish three-course meal can set you back at least €100 per head, but this isn’t the only option available to you.
If you shop around you can find excellent meal options from €25 a head for a two-course menu featuring the finest local produce.
Another option is to opt for a hog roast or BBQ, these can be more cost-effective when catering for large groups.
Many caterers who provide these services can provide all the trimmings, you have the option to provide the breads, salads, sauces yourselves…don’t overlook the budget saving powers of a quick trip to Leclerc or Carrefour!
Make sure you check out our Recommended Suppliers for some great suggestions to get the right caterer for your special day.
Of course, the drink! How could we ever forget?
One of the most important (for many!) but arguably a more expensive aspect of your celebration is the cost of alcohol and mixers – how do you save the pennies without compromising on quality or quantity?
There’s the welcome drinks, the toast, the wine for the table, the cocktail reception and of course the party in the evening and of course all of this has the potential to rack up a hefty bill.
Again, there are some great ways to keep costs down while not scrimping on the fun!
Before the wedding, visit a local vineyard or market and sample some delicious local wines. Choosing your wine like this is a great activity to do together as a couple before the big day and is sure to keep costs down rather than directly using a caterer.
In addition, take a trip to the local supermarkets and “caves” to pick up spirits, mixers and more so that you have a fully stocked bar throughout your stay. Have wine on the tables at the ready and have guests serve themselves can also keep costs in check.
The best bit? You will avoid any corkage fees and all your guests will get the drinks they want and in plentiful supply!
Stay for longer...
As we’ve mentioned before, why have a day when you can have a whole week of wedding fun? Most venues will offer better value for longer stays as costs are lower and it’s something we strongly recommend because it gives you time to relax with your guests and you can incorporate so much more into your stay.
At Château du Raysse, we offer excellent reductions on longer stays, so even if not all your guests can stay for the duration of the booking, it still works out as fantastic value, especially when you…
Ask your guests to contribute towards their accommodation
Perhaps excluding the bridal party and close family, if guests need to stay overnight at a wedding in the UK, it is expected that they will pay for their own accommodation.
Guests are therefore normally happy to contribute to accommodation costs when it comes to a gorgeous destination wedding – after all, they get a brilliant holiday out of it too!
This can easily cover a great portion of your venue hire costs, making a French chateau wedding a really affordable option if you choose the right venue.
At Château du Raysse, we can provide you with a breakdown of room costs for guests, please get in touch for more information.
Furniture and marquee hire for the week
A quick tip: hire your marquee furniture, PA system and other items for longer… often suppliers won’t charge you much more to keep your hired items throughout the week as well as for the wedding weekend due to demand.
This means you can use your ready-made events venue for a cocktail party, quiz night, murder mystery, open air cinema or whatever else you fancy throughout the rest of your stay.
Assign roles to your wedding party
Got a bestie with a passion for mixology? A cousin who is super organised? Friends who are happy to help?
Ask some members of your wedding party to help out on the day instead of hiring in extra staff.
Guests will often be keen to help out if they can – we’re not talking about getting them to cook a three-course dinner but rather a few simple things like moving table pieces from the wedding breakfast to the reception area or using their talents to mix some mojitos behind the bar for a cocktail hour!
Go "out of season"
Because of school holidays and the weather, the majority of venues will be more pricey in the summer, especially in August. Why not consider booking your wedding in April, May or October? The weather in the south of France is often glorious at this time of year without it being scorching!
Get in touch for pricing at Château du Raysse out of peak season.