Chateau Weddings
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Frequently Asked Questions

What will Château Weddings do for me?
Is a destination wedding right for me?
What if it's just the two of us?
What is a typical menu?
Should I get married in Italy or France?
Can I hold a legal wedding in Europe?
What is the average cost for a wedding in Europe?
What is the ideal size for a Château Wedding?
What is the best time of year to get married in Europe?
What are the best regions of France for a wedding?
What are the best regions of Italy for a wedding?
What percentage of my guests will make it?
What are the typical airfare costs?
Do I need to schedule activities for my guests?
Do I need to cover my guests' expenses?

What will Château Weddings do for me?
Château Weddings will help you design a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable event, from pre-wedding activities through the big day. Available services include:

  • Location and Château Selection
  • Service Provider Negotiation and Management
  • Onsite Event Coordination - Rehearsal through Brunch
  • Budget Preparation & Planning Calendar
  • Menu Translation & Planning
  • Minute-by-Minute Scheduling
  • Group Transportation and Day Trips
  • Guest Hotel Recommendations
  • Wedding Invitations and "Save The Dates"
  • Guest Welcome Gifts and Wedding Favors
  • Guest Transportation and Accommodations
  • And More…

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Is a destination wedding right for me?
This is a personal decision, and one that will no doubt require some considerable soul-searching. A destination wedding can be more intimate, more romantic and more unique than a domestic event. The trade-off is that fewer of your guests will be able to make the trip (we leave it to you to determine if this is a drawback or a blessing!) However, a destination wedding does not have to be more complex or stressful than its domestic counterpart. With the right partner to handle the details, planning a destination wedding can be less stressful than trying to live up to other people's expectations of what a "conventional" wedding should be. In the end, a destination wedding is the opportunity to spend more quality time in beautiful surroundings with the people who matter the most to you (including each other!).

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What if it's just the two of us?
Château Weddings has recently begun to offer services for a limited number of elopements in Paris. Our philosophy varies substantially from the formulaic approach of "package planners" and travel agencies. We appeal to the discerning couple seeking intimacy and a truly unique experience. A few options in Paris include an intimate historic chapel, a private yacht on the Seine, a beautiful château and several of Paris' most exclusive hotels. For a brochure or more information, please contact melissa@chateauweddings.com.

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What is a typical menu?
Each region is known for different delicious local specialties. We have experience working with the best caterers across France and Italy. Here is an example of a menu in the South of France — Menu in Provence.

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Should I choose Italy or France?
For reasons of heritage or language studies, you or your fiancé may have a particular allegiance to Italy or to France. However, if there are no bloodlines tying you to one or the other, we recommend that you keep an open mind while you enjoy the excitement of learning about the various regions and properties.

Whatever your ultimate choice, it is hard to go wrong - each offers the finest food and wine, beautiful scenery, rich culture, and a long history of a noble class with the taste and funds to build some of the most spectacular dwellings in the history of mankind. It is worth bearing in mind that prices in Italy tend to be higher than comparable services in France. Also, Italian villas typically have a one week rental minimum, whereas many French châteaux can be rented for just the weekend.

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Can I hold a legal wedding in Europe?
We recommend that couples considering a European destination wedding get married at home before their trip. While a legal European wedding is possible, it adds considerable cost and complexity without a significant benefit. Holding the legal wedding separately from the ceremony will in no way affect its style, substance or emotional impact. The primary benefits of this approach are three-fold:

  • Spend time with your guests instead of worrying about red tape, appointments at the foreign consulate, and endless paperwork. European city halls are no easier to deal with than their domestic counterparts. Dispensing with the formalities before your trip is yet another way to reduce your stress and maximize your enjoyment of the biggest week of your life.
  • Full flexibility in your choice of celebrants. By getting the legality out of the way first, you can choose whether to have your ceremony officiated by a clergyman, a close friend, or a family member.
  • Avoid future hassles with translating and obtaining copies of marriage documents.
As for the legal domestic wedding, you have at least three choices — hold a quick ceremony at City Hall, schedule an intimate "elopement" weekend before leaving, or hold a modest domestic ceremony with some friends or family who can't make the trip to France.

In a number of states, including California, you can even have a friend deputized as a marriage commissioner to perform your legal wedding. If you like, the legal service can be your little secret - there is no need to discuss this with your guests unless you choose to do so.

If it is important to you to be married abroad, then Italy is a far better choice, due to France's residency requirements.

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What is the average cost for a wedding in Europe?
As with domestic weddings, costs are a function of number of guests, venue, and services selected.  The quality of services at a Château Wedding tends to be significantly higher than for a comparable US destination, with prices that are the same or somewhat lower.  In addition, a destination wedding will generally have fewer guests, which will result in significant cost savings.  France, in particular, offers great value, due to the non-commercialization of weddings there. Please contact melissa@chateauweddings.com for a brochure which has more information on pricing.

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What is the ideal size for a Château Wedding?
The range of properties we work with can accommodate any size wedding, whether it's just the two of you or more than 200 guests. In all cases, you can be assured that you and your guests will be treated like royalty!

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What is the best time of year to get married in Europe?
The climate in France and Italy is often compared to California with areas of sun, low rainfall and moderate temperatures year-round. We particularly recommend the spring and fall when there are fewer tourists, reduced airfares, warm days, and the best natural light for pictures. We'll provide you with average seasonal weather patterns for the areas you are considering, so you can factor these into your decision.

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What are the best regions of France for a wedding?

  • Provence — autiful countryside with endless outdoor activities (easy access with direct flights into Marseille). Our favorite activities include exploring medieval villages, beach lounging, boat cruise, wine tasting, cooking lessons, touring the Riviera, etc.
  • Paris — The most romantic city in the world, with countless sites and easy access (major airport — Charles de Gaulle). Our favorite activities include river cruise, museums, shopping on the Champs
  • The Loire — Rich in history and known as the playground of the kings (1 1/2 hours by train from Paris). Our favorite activities include Château tours, biking, hot-air ballooning, wine tasting, etc.
  • Cote d'Azur/French Riviera — On the Mediterranean with beautiful beaches and close proximity to Italy (easy access with direct flights into Nice). Our favorite activities include sailing, beach, perfume factories, Monte Carlo, Provence, etc.
  • Burgundy — Renowned as the gastronomic capital of France, this region has beautiful countryside off the beaten path and incredible wine (1 1/2 hours by train from Paris, or the Lyon airport). Our favorite activities include Château tours, biking, hot-air ballooning, wine tasting, etc.

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What are the best regions of Italy for a wedding?

  • The Amalfi Coast — Beautiful beaches, excellent cuisine and dramatic hillside towns (1 hour by car from Naples). Our favorite activities include boat trips to Capri, Ephesus, shopping in Positano and eating the region's famous pizza.
  • Tuscany & Umbria — Picturesque landscapes, exceptional wine and beautiful historic sites (direct flights into Florence, or 1 1/2 ­ 2 hours from Rome). Our favorite activities include wine tours, biking, spas, cooking classes and touring the historical sites.
  • Rome — Roman ruins, the Vatican, the coliseum, food and shopping (major airport). Our favorite activities include walking, walking, walking, sitting in cafés, people watching at the Spanish Steps and shopping.

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What percentage of my guests will make it?
The percentage typically depends on the profile of your guests, the season, and how early you send out "save the dates"). For close friends and family who are unable to join you, we recommend that you send a copy of the wedding video so they can share in your memories. In our experience from 50-65% of the guest list typically makes the trip.

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What are the typical airfare costs?
Each of the regions we recommend is within 1-2 hours of major international airports (Paris, Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Florence, Rome, and Naples). We can recommend several travel agencies focused on Europe, that are often able to help you get special fares through consolidators. With advance purchase, fares from most major US cities to these locations generally range from $500 to $900 round trip.

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Do I need to schedule activities for my guests?
This is your wedding — you don't "need" to do anything! However, we strongly recommend scheduling one or two trips during the days leading up the wedding, as these may well prove to be the most memorable days of your life. We can rent you a bus, driver and tour guide, and schedule various stops at wineries, beaches, châteaux, and historic villages, allowing you to bond with guests while enjoying the fruits of the region.

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Do I need to cover my guests' expenses?
The etiquette for a destination wedding is identical to that for its domestic counterpart - you are not expected to pay for guest travel or lodging. If you are renting a château or villa with onsite guestrooms, you may, at your option, decide to contribute to the lodging costs of guests staying onsite with you.



services

We will work with you to design a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable event - from pre-wedding events, through rehearsal dinner, the big day and the day after. We'll even help your guests with travel arrangements and accommodations.

Once you decide on a few basics, your level of involvement is up to you.  Some of our clients even choose to join us for a pre-wedding trip to visit a few châteaux and villas, meet the service providers and do some wine and menu tasting (it's a tough job, but someone's got to do it!)

Our extensive network of contacts includes the most scenic properties and the best caterers, photographers, florists, and musicians in France!

 
   
 
Ceremony and Reception
  Rehearsal
  Setting
  Officiant
  Adornment
  Schedule
 
Memories
  Photographer
  Videographer
     
Music
  Ceremony
  Cocktails and dinner
  Dancing
 
Cuisine
  Caterer
  Menu planning
  Wine selection
Seating
 
     
 
Ambience
  Decor
  Floral design
  Tent, lighting, outdoor heating
     
Intimate Gatherings
  Private day trips for you and your guests
  Rehearsal dinner
  Brunch
 
Guest Services
  Accommodations
  Guest welcome bags
  Day trips and travel recommendations
Transportation
 
Details
Vendor negotiation, payment and management
Pre-wedding pampering
Peace of mind
 

 

     
© 2007 Château Weddings  |  Most photos are courtesy of © Encre Noire Photography Back to Top ^