Simple & Intimate Destination Wedding in the Stormy French Alps

Molly Matcham Photography

February 11, 2018

Polly and Reuben’s summer French Alps wedding was small and intimate, with just 50 guests. And you would never know it from the beautiful bright photographs, but most of their ceremony was beset with darkening skies, heavy rain and a dramatic thunderstorm!

The groom said the aim was to have, “A simple, intimate and happy destination wedding in the mountains. A time for the guests to enjoy the Alps, its activities, nature, cuisine and our wedding.”

Polly and Reuben are both in the wedding industry and they met while working at a wedding in Israel. Reuben said, “I was shooting the photos and Polly was doing the videography.
After a few months (with hours of chatting on Facebook every day), we became a couple and moved in together very quickly. One year later, we had a destination wedding to shoot in Morzine at the French alps, and during our stay there I proposed to Polly at the beautiful Lake Montriond.”

It was only one year after that that the couple would marry at this very same venue, The Farmhouse. “Choosing this as the venue was very easy because after shooting a couple of weddings here, we knew how special a place it is, with amazing staff members who take care of everything, the delicious food, and especially its unique atmosphere, which is hard to describe in words. I have a strong connection with Morzine. In the last six years, I have spent summer and winter seasons there, mountain biking, skiing and shooting photos. When I introduced Polly to the area when I proposed to her, she instantly fell in love with it as well. We were dreaming about having a destination wedding in the French Alps, bringing our closest family and friends (from Israel, Russia and the US), and letting them enjoy the nature and the Alpine town for the whole weekend, hiking with them to stunning mountain peaks, eating delicious local French food with them, relaxing and swimming at the lake and more.”

The weather turned on the day of the wedding, Reuben said, “After a couple of sunny days that made the guests very happy, we woke up to a moody, cloudy day. Polly got ready in the beautiful Blue Room that we already knew would look great in the photos (haha). After getting ready, we saw each other in the back garden, then we drove up to the mountains to have some photos and a video taken of just the two of us. After shooting hundreds of couples, it was our time to be behind the camera. Luckily, we know very well what to do (how to stand, how to hug…), and particularly we knew this was a great opportunity to relax, breathe and have a quiet intimate time together. Then we headed back to The Farmhouse for the ceremony.”

“The weather started to get darker and darker. I decided it was high time to begin, hopefully before it rained. But, as soon as we started walking down the aisle, the storm began. Just like in the movies. Heavy rain, thunder and lightning strikes. What an adventure! The Farmhouse quickly gave everyone umbrellas and we continued, no matter what. Most of the ceremony was under heavy rain, which wasn’t ideal, but definitely an unforgettable experience. Then as I started reading the vows, the rain stopped and we had the last few minutes feeling more comfortable and finishing with the Jewish tradition of breaking the glass and throwing the confetti.”

Polly’s wedding dress was by Noa Helinger, and her shoes were Nine West. Her make up was done by Shiran B Makeup, while Kerry Brooker at Mountain Hair styled her hair and adorned it with a headpiece from Kululush. Reuben’s suit was from Doron Ashkenazi, and the bridesmaids wore sugary shades of tulle from ASOS.

The meal, catered by the venue, was delicious, using local products from the mountains and vegetables from the farmhouse garden. They had two long tables inside the intimate dining room, which was lit by candle light.

“Choosing our wedding suppliers was very easy as we live and breathe this industry,” Reuben explained. “We knew many of the suppliers already beforehand! We met Molly, our photographer, during a trip we had at The Lake District. She did a ‘two in love’ photo shoot for us, and our minds were blown by the photos she gave us. Plus, we really enjoyed her company and her approach. We knew that she’d be our wedding photographer, even though we weren’t engaged at that time! Uri, the videographer, is a very good colleague and friend of ours from Israel. He was always our inspiration, and we also had no doubt that he’d film our wedding. We were also super happy about the flowers. Especially with the arch fitted so well with Polly’s look and her dress.”

When thinking about their favourite part of the wedding day, Reuben said, “We loved all parts, but mainly the reception and dinner as we were more chilled and had time to chat with all our family and friends, enjoying delicious food and drinks. However, most of our guests kept saying that the surprise tartiflette (a French dish) at the end of the party was their favourite part!”

The biggest expense in their €17,000 budget was the venue and the food, but they saved money by keeping the décor simple. Reuben said, “When you get married in a stunning old place like The Farmhouse, surrounded by all the beautiful mountains, there’s no need to add any extra decorations (except the flowers). The place has already its own uniqueness and any additions can only ruin.”

“Polly designed the wedding invitations, added papyons (bow ties) to the bridemaids’ socks, made the map of the seating plan, personal wooden name holders picked from the forest (pine cones and branches), confetti cones, old family photo album, and a small wooden box with ‘Reuben & Polly’s adventures fund’ written on it.”

Reuben said the best thing about planning was that, “We loved getting in touch with all the suppliers, and getting to know them personally, so that everyone would feel comfortable during the wedding day.” He added that there were no worst bits, and they would change not one single thing, “Not even the stormy weather.”

Advice for future couples, says Reuben, would be to, “Plan a stress free wedding! For example, at the beginning we really wanted to have the ceremony in a beautiful mountain peak, which could happen, but had lots of logistics involved. We decided to drop this idea eventually and have all the wedding parts happen at The Farmhouse: preparations, ceremony, reception, dinner and party. Only the couple photo shoot was up in the mountains, but it could also work not far from the farmhouse… Having everything in one place made everything way easier and stress free. In our opinion, having no pressure on the wedding day, which naturally tends to be pressurised, is way more important than trying to go over the top with crazy ideas. At the end of the day, what matters most is surrounding yourself with the people that make you happy and that are close to you.”