Ellena and Carmel Winners
We recently held our first Brides in France Competition winning the fantastic prize of our top Destination Swedish
Photographer Annelie Johannsson for their special Day this season 2016 including:
In order to win this competition we asked you beautiful couples to send us your love story.
We are Ellena and Carmel and are getting married on Wednesday 1st June 2016, yippee!
Before Carmel had asked me to marry him in Saint Marcos place, Venice, I had already got a wedding venue in mind!
Well, I am a girl. I had also been creating a Pinterest board titled 'wedding' since we first got together. The first time I saw Carmel at the Station Hotel in Dudley was to begin salsa dancing lessons. A voice in my head said ‘That's him!', no word of a lie! So, I thought, ok, lets see what happens then. Apparently he knew when he saw me too. He will tell you that he fell in love straight away. Apparently it was my smile, and I was wearing his favourite colour green.
It sounds very romantic on paper doesn't it? When we first took our turn to dance together, I realised he was French. I was curious to say the least! I didn't want to get my hopes up...English men don't dance, don't have manners like him, and don't radiate a kindness and open heart like he did (does!)...he must be taken.
As weeks went by, his face lit up every time we took our turn to dance together, so it became pretty obvious he liked me! I was flattered...and played it cool :) I was curious about this French man in Dudley who was clearly very brave yet had a vulnerability about him which was so endearing.
However, while I was away there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland causing ash to be spread over an immense area of the sky. Our return flight was postponed for almost a week. Carmel had to wait another week not knowing if I'd disappeared for good. When we finally returned, we went on our first date, it was my birthday, and it was the best birthday gift I could have asked for.
We ate fish and chips in an old market down next to the river. From that moment, the stars in the sky aligned and we've been together since.
In January 2014 we decided to leave our jobs, Carmel in customer support, and me a graphic designer, and move to caramels home town of Brignoles in the south of France.
Although it is the best thing I've ever done, it has also been one of the hardest. We've battled many issues but most of all...I miss my family. Nearly 2 years on and the future is looking bright. Carmel enjoys his job, I'm teaching English and hoping to start a craft and design business in the near future.
We are healthy and I am improving my French day by day. Most of all, we keep in touch with our nearest and dearest regularly through the internet.
For us, our wedding is about celebrating our union with our family and friends, its all about the meaning. We have a tribe of at least 40 coming over from the UK and the same of our French family and friends. They've welcomed me with unbelievable kindness, and I want our families to celebrate with an unforgettable wedding.
The venue will be at the local registry office L'espace Gavoty in Brignoles in the afternoon, followed by reception at Domaine la Mascaronne in Le Luc en Provence.
It is a small secluded venue nestled amongst acres of vines. All being well, everything will be outdoors, a ceremony, vin d'honneur, dancing (think lots of twinkly lights and candles!) and live band! We want it to be relaxed and for everyone to have FUN.
The theme is nature, think foliage, wood, rustic elements and ALL handcrafted by both of us. Colours. White (clean and crisp), blush (my favourite colour) sage green (Carmel's favourite colour). We are putting our heart and souls into sourcing and hand making as much of the deco as humanly possible, because we want it to be an expression of us, not something created by someone else. I love doing it, and so does Carmel. My future husband is even hand making the most delicious traditional macaroons for wedding favours and beautiful wooden tea lights. I'm learning lots of new skills, like modern calligraphy, ink illustration, woodcraft and restoring antique items, its so exciting! Here is a little sample of some items we've already made.
nd to be honest, it’s just not us. The joy and happiness that our photographer will capture from both ourselves and our guests will be simply unforgettable and I feel this is what will make our wedding special.
Both myself and Carmel are understated, we are not showy or loud. We are natural, modest and down to earth. Our wedding will encapsulate this. And with my designer eye, the venue will look incredible (I am modest honestly!)
Regardless of whether we win this generous prize (if you don’t try you never know!), we wish you every success in your photography Annelie. Your images are simply stunning.
The future Madame Ellena and Monsieur Carmel Sammartino :D