Fairytale to Reality: Wed at Sleeping Beauty's Abode!

Jun 29, 2012

No, really ... you could, for serious, get married at Sleeping Beauty's gorgeous château! It's Château de Burnand, a 13th c. castle located in the middle of Burgundy, France, and it is frequently referred to and known as "Le château de la belle au bois dormant" (the castle of the sleeping beauty). The neogothic estate is a bed and breakfast and offers wedding and event services - umm, hello, amazing opportunity!

And, if you're so inclined, the estate is also for sale. You can "tour" it here. ;)

What do you think? Would you plan a destination wedding at a French castle? 

Image via Philippe Schuller for The New York Times

Sponsored Post: $50 Giveaway to Bridalshoes.com!

Jun 28, 2012

Today I'm thrilled to team up with Bridalshoes.com and offer ONE lucky CB reader a $50 gift certificate to the online shoe store! Bridalshoes.com has a pretty amazing selection of wedding shoes from well-known brands including Nina {which is my favorite go-to brand for heels!}. You can even create a one-of-a-kind bridal shoe with 35+ dye shades and 60+ decorations - fun!! No need to google 'elegant wedding shoes for bride' - I've rounded up a few of my favorites right here for you:

I am really adoring the Bobbie shoe - isn't it lovely? And it's on sale for $76.00 {seriously, I think it looks pretty dang couture for $76} and if you won the contest the darlings would be a complete steal at $26.00 ... just sayin!

So are you ready to enter the giveaway?! Here are all the details:

What's being given away:
{One} $50 gift certificate to use on Bridalshoes.com.

How to enter:
Simply visit Bridalshoes.com, then come back to this post and leave a comment telling us which pair you would choose! Please make sure to include a valid e-mail address so we have a way of contacting you in case you win. Comments not including an e-mail address will sadly not be counted.

How to achieve an extra entry:
- Follow Bridal Shoes on Twitter -or-
Become their friend on Facebook -or-
- Follow Classic Bride with Google Friend Connect {just scroll to the very bottom of this page} -or-
- Share this giveaway on your blog/site
... Just make sure to mention what you did in your comment. :)

Deadline to enter:
July 8 at midnight Central European Time.
One randomly selected winner will be announced on July 9! Bonne chance!

This post is sponsored by Bridalshoes.com.

SP: Share Your Love Story ---> Win Gorgeous Jewelry from Robyn Rhodes!

Jun 27, 2012

First, let's gush over these lovely + understated pieces from Robyn Rhodes. I'm totally obsessed with the idea of those pearl drop earrings on a bride:

Now for the fun part! Robyn Rhodes is currently running a giveaway and I thought the premise was so cool, I had to share! Basically, the good people over at RR are suckers for a good love story {who isn't?} and are asking brides-to-be {and grooms-to-be!} to send in their love stories for a chance to win $200.00 of Bridal jewelry from Robyn Rhodes! 

Ready to enter?
Simply e-mail your love story to info@robynrhodes.com
A winner will be chosen on August 1, 2012. 
FYI: Please be willing to share your story with the world if you enter. 
Bonne chance, my loves!

This post is sponsored by Robyn Rhodes.

Glamorous Garden Bridal Inspiration Shoot {Fit for a Princess!}

Jun 26, 2012

Are you ready for a princess-worthy bridal shoot? Yes? Good, because this shoot serves up one dreamy castle-like backdrop, a drool-worthy cake and ridiculously exquisite vintage details ... Enjoy:

From Florist/Stylist Nancy Teasley, of Oak & the Owl:
"After we were introduced to Kimberly Crest [in Redlands, Calif.], a lone beauty, we wanted to bring it to life for couples. Hidden away and unbeknownst to the wedding world, it serves as a romantic location for engagement photos and weddings. With its expansive fields and Victorian architecture, we set out to create and capture an intimate garden glam look. 

Catering to the detailed, glam bride we created a table-scape that featured a dripping, floral chandelier and place settings fit for a royal. 


For the simpler, more casual bride, we created a second table-scape to fit the venue. We nixed all the linens and focused on rustic furniture and candles. 

Can you get over that vintage scale drenched in flowers? And the Victorian cake is pretty dreamy, too. Thanks so much to Nancy and the team for sending this beautiful shoot over! :)

Venue: Kimberly Crest House & Gardens (Redlands, CA) - www.kimberlycrest.org
Photographer: Tonya Joy Photographer (Tonya Goettsche) - www.tonyajoy.com
Florist: Oak & the Owl (Nancy Teasley) - www.oakandtheowl.com
Coordinator: Twine Events (Erica Espana) - www.twineevents.com
Stylist: Oak & the Owl w/ Twine Events
Stationary: Wiley Valentine - www.wileyvalentine.com
Hair & Make-Up: Kitsch by Kat (Katrina Kirk) - www.kitschbykat.blogspot.com
Tabletop Rentals: Small Masterpiece - www.smallmasterpiece.com
Linens: La Tavola - www.latavolalinen.com
Chairs: Baker Party Rentals - www.bakerpartyrentals.com
Cake: Rafi's Pastry & Cakes
Gown: La Soie Bridal (Brie Gown) - www.lasoiebridal.com
Jewelry: Studio Suzan - www.studiosuzan.com
Bride/Model: Shannon Stone Fisher

European {Honeymoon-Inspired} Travel Journal: French Countryside

Jun 25, 2012

Entry No. 18: The French Countryside 
{Eure Valley + Haute Normandie}

Almost two years, I blogged about how amazing a French Countryside Honeymoon would be .... months ago, I asked you all for recs on visiting Monet's Gardens ... then things got crazy and our little weekend trip became a week-long trip and I charted out our entire itin here ... and a few weeks ago, I shared a little glimpse of our trip with you. And, today, I'm finally going to share the complete experience! Ready? ;) Hope you enjoy!

On our way to the b&b, we made a stop in Auvers-sur-Oise to see the home, Auberge Ravoux, where Vincent Van Gogh spent his final months {above, left}. It was both a restaurant and boarding house/hotel when VG stayed and the tour guide told us that because VVG had so little money, he would sometimes use the tablecloths from the restaurant as his canvases. We saw VVG's room {about the size of a standard closet!}, where he hobbled back after he shot himself in a nearby field and painfully suffered before he finally passed. Then we walked around the village, taking in the many sights that VG enjoyed and immortalized in his paintings {like the Romanesque/Gothic church shown above}.

- L'Auberge Ravoux. 52 Rue du Général de Gaulle 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France | 01 30 36 60 60

We also visited the cemetery where Vincent and his brother, Theo, rest side by side. 
And I couldn't help but admire the beautiful grave with the CB letters: ;)

It felt like a true escape when we drove through the wisteria-covered gates, parked and took in the gorgeous view of our amazing b&b, La Buissonniere. We were greeted by the lovely hosts, husband and wife, Virginie and Frédérique, who welcomed us to our beautiful room:

I was seriously obsessed with that gorge trumeau mirror and the view from our windows:

Frédérique recommended the nearby restaurant, Le Moulin de Fourges, {which was already on my itin!} for dinner and she kindly called over for us and booked us a reservation. The mill was designed by the same architects who designed the Queen's Hamlet at Versailles {which I'm still swooning over!}. Isn't it insane?!

38 rue du Moulin; 27630 FOURGES, France

I really can't express how beautiful the area was where we stayed. The definition of idyllic ...

Day 2: Spent the day in Giverny ... mostly marveling at Monet's Gardens:

J&I must have sat watching the breeze make ripples in the water and listening to the frogs croak for at least half an hour. It was so gorgeous and crazy to know that Monet used to sit in the same{ish} place inspired by these same surroundings and paint for hours on end. :) The inside of his house was quite gorgeous, as well {too bad photos weren't allowed!}. If you google it, you can see the bright colors he boldly chose - so cheery!

We walked around the town of Giverny, visiting the church and grave of Claude Monet and ooohing and aaahing at all the beautiful homes. We stopped for lunch at Ancien Hotel Baudy {delicious} and then checked out the Museum of Impressionism which was small but enjoyable.

Monet's Home and Gardens // Rue Claude Monet; 27620 Giverny 
99 rue Claude Monet, Giverny France

Day 3 - We headed out bright and early, fueled by a most excellent breakfast at the b&b, to check out a nearby flea market in Neaufles-Saint-Martin {second Sunday of May each year - 300ish Vendors, 8a-7p}. The market sprawled throughout the town's streets and most people set up tables right outside their house or in their garage. I found an amazing carved chair from the 1800s, several old French perfume bottles and a vintage wraparound snake necklace. :) After the flea market, we headed to Rouen:

Rouen is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture including half-timbered homes and buildings that are sprinkled generously throughout the city. The other claim to fame? Joan of Arc was imprisoned and burned at the stake here. There is a small memorial in the town center marking the spot of her death, which was creepy yet fascinating:

Above: A peek at Saint-Maclou's Aître // Rouen's Plague Cemetery. In the Middle Ages, Rouen was afflicted by the Great Plague, killing two-thirds of the local population. They designated this courtyard as a mass grave for the corpses. Later, buildings were erected to surround the courtyard with eerie carvings of skeletons and gravediggers' tools.
Below: La Tour de Jeanne d'Arc // The tower where Joan of Arc was imprisoned before her fiery death at the stake. It was truly surreal to walk up and down the same stairs that she had been forced to - incredible relic of history.

Day 4: A peaceful day exploring the nearby town of Vernon. I esp. loved the old mill across the bridge ... and the crazy parking jobs:

Day 5: The beautiful coastal town of Honfleur:

As soon as we arrived, the winds picked up and the sky turned dark so we beelined for the nearest creperie and watched as it began to hail - yes, hail, in late May {above, right}. Lucky for us, apres-crepes, the sun re-emerged and stayed with us all day: :)

J took over tour guide duties and led us on a {ugh, never-ending} hike to the top of town to see this gorgeous medieval church. I suppose the workout was worth it:

There is also a unique wooden church near the central port that totally reminded me of Salem, Mass.:

Day 6: Lyons-la-Foret // Les Andelys // La Roche Guyon

I'm so glad we squeezed Les Andelys into our itin. It's a charming little town with castle ruins looming above. The castle belonged, long ago, to Richard the Lionhearted. It was such a fun walk/climb to explore the ruins and the views made me think of Ireland just a little bit.

Above: The chateau of La Roche Guyon.
Below: Enjoying a mousse at Les Bords de Seine

And a roadtrip just wouldn't be a roadtrip if the car wasn't packed to the brim with treasures from all the magical brocantes we found along the way {Yep, that's J hauling my new booty home}:

Hope you enjoyed this peek at our fun in France. Below are my top tips:

CB's Top Tips for France's Eure Valley // Haute Normandie:
La Buissonniere in Bus-Saint-Rémy. I really can't recommend "our" b&b enough. It was truly the most wonderful experience. Kind + gracious hosts that enjoyed chatting {and also made some fantastic breakfasts and gave out great travel + dining recs!} Clean and charming accomodations. Idyllic setting and fabulous location for everything on our itin. 
- Monet's Gardens - a must if you've ever drooled over Monet's waterlilies. See info above.
- Auvers-sur-Oise - a must if you're a Van Gogh fanatic like myself. ;) See info above.
Le Moulin de FOURGES38 rue du Moulin; 27630 FOURGES, France. Fantastic food in a beyond-romantic setting. PS-They also do weddings here. ;)
- The tower of Joan of Arc in Rouen. This may be one of the coolest, most moving places I have visited in Europe. Truly incredible that you can tour the tower where Joan was imprisoned and then take the walk to where she was burned to death. Horrifically moving. We watched The Messenger before going as a crash-refresher-course and to get in that state of mind. Highly recommended. There is also a very nice antique market in Rouen on Thursday mornings - I didn't have the chance to go but my BFF just went and can't stop raving about her finds. :)
- Honfleur. Grab a travel guide and check this adorable town out if you have the time. So glad we did.
- Les Andelys. Amazing views and intriguing ruins that are so different than the surrounding French landscapes.
Auberge du Prieure Normand in Gasny - Our b&b hosts had recommended this lovely restaurant and, I have to say, if you ever find yourself anywhere near this little gem, you must find the time to enjoy 5 or 6 courses. Without a doubt, it is the best meal J&I have ever experienced in France {and we've had our fair share!}. Oh, and the service was impeccable - attentive and prompt with the most charming Maitre D' ... I remember the escargot, cheese course and the Coupe Poire William dessert were seriously to die for!

Hope you enjoyed this installment of the European {Honeymoon-Inspired} Travel Journal! And to catch up on my other European travel entries, just click here.

{All images by moi}