"Never in our wildest imaginations could we have envisioned marrying each other four years after our first meeting," says Celia Dörr of her now-husband Michael Casson. The couple met at work—Celia, the head of human resources at Deezer in France, was tasked with onboarding the company's first international employee, Michael. As they explain, "Celia was mainly bothered to have to speak English [and] Michael had just arrived in Paris and was just generally confused about everything."
About a year after working together in Paris, the pair began bi-weekly lunch dates—and not long after that, Celia and Michael planned an official date after work hours, which ultimately ended with a kiss. In April 2018, Michael proposed at the site of their first kiss, the Pont Neuf bridge, and surprised Celia with a private concert from their favorite band and dinner in the city.
The Paris-based couple brought their family and friends to the south of France for their July wedding a year later. "We were lucky enough to attend a wedding in Provence prior to our engagement, and we fell in love with the region," they recall. "We were both enthusiastic by the fact that the event would bring our closest friends and family all together in one place." (They say this is a rarity since that Celia is from Strasbourg and Michael is from New York.) "We felt that the rustic scenery in Provence is so authentic and beautiful and knew that it would offer the 'wow' factor for our friends and family coming from abroad," she adds.
It was there that Celia and Michael said "I do" among the lavender fields of their intimate outdoor venue, Le Mas De La Rose. However, it took two wedding planners, one local and one in New York, to pull off the destination day. To see how planners Marjorie Burgarella and Bianca Blag pulled off an effortless French-American wedding, as photographed by Paulina Weddings, read on.
"I was dreaming of buying one of Marie Laporte’s dresses as I went to her incredibly beautiful showroom with one of my best friends for her own wedding dress fitting," explains Celia of her French wedding gown, featuring a floral lace bodice and light tulle skirt. "[I] just felt like a princess the first time I put it on."
The bride carried a seasonal bouquet of white and pale rose blooms accented with sprigs of white lavender and greenery.
The couple decided against having a wedding party and instead asked Celia's nephews, nieces, and young cousins to serve as attendants. Following a khaki and white dress code, they tossed flower petals onto the grassy aisle and carried parasols!
"I didn’t wear any veil as I didn’t want it to be too traditional," explains Celia of her simple beauty look. Along with fresh white lavender pinned to her effortless half-up-half-down hairstyle, she completed her outfit with her mother-in-law's diamond earrings.
The couple's first look didn't go according to plan as Celia couldn't want on the grass with her heels. Yet, the so-called "failed" first sight, according to the couple, became one of their favorite memories from the entire day.
"I spent a lot of time considering several looks and I thought that this combination was classy, yet fit with our desired provencal theme," says Michael of his attire, which included a watch from his brother.
A rustic wooden sign welcomed guests to the outdoor ceremony. Celia and Michael also wanted to keep their loved ones cool during the summertime nuptials, offering plenty of parasols and fedoras.
"Le Mas de la Rose was the second venue we visited, and we fell in love with it right when we entered the gates," explains Celia of the venue. "We loved the fact that it is part of a huge natural reserve that you could admire from the property. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, and the lavenders offered such an original, picturesque setting for the ceremony."
The pair set up their summer ceremony among the property's lavender fields. Provencal floral arrangements decorated the rows of wooden chairs and large wooden barrels marked the entrance to the aisle.
Their wedding arch was flanked with the same natural arrangements as the wedding aisle and white lanterns gave the simple altar a rustic touch.
The ceremony was officiated by Michael's former boss at Deezer, who recruited Michael to work in Paris and frankly, is the reason the couple met. "[He] was one of, if not the only guest, to know [us] closely as individuals before we became a couple," claim the bride and groom.
"We did decide to write our own vows as it meant a lot to us to express our love and commit forever in front of all our beloved ones," shares Celia.
We did decide to write our own vows as it meant a lot to us to express our love and commit forever in front of all our beloved ones.
With both Jewish and Christian beliefs and American and French cultures, Celia admits that one of the most challenging parts of planning was understanding "the differences between all our different 'cultures' and traditions to make sure to answer everyone’s expectations." Yet, the ceremony seamlessly infused both Celia and Michael's values.
When it came to planning their dream day, the couple was "very aligned" on their intimate, authentic, and natural vision. "We always gave our ideas and views about our dream wedding," says Celia. "Then the wedding planners suggested suppliers and just made our dream come true."
Music has also played a pivotal role in their relationship, so planning a music-filled wedding weekend was also a must for the couple. Celia's band performed during the Friday night welcome dinner and Michael hired the same band from their engagement night for the ceremony.
While the couple did work with two planners to make the day possible, this wasn't the first time their New York-based professional Bianca Blag worked with the Cassons. Blag had planned Michael's bar mitzvah years before and had formed a "special relationship" with the family.
The wooden seating chart display was nestled underneath a tree and accented by white lanterns, candles in glass vases, and small bunches of blooms.
Without linens, the circular wooden tables fit the couple's simple and elegant vision. Strands of string lights lit up the outdoor affair.
On each table were various arrangements of white, blush, and green florals along with candles and delicate glassware. In true French fashion, place settings were topped off with a small stalk of lavender.
As music lovers, Celia and Michael couldn't choose just one song for the first dance and instead played three! The newlyweds spun on the dancefloor to a medley of "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison, "Jump" by The Pointer Sisters, and "I Follow Rivers" by Lykke Li.
"We wanted to avoid the classic long French wedding dinner," explains Celia (the newlyweds put an emphasis on partying during the reception!). Still, they served a delicious spread of food grown directly on the venue's garden.
Rather than a traditional wedding cake, Celia and Michael insisted on a dessert buffet, which featured French favorites like croquembouche with vanilla and chocolate choux. Their honeymoon took them to the Mediterranean Sea, spending a few days in Athens, Greece before island-hopping in the Cyclades.
And Celia reminds, "Stay true to yourself and add personal touches so the wedding really feels like you."
Venue Le Mas De La Rose
Officiant Mathieu Molinero
Bridal Gown Marie Laporte
Jewelry XIV Karats of Beverly Heels
Hair & Makeup June Kelly
Mother of the Bride's Dress Jovani
Mother of the Groom's Dress Jenny Packham
Groom’s Attire Boggi
Engagement Ring Pierre Cuvex
Wedding Bands Gemmyo
Floral Design Arrosoir de Margaux
Invitations Bella Figura
Paper Products Crème de Papier
Music Michael Dedj and Yaya Minte
Catering Le Potager Du Mas
Rentals Be Lounge
Transportation Panorama Transportation
Accommodations Le Mas De La Rose
Videography Nicolas Godtschalck
Photography Paulina Weddings