When Seane Edwards took a post-graduation job at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin in January of 2010, she had no idea what her first day had in store. “On my first day of training, I locked eyes with Sam Faulkner, and my world stopped," she recalls. "I knew immediately that I would marry him one day. I went home and told my parents and friends about him!” Sam, however, had a girlfriend, so Seane laid low for months. “We bumped into each another everywhere, and finally a few months later, he was single and we went on our first date,” she says.
While they were dating, the couple made a pact to visit a new country every year, and in December of 2016, they found themselves in Sapa, Vietnam. “We were at the top of Fansipan Mountain, surrounded by Vietnamese tourists who wanted to take pictures with us,” says Seane. “There aren’t many foreigners around there, so we were a bit of a novelty!” After smiling through the cold and the photos, Seane was ready to go, but Sam kept stalling. Finally, he found a private spot on the other side of the peak and got down on one knee. “We’d been in a motorbike accident the day before, so Sam had bandages on his hands. He could barely get the ring out of his pocket, but once he did I tearily and quickly said yes,” she remembers. “That is when we realized that the cheesiest version of ‘Jingle Bells’ was playing in the background. We now joke that it’s our song!”
Sam and Seane had started to plan a big wedding in upstate New York with over 200 guests, but after attending a friend’s destination wedding, with only 12 people there, they were hooked on the idea of something more intimate. So they scrapped their plans and searched Europe for the perfect venue for their July 10, 2018, wedding. They soon fell in love with Château du Feÿ Villecien, which is located just an hour-and-a-half from Paris, so it was relatively easy to get to—but still gave guests the full taste of Bourgogne.
From there, the couple leaned into the fairytale French countryside vibe of the château, envisioning a celebration where “a prince and princess might go to let their hair down and spend time without pretense or fanciful airs,” explains the bride. A curated palette of sage, champagne, dove grey, and dusty rose perfectly fit the pastoral setting, which Seane designed herself. “We didn’t have a planner, but I tried to find vendors we could really trust to do their best work," she adds. "Honestly, when I was able to let go of the details, we wound up with things even more beautiful than I could have imagined!”
Photographer Jenny Fu made the trip from the U.S. with Seane, Sam, and their loved ones to capture every beautiful moment. Keep reading to see more!
“Château du Feÿ Villecien is a 16th-century château that belonged to one of Louis XIII’s advisors, was frequented by the aristocracy, and then became La Varenne—the cooking school run by Chef Ann Willan and backed by Julia Child—in the ‘80s,” Seane says. “It was vacant for years before being purchased in 2017, and it offered the first events in 2018.”
The couple’s simple invitation suite featured a deckled edge and a delicate illustration of lavender—after all, they were heading to the French countryside!
Seane had envisioned herself in a dress with long sleeves and a high neckline, and once she showed a picture to her consultants, that was all she tried on. “It wasn’t working, so my friends finally convinced me to try something different,” says Seane. While at BHLDN, she fell in love with a dove grey gown with a full tulle skirt, sheer bodice, and white floral embroidery throughout. “It was the complete opposite of my ‘Pinspiration,’” says the bride.
The bride’s best friend is a wardrobe stylist, and she gifted Seane the perfect pair of wedding day shoes: Rose satin block heel Miu Miu sandals with dramatic crystal accents. “They were comfortable, but still made me feel like a princess,” Seane describes.
Seane was surprised by how expensive veils can be, so she made her own instead! “I bought the tulle at Mood Fabrics in New York, found a hair comb at Target, and my mom gave me an incredible antique brooch to pin on top of it,” she says. She finished the veil the morning of the wedding, and got the look she wanted for only $50.
The bridal bouquet had a secret garden feel, pairing dusty rose antique roses, lisianthus, Queen Anne’s lace, astilbe, astrantia, scabiosa, and wallflower with eucalyptus and curly pea shoots.
Seane gave her father a tie with an embroidered patch sewn onto the back.
“Our niece, Lula, was our flower girl,” Seane says. “We found this adorable tulle skirt in dove grey on Etsy, and she looked like a princess!”
Staying at Château du Feÿ Villecien meant Sam and Seane could spend the weekend relaxing with guests, sipping coffee together in the morning, and wandering the French countryside. “We didn’t see the venue until we arrived for our wedding—the pictures didn’t do it justice!” she adds.
“A French fairytale wedding was a departure from our traditional aesthetic,” says Seane. “I’m not particularly girly, and Sam only owns Vans!” But they both got dressed up for their big day, with Sam in a suit by The Black Tux.
The ceremony took place beneath a canopy of 400-year-old trees, where a leaf-laden path led to the altar. Massive dahlias, ranunculus, and eucalyptus overflowed from stone urns on either side of the altar. “We didn’t know where the ceremony would be, so we chose décor that would work no matter what we chose,” says Seane.
Sam and Seane spent the days leading up to the wedding writing their vows, and shared them with each another the morning of the wedding. “We were going to save them until the ceremony, but I’m so glad we didn’t,” she says. “We got to practice, which meant we weren’t crying nearly as much during the ceremony itself!” They both began their vows with “I take you exactly as you are,” and Sam’s brother officiated.
“We are ‘quality time’ people," says the bride. Which meant spending the entire weekend (rather than a minute or two!) with their 33 guests felt like a perfect fit.
A single long table had seats for every guest, with a stunning Burgundian view in the background. The simple cotton tablecloth and napkins were made by a local artisan, and centerpieces were designed to look as though they’d been gathered from the property.
The couple’s florist, Flavia Dautel of La Maison Dautel, created lush centerpieces with antique roses, local dahlias, calla lilies, and curly pea plant vines—with actual snap peas! Dusty mauve candles added warmth to the table, and Sam’s sister hand-wrote all of the place cards. “I teared up with joy when I saw the flowers,” says Seane.
Heartfelt toasts kept the happy tears flowing as guests sipped local wines and a cocktail of gin, lemon juice, St. Germaine, and champagne.
Even the littlest guests loved the meal of côte du boeuf tagliata and sweet potato roulade, served with new potatoes and fresh peas.
Seane and Sam’s wedding meal ended with an indulgent display of local cheeses, as all good French meals do. There was also a dark chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream and a Dacquoise cake with strawberries and homemade vanilla and praline ice creams.
With such a small crowd, Sam and Seane weren’t sure how much of a “party” they’d have, but they were pleasantly surprised. “We had a massive dance-off, then everyone changed into swim suits and jumped in the pool,” she says. “Sam lost his wedding ring mid-cannon ball, but luckily we found it again. The next morning, it looked like a college party. There were bottles and bits of cake everywhere!”
In down-sizing their wedding, Seane and Sam say they learned a few things about what guests really want. “Worry less about the details," she says. "In the end, people just want good music, good food and drinks, and to watch the two of you profess your love for each another.”
Venue: Château du Feÿ Villecien
Bride's Dress: BHLDN
Bride's Shoes: Miu Miu
Bride's Jewelry: Anthropologie
Hair & Makeup: Ava Belle
Groom's Attire: The Black Tux
Engagement Ring: Laurie Fleming, from Catbird
Wedding Bands: Catbird
Floral Design: La Maison Dautel
Paper Products: Nancy Moy Calligraphy, Andie Szyman, Sam Faulkner
Catering: Ollie Timberlake
Cake: Love and Cakes
Music: Mona Lou
Rentals: Mademoiselle Coton, Scene Plus
Photography: Jenny Fu