A Vibrant, Globally-Inspired Wedding in the South of France

This international couple turned to their favorite destinations for inspo.

Updated 12/17/18

Photo by Volvoreta

How did a woman from Spain and a man from England wind up getting married in the south of France? Well, it all started in Nicaragua in 2010. Beatriz Fadrique was volunteering at a local school there, and one day after school, she headed to a bar with some friends. As fate would have it, she ran into Tom Williams, who was in the country as a stop on his post-graduation trip around the world and wound up at the same bar. "After we left Nicaragua, we spoke on the phone every day for two years,” Bea recalls.

“I visited London once in 2011, but in 2012 we drifted apart.” A few years later, though, they got back in touch and decided to give a long-distance relationship a go. At this point, Bea was living in Chile, while Tom was back in the U.K. “We realized we were really committed to each another, and eventually I decided to move to London to join Tom," Bea explains. In May of 2017, the couple headed to Porto, Portugal, where they’d gone on their first trip as a couple early in their relationship—and Tom proposed on the grand staircase of the Yeatman Hotel.

“He’d planned to propose on a cruise of the Douro River, but a storm came in and we had to stay on dry land,” Bea says.

But with or without the romantic river cruise, Bea said yes, and the pair soon started planning their wedding. The location: Biarritz! “I grew up spending a lot of my childhood in Biarritz, which is quite close to the Spanish border,” says the bride. “My parents and I would stay at the Hotel du Palais, and I loved feeling like a princess as I sat at the bar and watched the pianist play for me.” For their wedding, Tom and Bea checked into the same hotel for the weekend, marrying in a religious ceremony at nearby Église de Saint-Eugénie and celebrating at the Chateau d’Arcangues on June 16, 2018.

“We had a small civil ceremony in London on the 26th of May, as a Spanish and English person of different religions getting married in France would have been quite tricky, legally speaking,” Bea says with a laugh. “We loved having a small celebration in London, then having 225 of our loved ones join us for the big party in France!”

Keep reading to see more of Bea and Tom's globally-inspired wedding, as captured by Volvoreta. Hint: It's full of bright colors, exotic flowers, and creative touches that are sure to inspire.

couple coat of arms

Photo by Volvoreta

ceremony programs

Photo by Volvoreta

The reception took place in a castle, so Bea worked with her friend Eugenia of Eugeniota Collection to create a custom coat of arms for the weekend. It included the couple’s initials, a penguin (Bea’s pet name for Tom), and flowers inspired by places the couple had visited together. The ceremony program also featured a watercolor illustration of the spectacular setting where Bea and Tom exchanged vows.

bride beauty shot cap sleeve wedding dress

Photo by Volvoreta

back of wedding dress long train

Photo by Volvoreta

bride in veil beauty shot

Photo by Volvoreta

beauty shot

Photo by Volvoreta

The bride opted for a truly custom wedding gown and worked with Helena Mareque to choose everything from the lightweight fabric to the finishing details. The gown used natural silk taffeta and cotton tulle in an A-line skirt with a two-and-a-half meter train. As a final touch, flowers from antique French fabric were applied to the bodice, mixing shades of white with touches of silver.

Bea’s headband was decorated with a pendant that was an engagement present from Tom’s mother, while her veil was cape-inspired to cover her shoulders inside the church. “Tom's and my initials were embroidered onto the back of the veil,” she adds.

groomsmen

Photo by Volvoreta

The groom wore a deep navy morning suit that consisted of a peak-lapel tailcoat and a gray double-breasted waistcoat. His groomsmen also donned dark blue morning suits, yet sported pink ties to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.

bride and groom

Photo by Volvoreta

In honor of his British heritage, Tom’s boutonniere featured a single pink English garden rose.

page boys flower girls

Photo by Volvoreta

wedding party in front of shirt

Photo by Volvoreta

page boys flower girls

Photo by Volvoreta

The page boys donned beige linen shorts and shirts, while the flower girls wore lace dresses with ruffled sleeves. All of the children wore espadrilles, a Biarritz staple. The youngest wore an adorable bonnet, and all the girls carried ruscus and a variety of David Austin roses.

bride and groom during ceremony

Photo by Volvoreta

groom lifting up veil

Photo by Volvoreta

first kiss

Photo by Volvoreta

church ceremony

Photo by Volvoreta

“We used traditional vows, but each chose to say them in the other person’s native tongue,” says Bea, who said her vows in English while Tom said his in Spanish. They used music as a way to put a modern spin on the proceedings, interspersing hymns and classics like Pachelbel’s Canon with “All of Me” by John Legend and “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay.

petal toss

Photo by Volvoreta

ceremony exit petal toss

Photo by Volvoreta

Following the ceremony, guests tossed rose petals as the newlyweds made their way out of the church.

getaway car

Photo by Volvoreta

“We’d booked a Rolls Royce as our getaway car months in advance, but two days before the wedding, it broke down,” the bride recalls. “We had to scramble to find another vintage Rolls Royce in a small area as quickly as possible!”

castle-like venue

Photo by Volvoreta

venue

Photo by Volvoreta

greenery archway

Photo by Volvoreta

cocktail hour

Photo by Volvoreta

Cocktail hour took place on the chateau’s lawn, and Bea and Tom provided heel covers to keep their stiletto-clad guests comfortable. Guests were treated to an indulgent two-hour pre-party, with a paella station, jamón Ibérico, Scottish smoked salmon, and Indian favorites as a nod to Tom’s mother’s heritage. “We also had waiters wandering amongst guests and shucking oysters to order,” says Bea.

The lush floral décor took on a tropical feel, with pincushion proteas, ranunculus, and anthurium paired with David Austin and Juliet roses, asparagus fern, philodendron, and monster.

escort card display

Photo by Volvoreta

escort card display

Photo by Volvoreta

A ring of ferns, pepper tree leaves, boxwood, and thuja held cards displaying guests’ table assignments. Each table was named after a Latin American ruin or marvel dating from before the Spanish conquest.

reception

Photo by Volvoreta

“We wanted the reception to have a Latin American feel, with exotic flowers and colorful accents,” explains the bride. Monstera leaves served as the base for the centerpieces, while blooms like proteas, bromeliad, and English climbing tea roses surrounded elegant candelabras.

table number

Photo by Volvoreta

pashmina wedding favor

Photo by Volvoreta

Tables were topped with linens in either plain beige or vibrant floral. “Our caterers bought the floral linens specifically for our wedding,” Bea raves. As a gift, each seat held either a hand-embroidered pashmina from India, purchased by Tom’s mother as part of Hindu tradition, or a red San Fermin handkerchief from Bea’s hometown of Pamplona. “Everyone waved their handkerchiefs when we made our entrance into the reception,” says the bride.

toast bride and groom kissing

Photo by Volvoreta

The luscious five-course meal included gazpacho with melon and royal crab, wild prawn carpaccio with scallops and langoustine, beef ragout with puréed potatoes, and a chocolate dessert with praline and caramel cream. Bea says the vegan guests especially loved the asparagus mousse and the seasonal vegetable tempura.

first dance

Photo by Volvoreta

bride dancing

Photo by Volvoreta

reception

Photo by Volvoreta

Before dancing began, Bea changed into a second Helena Mareque dress: a minimalist silk-satin shift with a plunging V-neck, a crystal panel across the bodice, and a perfect-for-dancing vibe. “Our reception was supposed to end at 3 a.m., but when the clock struck, we knew it wasn’t long enough,” she says. “Our DJ and caterers amazingly agreed to stay for two more hours! No one wanted to leave, and Tom and I didn’t want the day (or the night!) to end.”

Ceremony Venue: Église de Sainte-Eugénie || Reception Venue: Chateau d’Arcangues || Officiant: Don José Luis Morrás || Bride's Dresses: Helena Mareque || Embroidery: Luneville || Bride's Veil: Helena Mareque || Bride's Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent || Bride's Jewelry: Cartier || Hair & Makeup: Lola Perez de Prado || Groom's Attire: Casey-Hayford, styled by the Wedding Gallery || Flower Girls’ Attire: Labubé Madrid || Page Boys’ Attire: Labubé Madrid || Wedding Bands: Cartier || Floral Design: El Árbol || Paper Products: Eugeniota Collection, 255 Paper Design || Catering: Maher Catering || Cake: Maher Catering || Ceremony Music: Sotovocce Choir || Reception Music: Javier Vilariño || Accommodations: Hotel du Palais || Videography: A & Y Video || Photography: Volvoreta

Related Stories