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A French Garden Wedding in the Pays de La Loire Region

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Benoit Chevrier Photographie

Architects Emily Oppenheim and Alejandro Stein met while attending graduate school at Columbia University. After dating for approximately a year-and-a-half, he proposed over drinks in Paris without a ring. Months later, he surprised her with a ring that they had chosen together.

Rather than choose a traditional venue, the two wanted somewhere intimate to host their union. Their family friends, a French painter and Venezuelan film maker, offered up their beautiful home in Vendée in the Pays de La Loire region of France.

For her walk down the aisle, Emily knew she wanted to wear something simple and chose an Amsale design with a veil and Stuart Weitzman block heels. Our hosts surprised me with a beautiful flower crown with fresh white roses and gypsophile, which I wore during the reception,” the bride says.

The groom began the day in a navy suit with a tie embroidered with small flowers. Later in the evening, he changed into a green silk suit made by a traditional tailor in Abu Dhabi and gifted to him by his good friend.

In a quaint, outdoor garden ceremony, the bride walked down the aisle with her father. The couple’s mutual friend, Louise, officiated and read a poem in Spanish before the exchanging of the rings. To close out, Alejandro broke the glass, as is the Jewish tradition, and kissed his bride. “I felt so much joy to be able to share this day with our closest family and friends in such a beautiful setting,” Emily says.

Following the service, the champagne and rosé were served along with oysters and tequeños. During dinner, heartfelt speeches were given by the hosts, father-of-the-groom, mother-of-the-bride, and uncle-of-the-bride. Then, everyone hit the dance floor!

“Our guests were in love with the DJs! They were amazing and we had so much fun dancing. We lit paper lanterns and continued to dance late into the night,” the bride says.