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A Chance Encounter in Paris Ends With a Wedding at a French Chateau

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Art De Vie

During her senior study abroad year in Paris, Samara Senoville joined a friend for dinner at her future husband Martin Senoville’s restaurant. To say that she caught his attention is perhaps an understatement. “He kept sending me glasses of champagne all night,” she recalls. “After the restaurant closed for the evening, we stayed behind just the two of us for some late night foie gras. It was the perfect “first date,” even though I spoke very little French and he spoke no English!”

After dating for a couple of years, the couple decided to get married one day and went to a jeweler together to design Samara’s engagement ring. “We aren’t really the sappy romantic types!” she explains. “We are also both terrible at keeping secrets, so we didn’t have a big surprise proposal. We picked up the ring together and went to our favorite restaurant to celebrate. It was perfect for us!”

While most brides obsess about their dress, Samara was fixated on choosing the perfect venue for their wedding. “With all of my friends and family coming from the US and Canada, I knew from the beginning that I wanted our wedding to be more than just an evening,” she says. “The Chateau de Vallery was perfect because the chateau grounds allowed for the indoor/outdoor vibe I wanted, and the pool made for an awesome day-after party!” To help with the arrangements, the couple hired event planning company Fête in France.

As is the case with many brides, Samara had a very detailed idea of what she was looking for in a wedding dress but ended up with something else entirely. “I wore Lela Rose’s Altar gown with a few personal alterations,” she says. “I loved the A-line cut, the flowy feel to the skirt, and the alternative lace.” She accessorized with some of her mother’s jewelry and wore the same makeup she does on a regular basis: blush, mascara, and a pop of color on her lips. Meanwhile Martin wore a The Kooples suit; a staple in every Frenchman’s wardrobe.

While Samara is Jewish and Martin is Catholic, neither of them were quite observant, although their ceremony ended up featuring elements of each of their religions. “The ceremony was fun and low-key, just like us!” she says. “We were married under a chuppah and did the smashing of the glass. There was lots of laughing and smiling.”

The reception followed in a big, beautiful hall inside the chateau. Martin’s restaurant did the catering, and offered several dishes including a beef, tuna, and vegetarian option. There was lots of dancing and entertainment, even though the newlyweds decided to skip on a first dance. “Neither of us could deal with that pressure,” Samara admits. “Being the center of attention at the ceremony was enough for us! We did do the Hora with both of us were hoisted up on chairs.”

After the band ended their set at midnight, a DJ came on and played until the wee hours of the morning for the late night partiers. “My favorite part of the reception was late at night, when Martin and I were sitting on the couches outside for a few minutes alone, listening to the music, drinking champagne, and watching everyone dance late into the night,” she says. “It is one of those mental pictures I hope to keep forever.”

The newylweds headed out around 2:00 a.m., but others danced until 5:00 a.m., and another group even ended up staying the night. “There was a bit of a snafu with the taxi situation, so a lot of people couldn’t get back to their hotels and ended up sleeping on the lawn, dance floor, and on the stage,” Samara explains. “It made for some hilarious stories! Brunch the next morning made up for it, though!”