Today we have a special guest blog from Vanessa Van Wieren of Alchemy Fine Events and the founder of Ultimate Wedding Collection. Vanessa toured the south of France last summer in search of the top premier wedding venues and she's here to share her top choices with us!
Last summer, I took a plane to Nice with lots of luggage and no itinerary. I was determined to find the French Riviera's best events venue by visiting some of the region's most incredible and glamorous properties.
Months earlier, I launched the Ultimate Wedding Collection, an ultra-luxury wedding package that includes vendors, a sorted budget, an itinerary and logistics. With these things all taken care of, all that is left is for myself and the brides to create the personalized touches for the wedding.
After several weeks and lots of networking, I was connected with the top concierge in Monaco and was whisked across the French Riviera touring the most incredible locations I have ever seen. Talented photographer Tony Gigov flew down from Austria to accompany me and shoot what we discovered.
One of our first stops was Cap Estel.
When we drove up to Cap Estel my jaw literally dropped. The white villa is perched on its own private peninsula. You can only reach it by driving a windy road that skirts the seashore. I've never seen such grandiose architecture and such beautiful views. My lord, the views!!! When you enter the villa itself, you find a pristine palace of shiny marble and modern furnishings with a distinct French flair. Crisp white orchids are displayed on incredible collectible tables and a palette of white on white throughout the villa creates a serene yet luxurious feel.
As we were led through the villa, the atmosphere continued to get more and more magical. The guest rooms at Cap Estel are nestled into the rocky cliffs, and the expansive lawns overlook the sea. There is a private bistro, an underground spa, a beautiful rose garden and, off course, a private beach. Each of these features would be impressive on its own, so you can imagine how much further my jaw dropped when I experienced them at once! A Michelin-rated chef? Check. Luxurious guest rooms? Check. Unbeatable photo opportunities...? Check, check, check...!
All I could think about as we continued the tour was the beautiful events that this property had the potential for! There was so much space, so many unobstructed views, and the level of privacy on this jewel of a coastline was nearly impossible to find (even along the glamorous Cote d'Azur). In my eyes, Cap Estel is THE premier wedding venue on the French Riviera.
So what could I create here? This is the fun part; "Dreaming in design" as I like to refer to it. Since this would be MY top choice, I decided to create what I would consider to be my own dream wedding. It would go something like this:
Wedding guests would enter the villa through its white marble lobby and walk out onto the expansive terrace overlooking the lawn. A classical string quartet would be playing remixed classics while guests sipped on bubbly rosé from gold-rimmed crystal goblets and nibbled on caviar canapés before being escorted down to their seats for the ceremony.
Soft white suede and rose gold chairs would be lining the aisle on the lawn that led up to the altar. The altar would would be fluttering with lush white peonies and an abundance of white butterflies and oversized paper flowers. These bright whites would contrast perfectly with the azure sea in the background.
After the ceremony, guest would explore the rose garden during the cocktail hour. Beautiful performers with theatrical butterfly headpieces would play stringed instruments while walking between the guests. An impressive cheese table and gourmet appetizers from Cap Estel’s Michelin-starred chef would serve as a preview of the amazing meal yet to come!
After cocktail hour, guests would take their seats in a black-and-white-striped tent dripping with an eclectic display of chandeliers and pendant lights. A palette of blush and salmon centerpieces would be offset by the bold canopy, striped linens and blue-and-white place settings. The guests would eat off beautiful gold flatware, sip wine out of crystal goblets, and savor course after course of delicious food.
During the reception, the guests would dance under the stars to a combination of live musicians playing over deep house electric tunes. When the party ended, the guests could retire to their 800-thread-count sheets. A frisky few could take a midnight dip before turning in if they wanted.
So there you have it! That’s my ultimate wedding vision for what I consider to be the French Rivera's best events venue. What would yours be?
About the Property
Cap Estel, located at Eze Bord de Mer (just minutes from Monaco), is a 5 star hotel offering unparalleled location, scenery and service. Having hosted guests from Madonna to JFK to Bono, this exclusive property has seen many a fabulous fête. With offerings including a 180-degree view of the Mediterranean, 28 luxurious villas and suites, a Michelin-starred chef and its own private beach, it's easy to see why Cap Estel has become such a sought after destination for jetsetters and trendsetters alike.
The hotel itself was transformed from a Russian prince’s private villa into a luxurious hotel in the 1950s. Estel has an expansive yet secluded lawn, infinity pool, full service spa, gym, outdoor grill lounge and private beach. The amazing attractiveness doesn't stop with these features. The clean, crisp and luxurious interior design or the decadent Michelin star meals add to the allure of Cap Estel. The location, near Nice and Monaco, will make is easy for your esteemed guests to get to this luxurious Mediterranean paradise quickly and easily.