Once Upon a Fairytale At Chateau Challain In France
Chateau Challain is like something out of a fairytale. Located in the Loire Valley in France, it’s one of the grandest, private French homes of the 19th century. It boasts a wealth of architectural detail, including intricate wood carvings, Gothic panelling and sculptures, large working fireplaces, and hand-painted ceilings. It is situated on a beautifully manicured estate, which occupies one corner of a quaint village.
This was the location of this shoot by Seyi Olusanya of Once Upon a Destination who envisioned this fairytale shoot featuring a host of amazing suppliers from the UK. Seyi decided to use a palette of pink and blue with the addition of silver metallic to create this luxurious shoot filled with wonder and beauty.
Château Challain is steeped in history and its romantic beginnings are worthy of an epic love story. The ultimate fairy tale castle, its 4 towers represent the seasons, 12 turrets represent the lunar months, 26 spiral staircases represent the fortnights per year, 52 fireplaces represent the weeks of the year, and 365 windows represent each passing day.
One of the grandest private French homes of the 19th century, the Chateau Challain is often referred to as the “Neo-Gothic Jewel of Anjou” or “Le Petite Chambord.” Now owned by the Nicholson family who painstakingly restored it to its former glory, it is run by Cynthia Nicholson who proved to be the consummate host.
Yemi Oshunkoya of Kosibah designed and created three couture dresses for this shoot. The first of the trio, named Clio, a cream, full-skirted strapless ball gown with a lace bodice and raised front hemline. Worn with delicate tulle and lace over jacket, the full voluminous skirt with layers of luxurious fabric billowed and swished with every movement.
The second dress was dove grey and silver Erato. With its heavily embellished and embroidered bodice and train of Swarovski crystals and precious stones, the trumpet silhouette makes it perfect for a very modern princess. The third dress, Caliope silk, embroidered strapless form-fitting construction with a long silk tulle train provided drama and presence.
The beautiful hand made silk flower girls dresses were by Little Bevan.
The hair and make up for this shoot was by the amazing duo of Bolanle Okusnaya of Bolanle MakeUpPro and Dionne Smith Hair, who is the best in the business. Our expertly made-up model, Naomi, had a soft and natural look and the palette was neutrals, blush and peach.
Her hair was fashioned into an elegant updo of beautiful curls which showed off her beautiful face to perfection.
The Flowers and tablescape
The incredible Leanne Hewitt and her very talented team created the beautiful floral designs which were the focal point of this shoot. Using an abundance of pink Avalanche roses, pink orchids, pink and blue hydrangeas, blue forget me not and pink berries, Leanne and her team made tall flower arrangements with a fabulous split runner that cascaded over the table. They also made the pastel pink, blue and white bouquets carried by the bride and flower girl.
Cynthia provided all the tableware and chairs from her in house Aladdin’s cave of delights. The long table was set with silver flatware and placemats, white china, cut glass crystal and napkins topped with beautiful acrylic laser cut stationery by Intricate Creations.
There was also a dessert table that featured round and heart-shaped mini cakes in blue and silver topped with pink sugar roses, delicious cupcakes, cookies and macarons also in pastel pink, blue and silver.
The fairytale shoot was beautifully captured by Nek Vardikos of NV Photographers and Urban Cinematographers.
With huge thanks to Cynthia Nicholson and the wonderful team at Chateau Challain for making this shoot come to life.
Groomswear by @keyelondon
Photo by @nvardikos
Child model’s Dress by @littlebevanlondon
Bridal Stylist @senamin1
Male model @kais.mks
Female model @naomisjoy
Child model @i.am.imoleayo
Creative Director @seyi_once_upon_a_destination