Our wedding story: Singalong and pingpong in Bordeaux

Stephanie and Tim Barry-Woods rented a chateau for their friends and family

Stephanie & Tim Barry-Woods Stephanie (28), from Cork, and Tim (29), from Devon, both financial software developers, met five years ago on a Credit Suisse graduate scheme.

“There was no official first date,” said Stephanie. “We were friends at the beginning and usually hung out in a group of people.”

They celebrated their engagement in Paris two years ago.

The first thing they agreed on after that was they wanted to get married abroad: “We wanted sunshine and loved the idea of renting out a big property for a few days, filling it with our friends and family.”


Tim's parents, Ken and Jain Woods, live in France, and after an online search, the bride-to-be, her mother Margaret, sisters and bridesmaids drove seven hours to check out Chateau de Cazenac, in Coux-et-Bigaroque, near Bordeaux.

They rented the chateau for four days. The couple and their 65 guests all stayed there and enjoyed a hog roast, pool party, singalongs and beer pong.

Tim and Stephanie were legally married the morning they left London for France, on the Eurostar, and on June 20th the bride's sister Aoife Barry officiated at a humanist ceremony in the chateau garden.

Tim has a background in music and composed a piece that the French string and piano quartet played as Stephanie, in a Vera Wang dress and a veil by Elie Saab, walked down the aisle.

Towards the end of the ceremony, the bride's cousin Cathy sang La Vie en Rose in English and French, accompanied by her mother's partner Kieran on guitar. The newlyweds walked down the aisle together to the quartet's rendition of Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros.

They wrote their own vows that they keep on their iPhones to send if either needs cheering up.

“We struggled at first between going the traditional route for the ceremony or doing our own thing, and we’re both really glad we decided to go with our gut and do things our way.”

The reception was in the barn, where the tables were arranged in a U-shape instead of smaller round tables, and after a three-hour meal, a second round of cheese and cake came out at midnight.

They had their first dance to Al Green's Let's Stay Together. "We're both terrible dancers so we had a few dance lessons before the wedding." After that, the bride's brother Nick and friend Chris were the DJs until 6am.

“Giving up my name didn’t feel right,” said Stephanie, “so Tim thought taking each others would be nicer.”

The couple live in Dalston, East London, and spent a week island-hopping in Greece after the wedding. They are planning a trip to Asia next year. Photographs: Ben Eagle