OK, so Tessa + Alex’s love story is pretty epic to say the least. You can stay tuned for the whole story in a bit, but let’s just say it spans continents, cultures, and reminds us that you never know when love is just around the corner waiting for you. But first, here’s a look at their wedding, photographed by Feather and Stone. Tessa + Alex were married in Provence, France, adjacent to the very same Olive Groves where they first met while working side-by-side during the harvest season. It’s humble, heartfelt, and bathed in warm Provence light.
That little peanut is Tessa + Alex’s one-year-old, Theo. Only the sweetest photo ever.
To save a little cash, T + A decided to do a “cocktail dinatoire” style dinner, as opposed to a sit down meal. They had amazing trays of food rotating the crowd all night, so people just grazed as they danced and talked. It was more affordable and less fussy.
Tessa says, My best advice for finding a photographer is to never settle. When you see photos that take your breath away—when you keep thinking about those images day after day—it’s a little form of falling in love again. I am indebted forever to them for capturing exactly what I see when I hold my little family in my arms: glowing, golden love.
We’re kind of obsessed with Tessa’s braided flower crown. Definitely pinning that one for later!
Their love story, told by Tessa:
I ended up in France by a bit of chance and kismet, I think. A couple years ago this week, I woke up in the morning in my apartment in California, alone and jobless and needing a big change. I had just gotten out of a relationship and lost my job at the same time (I am a baker/pastry cook). I had enough money to either pay rent or buy a plane ticket. I chose the plane ticket. I had always wanted to go to France but never had and felt like I needed the distance and space to breathe and begin again in my life. I bought the ticket and then starting investing ways to make it happen, ie places to work/stay and that’s when I heard of WWOOFing, which is an international organization of farming volunteers. You work on someone’s land in exchange for room and board and a cultural experience. This sounded perfect as I had done some farming growing up in Northern California and needed the manual labor to clear my head. I started emailing people in France, setting up various farms and houses to stay at during my ten-week stay.
Needless to say, my parents thought I was nuts, my friends thought it was like a movie and I thought it was the scariest, riskiest thing I’d ever done. At the airport my mom cried as she said, “You never know, you could meet the love of your life there and never come back!” I shook my head at her as this sounded crazy at the time, still wounded from my recent life explosion. I wanted solitude, quiet, clarity and a break from men in general.
I started in Aix because the weather was better than the north of France and I had had a great email conversation with a British woman who had a bed and breakfast here and needed help with the garden and olive trees. That sounded perfect to me. Two weeks there and then I’d travel to another farm, and so on. She picked me up at the train station and we drove to her home. She walked with me to drop my bags in the house and then we went to the garden so I could see where I’d be doing most of my work.
Alex was in the garden with a friend, trying to start a wood-chipping machine (and failing, much to the chagrin of his confidence). We stood there and stared at each other for a moment. This wasn’t what I was expecting. I was faced with the kindest eyes I’d ever seen, the most endearing smile, a British accent to make me swoon, and this crazy, childish hair that was full of leaves and wood chips. That was it for me.
Over the next couple weeks, we worked together, digging the new garden for spring and him teaching me the art behind pruning the olive trees. I knew I was in love with him when I saw his head poking out of the top of an olive tree while he worked and sang to himself, his crazy hair standing on end.
When my two weeks came to an end, I quietly went to the computer and emailed the other farms to say I wasn’t coming. Alex and I never spoke about that, it just was. I was to stay, we were both so smitten already. What followed was motorcycle rides in the Luberon, swimming in the warmest sea, and me slowly realizing I could never return to my life as it was before. Two weeks turned to ten, spring to summer and we never looked back.
We have had our tough moments, deciding to spend time in France versus California, the financial ache of an international relationship, missing family and friends in exchange for not missing each other.
That is Alex and I, faces in the sun and hands in the dirt. We fall asleep holding hands and wake up to the sounds of a happy child playing in his bed. I know now that that “crazy” moment of me buying my plane ticket to get away was actually just my heart telling me what I would need to do to find him, and to eventually find my baby son.
Photographer: Feather and Stone / Event Planning & Styling: Un Grand Oui / Venue: Groom’s family estate, Les Arnauds / Hair & Makeup: Camille Bonardi / Flowers: DIY by family & friends from the wholesale flower market in Marseille / Invitations: Big Fly Design / Macarons: Macarons de Caroline / Catering: Côté Jardin / Band: The Cotton Candies / Paper Decorations: Luna Bazaar & Save On Crafts / Bride’s Dress: Bride to Be in Carmichael, California / Jewelry: Givenchy / Groom’s Suit: I. Gilles / Bride’s Ring: Family Heirloom reworked by Stephanie Scheutz / Groom’s ring: Custom band by Lyle Poulain