High school sweethearts Kate Mongin and Clint Heckner picked out the black diamond for Kate's engagement ring in St. Thomas while on vacation with Clint's family. They kept the ring a complete secret until a few years later in November of 2012, when Clint popped the question at a hotel in their college town of Madison, Wisconsin. вЂњHe already had champagne, flowers, and a new dress set out for a romantic evening out together - a rare thing at that point in the school semester,вЂќ Kate says.
On a trip to Paris in 2013, the bride-to-be met Eric and Diane Anthonissen, a couple who later purchased the ChГўteau Ladausse in Monflanquin, France, to renovate as a bed and breakfast. вЂњWhen Clint and I started looking at venues in Wisconsin, I couldn't get this place out of my head and we fell in love with the idea of having our wedding in France,вЂќ Kate says. The couple invited just 18 guests to join them for an intimate outdoor wedding in the French countryside on their eighth anniversary together, June 4, 2016. While planning a destination wedding in a different time zone (and with a language barrier) proved difficult, Kate and Clint recruited planner Laura from Label' Emotion and the owners of the chГўteau to make sure the day went off without a hitch. See all the charming details in the photos captured by Molly Jo Collection.Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
"Clint and I both have modern taste, which is quite the juxtaposition to the gorgeous chГўteau," Kate says. "We really wanted to have an intimate outdoor wedding that celebrated our love for food and classic taste, paired with the feminine touch of the French countryside. It was also important to us to highlight the chГўteau's history and charm that day."
To bring their contemporary style into the wedding, the couple turned to stationer Wouldn't It Be Lovely for an invitation suite. This gold foil invite totally fit the bill, striking the perfect balance between their modern tastes and the venue's aesthetic.Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
After years of keeping the diamond under wraps, Clint surprised Kate with this stunning ring when he proposed. And with such a unique engagement ring, the bride dreamed of a wedding dress that was fresh and trendy, but still somewhat classic. She first noticed this Sarah Seven wedding dress online, but it wasn't until she went shopping with friends in Chicago that she tried it on and fell in love. The elegant short-sleeve silk crepe gown had a high neckline and a full circle skirt with a slit in the front, allowing Kate to show off her Jimmy Choo ankle-wrap heels.
Kate's bouquet, a mix of peonies, Anastasia roses, eucalyptus, and native greenery, was her most stunning accessory.Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
Kate's maid-of-honor wore a black lace floor-length gown purchased at Macy's and held a smaller version of the bride's bouquet. Clint and his groomsmen wore the same tuxedo from Express, but Clint chose navy blue rather than black. вЂњWe both like him in lighter tones because he is fair skinned. Plus, I loved that he would be a bit more unique from his groomsmen,вЂќ Kate says. Clint paired his tux with Bruno Magli shoes and a tie clasp that originally belonged to his grandfather, engraved with an вЂњHвЂќ for their last name. The men, including the fathers of the bride and groom, wore simple white rose boutonnieres.Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
The ceremony dГ©cor transformed this dreamy venue into a romantic fairytale, complete with wreaths hanging in the trees, garlands lining the aisle, and original chГўteu doors from the 17th century adorned with white roses and peonies serving as the couple's altar. Two chairs were placed at the altar for the bride and groom, reading вЂњavoirвЂќ and вЂњtenirвЂќ, French verbs that mean вЂњto haveвЂќ and вЂњto hold.вЂќPhoto by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
While a local violinist and pianist performed, Kate and her stepfather walked down the aisle. She and Clint exchanged traditional vows, and were showered with white flower petals after their "I do's."Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
After the ceremony, guests were treated to champagne and hors d'oeuvres, including spinach and cilantro falafels, caramelized onion chaussons, warm gougГЁres, schezuan peppercorn marshmallows with parmesan and fleur de sel, and a Roquefort milkshake with pear granitГЁ.Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
Attendees made their way to the chГўteau's courtyard for the reception, where string lights were installed to provide better light after sunset. Seating assignments were displayed in a wreath of greenery.Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
The black, white, and gold theme was carried through to the reception, where the long dinner table was topped with white linens and a black and white striped runner. A eucalyptus garland, studded with white roses, spanned the length of the table, and gold-sprayed wine bottles holding tall white candles ensured there was a romantic glow throughout the evening.
To ensure everyone felt at home, the couple went custom for their place settings. Each guest's name was carved out of wood and left with a sprig of rosemary at their seat.Photo by Molly Jo Collection Photo by Molly Jo Collection
Since the newlyweds wanted to celebrate their love of food with their friends and family, Kate and Clint chose a seven-course dinner, starting with an amuse bouche of carrot and turmeric root veloutГЁ with Norwegian lobster. Guests also enjoyed smoked salmon millefeuille with a whipped cream of capers, spring onion, and preserved lemon, along with seared Mediterranean sea bass with braised leeks. Dinner also included Guinea hen filet stuffed with mushroom and prosciutto, topped with a five-spice orange demi-glaze sauce.Photo by Molly Jo Collection
If that wasn't enough to keep guests full, the pair also served a cheese platter, Granny Smith apple sorbet, and, of course, wedding cake. As Kate says, вЂњA full wedding guest is a happy wedding guest!вЂќ Their cake had one tier of yellow sponge cake with passionfruit filling and another tier of chocolate sponge cake with chocolate cream filling. Embellished with edible gold leaf and an intricate sugar flower, their dessert was almost too pretty to eat.Photo by Molly Jo Collection
Kate offers sage advice for making decisions during the planning process: вЂњTrust your instincts, because no one knows you better than yourself. Pick selections that honor you as a couple rather than the opinion of others and it will be the day you've always dreamed about!вЂќ
Venue & Catering: ChГўteau Ladausse || Wedding Planner & Florist: Laura Chenay of Label' Emotion || Bride's Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven || Veil: Bridal Elegance & Formal Wear || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Hairstylist Angelique || Makeup: Casmetics || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Express || Invitations: Wouldn't It Be Lovely || Music: Paris New York Event DJ || Cake: SweetArt by Diance Poultney Magne || Videographer: Sam de Salvador || Photographer: Molly Jo Collection