Nicole Schoeni and Will Toye tied the knot at the historic French chateâu where, a year earlier, Will had popped the question
Nicole Schoeni and Will Toye tied the knot at the historic French chateâu, a place where a year earlier Will had popped the question
Surrounded by vines and set amid splendid French-style gardens, the wedding of Nicole Schoeni, director of Schoeni Gallery, and property developer Will Toye took place in one of France’s most important historic buildings, the 13th-century Château de Bagnols, which the couple booked out for the entire weekend of their wedding. “We stopped over for a night on a road trip in the summer of 2012, and Will surprised me with a proposal,” recalls Nicole.
The wedding took place on September 21 – the same date as Nicole’s parents’ wedding – and began with a traditional church ceremony. The bride wore a wedding dress from Augusta Jones, before changing into a dress by Jenny Packham, while Will wore Ralph Lauren. “Multitalented actress/ model Ankie Beilke, who was one of my bridesmaids, was also sweet enough to do my make-up for me,” says Nicole.
With the wedding ceremony over, the party toasted the bride and groom with cocktails in the chateau, followed by dinner in its winery, which was topped by a fireworks display synchronised with the music of Coldplay, one of the couple’s favourite bands. “It was an incredibly magical moment as it was a surprise for many, and was wonderfully choreographed. The fireworks felt so close, it was as if you
could touch them… It was definitely a highlight,” says the newly-wed.
Music was an integral part of the wedding. Explains Nicole, “Will loves live music at a party, so we splashed out and hired a nine-piece band from London called Family Funk and flew them in for the wedding. We’d first heard them at a friend’s wedding a few years ago and were blown away by their talent. After the live band, we were also extremely lucky to have one of the UK’s most renowned DJ duos, Chase & Status, to play for us. We had so much fun dancing all night long!”
The following day saw the couple continue to celebrate their nuptials with a pool party at the chateau, with tables and picnic blankets set up around the round pool, and 1950s and ’60s jazz music providing a cool sonic backdrop. “There was sun shining through the surrounding cherry trees, and resident chef Jean Alexandre Ouaratta cooked up a delicious buffet.
We also surprised our guests with a hot-airballoon ride,” says Nicole.
Since the chateau itself is so stunning, Nicole says the couple didn’t need to work hard to make the wedding special. They did, however, do their best to make the large, cavernous room inside the winery – where the dinner took place – feel warm and intimate by means of a “jungle” theme. “We hired three large olive trees, and hung vines and fairy lights from the winery’s beams and furniture. The flower arrangements were also created with a wild flair,” says Nicole. There were also little details to reflect the couple’s personalities, such as the mini canvases and easels for place names to reflect Nicole’s love of art, and the 1950s and ’60s jazz CDs compiled by Will, which were handed out as favours.
Straight after the wedding-weekend celebrations, the couple flew to Istanbul and enjoyed their first few days of married life at boutique bolthole Georges Hotel, where Nicole says they enjoyed the cultural sites, the art biennial and some shopping. Finally, Mr and Mrs Schoeni-Toye relaxed at the Maldives’ Anantara Kihavah Villas for a week – the perfect way to end two days of blissful celebration with friends and family, and a busy city break.