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  • Manon Douard

Wedding reportage at the Abbaye des Prémontrés

Hello there,

For once on this blog, where I talk about everything but my photography reportages, today I'm going to tell you about a wedding I covered at the sublime Abbaye des Prémontrés in Pont-à-Mousson, undoubtedly my favorite venue in Lorraine. I've already had the chance to work there several times, and the magic always works (which proves the point of a Greek wedding planner who once told me as a French photographer I really didn't need a Destination Wedding to be amazed by a wedding venue!).

I was fortunate enough to work for a couple who, while having ambitions for the scenography of their wedding, were willing to trust the photo/video team and let themselves be guided. It was an opportunity for me to make the most of the immense diversity of settings and atmospheres that can be created at the Abbey, with its many magnificent interior and exterior spaces (yes, I'm totally biased).

In this article, you will see what a wedding in this very special place can look like, if you're considering it for your own wedding.

Wedding preparations at the Abbaye des Prémontrés

The Abbey has its own hotel, which can naturally accommodate couples during their wedding preparations. In fact, I've covered weddings at the Abbey where the couple's getting ready sessions would take place there. Though for this wedding, thanks to the confidence of the bride and groom and the enthusiasm of Cassandra, a planner friend who, like me, never says no to anything new, we did the getting ready... In a hallway.

A bride getting dressed in the corridors of a building open to the public, on a Saturday, while there are visitors? Why do I have a bad feeling about this, Manon?

Wait, let me explain how great of an idea this was (although it does sound a bit... Unexpected).

The Abbey is huge - it took me several visits to stop confusing the staircases or passing through the cloister eighteen times to find my way back - but it's got a lot going for it. The building has several landings, but not all are served by the main staircases. In fact, even if some are technically accessible to visitors, people don't go there because they don't spontaneously take the service staircases, believing that they are reserved for staff (obviously, I'm the only one who goes everywhere as long as a cord doesn't physically prevent me from doing so).

I suggested to the bride that she should not get ready in one of the Abbey's hotel rooms, because although they were modern and had all the necessary comforts, I felt that the bridesmaids might feel cramped and that the décor lacked the grandeur of the rest of the building. Cassandra, the wedding planner, had already identified this problem and, after discussing it together, we looked for an alternative.

My considerations were largely aesthetic, and logistically, the bride-to-be was of course free to say no to being in her bathrobe in a corridor. In the end, my only argument was “I think it'll be much prettier for your photos”. Having already been to the Abbaye several times, and having shot the wedding flatlays in this specific location I had in mind, I knew that no one would accidentally end up there, and that the privacy of the bride and her bridesmaids would be totally preserved. I was very lucky that she agreed to play along and trust us, and God knows it was a good idea.

So much so that I don't think I'll ever work there again without trying to get my brides and grooms to get dressed in the corridors, which will give me quite a reputation. In an Abbey, no less.

The groom's getting ready session also took place outside the originally planned rooms, but in another, potentially more crowded, location. The issue of privacy was, in my opinion, a little less of an issue for him, as it was only a question of putting on a jacket and toasting with his nearest and dearest, not of taking bare-legged photos and having his hair and make-up done in a bathrobe.

Wedding ceremony at the Abbaye des Prémontrés

We had to deal with a bit of capricious weather - it rained, that is. As a result, the wedding ceremony, originally planned for outdoors, was moved indoors to a special room. This is one of the great assets of the Abbaye des Prémontrés, and we can't stress it enough: it has an excellent plan B in case the rain makes it necessary to hold the ceremony indoors. Most wedding venues offer solutions that are generally less attractive and less practical than the original plan, should it happen to rain. In this case, the very large room, with its white walls and high windows, allowed me to achieve what I felt was a high-quality result. The white also highlighted Kristine's sumptuous floral work, which created an absolutely magical setting for this wedding.

The Couple Session(s)

During the preparatory discussions with the couple, we discussed the possibility of two couple sessions because they wanted to diversify the mood of their images as much as possible, and were keen to take advantage of both the exterior and interior settings of the Abbaye. As it is a huge (and sublime) place, Cassandra and I thought it was coherent for the couple to do two couple sessions: the first indoors during the day, to get enough light to enhance the interior decor, and the other outdoors to take advantage of the sunset and Golden Hour - the clouds having cleared by the end of the day.

Couple's photo session indoors

The oval staircase of the Abbaye des Prémontrés is clearly my favorite spot on the estate, and I tend to recommend it highly for the moment of discovery for the bride and groom, when it's not taking place during the ceremony. So it was only natural that I chose this setting for the couple's indoor session!

Couple photo session in the courtyard of the Abbaye

Holding the couple's photo session in the Cour d'Honneur allowed us to take advantage of an exceptional setting, but also to make the most of a magnificent décor that had unfortunately not been able to accommodate the vin d'honneur due to difficult weather conditions. For the bride and groom, it was a way of taking advantage of a space that was unfortunately not available to them for the rest of the day.

The reception in the church of the Abbaye des Prémontrés

Now we come to the most emblematic part of a wedding at the Abbaye des Prémontrés: its sublime church, which hosts the wedding reception in a 600m2 space flanked by 18-meter-high columns. Needless to say, the grandiose effect is in full swing - all the more so when you're lucky enough to see the space decorated and flowered by the expert hands of Kristine and her team, from Juste une Evidence.

The abbey church is huge, and can accommodate several hundred people in a space steeped in history and monumental architecture unlike anything else in the region.

It should be noted that the abbey church of the Abbaye des Prémontrés is not consecrated, i.e. it is not sacralized and, with a few exceptions, does not host masses. I can understand why you might feel uncomfortable holding a reception in a place of worship, so I'd rather make that clear. The Abbaye abbatiale hosts all kinds of cultural events, and the large wooden panels you can see in my pictures actually conceal the armchairs that once enabled the abbatiale to be converted into a concert hall.

This wedding has confirmed the joy of working in a place with so much potential. I look forward to exploring new framing possibilities at my next weddings there!

If you'd like to find out more about my services, please visit my website, or contact me via my contact form.

See you soon!


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