Chateau Rigaud is not a hotel, but a private house & this is what makes it so very special. We specialise in producing beautiful weddings & parties, filled with clever details, personal touches, delicious food & plenty of fabulous Bordeaux wines.
Because this is a home, there's no check-in desk or cash register ringing up the cost of every coffee. Your guests will arrive to a freshly baked cake, champagne on ice & an open bar, with the message to help themselves to whatever they fancy.
There are no officious hotel rules here telling you when to go to bed. The atmosphere throughout your stay is always super relaxed but while you’re kicking back & enjoying the party, our English speaking team know exactly where to be & what to do and hence the service is incredibly professional and slick. Guests always comment on the seamless fashion in which the weekend unfolds, they are always wowed by the food and impressed by the invisibility of a team who had everything covered. Check out our reviews online. What we hear all the time is "it all happened as if by magic".
Rigaud is a little bit magic and we're very proud of the house and the team. There are a few of our favourite images in the following pages and at the bottom of the page you'll find some more factual information about how we work.
We hope you enjoy what you are about to see!
Your day, your way...
Every wedding is unique, every bride has her own vision, budget & priorities. Our planners understand this & our team are here to do as much or as little as you want, to ensure you get the atmosphere you want on the day.
Some of our brides need us to manage every aspect of the day for them - Antoinnette travelled from New Zealand & had never stepped foot in Europe before she arrived to be married but this posed no great problem. We were even able to arrange two donkeys, at her request, to carry the champagne in saddle bags. Of course!
Equally there are families who want to get involved so when Hannah was married we were happy to pass the secateurs to Mum to arrange the flowers, while Gemma's Dad knocked up a few signs. It's not necessary of course, there's no need for your people to lift a finger but you'd be surprised at how many of your special guests like to have a job or two!
The important thing to remember is that the chateau is your private home for the long weekend. Our staff are your staff & your dream is our brief.
Making it easy for your guests
Organising friends & family to attend a wedding abroad can be quite a challenge. A weekend away in the sunshine is a plus but the admin is understandably a downside.
To make this easier we provide you with a bespoke Guest Information Pack for each of our weddings which lists travel, accommodation & optional activities, alongside an online link to a secure booking form, all of which is administered by your planner.
This means your guests can book rooms, chateau wine tours, a private visit of the St Emilion Catacombs or maybe a canoe descent & picnic the day before the wedding.
They can even book and pay for dinner at whatever restaurant you have chosen for the night before your wedding, so the whole party can meet up for supper the night before the wedding without surprising any local restaurants with a sudden invasion of guests.
You can choose to be updated via email every time one of your guests completes the form, with a copy of what they have booked, so you're entirely in the loop but without the administrative hassle.
Planning weekends for bride and groom
Planning is a contentious issue. Some brides enjoy an eighteen month lead time, for others the term 'mood board' invokes mild panic. As for the grooms, we've met a few who couldn't focus on their Pinterest boards!
We suggest a two pronged approach. Firstly we appoint you a dedicated Wedding Planner, available throughout the lead up & on the day of the wedding to ensure that everything is exactly as it should be.
Secondly our Wedding Planning Weekends, in the spring & autumn, are a great opportunity to stay with us at the chateau. You get to sample the food & wines & to discuss options with the chefs. Our hair & make-up artist is available for a trial runs, you can check out the barn again, discuss flowers face to face with our florist, review local restaurant options & generally immerse yourself in the area where you will be married.
You also meet other brides who have chosen a Rigaud wedding which can result in some interesting sharing of ideas, props & even cake transport from the UK! Friends and family are definitely encouraged to join you, the wine flows freely, the bar is active well into the small hours. Even the grooms get to enjoy the planning process!
Styling, props and the personal touches
The real planning is all in the personal touches. It's the little things that people remember. The small, quirky design elements that entertain your guests as the afternoon unfolds, making this wedding like no other.
We provide a dedicated stylist on the wedding day to ensure that all the design elements you've discussed with your planner knit together and that everything looks absolutely perfect on the day.
Positioning the antique sofa set on the lawns, draping the curtain at the barn entrance, moving flowers from ceremony to canapé terrace, hanging chandeliers in the trees, writing up the blackboards with your table plan and menu, they're all the details that make your guests smile and catch the eye of your photographer.
When it comes to the ceremony itself the Mayor in our commune (Monsieur Le Maire) is enthusiastic about marriage and we're able to arrange a legal wedding, at the Mairie offices in our commune, here in France.
Having said this, most couples choose to do the legal paperwork for their marriage in the UK and then hold either a symbolic ceremony, to exchange vows on the lawns at Rigaud or have a religious blessing in our very beautiful local church. Our planning team can help you with the creation of your ceremony. It's easy and it's fun.
Dressing the ceremony is included within your floral budget. We work with each bride to create a look and feel which reflects their wedding as a whole. We often use the large Horse Chestnut tree as the main focus of a lawn ceremony and we hang lighting and flowers from the branches which provide a pretty and contemporary center piece and a stunning candlelit focal point later in the evening.
Bring me a glass of champagne!
The canapé reception is a serious affair. We combine "stand d'animation" where a chef prepares food in front of your guests, with beautifully presented strolling canapés.
Vintage plates, upturned wine boxes, gilt framed blackboards & terracotta pots filled with herbs are all small touches but it's these details that the guests always comment on when describing the fabulous wedding they attended at the weekend.
Your guests step onto the terrace to the delicious aroma of home-made chipolata sausages grilling on a bucket BBQ, which are served with native oysters from Ile D'Oleron & this sets the tone for the feast that is to come...
Jambon Pata Negra, caramelised goat cheese with chorizo, foie gras terrine with a shot glass of Sauternes and pan fried scallops, served in their shell with a pea and mint purée and herbs from the garden, you can choose from an extensive list during the planning stage or leave it to the chef to decide what will wow your guests.
And so to dinner
Canapes flow, guests mingle throughout the grounds, music drifts through the air, you feel as though you're floating. And then it's time for dinner.
Expect gasps from your guests as they entre the candle lit dining room. The twinkling lights, the flowers, the carefully considered table arrangements, all need to be taken in and admired, before the arrival of the new Mr and Mrs…
We're very proud of our in-house chef team, who never fail to attract accolades for their food. The Bride and Groom choose from an extensive menu for the wedding meal, which is a formal, three course affair, followed by the Rigaud 'cheese door', a selection of French cheeses, set out on an old door across two barrels for your guests to help themselves to later in the evening.
The fairytale continues
The meal might come to an end with the presentation of a French wedding cake, known as a `croquembouche', a tower of profiteroles complete with sparklers, or you might prefer a Rigaud wedding cake of chocolate and berries, or even a tower of cheese, choices, choices, it's a tough call
During dinner our team will have lit candle lanterns throughout the courtyard and grounds. We've lost count of the times this has been described as magical or fairytale but it still never fails to bring a smile to see your guests react to the loveliness of it all.
If you've chosen to have fireworks then this would be the time to set them off and as the last sparkle falls from the sky, the band or the DJ strike up.
The Rigaud bar staff are on hand to run the bar until about two and transport is arranged to carry your guests home at the end of the evening.
The next day
Our package includes a delicious family friendly lunch on the chateau lawns. Guests wander in from about midday, often looking slightly worn (!) and so start the stories about the night before. Did you see that girl doing the splits on the dance floor? And who was it singing in the chateau bar until 4am?
For the Bride and Groom it gets a lot more relaxing from here on in. Spend the afternoon around the pool with the hard core hangers on until it's time for supper together, perhaps from the pizza oven in the vegetable garden?
It's precious time to remember and savour.
A Chateau Rigaud wedding always includes
Exclusive chateau hire on a bed and breakfast basis for the long weekend - with housekeeping to maintain bedrooms and our team of staff on hand to make everything perfect.
A fully stocked bar on arrival, daily afternoon cake and commercial Nespresso machine, so there's no "extras" bill when non-resident guests drop in for tea and stay for an aperitif.
A team of very talented chefs, cooking entirely from scratch, often with produce from the garden and grounds.
An extravagant two hour canapé reception including the finest quality of Oleron oysters, fresh scallops, and Jambon Pata Negra, prepared by chefs in front of your guests and followed by a four course 'fine dining' wedding feast.
Limitless excellent Bordeaux wines (Chateau Bauduc white, Chateau Cours D'Argent red) and local fizz, until the last guest falls into bed, thus defining the cost of your wedding from the start.
A staffed open bar on the wedding night, serving into the wee small hours.
A personal wedding planner to work with you throughout the build up to the wedding and be there on the day, supported by a dedicated stylist to arrange props and details just as they should be.
A bespoke guide for your wedding guests with online booking form recording all your guest responses and allowing them to book and pay for arranged activities in the area such as the canoes descent with picnic and Friday night meal.
The option to join a Rigaud wedding planning weekend in November or March, when you are able to stay in the chateau and sample the food, wine and general ambiance, meet the team and work on the finer details of your big day.
Frequently asked questions
The chateau itself will accommodate up to 18 adults in nine, en-suite double bedrooms, and a further six children in either the dorm or in various child annexes.
The Vineyard Barn is a stunning house within the chateau grounds and offers a further four double bedrooms with three bathrooms (two en-suite), an enormous living area and a separate private pool.
Overflow accommodation in the local area is extensive and includes over 100 rooms ranging from €80 to €950 per night. We have good relations with a number of regular B&B providers and we advise that your guests book from the recommended list which our drivers know well.
You are welcome to bring your own wines and champagnes into the chateau and for the first case of 12, we do not charge corkage, on the basis that you might want special wines for the first night for example. Thereafter we charge €8 corkage per bottle .
Well behaved dogs who play nicely are very welcome guests.
SWIMMING POOL AND OTHER GUESTS
Your friends who are staying in the local area are very welcome to drop in at any time to visit, use the pool and generally chill out with you
LATE NIGHT MUSIC
Restrictions on late night music allow for bands to play until midnight and for the DJ to play until 2am. The party can continue in the chateau after 2am for as long as the bride would like.
WEDDING MEAL MENUS
We are sometimes asked if we can provide a more relaxed wedding meal at a reduced cost. The answer to this one, sadly, is no. Our very talented chefs are contracted to us for the season and our kitchen is designed to deliver a quality fine-dining experience for the wedding meal itself. Other meals over the weekend are more relaxed and there is a wide menu to choose from.
The Chateau has a well equipped nursery, stacked with toys, books, craft materials and even better, it can be staffed with English speaking Nannies, so guests who want to bring children are able to book childcare and the little ones will be very well looked after. We encourage brides to arrange an early children's supper, during the canapé reception, after which the younger guests are able to crash out in the cinema.
BANDS, DJ's, PHOTOGRAPHERS, HAIR AND MAKE-UP ARTISTS, MIXOLOGISTS, DONKEYS....
We have an extensive contacts book and can recommend and book all manner of services from a local string quartet to an International DJ star, available for Rigaud when he's not playing for 'A' List parties and Royalty.
Transparent pricing removes the fear factor and retains the romance
Weddings should be a joyful time of celebration and absolutely not an uncertain worry about the final bill. We structure our pricing to ensure that our bride and groom can track the costs at every stage. You will know the final bill, down to the last couple of hundred euros, long before your arrive.
Our pricing spreadsheet details every conceivable cost that the weekend will encounter. You choose from the list of options - will you serve our delicious local fizz or splash out on Laurent Perrier? Is an impressive fireworks display part of your dream or would you rather blow the budget on a London band for after dinner dancing? You can make your choices, free from sales pressure and you’re able to see the total sum the whole time.
Most helpful of all is that the cost of your wedding feast includes all the wine your guests drink for the entire evening and that spirits are charged at close to supermarket prices. So every time your Best Man pours himself another large glass of claret you can smile since you're getting more value from the weekend and as the evening draws in there's no need for anyone to be counting the bottles!
To know more and to book the chateau
If having looked through our brochure you feel that Rigaud might be the venue for you, the next stage is usually to make and appointment to view.
During the summer months, from late April to the end of October we are unable to conduct viewings over a weekend since we are always full with bookings. At this time of year we invite you to look round between Monday afternoon, after midday and Thursday lunchtime.
At the point of booking we take a €4000 deposit. Thereafter we take a further €4000 payment in November and €4000 in February of the year you will be married. The balance, less 10% is then due six weeks prior to your wedding.
We hope you have enjoyed the photos and look forwards to hearing from you!