This Relationship Coach Had The Unconventional Wedding Of Her Dreams

Inspired by her whirlwind romance across Europe in a campervan, LA-based relationship coach Ellie Baker shares the intimate details of her unique wedding.
This Relationship Coach Had The Unconventional Wedding Of Her Dreams

Our wedding was informed by our relationship. As the founder of Coupld – a relationship coaching service that’s not therapy, but rather designed to help proactively keep couples thriving – we always knew we were going to have an unconventional day. Jacques and I met in 2016 through someone I was friends with at university, but our whirlwind romance truly began when we both quit our jobs and moved to southwestern France to live at my mum and step dad’s house and build up a campervan.

Setting the scene: a picturesque view of the ceremony location in the southwest of France.

That campervan is incredibly special to us. We stayed at my mum’s house for a while before travelling around Europe in it, mostly focusing on exploring Spain and Italy, which became key points of reference for our wedding. Further to this life-changing road trip, I jokingly proposed to Jacques on a bridge in Bruges while tipsy, and, of course, he proposed back.

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My mum and step dad’s place has such sentimental value to us, hence why we chose to host the ceremony there. Originally the wedding was planned for June 2020, which, unsurprisingly, got cancelled, so we tried exactly the same month the following year, but that also didn’t work out. On our third and final attempt, despite the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, we managed to get it all to fall into place, and got married on 15 September 2021.

The happy couple about to officially (quite literally) tie the knot.

The place that gripped our souls on our travels was southern Spain – I’ve only seen Jacques cry twice, and once was watching flamenco, so my wedding dress was inspired by that experience. Designing the dress was a collaborative effort with my friend and celebrity stylist Aimee Croysdill. The dress was made out of silk and a chiffon that was so delicate. The best thing about it was how it looked in the breeze, and with movement. I just hated the idea of seeing anybody else in the same dress; I couldn’t just buy something off the rack, so I’m glad we had it made to measure.

My friend Lauren did my make-up; my mum made my hairband; my mother-in-law lent me her jewellery; my bridesmaids made the bouquets and boutonnières; and my sister, Jessie, did my hair. Basically, everyone kind of pitched in, which made it feel extra special, and like a close-knit community.

The interiors of “Bonny”, Ellie and Jacques home for six months whilst traveling Europe.

To represent the Italian side of our big trip, Jacques wore a check jacket, which was by Massimo Alba. I was in brilliant white, along with my bridesmaids. Then, Jacques’s groomsmen were in beiges and whites. All of the guests got to wear what they liked – we wanted a casual dress code so that people could buy something that they would use again. My bridesmaids and I wore matching espadrilles, though.

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Charlie Lodder of Mabon Studios designed and hand made Jacques’s and my matching chunky signet rings. We wanted something timeless and, of course, a bit unusual. I love how untraditional it is to wear just that, rather than an engagement ring and wedding band.

The vegetarian menu on the day.

The day began with me getting ready with my bridesmaids. I was frantically writing my speech, because Jacques and I decided to do speeches to one another rather than having somebody else read them. We had people arrive at 2:45pm for a drinks reception. Beforehand, I wanted everybody to be liquored up because the service was going to be a bit wacky.

My nephew was the page boy and he went down and scattered some flowers at the start of the ceremony, but the only way my sister could get him to do it was to coax him down the aisle with bread – it was the most adorable sight to see. Then, we had the procession, which was all about being equal, instead of just being about me. Jacques went down the aisle first with both his mum and dad, then the bridesmaids and groomsmen went down together, and then I followed suit with my mum and dad.

The gang’s all here! A group shot of everyone involved on the day.

Roberta Zuric, our friend who’s also a theatre director in London, was our celebrant. She came up with the ceremony design herself, involving multiple choice questions for the audience about our origin and engagement story, and we made our vows with a “handfasting” ritual, so that we literally tied the knot. Jacques and I then did our speeches to one another, which was really important to me. Then we all sang “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers, which was ridiculous and it rained, but it was fun because we were dancing and singing in the rain.

I was brought up vegetarian, so it was a veggie menu, in the kind of Ottolenghi style of sharing platters. The dessert was a croquembouche, which is a traditional French wedding cake. As a family tradition, we smashed the cake with a champagne bottle and I had my bridesmaids holding a bedsheet to catch all of the profiteroles. This is something that my mum, my sisters and I have all done at our weddings now.

“There was no curfew,” says the bride about the epic party that took place in the evening. 

We had our first dance, but it was one of those things where you realise as soon as the music comes on that you’ve not even practiced. Then, the party afterwards was loads of fun. Some of the groomsmen organised to put Jacques and I in chairs, gave us lassos and cowboy hats and then we had to try to catch each other. There was no curfew, because it was at my mum and step dad’s, and no one could keep off the dance floor.

It all ended by the pool with some late-night revellers. Then, Jacques and I had a room in the back of the property, a bridal suite of sorts, that we went to afterwards. Overall, it was a successful and beautiful wedding, of the unconventional variety.