For many, getting married in Paris is the ultimate dream. It’s beautiful, romantic and timeless, what could be better than a destination wedding in one of the dreamiest cities on earth? Have I convinced you? So, where do you start when you’re trying to plan your wedding abroad?
First, you need to know that unless you live in France or have a parent living in France, it is (highly) unlikely that you will be able to have the actual legal ceremony in France, but that’s okay! Most people choose to have the legal ceremony in their own home countries and then come to France to have the religious or symbolic ceremony, which works out well - and is actually pretty French. French citizens have to get legally married at the Mairie (or mayors office) where they live before they have any type of religious or symbolic ceremony, so you’re in good company and doing it à la française, as they say.
Now that you’ve got the basics, you need to get planning! Luckily for you, as a wedding photographer, I spend my time surrounded by amazing humans who are just the people to make your destination wedding perfect.
Without doubt, I recommend Michele Wahila from Ruffled By Grace to officiate your ceremony. She is American, so she speaks English, she can do nondenominational services, she is LGBTQIA+ friendly and she is a lovely person in general. I have worked with her many times and have absolutely no hesitation in telling you to book her.
Once you have the officiant, it’s time to talk location. You may have your dream location already scouted, and if you do, that’s great but if you don’t, a personal favorite of mine is the gardens at Trocadero. It is especially beautiful at sunrise and is the perfect backdrop for your Paris wedding or elopement.
Next, flowers! Nothing says ‘elegant Paris wedding’ like a customized floral design. I personally love Le Fancy Déco for their arrangements. Their bouquets are always extremely chic and effortlessly Parisian. What more could you ask for?
Once you’ve got all that, we need to get you looking your best! My go-to girl for hair and makeup is Joleen Emory. Her looks are gorgeous and most importantly: customizable. She is the perfect pick to glam up your wedding party.
Flowers, check. Makeup, check. Officiant, check. What about the dress? Bringing a dress from home is a great option, but if you’d rather play around in a Parisian boutique and buy one on the spot, there are a ton of great shops to check out. ZankYou has compiled an entire list of stores that are ready and willing to help future brides find the dress of their dreams.
Finally, no wedding is complete without cake! My favorite cake vendor is Janine from Cook In Paris. Not only does she do cakes, but she does them in a variety of flavors, shapes and offers catering - she’s a one-stop-food-shop, making your wedding planning a breeze.
Obviously, once you have planned the Parisian wedding (or Parisian elopement) to absolute perfection, you will need someone to capture your beautiful memories so that they last a lifetime. For that, you will need a photographer! Hm.. I wonder where you might find one of those…