As promised, here are all the photos and details of the wedding!
The day of our wedding took place at 3pm, on the 8th of August, in Paris, on a perfectly warm summer’s day. Being the end of the season, the parks and roads were lightly dusted with recently fallen, burnt-orange leaves that created a perfected setting for our photos. The sun had started setting earlier and earlier, casting as incredible glow over the city, followed a sunset of dreamy hues that made the Eiffel Tower appear even more magical. It’s safe to say that we couldn’t have dreamt a more perfect day.
We were incredible lucky to have so many guests traveling from different parts of the world to share this special day with us. However, because many of our guests weren’t from Paris we had to facilitate the journey to town hall and decided to do so by hiring a vintage bus. This was a last minute idea that was quite difficult to organise. Like most things in France, hiring a vintage bus requires a lot of paperwork and a lot of time for the paperwork to be processed. Luckily, we found one company, Paris Classic Tours, that were able to provide us with a bus in time. The complete disregard for OH&S meant that we were able to get a mixture of fresh air and petrol fumes on the balcony as the bus sped along a highway. We arrived safe and sound but unfortunately on the way to the reception the brakes decided to kick the dust and we came to a screeching halt. Our far from friendly driver advised us that we no brakes and walking was our only option. Luckily we were not too far from the cafe.
In France, you do not have the freedom to get married wherever you like. This is something many people don’t realise when they decide to elope in France. There is a general rule that applies to everyone and it dictates that you can only get married in the town hall in the district in which you live. For some people the town hall is a grande chateau, for others it’s an old vintage looking school. Unfortunately for us, we live in an area called Créteil and if you can imagine an old, rundown, 1960s shopping center with a concrete tower attached, well that’s what we had to look forward to. Luckily, the ceremony room was classic and quite royal in appearance and just across was a beautiful park and lake that was perfect for photos. Once you passed the shirtless skateboarders and ‘entrepreneurs’ illegally selling roasted corn, it was surprisingly pleasant.
The Reception – Part 1
After the breaks on the bus decided to call it quits, those in flats had a leisurely stroll along Rue de Rivoli, while those in heels had a painstakingly long march. We arrived at a beautiful little cafe, tucked away across from le Louvre, called Bistro Valois. I cannot recommend this cafe enough for private functions. The staff had blocked off and decorated a small section of the terrace with vintage wine barrels topped with white roses, and a large buffet was set up with wine and platters of cheese and charcuterie . After a couple of glasses of wine, Julien and I snuck off to have a few photos in the Jardins du Palais Royal. We didn’t hire a professional photographer, instead Julien’s best man and his close friend helped us out and did an amazing job.
The reception – Part 2
After a couple of hours relaxing at the cafe, it was time to make our way to the Seine River to board our private boat. There are many companies in Paris that allow you to privatize boats of all sizes with accompanying food and wine packages. After doing a lot of research it was clear that Yachts de Paris was by far the best company to go with. We chose the cocktail option as oppose to a sit down dinner (very nontraditional in France!). The event was catered by Lenotre, who are well renowned in french cuisine, and there was a nonstop flow of Moet Champagne throughout the night. At 8:30pm we departed for a two and a half hour cruise along the Seine, taking in the view of the finest monuments, buildings and statues that Paris has to offer. Photos were taken, speeches were made, and the french and English started to mingle more as the champagne acted as a social lubricant. The time passed too quickly and before you knew it the boat was returning to the quai. At midnight the soirée came to an end. Those who were in the mood to party went to a bar, while others who were exhausted returned home. Unfortunately, due to a last minute change of plan, Julien and I unexpectedly had to remove all our decorations and flowers from the boat. Instead of peacefully returning to the hotel, we were stuffing bunches of flowers into a taxi. Despite this, I wouldn’t have had our wedding any other way.
The Flowers and Decorations
The decorations were not taken into consideration until a couple of weeks before D-day. I had a slight vision of what I wanted but I didn’t really think too seriously about it. I knew I wanted a slightly rustic look and plenty of Peonies or Dalias. It turned out that I missed the season for both flowers by a week and after seeing the boat, the rustic theme didn’t really work. Everything I wanted was impossible to find (story of my life in Paris) and so nothing was done until the week before. Despite the lack of time, we still managed to create some beautiful, unique decorations. Instead of a traditional wishing well, we decided to use a vintage suitcase decorated with gift tags; each guest took home a thank you bag containing a watercolour heart cookie and handmade chemistry beaker candle; and we created an area with vintage postcards and books so that our guests could leave us a note.
The Thursday before the wedding, my bridesmaid and I went to my two favourite florists in Paris so we could get started on the bouquets. We bought everything and anything we found appealing and then attempted to take the subway home while juggling at least 20 large bunches. We were squished onto the subway like sardines. Clearly we were hot and struggling and yet people still shoved us out the way to get a seat. The majority of the flowers made it home safely, a few were not so lucky. The next 24 hours the house was covered in thorns, leaves and discarded flowers that didn’t make the cut. You couldn’t see the floor, my bridesmaid was out stealing extra leaves from the bushes near our house, and I had a fiance yelling that he never wants to see a flower again. Looking back it was probably one of the most testing, yet funny moments in the lead up to the wedding. The flowers ended up being exactly what I wanted and my husband is once again allowing flowers in the house. Everything worked out.