Congratulations! You’re getting married! And likely considering planning a Paris elopement or wedding in France, which is how you’ve found yourself here. We’re happy to pass along some tips and pointers to get you headed in the right direction.
Planning a wedding is known to be stressful at times. Planning a destination wedding adds even more logistics, and planning a wedding in another country can feel overwhelming at first. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with amazing vendors! They’ll help to alleviate your stress points. We have a curated list of professionals for you to reach out to for guidance. (Obviously, we can help you with all of your photography needs!) Click Here for our planning page.
A few important items to note about getting married in Paris or France. First, if you are wanting a chateau style wedding you likely won’t be in Paris for that, as most chateau weddings take place within a couple hours of Paris, or even in the South of France, Provence area, etc.
If your wish is for a Paris elopement, couples often select a public space or one of the fancy hotels such as the Shangri la or The Plaza. Most public spaces, such as the areas around the Eiffel Tower and some of the parks, do not require that you reserve space. This certainly helps to make things easier, but you should verify this is true of the location you choose. I highly recommend that you do work with a planner to help you navigate France and all the logistics that will need to be planned from afar. Trust me, your entire wedding experience will be infinitely better because you did, and you’ll thank me later!
Now, about the legalities of marrying in France. Well…this one is a bit trickier. In France, everyone is required to wed first at their town hall (or ‘mairie’ in French) in a civil ceremony. And…you’d have to show a minimum of 40 days straight of residency before being allowed to do this. So…I don’t want to burst your bubble, it is possible, but in all honesty, probably not worth the paperwork and headaches involved. The French love their paperwork! It’s certain to prove challenging to say the least, and without a doubt, I would secure assistance if you do have your heart set on going this route. However, in our experience, most of the weddings we have photographed here, the couple weds in their home country in a legal ceremony before (or after) their ceremonial I do’s in France for the most romantic of locations and often their own personalized vows.
Speaking of vows, one of my favorite wedding officiants here is Laura Montorio with The Paris Officiant. She is a true gem! She speaks perfect English, but can speak German and French fluently with the most lovely accent. And can even incorporate parts of the ceremony in Italian, Spanish or Chinese. In my opinion, she’s the perfect addition to even the simplest Paris elopement or wedding.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a touch about photography since that is our specialty. We are huge fans of the early morning light. The light is soft, romantic, and dreamy in the early hours. The added bonus is that the earlier you schedule your ceremony/photos the fewer tourists that will be out and about in your backgrounds. A sunrise ceremony will have you feeling as though you truly have Paris all to yourselves!
If photos are of high importance to document your Paris elopement, you can plan to take photos in several of your favorite locations and easily spend 2-3 hours hopping around Paris enjoying your newlywed status while having it all documented. A fun add on could be adding one of the 2CV cars or a chauffeur to take you around. And by the end of all this fun, you’ll be ready for brunch at a cozy Parisian restaurant. Your planner, or our friends at Savoir Faire Concierge can help make suggestions and secure reservations for you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our quick and simple guide to get you started! We’d love to be a part of your celebration! When is your date?!
Please click here for a fun polaroid camera tour — could be fun for yourselves or your guests!
And ask us about our luxury picnic set ups as well! More info coming soon!
Bonjour! The MOST important French Word…
Bonjour! If only someone had explained the importance of this one little French word to us before our first trip to Paris in 2010. If you learn nothing else before your trip, heed this advice.
Even if you do not know any other word in French, ‘bonjour’ will open doors! This sounds crazy, I know, but it’s oh so very true. In the event you aren’t familiar with the word, bonjour means hello or good day. The word holds much cultural significance around here. It’s pertinent that you say hello first, no matter what, even if you are bleeding profusely and need help (I’m only half joking) — or it’s true, some people may not be as helpful. Who knew that one little word could be so important?
I was fortunate enough to have visited Paris as a young girl when my father was stationed with the army in Germany, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming of the day I would return to the City of Love with the love of my life. When that time finally came, I was excited to experience it all with Doug. I still remember very vividly getting into the city around midnight. We were having a bit of difficulty finding our hotel — we did not have google maps back then (click here for the app we do recommend) because we didn’t have cell phones with us. We knew we were in the vicinity of the hotel. So naturally when we saw a lady speaking with someone behind a welcome desk in another building, we decided to pop in and ask for assistance.
“Excuse me, can you help me please? We are looking for the Marriott hotel….” The words were barely out of our mouths and the lady responded with a flippant wave of her hand, “Non, Non I can not help you.” What?! Did that really happen? Yes, I promise it did. Needless to say, that was the first strike for Paris and we hadn’t been in the city an hour yet. But…had we gone in and said, “Bonsoir! (because at night you say good evening as your hello) Excuse me, can you help me please?” Things very likely would have gone a little differently, especially if we’d have thrown in a, “Parlez-vous anglais madame?” It’s true that the French like to at least feel that you are trying in some way to speak their language. I can understand it may get annoying with all the tourists practically demanding the French speak English all the time, without even giving respect and pause to that one word, that one little word that can literally open doors.
Funny story….turned out our hotel we were looking for was only another block down on the same side of the street. I’m fairly certain she knew where it was, but we didn’t follow the cultural norms, so we were literally brushed off and away. And hey, it’s possible she was simply a grumpy person by nature. Because the good news I must share with you, is that we have been living here for close to two years now, and everyone has been quite helpful, beyond helpful at times. This first encounter story with Paris is the only one I can think of that has left me feeling so aggravated, but you better believe I now say bonjour ALL the time! And so far it seems to be working! 🙂
City Mapper is my favorite app for navigating Paris and finding my way around the city. We weren’t introduced to this app until about 6 months after we moved here. It really saved so much energy once we started using it. I was always saying, “Why isn’t there an app that tells me what exit to take?! It would make life so much easier!” This app tells you what exit to take, where to sit on the metro, how long to walk, bike, uber, etc. It’s all right here at your fingertips! I highly recommend downloading City Mapper before your trip.
We’ve created some videos with a walk through of the app below. You can also find them on our Facebook page. If you don’t hear the audio, you may need to click the volume button on within each video window. https://www.facebook.com/lamourdeparisblog
We hope you find this useful for your trip to Paris! Enjoy!
You might find our article on navigating the metro helpful too! Click Here to Read More
City Mapper 1
An amazing maps app to help you find your way in Paris! (We redid the videos because the first set had some audio issues depending which device you were viewing them from.)
Posted by L'Amour de Paris on Thursday, April 5, 2018
City Mapper 2
Some Bonus thoughts about the City Mapper app – the best maps app for navigating in Paris. (Take 2 – our first videos had some audio complications – if you didn't hear before, you should be able to hear on all devices now.) Thank you!
Posted by L'Amour de Paris on Thursday, April 5, 2018
Intimate Puteaux Mairie and American Church in Paris Wedding
An intimate mairie (townhall) ceremony in quaint Puteaux on one Saturday to legally bond Kim and Anthony in matrimony in France, followed by a religious ceremony one week later at the American Church in Paris, two dresses, and one perfect couple equals a recipe for a lovely Paris wedding!
Kim and Anthony are absolutely adorable together. They are both laid back and calm. Anthony is from France, and Kim from the United States. He’s pretty quiet, yet quite the adventurer, and she’s super sweet and has the best smile. She’s the type of person you easily befriend. And indeed, after all the wedding celebrations were over, we agreed we have to meet up for a Friday aperitif at some point just to keep in touch. 🙂
This wedding was first mairie ceremony in France that Doug and I have photographed. Since we are still learning French, we were a touch nervous going into it, but the employees involved in their ceremony went above and beyond to make sure we were also comfortable in our roles and let us know we could move about anywhere we wanted to during the ceremony, even encouraging us to come closer several times. It was incredible! The walls of the beautiful room they were married in were covered with murals of muted colors. It felt as though I had taken a step back in time when we first walked in the room. My heart also skipped a beat when I saw the near floor to ceiling windows with light flooding in them. Of course… it’s Paris, the City of Light, right? Normally that’s at night of course, but I’ll happily take it in this scenario too. 😉
When it was time to begin, their intimate group of guests, took a seat along the benches. Kim and Anthony walked in hand-in-hand and took a seat in the two oversized chairs, in front of a large desk, that reminded me of a more informal judicial desk. A few French representatives waited at the front to oversee the ceremony. The officiant wore a French sash across his body. In France, due to the separation of church and state, it’s a legal matter and not a matter of the church when someone gets married. To get married in France legally, it is required that the couple first marry in the town hall, but then they can also have a ceremony elsewhere if they wish to as well. The formalities were all happening in French, but to my pleasure, I was able to follow along quite well. I heard the officiant reading aloud the precise laws dealing with marriage, I surprisingly recognized plenty of terms from my civics class. Yay! I learned more than I realized.
After the legal formalities, Kim and Anthony exchanged rings and sealed the deal with a kiss! And then, just like that, they were married. Their family and friends quickly surrounded them with congratulatory hugs. And of course some photos were taken with family and friends. Afterwards, they went out to celebrate at a local restaurant. This wedding scenario is the norm here. Less muss, no fuss … much more laid back than what we are accustomed to in the U.S.
Kim was excited that her parents, sister and niece were able to stay around for the full week to be here for the ceremony at the American Church in Paris the following week. This wedding day looked more traditional in the sense of what we are used to back home. A traditional wedding dress, a bridesmaid, a flower girl — of course it goes without saying — a groom, a church, a preacher, some readings, and a celebration after the I do’s were said. On this day, the party continued at Les Ombres — which I have to say is quickly becoming one of my favorites! It’s part of the Musée du Quai Branly. It has an incredible, elevated view of the Eiffel Tower, and the food is delicious!
It was so enjoyable to spend the afternoon with their guests. It was a blending of not only two families, but of two cultures. Yet somehow, everyone managed to communicate and laugh with one another despite the fact that everyone wasn’t bilingual. Kim’s father is known for his fun games he likes to incorporate into special events. He had everyone take a quiz about the bride and groom in true newlywed fashion. One of Anthony’s friends stood beside her father, translating everything as he spoke into French. It was one of the funniest parts of the afternoon as gaffes were made, which spilled out into shared laughter by everyone present. And isn’t that what a wedding celebration is all about? Love and laughter with those we hold dearest to our hearts.
Kim and Anthony, thank you for having us! It was an honor!
One of my favorite sayings is the one that goes something like, “people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” As I get older I certainly begin to grasp this concept with more clarity. I’m very much a people person. I find it enjoyable to meet new people, especially here in Paris. I was fortunate enough to spend a very quick ‘blink’ of a season with this lovely family for their family photos in Paris, on a gorgeous morning back in the fall. The hardest part about our portrait sessions is that I often fall in love with a couple or a family, and then we quickly disappear from one another’s lives, but somehow leaving a small mark, especially with the photos, that will last forever. Thankfully, I get to keep up with some on social media afterwards.
This precious family certainly stole my heart from the moment they arrived with their happy smiles and perfectly coordinated outfits. Charlotte and I hit it off pretty quickly as I had Happy Birthday queued up on my phone in French for her as she was celebrating her 9th birthday the day of our session. Alexandra was a bit more bashful, but also began to get into the spirit of the session after a few minutes, especially after I asked her to be the leader in the first photo below. 😉
It was a lot of fun to see the girls see the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I remember that I was also 9 my first trip to Paris. To see their eyes bulge out of their heads and hear their squeals as we pulled up to Trocadero was priceless. Thank you for allowing me to spend the morning with you and capture your family in this moment in time!
I think their session is precious…but you can be the judge! If you have plans to travel to Paris with your family, we’d love to help you save those memories for a lifetime.