Many couples dream of romantic evenings strolling hand in hand, sharing a sweet kiss underneath the romantic night skies illuminated in the City of lights but to the lovers of the world Paris is also called the city of love.
More and more American couples are married in Paris planning a wedding at home can be pretty stressful now imagine planning a wedding on another Continent with almost 4,000 miles betweeen the United States and Paris this feat to some may seem impossible however this is where Kim Petyt an American Wedding Planner and Author and living in Paris comes to the rescue. Kim has iver a decade of planning wedding and events in Paris and offers a few tips to making your Paris Wedding a Stree free dream come true.
- Planning: Start planning early gone are the days od dropping into town at midnight and walking to the village parson to marry you and your sweetheart. This isn’t the Paris, Vegas so as romantic as it sounds, a last minute, international elopement just isn’t realistic in this day and age. There aren’t very many english-speaking celebrants in Paris, France and most of them work full time at their own churches which leaves a limited amount of time to officiate weddings for couples coming from over seas. You should plan in contacting your celebrant at least 3 months in advance for your ceremony (longer if you’re havong a more elaborate ceremony of if you’re planning a wedding during the high season).
- Keep your wits about you: 15 minutes on Google will tell you that Paris is an expensive city. If you find a website for a wedding planning company in Paris who says that they can organize your rehearsal, wedding and day-after brunch, as well as coordinate hotel and transportation for you and your 50 guests all for less than 1000€, please don’t blame the French when it all goes horribly wrong. I know it’s exciting to plan a wedding and a wedding in Paris to boot. But don’t let the excitement blur your
vision. As I’m sure your grandma told you- if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is…even in Paris!
- Respect the Culture: This may seem obvious, but France is not the U.S., so please don’t expect things to run as they do in the U.S. Yes, I know it’s frustrating to not have your emails returned for days on end (if at all), to have someone insist that your centerpieces be white (when you really want yellow) or tell you that you can’t bring your own wine to their restaurant (even if you’re willing to pay a corkage fee). These are all
aspects of French culture that may seem quirky from the outside looking in (through American eyes). Just realize that more than likely, there’s a cultural explanation behind these actions, and move on. (For example, in France, yellow is the color of cuckold, so it’s considered bad luck/poor taste for a wedding. A French vendor may feel uncomfortable saying this to you, and instead may choose to simply guide you away from the offending color…)
- Top Wedding Trends in Paris: It’s funny that while Americans tend to look at Paris for wedding inspiration, the hottest trend in Paris weddings these days are American- style weddings! Whereas 5 years ago I had to have my clients bring things like funky wedding favors, Polaroid cameras for DIY photobooths and even bridesmaid dresses with them in their luggage for their Paris weddings- all of that is completely normal at *branché (*trendy*)* Paris weddings now. Things like “surprise” first dances, stacked fondant cakes- even “Save the Date” announcements (all which used to be typically American) are some of the hottest trends at Parisian weddings these days. BUT, it’s done with a
French twist (shall we say) – we Americans tend to like our weddings BIG- tall centerpieces strung with Swarovsky crystals, layered table linens, Gobos splashing our monogram around the room, etc. etc. French weddings are a lot more subtle, with the emphasis more on the guests *around *the table, rather than the drama *on *the table. So rather than draw the attention away from the guests with an over-the-top, elaborate table center, a French bride will choose centerpieces that can be talked over, made of tasteful, carefully selected floral compositions in a classic vase, for example. There will, of course, always be traditional French touches- so a French Rustic Chic wedding might have a foie gras station, or a French Vintage wedding could have mix-and-matched antique Limoges dinner pieces found in the brides grandma’s attic. And plenty of macarons. Always.
- What makes a Parisian themed event authentic: Ah yes. I think “discrete” is the word that most people should keep in mindwhen designing a “French Themed” event. America is in love with Paris in the movies- so I think that “Pink and black polka-dot, French-poodle” thing is buried in our memories from some old movie from the 50’s! I think to have a tasteful, authentic, French-inspired party décor, one element should be chosen, and then that element should be used sparingly throughout. You can never go wrong with a white or neutral color palette as a base- even for a kids party or a big fundraisier. You don’t HAVE to go overboard with a lot of color to make a big impact. Say the motif you pick is the Eiffel Tower. Take all white linens, clear, mercury or black glass elements, and then add in the touches of the Eiffel Tower here and there (on the napkins or favors, or somewhere in the centerpieces). But it’s either/or. Eiffel
towers in the middle of the table,on the napkins and the water bottles, the favors- it’s all too much. Simple is best! . For another touch of authenticity, your motif doesn’t have to be the Eiffel tower. Try a Fleur de Lys motif, or a Bee (the symbol of the Second Empire under Napoleon), or Marie Antoinette’s monogram or macarons. The “Great Gatsby” is hot right now- why not skip the motif and go for a “Paris in the 20’s” wedding
instead? In the age of “Pinterest” it’s so easy to find Paris or French inspirations and not be locked into clichés.
- Let’s Talk food: Most American couples want their guests to experience an authentic French meal, and so will choose a menu provided by the venue or caterer. That said, many Americans don’t like foie gras, (which is a staple at Frenchweddings) and so we will arrange to have a different starter on the menu. One big difference is that the French in general, are a LOT less persnickety about what they can/cannot eat. So when we start getting RSVPs back with requests for Gluten-free/Vegetarian/Lactose-free/Egg-free, etc
etc., we have to start scrambling. Most venues will do what they can to accommodate as many guests as they can, but again- it’s not America and (for now) it’s not in the culture to offer that many meal options. So you just might end up with a large house salad while your tablemates are served a 4-course meal!
- Wedding Cost: The average wedding in France is around 12,000€ for 100 guests- I would say you should almost double that for a wedding IN Paris (with prices starting
to drop as soon as you go outside of Paris’ “walls”). But like in the States, “average”” costs are all relative. I *can *tell you that if you don’t live in France, flying to Paris to get married shouldn’t necessarily be considered a “budget” option. A lot of times people get caught up in the magic and excitement of say, Eloping to Paris, and they seem to forget that they have to budget for the people who are making the magic happen. I’ve had people contact me to say that they would like to hire a celebrant, a photographer and a bouquet for the bride- and they only have $500 (USD!) to spend. Already, they haven’t calculated the fee of the planner who is pulling all of this together (ahem!), plus the cost of the celebrant and photographers time to perform/photograph their ceremony (at the very, very minimum 3 hours each) and the cost of making and delivering the bouquet. On top of all of that, there is the ridiculously high VAT in France (19,7%). I’m as romantic as the next girl, but these are things that really need to be taken into consideration when planning even a simple elopement or intimate wedding in Paris.
- Paris Weddings the book: Paris is a magical city- You’d be hard pressed to find someone who has visited Paris and hasn’t fallen under its spell. The biggest drawback for people living far, like in the US for example, is accessibility. People want the classic style and romantic nuances of a Paris wedding, but in today’s economy- that’s just not possible for everyone. Which is why one of my goals of the book is to show stylish, savvy brides how a chic Parisian-* inspired *wedding or event can be achieved on nearly any budget, in any town! Throughout the book I give hints and ideas on how a look or certain
French design elements can be achieved or sourced around the world.
Kim Petyt : Based on a decade of experience planning events in France, award-winningAmerican wedding planner in Paris, blogger and author Kimberley Petyt’sbook, *The Paris Wedding* (Gibbs-Smith) is a full-color, idea-packed, go-to guide for globally minded trendsetters who are in love with the style and romance of Paris.
Petyt and the business have been featured in print publications such as Four Seasons Weddings, Real Simple Weddings, LA Times, BBC Online, Essence Magazine, For the Bride, Eco-Beautiful Weddings, Cosmopolitan China, and France Magazine. In 2011, she was featured in the New York Times T Magazine “Summer Travel” issue, highlighting her skills as a cultural liaison for brides seeking to marry in Paris.
The Paris Wedding is available nationwide through booksellers and online
Connect with Kim on Social Media:
The blog: http://www.parisianparty.com
The book: http://thepariswedding.com
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/112430823296489196012/posts