I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. A year ago today, Tommy and I were getting married in Paris with our families, and it was better than any wedding I could have imagined! I thought this would be a perfect excuse to share some of our wedding photos and details, since I hadn’t shared them on the blog yet. We hadn’t always planned to have a Paris wedding, but after looking at cost of venues and food for our fairly-large extended families, we decided that a destination wedding in Paris was right for us. We got to have a few of our close friends and family members come and enjoy the church ceremony, and then we sat down for a private dinner where we all got to enjoy each others’ company without feeling too stressed.
Photography: After having our intimate Paris wedding, I’m not sure I could have handled planning an extravagant wedding (not to mention, couldn’t afford it considering we paid for the wedding ourselves). We planned for what we needed without much excess, and that was all that mattered to us. The pictures were really important to us, so we spent a lot of time researching photographers, and ended up finding Audrey on Instagram. We loved her photography, and just had to have her photograph our wedding. She shot in both digital and film, and we were blown away with how they turned out. Following the ceremony, we used Uber to get to different locations in the city, and it worked out great. Audrey’s assistant was so sweet, and she kept having to put my sweater on in between photos since it was cold and windy! Besides the photography, we only planned out the venue, meal, bouquet, hair & makeup, and what we were wearing. Keeping it simple meant we didn’t have to stress about details such as what color napkins we wanted, and that was perfect for us. If you want to see a breakdown of our budget (mostly correct, minus a few mistakes from the post), you can see it here on Snippet & Ink, as well as our main wedding feature here.
Where we stayed: My parents decided they wanted to cover the place to stay in Paris, and we stayed in a stunning apartment that we found through One Fine Stay. Not only was it gorgeous for pictures, but it was less expensive than hotel rooms, and all 6 of us got to stay together (my parents, and my brother and his girlfriend). One BIG advantage of staying at the apartment was that One Fine Stay provided us with a cell phone to use in Paris. This was extremely helpful in making dinner reservations, as well as using it for directions without having to use data on our phones! We got to Paris a week before the wedding day, and got to do lots of sight-seeing, while also getting with the vendors to make sure everything was set.
The dress: My MIL came up for a weekend to go dress shopping with me, and I planned to do more shopping with my mom when I visited later that month. We spent the day in Dallas going to a couple boutiques and trying on many dresses in all price ranges, and found out that one of the places (Warren Barron Bridal) was having a sample sale the following day. Being me, I had to take the opportunity for the sale, because I knew I wanted a designer dress, but didn’t want to pay the designer price. We got to the sale before they opened, and I ended up picking out a blush gown to try on. I never thought I’d go for a pink dress, but I was drawn to the romantic layers, and it felt perfect for a destination wedding in Paris. After trying it on, I knew I had to have it. I asked the saleswoman what the number “9” meant that was written on the tag, and she said it corresponds to the percent off – meaning the dress was 90% off! I walked out of the store with a $5,100 Vera Wang ‘Farrah’ gown for only $510. It was missing the belt, but my MIL called the store and they ended up finding it in the back, so they shipped it to me!
Alterations: A friend gave me the name of her alterations gal, and after going to her, I would refer anyone and everyone to Becky Fowler (you can see her Yelp page here). She works out of her home, and is the sweetest person I have ever met. The dress turned out amazing, and she was very reasonable with price – I paid $300 for lots of detailed work (the boutique I bought my dress from had quoted me at $500 originally). If you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and need dress alterations, I highly recommend her!
Hair & Makeup: I had been searching for hair and makeup artists online, but wasn’t having luck finding someone that was available (there were multiple events going on in France around the same time, so many of them were busy). I got a recommendation from our photographer, and I couldn’t have been happier with how everything looked. Charles Gillman did my makeup, and Ciara Coiffure did my hair. They were so funny and worked amazing together! I had a trial run for my makeup a few days prior, but not for hair. Both Moms got their hair and makeup done as well, and everyone was happy with the results!
Bouquet: The only flowers we decided to get was a bouquet, and Estelle Preston went above and beyond on my expectations. We emailed back and fourth a few times and I sent her pictures of my dress and bouquets I liked (thankfully peonies were in season because I am in love and had to have them). I only wish I could have taken the flowers home with me!
Dinner: Finding a dinner venue was the hardest part, only because we wanted to be sure we had a private room. It’s hard to tell if places have private rooms online, and we couldn’t exactly pick up the phone and call. Everything was done through email, and after a few recommendations from the photographer, we decided on Chez Julien. We had a small private room upstairs, and they offered us a 3-course dinner with 3 options for each course. Everything was beyond amazing, and they had great service for us as well (I like how the French do dinners – they don’t bother you unless you ask them!).
Cake: The restaurant provided desserts with the meal, so everyone got to eat plenty of sweets that evening (and we were all completely OK with that). My aunt wanted to provide the cake for us, and she got us a gorgeous macaron cake from Laudree! We had plenty left to take home, so we got to enjoy macarons for a couple days.
Venue: Picking a venue was difficult, considering we wanted something covered in case it rained. There were a few places that we saw online, but none were working with our dates we picked. We found the American Church in Paris, and it ended up working out perfect. The Church itself is surrounded in stained glass windows, and was simply gorgeous to look at. Since they do weddings often, it was easy to communicate and get everything ready for the big day. We had the Church for two hours, and they set up simple flowers down the aisle. After the ceremony, we took family pictures, and then Tommy and I went around the city for pictures with Audrey. The guests slowly made their way towards the dinner venue, and had a few drinks at a cafe in the meantime.
Overall, we were so happy with how everything turned out. I wish more family could have come, but unfortunately it was expected since the cost of travel was so high. However, we got to share some gorgeous pictures with everyone once we got back! We not only got to have our dream wedding, but we got to experience Paris together, which neither of us will ever forget. After Paris, we jetted off to Greece for our honeymoon, but I’ll save those details for another post…
Happy one year anniversary, Tommy!
All photos taken by Le Secret d’Audrey.