10 Tips to Plan a Stress-Free Destination Wedding in Paris
Paris has been my dream place since I first got a little souvenir from a distant relative. One of those things that just stick to you for the rest of your life.
Fast forward a few years, my husband proposed at the beautiful Pont des Arts (before all the locks were gone :) and there it was: my long lasting, forever bound love for Paris was solid as rock.
Last year I had the opportunity to create mini photoshoot for photographers in Provence and Paris. *If you want to know more here is the link to the Portofolio Abroad Service:
Now if you are the luckiest person on Earth and are either getting married or shooting a wedding in Paris, here are a few tips to get the most out of the experience. Enjoy or 'S’amuser', I guess :)
This is particularly important if you are on a tight budget and really want your close friends and family to celebrate with you. Here is the thing, Paris is a hot destination and not just for weddings. Rates for hotel and flights can triple if booked close to your date.
My rule of thumb is to send the save the dates one year before the wedding date and share flight searches, accommodations and resources early and often with your guests.
2.Avoid the crowds
Paris can be overwhelmingly crowded during the summer months and a few other times like Fashion Week, NYE, etc. Research the city events and pick a time that makes sense for you and your party.
3.Your vendors will be like your familY
Choose your vendors like you would choose your bridal party? They will make sure you and your guests have the best time, if something goes wrong they will be the ones taking care of all of it for you. In reality, they will serve as your ‘extended family’ abroad and you want them to represent your vision and your personality really well.
4.Work with people that have done this before
The number one question you need to ask any vendor is ‘Have you done this before?’. Look for a photographer that has travelled a bit so she/he knows exactly what to do and can focus on you. The last thing you want is to ‘babysit’ your vendors and have someone not have their gear ready or worst…lose your photos on customs! True professionals invest a lot of money and time learning how to do their work abroad and you should look for that experience when booking your crew.
5.Manage your details like a pro
If you have been dreaming of your wedding for a while, you probably have a full Pinterest board (or many) filled with the most amazing details. Ask vendors to ship items directly to Paris (to your hotel) or to you at least 1 month in advance – that awesome welcome bag will take up so much space on your luggage so plan to have as many items sent or bought there as possible.
When I plan a destination wedding, I pack 2 extra suitcases with props, signage, paper goods and I also ship everything I can directly to the location. I have shipped wedding dresses, hairpieces, favors and even documents so I don’t worry about fitting them in the suitcases.
Here more is more. Schedule routine follow ups with your vendors, update all the guests as often as possible, create a Facebook group or a text group to keep everybody in the loop and make sure everybody knows what is happening and when.
7.Discover the city like a true Parisian
Yes! You and your groom will take that lovely picture at the Eiffel Tower…but you can also find unique places that are off the beaten path (literally) that will make the day even more yours. Search city guides, destination wedding blog posts and ask your vendors for locations that are not that usual and make sure you schedule to visit on your wedding day.
8.Take photos first thing in the morning
I mean like 5am! Paris gets pretty crowded after 8am so you want to take your photos as early as you can. A good game plan for your day in Paris is:
5-11am - couple’s photos around town
11-2pm – brunch with family and friends
2-5pm – celebration or wedding ceremony
5-11pm – reception or dinner
9. Enjoy Paris for your honeymoon
There is so much to do and see in Paris you should take a few days to explore and enjoy it now as a married couple! Take a tour of the castles, the ‘petit maisons’ around town, the tea places, the markets and just enjoy long strolls around the Sene. Want to make even more of your time there? Ask your photographer to stick around one more day and take amazing couple’s photos. You will treasure those memories forever so capture as much as possible.
10.Celebrate with your loved one back home
I see time and time again…couples feel uncomfortable sharing their destination wedding with the people who couldn’t attend. It is likely that people who love you want to be part of your milestones. A good way to make your grandma feel like she was there with you is to order prints or extra wedding albums from your photographer to share. Just make it clear you really wanted them to be there and you remembered them.