Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Multi-Cultural Wedding at A Renaissance Château Near Paris

PARIS—This August Ooh la la! France Wedding Planner had both the pleasure and the honor to organize its first major multicultural wedding for 145 guests from as far away as Australia, Hong Kong and Southern India .

Our Francophile couple—he an Anglo-Indian from Australia, she a Korean-American from Atlanta—had fallen in love on the Champs-Elysées and knew they wanted to have their wedding in France, the country they knew and loved so much.

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They asked Ooh la la! France Wedding Planner to find an elegant yet rustic château with lodging and amenities for 150 guests of all ages, that would accommodate three days of festivities starting with a Korean-Indian wedding on a Friday, followed by a Western-style wedding ceremony and reception on Saturday, and an elegant Sunday brunch.

It was our good fortune that we knew the ONLY property close to Paris that would accommodate all of our couple’s wishes, and then some. When it became clear that there was no Korean or Indian caterer in Paris to handle a wedding banquet with tasty and authentic dishes, the food and beverage team at the château took on the challenge with great results.

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Then there was the décor for the Indian and Korean ceremony with all the attendant rituals. Little India and Chinatown–two lesser-known Parisian quarters–provided most of the decor for each ceremony, and we even sourced the magnificent white circus horse that could head up the parade of Indian drummers and lead the dashing groom to his beautiful bride. No easy task but we found the horse trainer who worked at the Buffalo Bill show at Disney World! Our bride and groom sourced their own Indian and Korean wedding attire as well as that of their respective families, and the photography shows how magnificent they looked.

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We not only managed to find a henna artist in Paris to do the hands and feet of our lovely bride as well as the hands of her bridal party. Better yet, the same artist traveled out to the château to also do henna for the guests during the cocktail hour. By sticking to lavish buffet service and signature cocktails -one of which was made with the Korean liqueur “soju”-dinner service went smoothly, and was punctuated by wonderful speeches made by the couple’s friends and enhanced by two volunteer emcees. Disco dancing followed until 2 am.

The following day, as everyone rested our floral design brigade returned to create a magnificent reception decor of white, gray and green–white blossoms, green ivy and white netting. Each table’s centerpiece featured a guidebook from a different country, and a map of the world directed each guest to the right table–there were 12 tables of eight plus a long bridal table.

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Following the outdoor ceremony–marked by blue skies and warm August weather–and punctuated by 80s Top Ten hits–our guests spread onto the elegant stone terrace for more signature cocktails made with organic French champagne–and an hors d’oeuvres buffet that offered a wide range of tastes, including from Georgia and Australia. Following dinner, our guests rushed out to see a magnificent fire works display launched by the castle’s moat–a spectacle that was truly unforgettable especially when set to Sting’s music.

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Naturally the guests enjoyed the champagne fountain and the lavish dessert buffet, as well as the exquisite all-white wedding cake that followed the fireworks show. Between the all-night photo booth, the DJ’s music selection of over 100 song titles, and the tireless company, the party went until the wee hours of the morning, and could have gone on much longer!

The next day, there was a copious post-wedding breakfast before the guests set off for Paris and our bridal couple to Santorini, where they went to recuperate after all the festivities. Here is an excerpt of their thank you letter followup:

“Rachel makes everything happen. Our wedding was atypical, cultural, and complicated – something no planner has done yet in France, except now Rachel. We say that with confidence as it was four different weddings over the span of three days[…] There were a lot of moving parts with lots of individuals involved, and Rachel orchestrated all the pieces. It was a relief to have her taking care of everything so we could focus on celebrating our big day(s!). The guests had a great time and it was truly memorable. Our family and friends are still raving about it!”

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A Dream Wedding In A Historic Church and Private Mansion in Paris

PARIS, FRANCE–When a Colombian-American beauty falls for a dashing Frenchman, it’s not altogether surprising that they would choose Paris as their choice for a destination wedding. But while the City of Light has plenty of magnificent photo ops, it’s short on churches where you can marry, as well as elegant venues where you can boogie until 4 am.

Fortunately, Ooh la la! France Wedding Planner was able to come up with the perfect non-denominational church where the pastor would marry our stunning couple after they provided a civil marriage license. Not only did the bride’s father walk her down the aisle to the music of her choice played by a professional organist, the church prepared a bilingual ceremony booklet that was distributed to all 83 guests so that everyone could follow what was being said. Beautifully presented, it was a lovely keepsake for all the guests to cherish for years to come.

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First-time visitors to Paris were treated to a two-hour bus tour of the city, that took them to the Champs-Elysées, the Pyramid at the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, while our newlywed couple did their private city visit in a chauffeured Mercedes with our celebrated photographer, who captured some of the most romantic moments of that unforgettable September day. Happily, the weather was perfect which made all the difference.

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The wedding party and bridal couple met up at around 6 pm at a sumptuous mansion on the Left Bank, a stone’s throw from the Musée d’Orsay. There they found an elegant champagne cocktail reception with exquisite French hors d’oeuvres, followed by a sit-down dinner consisting of a foie gras appetizer, filet of beef with seasonal vegetables and crispy fingerling potatoes, an assortment of French cheeses, an airy raspberry macaron dessert, as well as a traditional croquembouche–a tower of vanilla and chocolate cream-filled puff pastries that was enhanced by sparklers.

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Best of all, throughout the cocktail and dinner hour, a trio of Latino jazz musicians, brought a wonderful energy and joy to the entire evening, much to the bride’s delight. Yes, even in Paris, the spirit of Latin America is alive and well.

It wasn’t long before the entire group was off to the mansion’s discothèque, set up in the mansion’s former wine cellar. Everyone had so much fun, that they prolonged the evening until 4 am, helped by extra bottles of champagne provided by the groom’s family.

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A month later, we were delighted to receive this thank you note from the bride’s mother: “I wish to express my appreciation for the way you organized all the details of Isabel and Jerome’s wedding in Paris this past September 24. You and your staff did a fantastic job. It was a beautiful event, enjoyable and unforgettable. The Church ceremony and then the cocktail hour, dinner and dance at La Maison des Polytechniciens went flawless, and we have received quite a few compliments from friends and family members. It seems that everybody really enjoyed this special occasion with us….Thanks again, dear Rachel and my best wishes for more successful events to come.”

Guidance to Getting Married in France

PARIS, FRANCE–For those of you who are planning to have a destination wedding in France, we would like to share some useful information that will help you decide on the best approach to take regarding one of the most important events in your life.

If you have a valid marriage license from your home country, there are a select number of religious institutions in Paris and in other parts of France where you can be married by an English-speaking minister or rabbi or imam. You will need to send us a copy of your marriage license beforehand so we can make the ceremony arrangements on your behalf.

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Ooh la la! France Wedding Planner has organized weddings in both non-denominational churches as well as in the Grand Mosque of Paris. It is important to make these arrangements well in advance since the wedding season heats up between April and October in a big way.

We take great pride in organizing the wedding ceremony on your behalf, and making sure that all your concerns are addressed well in advance. We know the most beautiful synagogues in France where you and your family will be welcome, as well as other houses of worship.

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For those of you who wish to marry at your nation’s consulate, you also have some options there as well. You can marry at the Turkish Embassy in Paris, as well as at the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish consulates if you are a citizen of these countries. Again, we can assist with the scheduling of such an event, but keep in mind that you will have to keep the numbers down since the spaces allotted for such occasions are small.

We have also invited our guests to invite their local priest or rabbi or minister to their wedding in France–an option that allows you to have a religious ceremony before friends and family, as well as a binding religious contract. This doesn’t mean that your marriage can be legal on French soil, but at the very least it fulfills the spiritual needs that you may have.

Now for the bad news: unless you are a French citizen or a long-term resident of France, you won’t be able to marry at a local French city hall. Nor would you want to: any person getting married in France is tied to French law and the French tax system. Furthermore, you need to be fairly fluent in French, and the city hall will only provide an English-speaking interpreter if one of the partners is French.

In short, even in the best of circumstances, the procedure to be legally married in France takes a minimum of four to six months planning and tends to only favor local residents with perhaps the exception of VIPs. Remember Tony Parker and Eva Longoria? They were able to marry in France because Mr. Parker was French and an international basketball star–making the media coverage great for France’s image.

Therefore, when thinking of a destination wedding–the most important thing we can assist with is making your dream wedding an unforgettable occasion with the least red tape possible.