A DESTINATION WEDDING THAT GAVE STAR BILLING TO FRANCE

With Rachel’s help, we pulled off a week in France that our family and friends will remember for the rest of their lives. More than one of them, on the final day, told me it had been the best week of their lives.” – Kathleen Peddicord, Mother of the Bride.

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PARIS—Until I had the privilege of organizing the destination wedding for Kaitlin Yent and Harry Kalashian, Jr. this past August, I hadn’t fully realized the significance of creating a total wedding experience in France could have. Now, I happily stand corrected!

Because Kaitlin and Harry reside and work very hard for a major conference and investment company in Panama, Kathleen Peddicord, ‘mom-in-chief’ stepped up to the plate and worked with Ooh La La! France Wedding Planner to create her daughter’s dream wedding. She understood that because guests were coming in from all over the world, that they needed to do something fun and interesting during their stay in Paris, as well as during their stay at the Château de Villiers Le Mahieu where the wedding was to take place.

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Here is a sample of the pre-wedding activities:

AUGUST 9, 2015: A two-hour highlights Paris tour in a vintage bus with an open deck in back where passengers could get the best view of EVERYTHING—including Kaitlin’s former school, the Ecole Active Bilingue. Dinner followed at Amore & Gelosia (Love & Jealousy) where they source their prosciutto and Parmesan from Italy and make the best home-made pasta and tiramisu (naturally, everyone raved).

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AUGUST 10, 2015: A private tour of the Louvre: How Ten Celebrated Works Illustrate the History of Civilization. (Even those guests who dreaded ‘doing’ this mammoth institution, came away both delighted and surprised and highly praised the guide). Then it was a fun-loving wine tasting at O’ Château, the most famous wine bar in Paris, where everyone so stuffed themselves on bread and cheese they didn’t need dinner…

AUGUST 11, 2015: Since we were among a group of animal lovers, we headed on our own private safari to Thoiry, the oldest park of its kind. From the safety of our luxury bus, our savvy driver and English-speaking zoologist helped us get the best photos of bears, antelopes, elephants, ostriches, even a family of hippos.  Still, the day’s highlight may have been a close up view of the Siberian tigers being fed raw meat.

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AUGUST 12, 2015: Naturally, no visit to France is complete without a tour of Claude Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny. Not only were we able to explore the wonderful summer bounty of this garden— which  has the biggest and most stunning varieties of dahlias anywhere—but we also discovered a magnificient waterlily garden and a house that had been beautifully refurbished to its former glory with copies of the very works that once hung in Monet’s studio.

Then it was off to the Hotel Baudy for a delicious three-course lunch, the very place where Monet’s students once lived and worked. Everyone agreed that the spread was both delicious and speedily served—a boon since everyone was eager to get back to the Château de Villiers-Mahieu where they could play pétanque, swim and use the spa before the wedding rehearsal and dinner to follow.

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AUGUST 13, 2015: The Big Day. We were so fortunate because despite all the dire warnings that it would rain, we were able to hold both the late afternoon ceremony outdoors—a family friend was the heart-warming and loving celebrant for our bridal couple—and witnessed the most beautiful fox trot by Kaitlin and Harry on a specially built outdoor dance floor.

True enough, at 9:30 pm, the rainstorm arrived but who cared, when everyone was safely indoors, feasting on foie-gras and beef tenderloin, cheese and salad and the ultimate wedding cakes, which reflected our couple’s passion for travel and all things vintage. Everyone danced until 4 am and naturally the staff at the Château made sure the famished were fed sandwiches and refreshments.

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AUGUST 14, 2015: After a copious brunch, everyone headed back to Paris on a private luxury bus—everyone, except the bridal couple who were driven back in a Citroën traction convertible! The final touch to a very special destination wedding.

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