(Editor’s note: Yes, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But we can see the end from here, so we’re staying optimistic, posting about travel and events we can focus on for the future … like that wedding in France.)
Dreaming of a wedding in France – in the City of Light or in the French countryside? I have been working as a photographer in Paris for more than eight years and I love helping couples remember their special day for a lifetime with gorgeous photos.
Planning an international wedding can be a bit of a headache, especially if you do not speak French. But, even so, many couples still plan on making their wedding day here.
Even with a pandemic putting marriages on a brief hold, it’s always a good idea to plan your wedding arrangements at least a year in advance.
Even better, there are tons of English speakers working and operating their private businesses in France. Here are my top picks to bring your magical day together.
Country wedding, French style
The first thing you may want to look for is your venue. If you are open to weddings in the French countryside, Airbnb is a fantastic place to look. I have photographed many weddings in chateaux in the hills of Normandy or just an hour outside of the city so they are easily accessible by train from Paris.
Your guests can experience the best of both worlds this way. Also if you rent your own villa or chateau for that wedding in France, your guests can stay with you and you can plan a three-day party. My favorite weddings are just like this. They invite about 20 to 40 people and plan a day for a barbeque, get married in the garden, and then all have brunch the next morning together.
What a beautiful way to celebrate your new life together. This is especially helpful since chance are, you have already traveled so far.
If you have a larger budget, you should be aware that all these famous chateaux are available for private events such as weddings: Château de Fontainebleau, The Domain of Chantilly, and even Château de Vaux le Vicomte.
If you are looking to stay inside Paris, check out these venues: Shangri-La Hôtel Paris, Maison des Polytechniciens, and for something different, consider one of Yachts de Paris’ many yachts to cruise down the seine on while you say your nuptials.
One stop for everything
When it comes to catering, there are many to work with but keep in mind that the French spend a lot of time at the dinner table. You could easily be sitting for hours being served at least three different courses. For many Anglophones, this is surprising compared to the one hour they usually get to eat at the average wedding.
Be prepared to eat slowly and drink lots of wine and bubbly! I love working with this local anglophone caterer for all my clients, Janine of cook in Paris. She can even make your wedding cake.
If you need an English speaking officiant look no further than Michelle of Ruffled by Grace. She moved to France with her family from America many years ago to work at the American Church in Paris and now works as a private officiant to make your ceremony extra special.
For hair and makeup, you should consider Franco-American makeup artist Joleen Emory. Her style is natural and elegant and she has helped prepare many ladies for weddings as well as models for fashion week shoots
If you are looking for vintage French table decor and gorgeous linens you can hire American in Paris, Ajiri Aki of Madame de la Maison. She spends her weekends treasure hunting at all the brocants around France to bring you the finest of French decor. You can rent her table designs for your special day here.
When it comes to vintage cars to roll around Paris on your special day you should definitely hire this gorgeous vintage Rolls Royce. The owner, Andrei, will spoil you with Champagne and take you for a little tour of Paris while you have your glamorous photoshoot! You can contact Andrei here.
One of my favorite parts of the wedding day is seeing which gorgeous flowers the bride will choose. Paris is known for its amazing artistry of its florists. If you are looking for the perfect floral designer, contact Le Fancy Deco.
And last but not least, if you are looking for a wedding photographer and videographer for that unforgettable wedding in France, my husband and I work as a team. We have worked on so many weddings together I’ve lost count. But, every one of them was unique and special and such a joy to capture.
You can view more of my work here.
Happy Planning from Paris!
About the author:
Krystal Kenney is a photographer and writer in Paris, France. She also hosts a podcast called “La Vie Creative,” where she interviews creatives in Paris. She moved to Paris more than eight years ago from Annapolis, Maryland to start a new life. Krystal loves spending her days exploring Paris, and traveling all over Europe. You can see more of her photography and her podcast on her website here. She specializes in wedding, event, and vacation photos.
You can see more of her work for Dispatches here.