One of the most rewarding aspects of my tours is the sometimes celebratory nature of them. I have been witness to many big birthdays- 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, etc., weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and job promotions. In fact, one day a few years ago, I had a couple who did my morning tour who were celebrating their 30th anniversary and in the afternoon another couple who were on their honeymoon. I always feel honored to be part of their big celebrations.
As I mentioned before, I sometimes receive odd requests that are out of the realm of my tours or blog. Last September I received an email from Caitlin and Jaisen, a couple from Los Angeles who were getting married in Paris in November. They said they had searched the Internet for a Paris wedding planner and they couldn’t find the right person. They were doing a more informal style of wedding and didn’t want a full-blown wedding planner. They said looking through my blog and tour site and that I was the perfect candidate to help plan their wedding because I was a Paris insider and on my bio for my tour site it says I was an event planner. Event though I had catered a few weddings in New York when I had my catering business, I had never planned a wedding.
Never one to back down from a challenge and also getting paid for it, I agreed to take it on. It was more about coordinating a few things than micro-managing a big wedding.This was the list of my tasks: find a hair & makeup artist for the bride and bridesmaids, some musicians to play a list of specific songs at the ceremony, coordinate the restaurant reservation, order bridal flower bouquets and a croquembouche cake, and hire a videographer and photographer.
I skyped with Caitlin and Jaisen a few times before the wedding and they were both very cool and easygoing. They stressed that fun and ease was the most important element of the wedding plans.
The big day was November 24, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. Brigitte Beling, who was a Parisian of the Month a few years ago, is a makeup artist and singer. I killed two bird with one stone, as not only did I hire Brigitte to do the makeup but she help find me an accordion player to do the music. My other Parisian of the Month, Sarah Skinner was the perfect photographer, as she does edgy photography, as the last thing Caitlin and Jaisen wanted was a traditional wedding photographer taking corny, clichéd photos.
I showed up at about 2PM at the apartment where the girls were staying so I could escort them to the Medici Fountain at Luxembourg Gardens where the ceremony was taking place. Brigitte did a bang up job on the makeup and the bride looked gorgeous and the bridesmaids, sexy and hot.
We were six people so we had to take two taxis. As many of you know, taxis are not that easy to find in Paris especially on a Saturday afternoon, the prime shopping day. God smiled upon us, and we found two taxis within minutes of each other. I discovered that nobody in the bridal party had ever been to Paris and spoke no French either. I told the driver three times to take the first set of girls to a specific entrance at the Luxembourg Gardens, as there are many entrances. As always the best laid plans run awry: I was in the second taxi, which we caught about five minutes after the first one. When we arrived at the gardens the other girls were not there. We waited about 15 minutes, and I scrambled to the other entrances looking for them, cursing the taxi driver as he obviously dropped them at the wrong entrance. Finally I received a call from the other girls saying where they were and of course, it was on the other side of the park.
It was a blustery, gray day with the clouds moving quickly and I thought it was most romantic. The men, already patiently waiting for us, looked dapper in their tuxes. The ceremony started and one of their best friends started to read the wedding vows. Everybody looked great and everything was going perfect UNTIL we were interrupted by park security saying that it was illegal to do what we were doing. OOPS! The two security guards were quite sympathetic and turned a blind eye but said we had to make it quick. Luckily, the vows were not too long and we got through it without another interruption. By the end we had gathered quite a crowd in front of us watching the wedding. When the vows were finished, the crowd applauded and congratulated the newlyweds. I was appointed the videographer and got this all on tape.
We walked through the park for about 30 minutes while Sarah took some fun and crazy photos. We then took a van to the Pont des Arts, a bridge crossing the Seine famous for lovers placing locks on the sides of it. We witnessed Caitlin and Jaisen lovingly place their lock. After all the hoopla, we were all a little worn out and cold, so we stopped at a café and celebrated for a couple of hours.
The next and final stop was Laperouse, one of the most romantic restaurants in Paris. One of the unique things about Laperouse is the private dining rooms for small, intimate parties and couples. The newlyweds had a nifty room all to themselves. My final task was to pickup the vanilla and chocolate flavored croquembouche, which I ordered from Lenotre, an upscale gourmet shop. I opened the box to double check and the towering cake of stacked mini-creampuffs looked divine.
All’s well that ends well, and Caitlin and Jaisen were supremely happy how everything came out. I wish them all the best and hope they return every year to Paris for their anniversary.
So if anyone else needs a Paris wedding planner, please let me know. But warning: Bridezillas please don’t contact me!
All photos by Sarah Skinner. http://www.sarahtskinner.com
New Eye Prefer Paris Photos for Sale
I am happy to announce the sale of a new set of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 20 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com