A wedding in Paris can be a dream come true for many brides and grooms. Regardless of the style of fanfare you are planning for your wedding, you’re probably overwhelmed with the concept of picking venues, flowers, and planners sight unseen from thousands of miles away.
The City of Light offers many beautiful spots to engage in professing your love to your dearest in a ceremony of marriage. Many range from the casual and free to luxurious and over the top.
Musée des Arts Forains – Offers a vintage carnival that will transport your guests into the past, while seated alongside a working carousel powered by humans. You can enjoy a band of circus performers like jugglers, fire breathers, acrobats, and aerial artists. Indulge your guest with snacks of cotton candy and fresh popcorn. The atmosphere of a classy carnival can still be used to make for a once-in-a-lifetime reception that your guests will cherish and not forget.
Chapel Expiatoire – Chapel Expiatoire is the burial place of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, and is considered one of the most popular locations for romantic weddings in Paris. The chapel consists of French architecture which huge dome making for stunning acoustics vocal artists or orchestra to perform during your ceremony. There is a walled garden surrounding the chapel which creates a location memorable portraits. Chapel Expiatoire is isolated from the public, which offers a rare opportunity in the bustling city of Paris.
Les Ombres – For lovers how are fascinated by the Eiffel Tower, this is a superb location for your event. Les Ombres is a gourmet restaurant located on the roof of the Musée Quai Branly, and less than a block from the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant offers a stunning outdoor terrace that over looks glorious views of the majestic Eiffel Tower. Whether you plan your wedding inside or out, the restaurant is surrounded by walls of window so you and your guests can celebrate inside year round without sacrificing your view.
Lapérouse – The restaurant of Laperouse has a unique history which makes it a popular spot for newlyweds. Legend states that grooms would bring their betrothed and mistresses here for dinner and the women would scratch their diamond rings against the many mirrors hanging from the walls to determine if the diamonds were indeed real. Remaining in that tradition, staff graciously encourage diners to continue the tradition and welcome new brides to test their rings on the vintage mirrors.
Seine Wedding Cruise –Bateaux Parisiens, a well known boat company, offers boats that can be rented for private events such as engagements and wedding which include a full dinner, dancing, and bar services. Couples can choose a cruise up and down the Seine, while providing views of Paris at its most beautiful. Alternatively there are small houseboats available for rent via Paris Attitude for elopements and small gatherings of your closest friends and family.
Champ de Mars – Is a grand, spacious public garden that stretches from the base of the Eiffel Tower and provides many options for ceremonies, including a lovely covered stone gazebo for biggier wedding parties, or a small semi-private landing located beside the base at the top of a small charming waterfall. If you don’t mind the occasional tourists curiously viewing your ceremony, there are many beautiful spots here that make for beautiful memories and you can visit each time you make your way back to Paris.
Hotels – Many hotels offer beautiful venues with spectacular views of Paris that provide a cozy environment for a wedding party. A hotel wedding conveniently offers the option for you and your guests to celebrate all night long and dine on some of the finest food in Paris with a short and safe commute back to your room.
Things to consider for a wedding in Paris
Formalities and red tape. Saying I do in a foreign country is not that easy. To be legally married in France, at least one of the couple is required to have lived in France, for a minimum of 40 consecutive days before the wedding. Once the 40 day residency requirement is met, there is substantial paperwok that is required by the city hall in which you plan to marry. Additionally you must be legally married in a civil ceremony before you are allowed to have a religious ceremony in France. To bypass this it is suggested you have a legal marriage in the States and a reception in Paris.
Do not be in a hurry, you’re on Paris time. You can check and double check and confirm to your hearts delight however it will not guarantee anything. In Paris, typically schedules mean between 15 and 35 minutes late by U.S. standards. Relax, be calm and enjoy that regardless, your ceremony will take place but may not be at the speed you planned.
You cannot get married on top of the Eiffel Tower. Because the Eiffel Tower is a national monument you cannot get married at the top. You can however host a small, personal event in a private room or at one of the restaurants in the tower. If you desire to get married at the Eiffel Tower you can marry at the base of the tower and still get those iconic pictures.
A typical French wedding lasts all day and leads into the next. Unlike a typical American wedding (ceremony/cocktail hour/reception/dancing) that typically concludes by midnight, a French wedding will begin with a civil ceremony in the morning, followed by a religious ceremony then small cocktail reception. Guests will typically arrive for the festivities at a larger cocktail reception that is then followed by a four- or five-course meal, and dancing. A French celebration wont end until five or six in the morning!
You choose what portion of the event you wish to invite guests. It is up to the bridal party to decide what portion of the event you wish to ask your guests to. You might opt to invite friends just to join you for dessert and dancing. Tradition dictates that no one will be offended if they aren’t included at the ceremony or the dinner.
The French don’t eat cake but dessert is a big deal. Skip the multi-tiered confection and serve the traditional wedding cake, which is a tower of cream-filled puff pastry balls. Unlike traditional American weddings that have a cake as a focal point during the reception dinner, the croquembouche is brought out specifically at dessert time with great fanfare. Tradition dictates lights will be dimmed, the DJ will encourage guests to chant with excitement, Le gateau! Le gateau!
Simple or elegant, regardless a wedding in Paris is a truly memorable experience!
Photo by Zekun Jiang // Flickr