A France Destination WeddingWords by Victoria Hill
Photos courtesy of Photography by Ben & Kadin
Newlyweds Chris and Christine chose a France destination wedding because they wanted their big day to be authentic, intimate and slightly unconventional. “We both love to travel and wanted our wedding to be like an adventure with our closest family and friends,” says the couple. “The more research we did, the more we knew that a traditional wedding would not be the choice for us.”
Many guests who were able to attend this elegant event traveled on their own after the celebration, treating the wedding as a vacation. “There were a few close friends and family members who were unable to travel but were understanding of our decision and were happy for us,” says the bride and groom.
Paris was the prefect location for the pair, though they admit it was difficult to get around the legalities. Because of that, their wedding in France was symbolic. “The only issue we ran into was the fact that we couldn’t legally get married in France,” they say. “We like to joke that we had an elaborate fake wedding, but to us our symbolic ceremony in France was the real thing.”
While the couple didn’t hire a wedding planner for their big day, their venue was very helpful with suggesting vendors. Additionally, the couple used online translators and social media to help them communicate and stay organized. “If you don’t mind a little work, you can make it happen,” says the newlyweds.
The bride says online blogs ended up being most helpful in her preparations and provided her with several tips and inspiration.
“The best tip I got from an online blog was to purchase a XL garment bag on Amazon to carry my dress on the plane,” Christine says. “I was nervous about the idea of shipping it, and it ended up being super easy to carry it on a plane. The airline stewardess even hung up my wedding dress in the first class closet for the entire flight.”
Along with her wedding dress, the bride says they brought one carry-on luggage filled with wedding decorations, several of which were purchased and assembled by her. “I printed out the seating chart and photos of our parents and put them in gold frames from the 99 cents store so we didn’t have to worry about bringing them home,” she says.
The trip from Paris to their venue, the Chateau de Bourron, ended up taking two hours with traffic, though the couple was able to travel with their loved ones the whole way. “On the day of the wedding, I provided an extremely large chauffeur bus to drive everyone from Paris to Chateau de Bourron,” Christine says.
In terms of communicating with vendors, the pair brought photographers, videographers and a makeup artist with them and even had a close friend marry them. “All other vendors were local from France and were coordinated through email with just a couple phone calls,” the bride says. “Some vendors spoke English, but Google translate was a big help and I even had my phone out the day of the wedding to communicate.”
Overall, the newlyweds believe they spent less on their destination wedding, excluding the cost of travel and longing — they say this is partially because the location did not require much embellishment to begin with. “Our ceremony was at a beautiful 16th century Chateau with 100 acres, so the location didn’t need much decoration,” Christine says.
By the end of the experience, the couple says they would repeat the entire journey in a heartbeat. “If you are considering a destination wedding… do it! If you aren’t afraid of a little adventure and can trust that everything will turn out, I think a destination wedding is such memorable way to celebrate your special day,” the pair says. “Our 50 guests had a very memorable day starting in Paris and ending at a century-old chateau complete with a cotton candy colored sunset and surprise fireworks.”
Vendors: Photographer: Photography by Ben & Kadin, Ceremony & Reception Site: Chateau De Bourron, Florist: Melanie Miguel, Stationery: Celebrate It at Michaels Craft Store, French Croque en Bouche: MG Reception, Makeup Artist: Stephany Benitez, Gown Designer: Hayley Paige, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Zara Men, Bridesmaids Clothing Designer: Lulus, Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Zara Men, Caterer: MG Reception, Videographer: Jacob Andrew Wedding Films, Harpist: Benedicte Rostaing, Transportation: Tourisme Excursions Transports, Fireworks: Provocateur D'emotions
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