bride and groom smile at each other as the sunsets on Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the back

Love Across Continents: An Elegant Paris Wedding Story


June 19, 2024
Words by Clementine Koplan
Photos courtesy of Ian Holmes

Our story, from Versailles where I (Clementine) am from to Dallas where Kevin grew up, is a testament to the remarkable journey that love can take. The love story unfolded as we crossed paths while living in London. Kevin, working in finance at that time, and I, working in crisis and litigation communications consulting, shared a deep bond rooted in our mutual passion for culture, travel, discovering new food and wine, and being able to talk about everything and nothing at once. London provided the ideal backdrop for our shared expat life, where we explored, learned, and fell in love.

After four years of living in London’s South Kensington neighborhood, we embarked on a new chapter of our lives in New York City. It was during a weekend getaway upstate in New York that Kevin chose the perfect moment to propose. In an intimate setting, just the two of us, he got down on one knee and presented me with a ring featuring a blue sapphire, my favorite stone.

To unite our cultures, Kevin and I selected central Paris as our wedding destination. Paris was chosen not only for its convenience for guests traveling internationally but also because it held a special place in our hearts. We wanted to share the city’s beauty and charm with our loved ones, a city where I spent so much time growing up.

Our search for the perfect venue led us to the Hotel Alfred Sommier, a hidden gem in the heart of Paris that exuded timeless elegance. With its Parisian charm and beautiful garden, it was the ideal setting for an intimate wedding of 60 close friends and family. The courtyard became the ceremony space, while the garden and canopy hosted the cocktail hour and dinner.

Our wedding seamlessly intertwined French and American cultures, from the cuisine to the selection of vendors. Every detail held significance, including the wedding invitations, which featured a watercolor painting of the venue and garden, a creation by my grandfather, Henri Duroselle, a talented French artist.

The wedding weekend kicked off with a Friday welcome dinner, offering our guests a chance to mingle and connect before the big day. The evening began with a leisurely stroll for Kevin and me around Jardin du Palais Royal, a quintessentially Parisian experience, followed by cocktails and dinner at the renowned restaurant Maceo near Palais Royal. Maceo, known for its fusion of French and British culture, offered a culinary experience that mirrored our own journey, from Paris to London, blending the flavors of our lives together. With an extensive wine list and inventive dishes, Maceo set the perfect tone for the celebration.

The wedding day itself was designed to be relaxing, intimate, and an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. Kevin enjoyed the morning in the hotel’s garden with his dad and close friends, savoring the pleasant Parisian September weather. My mother-in-law and my close friends joined me in the suite as we prepared for the day. Two hair and make-up artists took care of my guests as a thank you for traveling to Paris while a third hair and make-up artist, specializing in a soft glam and classic look made my vision come true. To create a relaxed atmosphere, a playlist of French and American songs filled the air.

After lunch, it was time to step into my wedding dress, surrounded by the love and support of my closest friends. My dress, a customized Lika creation by Eva Lendel, a renowned Ukrainian designer, held immense significance for me. It was a deliberate choice, reflective of my desire for every element of my wedding attire to carry a deep meaning. I had a Ukrainian flag sewn inside my dress, right next to my heart.

Before the ceremony commenced, Kevin and I shared a touching “first look” moment, capturing our emotions in a heartfelt photoshoot.

My brother, Romain, served as the officiant, and he did an absolutely amazing job, seamlessly translating every aspect into both French and English to ensure that all our guests felt included. We could not have dreamed of a better officiant and having my younger brother marrying us filled me with so much joy. It was a profoundly meaningful moment for us. Kevin and I chose to forgo tradition, walking down the aisle together as a symbol of our equal partnership. We exchanged deeply personal vows, both in French and English, expressing our love and commitment. 

Following the ceremony, we gathered in the garden and restaurant with our guests. In place of a traditional wedding cake, Kevin and I opted for a tower made of our favorite cheeses. We cut the cheese together, as the notes of “L-O-V-E (Love)” by Al Green filled the air. It was an unconventional choice of “wedding cake” but an obvious one for us. The tower featured an array of cheeses, including a particular favorite that held a special place in our hearts. My vows had referenced this cheese: “A few months after our first date, you introduced me to my favorite cheese, and it’s when I knew you were the one. Not because of the cheese itself, but because I could see how happy you were to have found something that made me happy and how we could both enjoy the simple things in life and get excited about it. It is also what love – and life – is about: those daily moments that can fill us with so much joy.”

Kevin and I then retreated to our suite for a few minutes together, where we uncorked a bottle of 2003 Chateau Haut-Brion from Pessac-Leognan, France, raising our glasses to each other.

Meanwhile, during the cocktail hour, a live band played a mix of French and American classics (Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder, Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry, For Me Formidable by Charles Aznavour, La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf), setting the perfect mood for the celebration. Guests enjoyed cocktails paired with foie gras macarons, a cheese and charcuterie spread featuring a variety of French and American cheeses, including queso, a Texan favorite that paid tribute to Kevin’s roots. And to keep things fun, there was the popular cornhole, played in the most Parisian setting imaginable.

To add a personal touch to the celebration, Kevin and I wrote individual cards for each guest, placing them in small envelopes instead of traditional place cards. We wanted to show our gratitude to our guests traveling from all around the world to celebrate this moment with us.

The evening continued with a dinner held outdoors in perfect weather, surrounded by an intimate ambiance. The night was filled with dancing, laughter, and joy as close friends and family celebrated our union.

Our Parisian celebration was a seamless blend of our French and American cultures, filled with touching moments and details that held special significance for us.

Vendors: Photographer: Ian Holmes; Wedding Day Coordinator: Elise Event; Stationery: Shine Wedding Invitations; Venue and Caterer: Alfred Sommier; Floral: Alfred Sommier; Music: Grattings & DJ Graph from Bell Intone; Bridal Hair & Makeup: Allison Depriestre from Modern BeautiesGuests Hair & Makeup: MEDVED Art; Cheese & Wedding Cake: Fromagerie Goncourt (Instagram and websiteDesign: Alfred Sommier

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