by Karine Copur, BA, WPICC, DWC Creative Director at Champagne & Macarons Events
When it comes to planning your wedding in Paris, you may already have an idea of what you always wanted. Perhaps you visited Paris and fell in love with the city of love. Or perhaps you’ve never been but always dreamed of getting married there and getting memorable shots on your wedding day with the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, or by the Seine river to name a few wonderful spots.
Now that you decided to get married in Paris, where do you start from? Do you already know where you want your ceremony to be?
Do you want to spend your honeymoon in France at the same time, or jump on a European Tour?
Here are 8 tips that can help gather your ideas to get started on planning your destination wedding to Paris:
*Photos by Photographer in Paris Pierre Torset
1. Decide on a wedding date that is a little far off
We all have seen the impact of Covid-19 and its variants worldwide. It has resulted in a lot of weddings being cancelled or postponed. We are relying on travel bans to be lifted, which will be happening sooner than later, to start making travel plans. Additionally, planning a destination wedding with your closest family and friends will require them to plan accordingly. It requires them taking time off of work, saving enough for the trip, etc.
Make sure everyone you want to attend your destination wedding can travel to Paris and doesn’t have any health issues or anything else preventing them from flying. Consider that an overseas flight, including time at the airport, can last 10-12 hours if it is a direct flight.
Or you can also decide to have an Elopement in Paris. Why not plan for 2023 or 2024? 2023 is only a year and a half away and 2024 would be a safer option.
2. Getting married symbolically vs. legally
Did you know that if you wanted to be legally married in France, that you would have to reside in France for at least 45 days? You would only then be eligible to get married in the city hall (“la Mairie”) of the city you will be residing in. If you are looking for a nice place for your legal ceremony, make sure you visit or see the city hall before you decide to live there temporarily.
Most couples will get legally married in their home country, and have a symbolic ceremony in Paris. This can take place with the Eiffel Tower in the background or any other place that is meaningful to you. You can have an English-speaking Celebrant in Paris. And if you want to fancy it up a bit, you can have a violinist or any other type of musician play during the ceremony.
3. Select your venue
If you already have a place in mind, that’s wonderful! You just need to reach out to the venue, ask about their availability, number of guests’ allowance, the décor and catering menu, etc.
If you don’t know where to have your wedding reception because there are too many beautiful places, try reducing the number of choices to 3 venues. Then, look at their Pinterest & Instagram photos and their website galleries. Look at where you like the most and where you would see yourself having the reception.
4. Book your photographer
Once you have figured out the venue, you want to book your wedding photographer, ASAP! Especially if you plan a wedding between spring and the fall. Good photographers tend to get booked quickly. This is due to the numerous numbers of weddings taking place in Paris with national and international couples.
5. Packing your wedding dress
Contact the airline company you will be travelling with, to ask them if their policy allows you to keep your gown with you while boarding as you would like to hang it. If possible, stewards will take your gown and hang it in the first-class closet and hand it to you upon landing. Otherwise, you may have to stow it in the cabinet above the seat or under the chair in front of you. Some airlines may require that you purchase a seat for your dress if it is too large.
6. Welcome bags & wedding favors
It would be a great idea to welcome your guests with welcome bags delivered to their hotel room or upon arrival at their accommodation. These bags can contain local products such as a bottle of Evian water, some fresh mints from Vichy, French chocolate or macarons, a small bottle of Champagne. You can also add a special touch by writing them a handwritten letter to each guest. This will definitely make them feel special and show your appreciation for coming all the way to your destination wedding in Paris.
With the same idea, for the favours, depending on the style of wedding you want to have, you can include a tiny Eiffel Tower, a box of macarons, French perfume, etc.
7. A welcome get-together and/or group excursion
With so many places to visit in and around Paris, have you considered taking your guests to one of them? You can take day trips to Normandy and St-Michel. Or you can go wine tasting or champagne testing, visit the house and gardens of Claude Monet, the French painter, or go to the Versailles Palace. You can arrange these excursions ahead of time and surprise your guests.
Another option is to combine a welcome get-together and rehearsal dinner.
You can plan a beautiful dinner cruise on the Seine river, overlooking the most precious monuments of Paris. You can privatize the boat if you wish and have a more intimate experience.
8. Book your travel as a group
There are so many benefits to booking as a group through a dedicated travel agent, here are some of them:
- Group rate: Depending on the number of guests travelling, your group may be eligible for discounted rates for the airfares as well as for accommodations.
- Transfers: You will be able to benefit from the services of private transportation for your group to and from the airport/accommodation.
- Peace of Mind: You can rest assured that the travel agent booking your group trip will make sure you receive the best services and if something wrong does arise, your travel agent will be sure to communicate and find solutions when and if necessary.
- Deposit reduction: When you book your trip online, you usually have to pay the price of the full trip upfront. However, when booking with a dedicated agent, you only have to put down a small amount of deposit with your initial booking.
Karine Copur is the owner of Champagne & Macarons Events – a French savoir-faire boutique event planner. She was born and raised in Paris, France. She later moved to Los Angeles to pursue her studies at the University of California Los Angeles in the field of Marketing and gain some work experience in market research and tourism industries.
Karine now lives in Toronto and after years of working in various industries, she decided to combine all of her knowledge and created Champagne and Macarons Events in 2020 to live off of her passion for planning events as she used to do for family and friends. She even planned her own engagement party at the Four Seasons Hotel in Paris within 2 months and wedding in Versailles within 6 months!
Champagne and Macarons Events offers wedding and event planning services locally in the GTA and abroad with a specialty in France. Karine is familiar with the country, the venues, and its gastronomy. She has a WPIC certification in Wedding Coordination as well as her Destination Wedding Coordinator certification. Karine has also a BA in Marketing from the European Federation of Schools and a Certificate in Marketing from UCLA