An Elegant French Soirée
We met in New York City over the summer of 2012. Our first date was at a tiny tapas restaurant on the Upper West Side, where we spent about 4 hours getting to know each other over delicious food and wine. We hit it off pretty quickly, I couldn't help fall for that smile and charm that Henry has. From there, we both began exploring the city we thought we knew well, by going to new places throughout our dates. It turned out there was so much of New York City we didn't know and we were lucky enough to have each other to share these new experiences with. Local dates turned into bigger adventures, visiting Henry's old stomping grounds in New Orleans where he grew up. We had been together for about 2 years and had a longing for a vacation somewhere outside of the States and this was the perfect time because I was going to Lyon, France with my culinary school, so it was decided that we would both should meet up in Paris after my time in Lyon. It was December when we met up in Paris and we instantly fell in love with the city. We saw all of the sights, ate all of the baguettes and drank plenty of delicious French wine. Coming back to New York after this trip was difficult because Paris was like a dream to us, but one thing it did make us realize that it wouldn't be the last time we would visit this beautiful city.
What is your proposal story?
We got engaged on our 5th (dating) anniversary (August 5, 2016). To be honest, it wasn't something that was prepared. I had already gotten Henry an engagement ring, but the date that I was going to propose was still up in the air. We had actually bought a puppy, Cora, a few months before our proposal, so she definitely had to be a part of it in some way. We did the usual dinner out and then went to our favorite bar in NYC, Bemelman's Bar at the Carlyle Hotel, for some post- dinner cocktails and live jazz. On our way home, we were chatting and it suddenly hit me that it was time to pull the trigger and ask Henry to be forever. We got home and Henry had offered to walk Cora, I had told him I would join him in a minute. As soon as Henry walked out the door, I scrambled to retrieve the ring from my sneaky hiding spot, (the bottom of a very tall vase) and ran outside to meet them on the walk. Without Henry looking, I picked Cora up and got on one knee and Henry turned around since he felt a tug on Cora's leash. I popped the question and we celebrated with a kiss and of course some additional kisses from Cora. All in all, it was a very "Jason and Henry" proposal, something simple and meaningful to both of us.
There was no real vision going into the wedding planning as to what we thought our wedding would look like. We knew that we wanted to keep it as intimate as possible and truly something that meant something to us. This meant getting as little input from outside parties as possible and making sure that it blended both Henry and my tastes. Luckily, Henry comes from an event production background and I have a culinary background, so decor was obviously going to Henry and any food decisions would be handled by me. One day, after just scrolling through social media, Henry found a picture of a beautiful wedding in Paris, which sparked the idea of a Parisian wedding. Knowing that it was a city close to both of our hearts, this became an exciting option. Soon our amazing planner Yanique was found who was based in Paris, she helped with all of the details from finding venues to our amazing florist and photographer. This was also incredibly helpful since neither of us speak very much French. This wedding evolved so much since our initial thought of what it would be to how it actually happened. It could not have been a more perfect day.
What was your color palette and your style vision?
We are huge fans of grays with pops of colors. This was incorporated throughout the wedding from invites to the day-of stationary. The nice thing about a Parisian wedding is that the majority of venues you would hold an event at, are already stunning without having to add anything to the room. We really played off of the natural state of room rather than cover it up. We wanted to treat our guests to feeling like royalty at our wedding and our wedding day venue, The Shangri-La Hotel, captured this sentiment perfectly.
What unique elements or DIY details did you include?
We knew that we wanted to have the same tuxedo to keep everything clean, but added a different fun pair of shoes to make our styles our own.
What was your favorite moment? Your favorite crafted detail?
Our favorite moment was being able to step aside from our guests before anyone was allowed in the main dining room and taking it all in. Being able to share a moment alone on your wedding day can definitely be difficult, but we made sure to do it so we could soak it all in. It was even more magical when the doors did open and we could see our guest's reactions to how beautiful the dining room looked, lit up by candlelight. It was a special moment that allowed us to appreciate the moment and also realize how lucky we are to have the family and friends that we do in our lives.
Tell us about your flowers, your outfits, your favors, your cake, etc.
Luckily we had our wonderful wedding planning with top vendors in Paris, which helped us out immensely. One thing we did want to do is utilize awesome vendors, that has some sort of influence within Paris or were up and coming. Our floral arrangements were done by Floraison by Akiko and they could not have been more perfect. We wanted soft colors that had a slight whimsical appearance, but didn't stand out too much. As we mentioned, the spaces we used at the Shangri-La were already naturally beautiful, so anything additional had to be soft and delicate to pull everything together.
Our outfits were custom made by a good friend from New York City, who also attended the wedding. We wanted a classic look and decided on deep navy tuxedos that matched and then we picked out our own shoes that were to "pop" off the outfit.
Our cake was made by the amazing Frank Barron (Cake Boy Paris), who I had been following on social media before we even started wedding planning. Coincidentally, Frank was a friend our our wedding planner, Yanique, which could not have worked out better. Although Frank is a pro at creating beautiful cakes, he had never done a wedding cake before. After a couple of back and forths, we were finally able to convince Frank to do our cake. Both me and Henry knew whatever he would create would be perfect for the day. We wanted a simple vanilla cake with buttercream frosting, one of Frank's classics, and it was so delicious.
You will encounter several moments of doubt and anxiety, just know that this is normal. Planning will never be very easy, but know that your special day will be perfect. We would say that on your wedding day, aside from some marriage butterflies in your stomach, do not worry about the details. They are handled and this is your day to enjoy every second of it. Take time to be with your partner alone and take in the moment. Look out at your guests and your venue and every single detail and remind yourselves of how lucky you are for this special day and for the lifetime ahead you have together!