A Parisian Elopement
From A "High-Tech" Romance to “I-Do” in Paris It was three years ago when a mutual friend, Jamie, sat Jennifer down and said, "I think you need to finally meet my best friend...the only problem is that she's a chef. On a yacht. Across the world." A few months before this conversation, Nikki had visited Jamie on vacation when Jamie shared with Nikki an old-school hip hop mixtape that was made by her friend, Jennifer. Nikki said the mixtape immediately sparked her interest – the songs were expertly picked to go together and she really wanted to meet this master mixer, Jennifer. It was the start of a beautiful high-tech relationship that ironically started through an old- school mixtape. Jamie set up a three-way internet conference call to introduce Jennifer and Nikki to each other. They were from the same areas of South Florida, went to similar places, bars and restaurants and even had similar friends (after comparing notes, Jennifer realized that she dropped off Jamie at Nikki's house once), but never met each other until that internet call in 2013. Jennifer remembers that Nikki seemed shy and quite reserved...and basically not into her at all (Nikki would like to interject here by stating that she was sitting at a Paris internet cafe staring at a computer screen at an ungodly hour trying to meet a girl while the shop owner sneered at her, so a "Rico Suave" she could not be). But after this first bumpy meeting, Jennifer and Nikki did not stop texting, Facebook chatting or internet calling each other for four months. It was during this time when they really grew to know each other in the way a slow forming romance develops. Finally, they agreed to meet at Jennifer's favorite location on the planet: London! and Nikki surprised Jennifer by whisking her away via the Chunnel to Paris to ask if they could just "make it official" and date. Eventually, Nikki was offered an opportunity to be a chef instructor in Tallahassee and hung up her yacht boat shoes for life ashore. In April, 2015, Nikki arranged a picnic for Jennifer and their dog, Brayden, at Lake Ella, Tallahassee, where a cartoonist surprised the couple (really, the surprise was just for Jennifer) with a caricature drawing that did not quite look like the way they were posing. In order to mimic the drawing, Nikki got down on one knee and proposed to Jennifer who replied "Are you serious?!" (she said "yes" eventually) and the rest is happily-ever-after history! What style of wedding they wanted to plan, special meanings and how they decided on the style of their wedding.
Jennifer and Nikki wanted to return to the place that they first “made it official” and exchange their wedding vows in Paris. The couple knew that eloping to the most romantic city in the world was right for them after Jennifer searched on Pinterest for “Paris Elopement on a Budget” and found information helpful to US couples wanting to have a simple, budget-friendly wedding elopement in the City of Lights. After collecting ideas and vendor suggestions through Pinterest and wedding websites such as The Knot and Wedding Bee, Jennifer set to planning an affordable but elegant experience which incorporated their love of Paris and culinary arts into their vision.
The day started off getting ready in our hotel, Le Relais St. Germain. We picked the hotel for the strong culinary roots of the surrounding St Germain des Pres neighborhood and the great reputation of the chef Yves Cambeborde that helms Le Comptoir restaurant, a featured French bistro style restaurant, which is just adjacent to the hotel. Nikki is a culinary instructor who teaches French technique and specializes in charcuterie, so this was a special treat for the couple, who dined at the restaurant the night before their ceremony. From there, we took pictures along the Siene in front of Notre Dame, stopped for hot chocolate and champagne at the St. Regis restaurant, and over to the courtyard area surrounding the Louve to round out pictures. We finished our journey with the vow exchange at the Bir Hakeim bridge with a view of the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop for our simple vow exchange.
Planning a wedding abroad is not difficult if you are organized and stay on task and budget. You can get very carried away in the precise details of the day, so if you concentrate on the big items like location, vendors and major points of interest for the ceremony, you don’t sweat the small stuff. Skype and video chats with your vendors also helps a lot in relieving your concerns about the details of the day because the vendors have been through a lot more weddings that you have and can make suggestions on what has worked and what has not worked, etc.
Eloping to Paris is always a great idea! I cannot tell you how many married couples have told us that they wished they followed their dreams and traveled for their ceremony together. It is an intimate experience that can be distilled down into what is important to you as a couple. Every family member and friend has been very happy and supportive of our decision to elope once they realized it was what we wanted and saw our gorgeous photos and video of the day. People have told us that the videos and pictures made them feel like they were there and so everyone is happy!