Monthly Archive for May, 2008

Potential Sex And the City Spoiler Alert!

Last year, when I first heard about Sex and the City Le Film, I SWORE that I would be first in line when it opened here in Paris- V.O. or no V.O.! As luck would have it, my hubby had to work late on Wednesday, AND I couldn’t be bothered forking out the 50€ for a babysitter, so I stayed home and watched Nouvelle Stars instead (go Benjamin!). So, obviously being the antithesis of all that Carrie and the girls stand for (yet woman enough to admit it :) ) I’m just going to resign myself to the fact that I probably won’t see this movie until it comes out on DVD. And I am ok with that. I just need to know one thing : DO CARRIE AND BIG GET MARRIED???

Drop me a line and let me know!

SATC weddingSATC weddingSATC wedding

A Chateau Wedding in France

Well, all of the planning finally paid off - last week was the wedding of Laurent and Allison at the Château du Val in Saint Germain-en-Laye, just west of Paris. Built as a sort of “week-end retreat” for Louis XIV in 1669, Château du Val is where the Sun King would come to hunt– and to entertain his mistresses. Modest in size, light and airy with floor to ceiling windows which look out onto beautifully manicured gardens, this private Château made the perfect intimate setting for a storybook wedding in France- and Allison and Laurent played their parts to a tee! I’ll have more details later, but here are a few of the highlights:

Chateau Wedding

wedding in France

French chateau weddingFrench chateau wedding

Wedding in French chateau

American wedding cake in Paris

Paris Bridesmaids

All the above photographs: © D.Gavarin

How to Be a Better Destination Wedding Guest

Goofus and Gallant

When I was little, my brother and I had a subscription to a kids magazine called “Highlights” One of the cartoons that I loved in that mag was called “Goofus and Gallant”. They were 2 brothers who would get into different social dilemma’s, with Goofus always taking the low road (”Goofus doesn’t share his candy” - with a pencil drawing of Goofus shoving a Twinky in his mouth in front of a crying toddler) and Gallant choosing the higher (”Gallant gives half to his sister” - Gallant and Sissy happily sharing a sandwich). The point of the cartoon was to teach kids good manners by illustrating both behaviors, and then letting them choose which path they’d like to follow. I’d like to take this moment to revive Goofus and Gallant to illustrate some social situations that you might find yourself in as a Destination Wedding Guest. Which road would you take?

Situation 1. One day you receive a mysterious package in the mail. Opening it up, you find a miniature chocolate Eiffel Tower, and a “Save-the-date” card. Oh, yippee- your cousin Suzie is getting married next September- in Paris! What do you do next?

Ballard DesignsGoofus gobbles down the chocolate, tosses the Save-the-Date in the trash without writing the date down, and immediately forgets about it until her boyfriend starts talking about consolidating airmiles to go to Cabo next summer, thereby planting the seed of friction that will feed and flourish until it blossoms all over the Champs Elysees in a ugly, drunken, TMI argument which embarrasses and polarizes the rest of the guests for the remainder of the trip.

Gallant immediately SMS’s her beau-hunk with the great news, then puts in an early request for the time-off from work. That night she and boyfriend share the chocolate while curled up on the couch watching “2 days in Paris”.

Situation 2: It’s 6 months before the wedding, and Cousin Suzie has generously created a Wedding Website to help her friends and family plan their trip. She’s included a photo gallery with fun pix of her and her fiancé, and asks guests to post their own favorite photos and stories from their courtship. She’s also added pages with the wedding weeks’ itinerary, links to 6 different centrally located, 3 - 5 star hotels with English-language, online reservation systems, a calendar of events in and around Paris during the weeks before, during and after their wedding, maps of the Paris metro, faretracker and 10-day weather widgets, links to online French language lessons, and a Facebook Page for her guests to communicate with each other in order to keep track of what everyone else has planned. What do you do next?

Goofus immediately uploads the verboten photos from the Foam Party at Spring Break ‘02, naming names in all the captions. She clicks through a couple of the hotel links, but can’t figure out where any of the hotels are located and the metro map takes too long to download. So she makes a mental note to ask her parents to book her a room when they make their reservation, but then forgets to physically write down the note because she gets sidetracked on Sephora.fr . She also doesn’t bother to look at faretracker because everyone knows that you always get the best deals at the last minute (duh!), and doesn’t look at the calendar because she doesn’t want to “ruin the spontaneity of her European experience”, or the weather because Uggs go with everything, or the French lessons because she took Spanish in high-school, and everyone is mad at her about the SpringUggs in Paris Break pix anyway, so that’s why she’s avoiding the forum.

Gallant finds some sweet pictures of Suzie and her boyfriend minding the kids table last year at Thanksgiving, and includes a great quote from a book of French love poems. Using the forum, she finds out where the rest of their girlfriends from college are staying, then books a room as soon as she can (she knows that she can cancel up to 24 hours before check-in without being charged). She and her boyfriend commit to a budget of how much they’d like to pay for their tickets, and as luck would have it, faretracker pops up late one night with a direct flight that is under budget! Not only does she book it immediately, she also posts it on the forum so that others in the group can get in on the fare, and now they’ll all travel over together. Since they are all staying at the same hotel, they’re able to book a shuttle on their own, which means that Cousin Suzie doesn’t have to worry about their transportation and can use the extra time to plan other parts of her destination wedding. Gallant has also downloaded a French language podcast into itunes, and has plastered her apartment with French vocabulary stickers. She’s heard that a lot of Parisians speak English, but she feels that it’s only right to at least make an effort to speak French while she’s in Paris. Besides, what if she gets separated from the group and has to ask directions?

Situation 3. It’s 4 weeks before the wedding, and Cousin Suzie is trying to get a guesstimate on the headcount so that she can confirm the shuttle bus, the hotel rooms, the number of tickets for the Moulin Rouge rehearsal dinner, the amount of favors she needs to make, AND the number of meals she needs to pay for- all by the end of next week. While cleaning up one afternoon, you find that the RSVP that you thought your boyfriend had mailed weeks ago had actually fallen down behind your desk. What do you do next?

Goofus tears up the card and throws it away, then calls up Suzie to ask if she’s received her RSVP. “Really? I mailed it weeks ago. Hm, it must have gotten lost in the mail. I wonder how many others have been lost?” She promises Suzie that she’ll log onto the website as soon as she hangs up to pick a hotel, look at the Moulin Rouge link and pick her meal for the reception dinner. Once she’s online, though, she can’t find the Website password, but is sure that the name of the hotel had the word “Latin” in it, so Googles “Hotel Latin Paris” and books a room in the first hotel on the list. By then she’s tired of looking at French, and so, even though she’s promised Suzie, she doesn’t bother confirming her Moulin Rouge ticket or selecting her meal. These things always work themselves out, anyway, right?

Gallant is mortified! She calls Suzie and begs her apologies. Even though she’s never been married, she can imagine how crazy it must be to organize a wedding- especially one oversees! Suzie completely understands, and had assumed that she was coming since she had already got a group together to go out after Moulin Rouge and had asked about vegetarian options on the Facebook page. Gallant still feels awful and volunteers to phone all of Suzie’s guests who haven’t yet been in contact with her to find out if they are coming or not. While she’s at it, she finds out about their flight times and arranges shuttles for them, too. Even though she lives pretty far from Suzie, she knows that this type of task can be done online or by telephone, and will lighten Suzie’s load, even by just a little bit.

MoroccoSeptember, Paris, France: Cousin Suzie’s wedding is in 3 days. A plane lands at Charles de Gaulle airport and a friendly, well-rested group of Americans file out of baggage claim chatting and laughing as they are met by a driver with “Suzie and Billy’s Wedding” neatly written on a large card. The bus is about to leave when Gallant, who has printed out the list of names of the group that is traveling with them, asks the driver (in French) if he could wait just 5 more minutes for some latecomers. Cousin Goofus phoned a few days before and said that she had finally bought her ticket- and had gotten a really good deal, too, “sucka’s!”. She asked Gallant to add her name to the bus list. Gallant was fairly certain, though, that Goofus told her that her plane was to arrive an hour or 2 before her own, so she wasn’t quite sure where Goofus could be. The driver said that he could wait a bit longer, but after that he really had to go, otherwise he’d be late for the rest of the pick-ups that afternoon. 10 minutes later, the bus pulls off. Gallant is a bit concerned, thinking that perhaps they’ve left Cousin Goofus at the airport, but assumes that she will phone someone at the hotel once her plane lands. Luckily she didn’t realize that Goofus was actually sitting and sweating in her Uggs at Rebat Airport in Marrakesh, waiting for an (unbeknownst to her) canceled connecting flight to take her to Paris, Orly airport…

If you have plans to attend an upcoming Destination Wedding, now is the time to decide: Will you be a Goofus, or a Gallant?