Monthly Archive for May, 2009

How to Create a Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremony in Paris

indian-wedding-ceremony-parisPeople choose to create their own wedding ceremony for any number of reasons. Here in France, because there are so many strict rules surrounding civil and religious weddings, many foreigners who do decide to get married in Paris find it easier just to create their own symbolic ceremony, rather than deal with all of the red tape.

I helped Shawna and Fabien to pull inspirations from their American, French and Indian cultures to create an absolutely beautiful and unique wedding ceremony here a few weeks ago. Fabien is French, so their celebration actually started on Friday afternoon, where they were married in a Civil ceremony at the City Hall of the 13th arrondissement. This was followed by a champagne and croquembouche reception on the Seine for close family and out of town guests. The next day, they were joined by over 80 loved ones at the Maison des Arts et Metiers for a ceremony and candlelit dinner reception. The ceremony itself included French traditions (Fabien walked his mother down the aisle), American traditions (they performed the Unity Candle ceremony) as well as Indian traditions (they exchanged garlands, as well as performed the ceremony of the Seven Steps, among others). They also included readings in both English and French. Shawna is a classically trained musician, and so music played a heavy part in their celebration. The couple decided to self-officiate their event, and used music as well as bilingual printed programs to help guide their guests through the short ceremony. The dinner that followed was a fusion of French and Indian flavors, with a 4-tiered, Indian-inspired American-style wedding cake served as the finale.

As anyone who has done it will tell you- it’s not easy to create your own wedding ceremony. Unfortunately, a lot of couples leave it to the last moment, when tempers are high and time is short. I always advise couples to start talking to each other about their ceremony as soon as they decide to create their own. Think about weddings you’ve seen in the past, and what elements you did or didn’t like (with an emphasis on what you DID like…). And try to keep in mind that the reception is the celebration of the marriage ceremony that just took place.  Here are some photos of Shawna and Fabien’s beautiful Hindu-Franco-American wedding to help inspire you.

Invitations from Saima Says

Invitations from Saima Says

Garlands for Indian wedding ceremony

Garlands for Indian wedding ceremony

Indian garland exchange

Indian garland exchange

Cross-cultural ring exchange

Cross-cultural ring exchange

Rose and peony candelabras

Rose and peony candelabras

Indian-inspired American wedding cake

Indian-inspired American wedding cake

wedding on the seine

wedding on the seine

all photos © photozhou

The Perfect DJ for Your Paris Themed Wedding or Party

Inexpensive Parisian DJ
How to Find a Good DJ in Paris

Here’s a great way to add a Parisian soundtrack to your next party without having to fork out for yet another Buddha Bar or Hotel Costes compilation. First, a little background: I received a call recently from a couple that had organized their wedding in Paris themselves over the Internet. They had arrived a few days before the Big Day to meet with their vendors and tie up some loose ends. Well, when they met their DJ, they realized that they had made a huge mistake. Even though they had exchanged messages and song lists with him by email, it was clear that not only did he not have a clue about the style of music they were looking for; he didn’t even know where to get it. Music was really important to them, so rather than take the risk, they decided to eat the cost of the down payment that they had already paid out, and try to find another DJ. They contacted me after searching in vain for a good, low-cost DJ, who would play the mix of music that they were looking for. Your American Wedding Planner in Paris to the rescue!

I had just read about this website called BigaDJ, a new, Paris-based music website that gives you access to high-quality mixes from over 30 professional French DJ’s. The mixes cover all genres of music (rock, dance, world, traditional French, classical, jazz, etc.) and are designed for all sorts of celebrations- birthdays, cocktail parties, weddings- you name it. The site is really simple to use- start by choosing your occasion or ambiance, then add or subtract music from BigaDJ’s catalog of over 3,000 titles, and finally, either stream directly from the website for up to 12 hours for 4,95€, or download up to 24 hours of CD quality music for 49€ - a far cry from the 1200€ that some of the best Paris DJ’s charge per night!

Besides the variety and price, one of the other things I love about this site is that they break the event down for you. If you’re looking for music for a French wedding for instance, you’ll see that their wedding playlists are divided into categories: “Guest Arrival Mix”, “Entrance into Church Mix”,” Photo Session Mix”, “Dinner Mix” etc. You can mix and match the different categories to create a customized play list just for your event. After just a few hours on BigaDJ, this couple had a wedding soundtrack that perfectly complimented their taste, style and budget. For a touch of French flavor for your next event, take a look at www.Bigadj.com

A Vintage Parisian Wedding

As promised, here are the pictures from Michelle and Victor’s wedding ceremony here a few weeks ago. They’re both huge fans of the films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset- so after getting engaged in Vienna, it was only natural that they chose to marry in Paris. Michelle paid homage to her family by wearing her grandmother’s beautiful 1930’s wedding dress (the parts that she couldn’t salvage were made into a ring pillow and an heirloom christening gown). It was also Victor’s parents 41st wedding anniversary, so I helped the couple plan a surprise vow-renewal ceremony for them just before they exchanged their own vows. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

After the ceremony, the cutie newlyweds stole away for a quick photo session around Paris, while their guests met up for drinks on board a peniche docked at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Michelle and Victor’s perfect day ended with a dinner cruise along the Seine, surrounded by family and friends.

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