If you’re reading these few lines, chances are you might have gotten engaged. First and foremost: congratulations!! Fun times are ahead, I promise.
We can all agree that weddings are beautiful, but can be the most stressful experiences ever. What if I told you that you can still have the lavish celebration, while keeping things light, breezy and most importantly, stress-free?
I’m not talking about a body double, but an elopement. What’s better than an elopement you might ask? A Parisian one, that’s what.
Elopements are exclusive. Elopements are intimate. Elopements are, in a way, sacred. And maybe my whole-time favorite thing. Why? Because it is all about love, and love only. It isn’t about dealing with the headache of flying over +150 guests from overseas, and all the anxiety that goes along with entertaining all these people, feeding them, attending to their needs… Nope, it is about you. All. About. You.
By now, hopefully, I’ve won you over and you’re considering eloping in Paris. Having photographed a few dozen elopements in paris recently, I have compiled the most frequently asked questions I get on these in a comprehensive guide. Take it from my decade-experience as the ultimate Parisian photographer, all these steps go a long way, and will make a huge difference in your elopement in the City of Lights.
What is an elopement?
Let’s start with the basics: what is an elopement? An elopement is an intimate wedding ceremony. Your elopement in Paris could just include you and your significant one, or you might decide to include your closest friends and family, up to 15/20 people.
From FRIENDS to The Hungover, elopements have been pictured as borderline hilly billy tacky Vegas weddings, but it doesn’t necessarily involve an Elvis lookalike, trust me. All the elopements I was privileged to capture were the most laving and luxurious experiences ever. Sometimes even more than weddings I got to photograph! So personally, I only associate elopements with exquisite taste and divine food.
Why you should have an elopement in paris?
I mean, why not?
Let me share with you the reasons why my couples have historically chosen to have their elopement in paris:
- They dreamt of Europe and starting their married life in France was the perfect fit;
- They started planning a big wedding back home but got overwhelmed by the pressure that usually goes with it;
- They wanted to splurge on themselves and felt that it wasn’t compatible with feeding 300 guests invited by their parents;
- They wanted to combine their wedding and their honeymoon together
- They longed for something unique and exclusive, and didn’t want to get married where all their friends got married;
- Their main goal was to get ethereal wedding photos in Paris
Honestly, this is why choosing thoroughly your photographer, is key. Their work will remain the only way to relive your special day… You might as well be in love with the style they use, their color palette and their personality! Make sure to check their work, their knowledge as a local professional to get around Paris, their expertise, as well as their connections to the venues or vendors you’d like to work with. For example, if your dream is to stay at the Ritz for your elopement in paris, I can make that one come true in one second flat: I’m the Ritz’ whisperer.
Is eloping in Paris legal?
You can bet it is! However, a friendly reminder here: if you decided to get legally married in Paris, the French government would require you to reside in France for 40 days before your big day.
If this is not an option because you know, life happens, fear not. The majority of my couples who have eloped in Paris did this: they got legally married in their home country, and held a “symbolic ceremony” in Paris. See? I told you fun, stress-free times were ahead!
The ceremony will not only be symbolic; it’ll be perfect to make your vision come to life, without any of the obligations that usually come with it. Want to make it even more personal? Make a family member, or your best friend, the officiant (suitable if you decided to include a small gathering – if not, I know who to contact).
How to plan my elopement in Paris?
Now that the nitty-gritty has been addressed and that you can picture yourself saying “I do” in the City of Love, let’s get down to business. Hereafter are my humble thoughts on how to organize the most perfect elopement in Paris.
Book a planner for your elopement in Paris
Or not! But if you’re looking for a luxury experience that includes florals, styling, cake, dinner and most importantly that involves no stress, I would highly recommend it. Get in touch if you’d like to know which my favorite vendors are.
Stay at an hotel or book yourselves an apartment to elope in Paris
Of the entire experience, one of my cherished moments is while the bride and the groom are getting ready, which is why you shouldn’t overlook this aspect at all. I have had the pleasure of working at the Ritz, le Crillon, the Four Seasons, the Shangri’la… and I know which rooms are the prettiest. I’d be delighted to sort out this part for you, you just have to ask.
If you’d like a more “homey” feel to your elopement in Paris, then I’d suggest you book a stunning Haussmanian apartment with moldings and a fireplace. Some of them have rooms so beautiful, and/or a gorgeous and spacious balcony, that this is where you’ll be able to have the ceremony. This will not get any more intimate than that, mark my words!
Ultimately, and regardless of the venue you pick, this is is where you will have your elopement ceremony; my advice would be to ask loads of questions to your planner, photographer, and to book wisely. You’ll see that this will be a key decision for the outcome of your photos (no pressure!).
Get your hair and make up done by a professional for an elopement in Paris
Ideally, testing your preferred options beforehand would be preferable. If that’s not doable, ask as many questions in advance as possible, and request pictures so you can have a feel of their work. I want you to look your best in your elopement pictures, so do not be afraid to be very precise and specific in what you ultimately want. Even more importantly, I want you to be absolutely head over heels with your look (pun definitely intended).
What to wear for your elopement in Paris
Have fun with Fashion! Again elopements are non-conventional: your grandma is not here to judge your dress length and your mum will not pressure you into wearing her prom dress. A statement bow, some sparkles, extravagant heels, a short dress, a headband,… You can visit the Boutique for more ideas on what to wear for your intimate wedding in Paris.
INSPIRATION FOR HER
Rent a vintage car in Paris
Nothing screams timeless love and beauty more than a vintage car. Bear in mind that vintage automobiles didn’t have AC back in the day, and that most of them aren’t automatic.
If driving in Paris turns out to be a challenge, I’d recommend a chauffeured car to take you around and make your elopement in Paris the most comfortable experience ever.
Plan the ceremony for your elopement in Paris
(or have someone do it for you, see aforementioned “book a planner” paragraph)
What’s great about elopement ceremonies in Paris is how versatile they can be. The officiant could be someone you know, or not.
The actual ceremony could be held on a rooftop overlooking beautiful Paris, in an exclusive salon of a palace, like at the Ritz, of the Shangri’la, at the Chapelle Expiatoire (my personal favorite), or even in a public space. However, if you were to chose a public space, you’ll need to remain flexible and aware at all times. Indeed, if anything were to go wrong, you wouldn’t be able to control any aspect of it. Let’s use a theoretical example: you want your elopement ceremony on one of Paris’ famous bridges. Sounds dreamy, right? In reality, flocks of tourists often decide to eat their pique-nique there. If that was to happen, you wouldn’t be able to stop them. Also, think of the traffic, the weather, and the noise. I wouldn’t suggest this if you’re after a luxurious experience.
Book a portrait session around Paris for your wedding photos
Having a local photographer is key: they will know hidden places, the best angles, the best lighting… You’ll get to experience Paris in the most intimate way possible. Your elopement pictures will reflect the timelessness of these fleeting hours. The exclusivity of the experience. The intimacy of these moments. Paris was built by lovers, for lovers. I cannot think of a better city on Earth to celebrate your elopement. I can navigate the city in my sleep, while wearing high heels. I’m the gal you want to guide you through Paris without even realizing it.
I left my two favorite items for last:
Pick flowers for your elopement in Paris
Eloping doesn’t mean you don’t get the most luscious bouquet ever. As John Lennon once said “Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow”. If picking and holding blooms, ultimately reflecting the love you’ve grown for your special someone, doesn’t make your heart swoon, I don’t know what will.
Decide on your food experience
First and foremost, to any question, the answer is cake, right? Cake matters, so much. Elopement doesn’t rhyme with dieting, and cakes are maybe the most symbolic elements of any great wedding ceremony. Whether you order a two-person cake, or a larger one (no judging here) have one. Trust me. Your tastebuds and your pictures will thank me.
Also, Paris wouldn’t be Paris without the other gastronomic options it has to offer, and which you’ll have to pick. A 4-star dinner in tête à tête? A room service luxurious breakfast spread? A fancy tea time? Indulge and relax, while I take pictures of you without you seeing it. Focus on the delicacies in your plate, and on your lover sitting next to you… I’ll take care of the rest!
To put it in a nutshell, an elopement in Paris doesn’t involve much stress, especially if you hand over all the hassle to a planner. However, a Parisian elopement does involve life-altering food, world-stopping views and sights, and history-making romance. A Parisian elopement is the perfect place to start your life as a couple, and the pictures I will be taking will always remind you of the love you shared there, and then.
To discover some of my most ethereal Parisian elopements
So for all these reasons, you should get married in Paris!
It will be the best decision for your sanity you ever made and for sure will make for amazing photos of you.
So feel free to CONTACT me if you want to speak of your vision for your elopement in Paris.