intimate paris france wedding

Lindsey, 26 & Bobby, 28

Paris, France

Wedding Date: June 12, 2010

Number of Guests: 2

Wedding Cost: Less than 2,000 Euros (approx. $2,700 USD), not including airfare for the wedding day.

black and white wedding photography

Wedding Ceremony Location:

When we first started planning our Paris wedding, we were overwhelmed with options. Having never visited Paris {they reside in Tulsa}, we initially selected the Champ de Mars area surrounding the Eiffel Tower, but a week before the wedding, our photographer, Stephen Zezza, a New Yorker living in Paris, suggested we look at Square St. Jean XXIII in the garden of the Notre Dame Cathedral. He said it was the most beautiful place in all of Paris, and we quickly agreed. The square sits on the backside of the famous cathedral. Being a popular tourist site, Stephen suggested we have the ceremony in the morning when we had the place to ourselves. It was perfect.

mod french wedding black & white

Wedding Reception Location:

As an Ernest Hemingway buff, I knew instantly I wanted to celebrate at his favorite café, La Closerie des Lilas in the St. Germain section of Paris. Closerie’s oysters used to draw in the likes of Gertrude Stein, Picasso and James Joyce; all these years later, the oysters are still delicious and the atmosphere is so very French.

romantic intimate wedding

real wedding in paris

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

We never seriously considered having a big wedding. It just seemed too traditional and, honestly, like way too much work. Instead of focusing on centerpieces and seating arrangements in the months leading up to our wedding, we debated whether to head to Morocco or Portugal after backpacking through Spain.

black and white wedding photography

french wedding style

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

We initially considered using an agency to plan the wedding. There are dozens of agencies that will, for a fee, provide a package with an English-speaking officiant, photographer, flowers, champagne– the whole thing. I contacted several agencies and after getting everything squared away with one, they refused to provide a contract and wanted 80 percent of their fee up front. We found it much more special, and less worrisome, to plan the ceremony on our own.

small paris wedding

vintage paris france wedding

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Two friends joined us at the wedding. As our travel buddies, they were there when we got engaged in Santorini, Greece two years earlier and we wanted them to be at the wedding as well.

small paris ceremony

paris france wedding ceremony

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

We only told a handful of family and friends about the wedding prior to leaving for Europe, so that made things easier. After we returned from our honeymoon, we sent out postcards announcing our marriage. By that point, most everyone was surprised and happy for us. I think it helped us bypass some hurt feelings. Plus, we made sure to get a wedding website up immediately following our return.

intimate paris france wedding

intimate paris france wedding

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Looking back, my favorite part is when we fouled up. When it came time to exchange rings, I nervously gave the groom the wrong hand, prompting my maid of honor to whisper a correction. We all cracked up and those photos are some of my favorites.

intimate paris france wedding

paris france wedding

What were the highlights of the reception?

After the ceremony, we were picked up in a vintage car and drove around Paris with our photographer, taking photos at some of the city’s most beautiful sites. Apparently, they love weddings in the “city of romance.” As we wove our way through the streets, Parisians in cafes stood up and clapped, old men and women blew kisses and shouted congratulations and tourists on double-decker tour buses waved and shot photos. We soaked it up and felt very special.

get married in paris

vintage wedding getaway car

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

The day is yours; it belongs to no one else.

mod 1960's wedding style

vintage paris france wedding

paris france vintage wedding

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

It takes some gumption. Be advised that for months before and after the wedding, your friend’s brother’s cousin will likely tell you she can’t believe you would run off and get married without your entire extended family and her children would never conceive of doing something so selfish. But, by that time, you will know better because most everyone else will tell you that they wish they had the gumption to do the same thing.

vintage black and white wedding


Photographer: Stephen Zezza Photography

Getaway Car: Paris Authentic Car Service

Reception Venue: La Closerie des Lilas Restaurant

Check out this other beautiful Paris real wedding.