Real Weddings: Lindsey & Bobby’s Mod Paris Elopement

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.

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18 Comments  |  Filed Under: Budget Weddings ($10,000 or less), Destination Weddings, Elopements, Paris Weddings, Real Weddings

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  1. Posted by Isabel on February 21st, 2011 at 7:23am

    Absolutely romantic, intimate and beautiful! Great photos, amazing location, original idea. Love this kind of weddings! Thanks for posting!
  2. Posted by Lissa on February 21st, 2011 at 11:28am

    Oh my! If you must elope, do it in ultra-romantic Paris! And while you're at it, look as fabulous as this lovely couple! Great photography capturing the magic, too.
  3. Posted by Miggs on February 21st, 2011 at 12:51pm

    You two look ultra chic and so happy!
  4. Posted by Shannon Cunningham on February 21st, 2011 at 6:45pm

    Wow! I love Paris and these photos make me swoon a bit. Love the use of black and white,
  5. Posted by Kelly on February 21st, 2011 at 7:16pm

    Awesome. What great photography!
  6. Posted by clampers on February 21st, 2011 at 8:45pm

    I love that little dress! Very classy. Good for you guys.
  7. Posted by Christina on February 21st, 2011 at 9:43pm

    I love the black and white too. Classic!
  8. Posted by Sarah on February 22nd, 2011 at 8:42pm

    It looks like it was a very special, happy day! It reminds me of my wedding day...My husband and I did something similar just the two of us, and then had a reception with family afterward. I'll remember both days for very different reasons :)
  9. Posted by Tamea Burd on February 25th, 2011 at 5:29pm

    These lovely shots show what a wedding is supposed to be about. Romance, love and just sharing in the joy of being together.
  10. Posted by Marisa on March 29th, 2011 at 12:41pm

    How beautiful! Is there any way you can give the the information on who your officiant was? I'm looking to do the same thing (elope to Paris) and want to avoid the planner route. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
  11. Posted by Elisabeth on April 7th, 2011 at 12:04pm

    Very inspiring! I want to do the same! One question: How did you find the officiant.


  12. Posted by Christina on April 8th, 2011 at 10:13pm

    Hi Elisabeth... I have an email out to the bride about this. Haven't heard back yet.
  13. Posted by Brenda on April 28th, 2011 at 4:11pm

    I have the same question as Elisabeth, How did you find the officiant?


  14. Posted by Jen on June 7th, 2011 at 1:12pm

    I would love advice on finding the officiant as well!

    Thanks :)
  15. Posted by Anna on June 13th, 2011 at 8:36am

    Has anyone heard back about getting an officiant? I got a quote for 850 euros, which seems a tremendous sum for something that will take less than 30 mins
  16. Posted by Veronica Martinez on September 3rd, 2011 at 1:43pm

    My fiance and I eloped to Paris and used Stephen Zezza as our photographer. He knows of officiants and other services to answer all your questions. He is a New Yorker living in France. Try emailing him and asking him.
  17. Posted by Yanique on June 11th, 2012 at 7:02am

    I'm a wedding planner based in Paris and we can recommend less expensive English speaking officiants and other services too!
  18. Posted by fran on September 11th, 2013 at 5:03pm

    Wow, very romantic and there were no locks on Pont des Arts !
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