Part Deux: My Paris Wedding (the Ceremony)
Our Wedding in Paris may have been one of the most relaxed wedding days in the history of wedding days. We woke up and walked down to the corner boulangerie to pick up fresh croissants, just like we had every other day during our stay in Paris. We took our time getting ready: meandering to pick up the pale yellow pink-centered flowers at a local Marais shop, we chatted and laughed with Cindy, ironed and primped, and just enjoyed the excitement of day and each others’ company.
As I mentioned, our hair and make-up artist and photographer were quite spectacular. I was dazzled by the collection of Chanel pigments, lipsticks, and powders.
I found my dress and feather headpiece at Kleinfeld’s in NYC. The dress I finally picked was only the 4th or 5th I tried on: I knew I wanted something beautiful, unique, and comfortable. Because I was going to be 4 months pregnant on our wedding date, I didn’t want to have to worry the day of about my generally burgeoning size (I gained 60 lbs during my pregnancy!). Not looking pregnant in your wedding pictures is fine, looking obviously pregnant in your wedding pictures is fine—it’s the ambiguously pregnant look that you have to worry about.
Because I was entering my first pregnancy and had no idea how pregnant 4 months pregnant was, I wanted a dress that hid my belly, but was still flattering. I LOVE this picture of our (expat) fairy godmother helping with my dress.
Then there was the whole Eiffel issue. Can you imagine wearing a simple white dress standing in front of that beast? I wanted my dress to be unique and stand out in front of Sir Eiffel, so that I would not be upstaged entirely.
It wasn’t an easy task! Most wedding dresses follow the same patterns and designs. My dress turned out to be a sample, which–if you’re not familiar with wedding dress terminology or have never seen Say Yes to the Dress–a sample is the dress that everyone tries on before ordering. Because of this, they’re often 30-50% cheaper than ordering it from the designer or on the floor. Although I loved my dress and the cheaper price, I also didn’t have much of a choice in the matter, as I had put off picking a wedding dress until the last possible moment (only a month before the wedding) and couldn’t wait the 2-4 months ordering a new gown takes. Also, there was the whole tailoring issue.
My original dress, by an Italian designer, was a drop waist 2-piece. In order to meet my comfort criterion, I schemed to hike the skirt up to make the style empire. When we got back to Washington, DC, finding a tailor that could do the detail work (in the midst of mounds of tulle) as well as construct essentially an entirely new gown was almost as difficult as finding the original dress itself. But after only 2 fittings, the dress turned out perfectly—even better than I imagined. The top piece was a lace-up corset, absolutely perfect for size-adjusting. The tailor ended up fusing the two pieces together to make my final dress.
My jewelry we found in downtown Frederick: the earrings were antique vintage and the necklace by a Baltimore designer, who incorporates antique brooches into her modern pieces (which, of course, I got at my favorite boutique Silk & Burlap).
The ceremony took place in front of the Eiffel, which Cindy initiated and wrote part of. She did a magnificent job.
We also recited our own vows, hand-written, to each other. My husband did his weeks in advance, while I wanted mine to be a little more…spontaneous, and wrote them a few days before. I made my husband read his again to me that night: they were so beautiful.
Marco, our outgoing, boisterous, and distinctly Parisian photographer had picked two other locations for photos. So we packed into his tiny Parisian car and zipped through the Parisian city streets at an ungodly speed. If the weather had not been so blistering hot and I had not been in a wedding dress while hanging out my window attempting to catch a cool breeze, I most certainly would have feared for my life. Marco blared the freonless air conditioning as we cut off traffic and darted down skinny streets. My dress was soaked in sweat, and I was trying desperately to maintain the composure of a bride without hiking up the fourteen million layers of tulle above the knee, and ripping the feather out of my hair to serve as a make-shift fan. My husband and Cindy sweated it out in the backseat without a single complaint, taking turns fanning one another with a folded fan that Cindy so brilliantly brought.
My lace torso flailing outside the car window coupled with the densely packed, tiny Parisian streets prompted dozens of honks and rowdy exclamations from drivers, bikers, and passersby’s. Apparently, Parisians are a very vocal people, and, oddly enough, I don’t think we received even one ordinary congratulations. “It all goes downhill from here!” a driver shouted from his car in French. Marco screamed a happy response that only Cindy could understand, she chuckled under her breath. “Enjoy the wedding night!” a French woman screamed as we ran a redlight making a sharp left turn onto a street barely wide enough for a motorcycle. “Do you want a report?!” Marco responded laughing. “The first marriage is a throw away!” a bittered gray-haired man snorted. “They’ll never know, old geiser!” Marco retorted. Cindy and Marco smiled away with Cindy loosely translating Marco’s funny comments upon request.
Lots of people thought that we were on a magazine shoot and asked us for photos!
On our last stop, right across from Notre Dame, we opened a bottle of Rose that we had picked up that week and our carefully selected Parisian pastries, which were carried carefully in Cindy’s picnic basket.
After signing the marriage certificate and toasting and toasting and toasting again, we said our goodbyes to Marco and headed back to change before sitting down for an afternoon coffee….
Stay tuned for Part III!