One Couple Chose a Parisian Dinner Party Vibe for Their Wedding Weekend in France
It wasn't love at first sight for Ellen and Jeremy, who say their initial meeting as college sophomores was utterly forgettable. However, a second encounter one year later proved fateful. "Soon after [we first met], Jeremy suddenly began to go legally blind, losing his central vision in both eyes due to a rare genetic disorder," Ellen shares. "Just a few months after losing his vision, we happened to meet again at a football tailgate. I was impressed with how open he was about the trials and tribulations he had just been through, while remaining passionate and focused on the good that remained in his life. I remember thinking, 'Wow, this guy is one-of-a-kind.'"
"After losing my vision, it was difficult to share with others," says Jeremy, "and I remember thinking that Ellen was the first person I had met that I immediately felt comfortable sharing everything with." After that second meeting, the pair was inseparable—six years into their relationship, Jeremy proposed.
On May 12, 2018, Ellen and Jeremy hosted 51 guests at their destination wedding in Paris. "Paris is our favorite city in the world," says Jeremy, whose father was born and raised in France, "and we decided that it was where we wanted to have the most important moment of our lives and our relationship." The theme? A classic Parisian dinner party. "One of our absolute favorite things about Parisians is their amazing ability to host the most elegant, yet simplistic events," says Ellen. "We wanted our guests to experience this same magical, romantic hospitality that we have come to love and embrace." Even the couple's color scheme was influenced by the city. "Our color palette was mauve, gray, and cream—we kept referring to it as a stormy spring day in Paris," Ellen says. "The grays were the stormy sky color, and the mauve and cream were the spring flower pops throughout the city."
Throughout the black-tie event, the couple kept the focus on creating an amazing experience for their loved ones. "We truly felt like our wedding weekend was not just a celebration of us and our love, but a gift to each of our family members and friends to say thank you for being by our sides and supporting us in this next adventure," Ellen explains. "The amount of love and fun that we all experienced in those three days will last forever."
Bespoke Wedding Invitations
Each and every element of the couple's wedding stationery suite was a one-of-a-kind piece crafted by hand. "We had the most amazing calligrapher," says Ellen of Julie Ha, who designed and created the invitations, place cards, escort cards, and menu cards. "She was a true artist! We gave her very little direction and let her work her magic." The pair incorporated French elements into the paper items as well as their signature shades of mauve and cream.
A Picturesque First Look
For their sunrise first look, Ellen and Jeremy each started on opposite ends of the stunning Pont Alexandre III bridge and met in the center. "We woke up to gray skies and that quintessential light Paris drizzle," says Ellen of the morning of her wedding. "Fifteen minutes before leaving for the first look, the rain suddenly stopped and we made the final decision to at least try for the bridge. I am so glad we took the risk because the photos turned out absolutely incredible and we didn't have one drop of rain."
A Spectacular Mauve Wedding Dress
Having been in the wedding industry for over five years, Ellen was familiar with every variation of the classic white wedding dress. "Because of this, I wanted something that was very different and not at all typical for my own dress," she says. She spotted her Inbal Dror wedding dress even before she became engaged, so shopping was fairly effortless once the time came. "The second I tried it on, I knew that was it," she says. "I loved that it was nontraditional and had a high-fashion look."
A One-of-a-Kind Engagement Ring
Ellen's stunning engagement ring from Single Stone featured an emerald-cut diamond in a bezel setting with round-cut stones. "When it came to my ring, I again wanted something that wasn't typical," says Ellen. "The first time I saw a Single Stone ring I told Jeremy, 'I didn't care which ring it is as long as it's one of theirs.' All of their rings are elegant and one-of-a-kind."
An Icy Bouquet
Creamy hellebore, mauve roses, and a variety of vanilla-hued blooms were featured prominently in the bride's bouquet, which was composed by Isari Flower Studio. "Our florist was a very dear friend who was attending the wedding and flew out to Paris from San Diego to do the flowers for us," says Ellen. "I showed her a few inspirational photos, a couple of flowers that were must-haves, and the color palette, and told her that I completely trusted her to work her magic. She worked her magic and then some!"
The men in the wedding party wore mauve boutonnières, seamlessly reflecting the couple's color scheme.
A French Wedding Cake
In keeping with their Parisian theme, the couple opted to have a croquembouche—a classic French dessert composed of choux pastry balls. "It was very important to us to highlight French customs in the wedding, and this included the French version of a wedding cake," says Ellen, who turned to Ladurée Paris for the confection. "We had actually never had one before the wedding day, and couldn't believe how yummy it was," she adds. Sprigs of lily of the valley and off-white roses accented the dessert, which was presented on a tray featuring more blooms.
Delicate Bridesmaid Dresses
Ethereal fabrics and soft hues were the common factors in the BHLDN bridesmaid gowns, which ranged from off-white to the palest blue. "I gave them a bunch of options and let them each select the dress they liked best," says the bride. "I liked the idea of keeping the bridesmaid dresses, my dress, and the mothers' dresses all in the same color family."
A Handsome Party of Groomsmen
A Magnificent Venue
Located just a block from the Eiffel Tower, L'Hôtel des Arts & Métiers featured an intimate salon that was perfect for the couple's ceremony. "We loved that the room felt comfortable as if we were in someone's home getting married, but still had the 'wow' factor of French architecture, a beautiful chandelier, and a fireplace," says Ellen.
Velvet Vow Books
The couple wrote their vows in a pair of matching notebooks bound in gray velvet. "It is the only time in your life you get to profess and declare those kinds of thoughts and feelings to all of your friends and family," says Ellen of the experience.
A Family Processional
The bride was accompanied down the aisle by her mother and father. "I am close to both of my parents and loved being able to highlight them both in this moment," says Ellen. The trio processed to a rendition of "Mia & Sebastian's Theme (Late for the Date)" from the film La La Land. The song held familial meaning—it was recorded by one of the bride's cousins, a musician.
A Beautiful View
Watching his bride walk down the aisle was a moment that Jeremy treasured with the help of a lovely set of vintage opera binoculars. "It was a special touch that I think a lot of people in the room really loved, including us," says Ellen.
An Emotional Ceremony
The couple's non-religious service was officiated by a friend who had known the bride and groom longer than they'd known each other. "We loved our ceremony!" says Ellen, who wanted to repeat it again and again. "It was about us and our love, but it was also a 'thank you' to every person in the room who we felt had helped us get to that point. It was equal parts laughing, joy, excitement, and crying."
One of the most emotional moments of the service was the exchange of rings. "Unbeknownst to me," says Jeremy, "Ellen had worked with Eric, our officiant, to surprise me during our ceremony." One year prior to the wedding, Jeremy had inherited a gold bowl from his grandmother—a third-generation Parisian whom they called Mamani. "It was the bowl that she used to always drop her keys in, making a distinct sound, which for me is the most memorable sense," he explains. "Just before the exchange of rings, Eric began to talk about Mamani and her importance, and then brought out the gold bowl holding both of our rings. I immediately began crying. This was by far one of the most amazing moments of the day."
A French Dinner Party
Guests dined on four courses in a large salon that featured a window overlooking the Eiffel Tower. "We really wanted to keep the décor minimal and play up the grandeur of the room," says Ellen. "Our goal was to make the room feel like a romantic, candlelit French dinner party, which I think we accomplished with long oval tables, lots of candles, gauzy fabric runners, calligraphed name cards, and cascading flower arrangements."
A "Perfect" First Dance
The couple's first dance, which they took to "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran, was also special. "Just before our first dance, we had our bridal party pass out long candles to each guest, and asked everyone to circle around the dance floor," Ellen explains. Jeremy and Ellen lit the first candle, and as everyone passed the flame along, the pair asked for them to think of those who were no longer with them. "During our first dance we wanted to not only feel surrounded by those who were there physically, but also those who we wished could still be there," says the bride. As the dance ended, the couple asked everyone to blow out their candles and say a wish for their marriage.
A Dazzling Send-Off
After the wedding ended, the entire party walked to the Trocadéro—a famous open area in the 16th arrondissement that is the site of the Palais de Chaillot—to watch the Eiffel Tower light up at midnight, marking the bride's birthday. "No words will ever be able to sum up or describe how perfect it was," Ellen says.
Photography, D'Arcy Benincosa
Event planning, The Wedding Stylist Design and Details
Catering, L'Hôtel des Arts & Métiers
Flowers, Isari Flower Studio
Videography, Peyton Anne Frank
Stationery and Calligraphy, Julie Ha Calligraphy
Cake, Ladurée Paris
Favors, Ladurée Paris
Hair and makeup, Harold James
Bride's gown, Inbal Dror
Bride's shoes, Badgley Mischka
Engagement ring and wedding bands, Single Stone
Bridesmaids' dresses, BHLDN
Groom's suit, The Black Tux
Groomsmen's suits, The Black Tux