Destination Wedding in Paris / Dione & Gui
Ceremony Site: Église Saint-Martin - Plailly France
Wedding Venue/Reception: Chateau de Pontarmé - Pontarmé, France
Also, see their Paris Engagement Photos [they're amazing]
Ian and I sometimes feel like we're the luckiest people in the world: we get to do what we love for a living, have clients who are beautiful inside and out, and we get to travel to amazing locations to take photographs. When Dione and Gui reached out to us about shooting their wedding in Paris, France, we jumped on it. Ian and I had visited Paris for Christmas about 5 years back [sans clothes- Brittish Air lost our luggage for 30 days!] and it's one of our favorite cities, so we were so excited to go back- especially for such a wonderful, caring couple. I was nice and pregnant too, so the idea of tramping around and eating great food sounded perfect [we ended up giving her a nice French middle name, Madeline]!
Gui and Di had a truly global wedding - Di was based in Australia and Gui in France, so they planned a destination wedding in Paris for their families to enjoy. Their families were some of the most welcoming and genuine people we've met and we were so happy to share the day with them. This wedding was also special because the groom, Gui, ended up doing most of the planning. How often do you see that? He did a fantastic job and everything came together beautifully.
"Surprisingly, I had very little to do with the planning. Though most people would not believe it to see the end result, all of the major preparations were made by Guillaume. He chose the decadent floral arrangements, the mouthwatering menu, he found the church and the priest. He even found my hairstylist for the day. As far as wedding preparation proceses go it was unusual, to say the least, because the bride was halfway across the world. Though Gui always gave me the final say on any big decisions, I have to say he did a magnificent job that I certainly could not have done better myself. Of course for Guillaume, his favourite part of planning was visiting the caterers for the pre-wedding tastings. And while I was sad I couldn't share that part of the planning process with him, I was happy he was able to do that with his father, who is an unfailing foodie."
Continuing to describe planning her destination wedding in Paris: "Apart from the logistic nightmare of organising a religious ceremony for someone halfway across the globe, we had one very momentous and loathesome challenge - 15,000km worth of challenge, in fact. Most brides would go out of their brains trying to plan a destination wedding without a professional wedding planner or someone on the other side. Luckily Gui and family were still in France at the time. His mother is a painter and his father an avid gourmet. Gui himself knows my tastes inside and out, so I wasn't too worried about leaving it in their capable hands. However I will say there were moments when the wedding planning made the distance between us seem just that bit more unbearable. Working out transport for our guests was a challenge as well, as we had people staying in hotels all over Paris. We wanted to ensure they had safe and adequate transportation to and from the location. We ended hiring private taxis, organising a meeting place and making one of our guests the designated "herder". Actually it worked out very well, because our guests got to know each other on the way there and had a blast, exchanging numbers and whatnot on the very tipsy way back!"
The couple wed in the older than Notre Dame Église Saint-Martin in Plailly France. The building was absolutely stunning and it was such a treat to get to shoot in a location with so much history. The priest spoke no English, so it was funny when he decided to give us the extended 'let me tell you about the history of this place' speech which went on for a good five minutes and ended up in hand signals. Absolutely hilarious, and such a unique experience.
The couple continued their festivities at the Chateau de Pontarme complete with a huge moat and baby geese. True to French style the reception was filled with food and lots of dancing. I am a major dessert fan and their dessert had a huge *fireworks introduction* complete with a champagne pyramid - so cool!
"This was not only a wedding - it was the symbolic conclusion to a long distance love that had endured three years. But a lifetime union between two people from two different worlds always comes with its sacrifices, and Guillaume and I were painfully aware that this would be the the first and only time all the people we held dearest would come together. France was the obvious choice, as Gui would be relinquishing the country to spend his life with me. With people flying in from just about every continent, we were determined to make it equally as unforgettable for them as for us - a day that fulfilled everyone's ideal of a fairytale happy ending. The Chateau de Pontarme, with its drawbridge and moat, its rose-perfumed gardens and facade beautiful in a way only a 16th century French chateau could be, was set in a sleepy village 40 minutes away from the din of Paris. The moment we saw it, we were dazzled by its inscrutable charm and could picture our loved ones therein, enjoying the night of a lifetime. So you see, we had no choice - the chateau, really, picked us."
Di's dress was also a star - when local bridal salons didn't carry the dream dress she had spotted, Di actually flew to another city to purchase her gown. It was a smash hit and she looked wonderful on her wedding day.
"I actually saw the dress online quite soon after Gui proposed. It was one of the first I spotted and I was about as in love with it as one could be with a dress. I wasn't one of those girls who'd grown up imagining their wedding, but somehow when I saw it, I knew this was always going to be the dress. Capped sleeves of delicate lace encrusted in Swarovski crystals. A feminine sweetheart neckline in pearl satin. A dramatic drop of yards of scalloped, luxury fabric, parting to show three cheeky tiers of sparkling, crystalled tulle. Polished off with a sensual lace up at the back and a dramatic, scalloped train, it was the definition of a decadent princess gown without compromising on class. Problem was, the picture I saw was on one of those cheap knock-off websites and I knew I'd be doing this dress a great injustice by even considering it. I searched and search through designers to try and find who designed this masterpeice, but to no avail. It was many months later when, in a bridal store in Australia, trying on dresses and close to buying a sexy, low-backed number by Maggie Sottero that I spotted the dress in her catalogue. Can you believe it? I was close to buying a dress made by the same designer as my dream gown! I found out the dress was named Cassandra and immediately set out finding a stockist. I found her in a store in Brisbane and while it cost me a bit in flights for fittings and so on, it was completely worth it to see the look on his face when I walked down the aisle."
It was the ultimate fairytale wedding, but so classy and elegant. The best part of the whole wedding, though, was the couple themselves. Gui and Dione are a-mazing, so sweet with each other, and they totally know how to work a camera. How gorgeous are they? Gui and Di, congrats on your wedding and thanks for including us in your adventure!