Morning gals. Today we have the beautifully intimate Parisian wedding of Blair and Judson to share with you. Last Autumn, they contacted Kim Petyt, wedding planner extraordinaire and woman behind Parisian Events in the hope that she might be able to help them plan their dream destination wedding in Paris – an intimate family celebration in their favourite city, where they could explore everything it has to offer. Destination Wedding Photographer, Heidi Geldhauser of Our Labour of Love, also travelled over from Atlanta with Blair and Judson and their 16 guests to capture every moment.

destination wedding in Paris

destination wedding in Paris

This cute pair met one rainy night in Atlanta at a Karaoke bar. Blair filled us in on the rest of their story…

“I arrived at the bar with friends, after a long day’s work at a rock festival. Judson took a few hours off from writing music to meet friends. His pants looked like someone spray-painted them on. And I guess I thought that was hot? And was into knock-knees? I guess? I was wearing a leather jacket, and considering myself something of a badass. We locked eyes the moment he opened the door and I whispered to my friends, “who is that guy?”. The rest is pretty much history. We chose France because I studied in France for a year and have been an avid Francophile since childhood. Paris is the first place Judson ever traveled outside the US, so we felt it captured both of our passions very well.”

Why did you chose to have a destination wedding?

“Both Judson and I have been to our share of weddings, and although we love attending our friends’ weddings, we hate how the guests never get to spend time with the bride and groom, unless they’re IN the wedding. We didn’t want all of our friends to come to town to watch us take such a big step, and then not get to spend time with them. We kept it small and out of the country so we would be able to spend quality time with every person at the wedding, and it worked out so well for us.”

And what were the biggest challenges you faced?

“The biggest difficulties we had in planning the wedding were finding lodgings for everyone. It was important to us that we all be able to stay in one place– especially since most of the wedding party didn’t speak French and wasn’t familiar with the city. Eventually we found a place large enough for everyone, but it took quite a bit of internet surfing and perseverance. Also, because our wedding was so small, we took on a lot of the nitty-gritty details ourselves, which was a lot to handle toward the end. Dealing with the time difference took a bit of effort, because it meant all phone calls had to be made first thing in the morning, before work, so that the French were awake and at work.

Also, in planning such a small wedding, you have to deal with breaking a few hearts. We kept running into situations where close friends or relatives offered to find their own way to Paris and join us for the wedding and we had to gently turn them down. Allowing anyone outside of the core group to attend suddenly made it unfair to everyone else that wanted to come but couldn’t.”

Best decision you made?

“Although the wedding was small, we had a lot of trouble finding a venue. We knew we wanted to get married outdoors, but French law is tricky with those kind of things,and we couldn’t get a permit for the wedding while we were stateside. Kim was able to provide recommendations and visit the location we chose ahead of time to make sure there wasn’t construction or any other hindrances. Having a planner to iron out small kinks like giving florist recommendations and knowing where to get my dress pressed was invaluable help. Kim also provided a calm voice of reason for us when we were stressed, and made sure that onlookers did not interrupt our ceremony. Even with a small wedding, I would strongly recommend finding a planner at your destination so you can relax and give someone else a bit of responsibility. The best part about getting a planner was personalising her services so she gave us exactly what we needed.”

Looking back, what were the highlights?

“Blair: Judson (a designer) decided to draw his vows instead of writing them. I thought the adrenaline was going to get me through the ceremony without any tears, but the second he pulled out his hand-drawn vows, I started crying.”

“Judson: For me, obviously, seeing Blair round the corner in her beautiful dress and watching her veil shoot straight out in the wind was a highlight. By the end of the ceremony, a group of onlookers had gathered around on the overpass and an enormous elementary school group on a field trip had gathered in the park. As we departed the ceremony together, we stopped to kiss and the kids exploded with cheers and jeers—even the teachers were clapping! That was surprising and amazing.”

What was the best thing about having a destination wedding?

“Judson: Once the initial planning was done and we were on the taxi to the airport, I feel like all the stress disappeared. We had some minor things to deal with once we arrived (flowers, dress pressings) but there really wasn’t much to worry about or much that could go wrong (aside from hoping for clear skies). Less cogs in the machine means less chance of a jam, I suppose.”

“Blair: Hands down, the best part was the time we got to spend with friends. We loved travelling with our best friends, and it was amazing to have all the people we care most about together for a long weekend in my favorite place in the world. Because we were with all the people who love us most, there was no pressure to impress, and no one who cared when things went wrong. I also love how easy it was for us to make it “our own”—we had all kinds of special touches that wouldn’t be available in a large wedding.  I made Judson’s boutonniere out of a jade cicada and some peacock feathers. Those are each items that have special significance to us, and I love that we were able to keep the boutonniere afterward. I also had a small cicada bead and a pendant of the patron saint of Paris sewn into the lining of my dress for good luck.”

What advice do would you offer to others planning a destination wedding?

“Blair; Don’t be scared to do it! It’s not a decision I have any regrets about, and I hold the memories so closely already. People always warned me about how my “wedding day would fly by,” and how I “wouldn’t remember anything about it,” but having a destination wedding allowed us to celebrate for four days with our best friends—and remember every moment of it. And save as much money as you can. The second you get engaged, just start saving. Get a joint savings, figure out how much of your monthly salary you can each divert, where you can cut costs, etc. If you don’t use it all on the wedding, you’ll love having the extra funds afterwards for the honeymoon or just newlywed life. There’s a lot of expense involved in being newly -married!”

How beautiful are all the photographs? It really looks like Blair and Judson had the most amazing few days and the happiness on their faces is hopefully enough to convince those of you planning your destination wedding that it is totally worth it.

Photography: Our Labor Of Love | Wedding Planner; Kim Petyt at Parisian Events | Florist: Mina at Lieu-Dit | Wedding Gown: Casablanca Couture | Groom’s Suit: Express Men |Bridesmaid Dresses: Suzi Chin | Bridesmaid’s sweaters: The Limited | Bride’s stole: AlexBridal on Etsy | Hair and makeup; Bridesmaids

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