Parlez Vous Francais?

Talk about destination weddings!  Dad and Mom were recently hired to shoot a wedding at the American Cathedral in Paris. 

The American Cathedral Paris France

The bride and groom are from Magnolia Arkansas and managed to have many family members and friends in attendance (not easy for a destination wedding that is so far from home).  The church was quite beautiful and it was a lovely event.

The Friday night before the wedding Dad and Mom attended the rehearsal to get a feel for things.  The Canon (not the camera type, the officiant collar wearing type) that was performing the ceremony told them right away that she normally did not allow photographers but was thinking of changing that rule.  Dad and Mom would be the test case and in so doing would be a part of her final decision on whether or not she would begin allowing photographers during the ceremony.  She was very adamant when she told them they had to be very discreet, very unobtrusive and they had to stay in the back of the church..  She went so far as to say, “During the ceremony if I see you or hear you, I will fine you”.  Needless to say that that gave them something to think about.  

Church restrictions pertaining to photography vary widely so Dad and Mom were not too surprised and decided they were up for the challenge.  Dad has very good lenses that can get good shots from a distance and when shooting a church wedding he never uses a flash.  He always respects the ceremony and tries very hard not to draw attention to himself.  He says it’s always a good thing to find out the rules ahead of time so there are no issues and that having the bride negotiate with the church coordinator usually works better then him trying to do it. Remember it is the bride that the church wants to keep happy, they really think that people like dad and mom are a necessary evil in the process.

To get a feel for the lighting they took a lot of shots during the rehearsal.  Everyone seemed relaxed and upbeat.  

Dad Shooting at the Rehearsal

The day of the wedding was sunny and warm.  Paris at it’s best.  The bride’s two adult sons walked her down the aisle and different family members took part in reading and singing. They all lit the unity candle together.  Dad did a lot of hiding behind pillars and ducking behind pews but managed to get some nice shots of the overall service.  No small feat in a large church with a small group that you can’t get close to.

The Wedding Ceremony

The Bride and Groom

After the ceremony everyone went to the Park Hyatt-Vendome where there was a lavish cocktail hour with a beautiful sushi bar and champagne (the real stuff I might add).  Everyone then went to another room that had several tables set for a feast.  The focal point of that room was a beautiful white grand piano that sat right in the middle.  

Sushi and Champagne

After the dinner (that I hear I would have drooled for) one of the guests played the piano and the groom sang for everyone.  It was a special touch.  The bride and groom danced to the next song then there were toasts from a few of the guests.  Mom is still talking about how wonderful it was using words like “tres magnifique” (whatever that means).   

The First Dance

Dad and Mom stayed a few days extra and got to take in the sights, smells and tastes of Paris in the summer!  One of the good things about shooting destination weddings is getting to see all the different places.  This one will not be forgotten!  I wonder if I could learn to bark in French…

Au revoir,

Wedding Etiquette Tips From The Four Footed, Furry Wedding Coordinator

Somedays I do a lot of napping so no one ever knows if I am listening to their conversations or not. I actually love to hear Dad and Mom’s wedding stories when they get home at night so I try to pay attention to these. There are a lot of questions that couples seem to have about wedding etiquette. I did a little canine research and here are some things I learned, with thoughts of my own thrown in:

An engagement party is optional and may be hosted by the couple or either set of parents. Gifts should not be expected. (Dogs SHOULD be allowed to attend.)

If a bride wants to wear a color other than white it is okay. On the other hand it is also acceptable to wear white if is not your first wedding. (Don’t make the dog wear something embarrassing either, maybe a tie but that is where I draw the line.)

Does This Tie Match My Coat?

The groom’s mother and the bride’s mother should talk with each other and coordinate what colors they will be wearing. (You don’t want them to clash or be to matchy-matchy…think about seeing them together in photographs.)

A receiving line is not necessary for a small or informal wedding. (In my opinion they are torture for everyone involved, kind of liked getting brushed: your back hurts bending over trying to keep us wiggling canines in place, and we just hate it, period.)

If you have children it is okay and quite nice to include them in the ceremony. (This applies to your favorite canine children also. I can carry a pillow with rings on it down the aisle better than most of those reluctant 4 year olds that go kicking and screaming.)

It is okay to have an “adults only reception” but it is not okay to say “no children” if children are involved in the service. If they carry flowers or rings (you know they hate doing it) they should be welcome at the reception. (I am personally starting a campaign to banish all “No Pets Allowed” signs.)

It is not proper etiquette to ask for cash only as a wedding gift. (You probably should not ask for things like dog treats and a new collar either.)

Your thank you cards should be sent out within two to four weeks after the wedding. You should mention the specific gift and how you plan to use it. (For example; Thank you so much for the new tennis ball. I cannot wait to get it in the backyard and play catch with my dad. It will be so much fun!)

And finally, if there are more than two sets of parents (step-parents) be sensitive to everyones feelings and come to an agreement beforehand about seating and such.

Remember good etiquette is important. If it feels wrong to do something it probably is. If it feels right, wag your tail.

Nap time.