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