So as it’s February and the month of love, where else to bring you the Real Life Wedding this month from only Paris! Stephanie & Ciaran travelled from Ireland to France for their special day and here’s all you need to know!
The couple: Stephanie Smyth & Ciaran Quigley
Ceremony Venue: Chapelle Saint Patrick, Irish Cultural Centre, Paris
Reception Venue: Champagne reception in the courtyard of the Cultural Centre, Bus Tour around Paris and dinner at Au Petit Bistrot, Paris
Date: 19th September 2015
Dress: Watters from Eden Bridal, Enniscorthy
No of Bridesmaids/Groomsmen: Two bridesmaids, one junior bridesmaid, one flower girl, one pageboy and a bestman
Bridesmaids Dresses: Initially I ordered them from lightinthebox.com from China. The dresses arrived quickly and were the best quality I had ever seen, unfortunately one dress was made with a different roll of material to the others and it was a different shade. I sent them back, got a full refund and ordered the two bridesmaids dress from Littlewoods and the younger girls dresses were from the Paul Costello range in Dunnes Stores.
Groom’s suit: Eden Bridal
Photographer: The photographer was an Irish guy living in Paris who does a lot of photography work at sports events and gigs. It was his first wedding so we took a gamble.
Flowers: The flowers were from a local florists, I held my breathe on the morning of the wedding before I looked at them. I had no idea what to expect because the lady in the shop had no English so I had ordered them in my best broken school-level French. I wasn’t disappointed though, I loved them and wish I could have brought them home.
Band: We found it really difficult to get a band in Paris that would cater for Irish tastes, most were Jazz bands which isn’t really our scene. At one stage we looked at flying a band over but thought better of it. Instead we hired a DJ and went through the music that we really wanted at the reception.
Hair: I visited Paris in July for a trial hair and make up. It turned out to be a disaster. After an hour my head was really sore from all the clips and it wasn’t really what I was looking for either. I also didn’t look like myself with all the make up. We decided not to go with that guy but didn’t have time to trial someone else. A friend of mine who was coming to the wedding kindly agreed to come over to the hotel that morning and do it for me, I was delighted with it.
Make-up: As the trial in July didn’t go too well I decided to try it myself. I invested in really good make up in the weeks coming up to the wedding and went from practically never wearing make up to wearing it every day as I practised putting it on. It was nerve racking the morning, especially doing the eye liner. When I eventually had it all done my mum came in and kissed me on the cheek with her pink glossy lipstick! At least we can always look back and laugh at that moment.
Length of engagement: Ciaran always laughs when people ask us this. Because we got married abroad we had to legally get married in Ireland first. We got engaged in February 2015 and got legally married in May 2015 (they shortest engagement legally allowed with the three month notice period you must give). But September was our real wedding in our eyes, so nine months.
How did you find planning your wedding?
I was probably one of the luckiest brides in that I didn’t have to do most of the planning. Due to the location of the wedding my poor mother got landed with most of the planning. I just had to say yes or no to certain things, at times I did wish I was over there to try different things but at the same time it was nice to let someone else do all the worrying. Thanks Mam!
Was your bridesmaid/groom hands on?
Our chief bridesmaid got married herself a month beforehand so we tried to keep any jobs to the minimum. She was very good and flew over with the younger bridesmaids for me and flew them back home, it was a great relief having someone I trusted to look after them as they are both under 18. Our bestman flew from Sydney for the wedding, he stayed with us for a week before we all flew to Paris. I suspect he kept all our nerves calm by just being there.
Favourite moment of the day?
My favourite part was the champagne reception straight after the church. It was for two and half hours but it felt like five minutes. We cut the cake at this stage too and the whole cake disappeared within ten minutes. The weather had been awful for ten days coming up to the wedding and the day before we flew out I went down to New Look and Claire’s Accessories and bought the bridal party umbrellas and sunglasses. Thankfully we only needed the sunglasses in the end!
Were there any hiccups on the day of the wedding?
Haha, there was more than a few! People missed their flights and had to pay for the next one, one couple booked to fly to Italy instead of France, another Aunt booked a hotel in Germany instead of Paris, one poor guest left her handbag on the airplane, including wallet, her own wedding jewellery and her passport. We also had a certain ten year old bridesmaid in tears at 2am the night of the wedding that she wasn’t allowed go to the Irish Bar we had booked for the wedding party.
Do you wish you had done anything differently? E.g. booked something earlier, different supplier, invited more/less, etc?
Yes the invites! I always had this romantic notion of making my own invites so I did. I really don’t think I saved any money by making them and I definitely lost interest as I stuck the umpteenth Eiffel Tower to the umpteenth card. In hindsight I should have just ordered them. I also made the menu cards and the seating plan, at the time I was wondering why I didn’t just order them but looking back on them now I am glad I made these.
Anything unusual that you want to promote the supplier?
Apart from dresses and shoes everything was booked in Paris. My parents live over there and have great friends there, a lot of them really helped out on the day despite being guests. After the Church we had a champagne reception in the courtyard for a couple of hours before a bus tour of Paris. A lot of my parents friends missed the bus tour so they could clean up after the champagne reception, the ladies dressed in all their wedding glamour were washing and drying dishes for us. One women in particular went out of her way to get us loads of strawberries for our wedding cake. The bakery wouldn’t supply the fruit but she didn’t disappoint.
What do you wish you had known planning your wedding?
I was really nervous that I would be dragging people to Paris and they wouldn’t have a good time. I felt I really had to up the game to make it worth peoples time and effort. But as Ciaran said to me numerous times, people are only going to come if they really want to, we are not ‘dragging’ anyone. He was right and I wish I hadn’t worried so much I suppose.
Thanks so much to Stephanie and Ciaran for letting me share their wedding day! Merci beaucoup!
Love from my world,