dimanche 24 février 2008

Another hectic Saturday

I have never been the kind of girl who puts on make-up to go out. Obviously I did not feel comfortable to do my make-up myself for our civil wedding even if I took a make-up lesson with the city's best make-up artists at Guerlain's.

It would have been a simple quick stop at the nearest beauty salon from my appartement if only they gave me a decent hour - at least according to Parisian beauty salons' standard - for the wedding registry instead of the 11.00 am ceremony they gave us. This means I had to find a make-up artist who opened her boutique before 10.00 am plus a hairdresser working at least an hour earlier and that is almost impossible in Paris.

We live in a tiny appartement in Paris downtown, only about 500 m from Champs de Mars, the park where they built Eiffel Tower. In such a neighbourhood, we only had beauty salon chains and they all opened at 10.00 am.

After struggling with the yellow page, I found two addresses in the neighbouring 8th quarter - I live in Paris 15th quarter - the most chic Parisian quarter. We headed for Lucie Saint Clair beauty parlor and Biguine. Lucie's was ready to open early just for me but their price was discouraging. If it were for my "real" wedding - Church ceremony, cocktail party and all that - then it would have been okay but 300€ for a less-than-30-minutes-worth make-up is out of my budget. Biguine's was more affordable, half the price, but they would not start earlier just to make sure that I would be on time for my wedding registry. They passed me the "message" with a clear take-it-or-leave-it attitude.

I went back to my home quarter exhausted and exasperated. After a quick light lunch, I gathered what was left of my spirit and then it was time for our wedding list appointment.

We chose an online wedding list, that we did not know yet what to fill with, called 1001listes. The idea is simple yet alluring: you put virtual goods in the list - you can even create your own goods - and your guests can just buy what they intend to give you. When all is done, what you actually have is a voucher worth the total amount of donations. You can spend it the way you want in shops affiliated with 1001listes or not. Of course there will be extra charge you if the shop is not on their list.

After courageously waiting for almost 30 minutes - every Parisian wants to get married in summer - we had our empty wedding list online by the end of the day.

vendredi 22 février 2008

Third fitting

The pictures I had taken from the previous fitting compared to the pictures I had from a recent wedding of a friend of mine - I was not invited but he always said that I was a friend so I considered his words as sweet talk - convinced me that I did not have a suitable petticoat giving enough volume to my strapless A-line gown.

I hesitated to call Michelle at Fortunée's because I did not want to nag her and I had done two fittings with still at least one more to come - the alteration fitting - but she was so kind over the phone and told me to come anyway.

I came the next Friday, after work, armed with my lingerie, slings, and veil. I had not tried on the last two items with my gown so I figured that it was a good opportunity. By chance, the seamstress that Michelle promised me - her name is Valérie and she was an independant couturière working from time to time for Parisian designers for ponctual seasonal collections - was there. Valérie was as sweet as Michelle and she agreed to give more volume to my dress by adding a flexible circle on my petticoat without adding extra charge.

We agreed to meet again in late March or early April for the fitting appointment, once she would have modified my petticoat.

mercredi 20 février 2008

Wedding photograph

We met Luc again and signed a contract with him this evening. So that was it, we had then our wedding photograph for both the Paris and Alsatian wedding ceremonies.

dimanche 17 février 2008

First hectic week

Monday - I figured out that it was about time to find musicians for our wedding receptions. We spent the whole evening scanning through DNA - Alsatian leading newspaper - ads hoping to find some decent local musicians. We wanted something of a easy listening jazzy atmosphere but looks like we have to compromise with what was available. By the end of the evening, we managed to make a first contact with a potentially real group of musicians.

Then I spent the rest of the week searching for a real photograph "worth the occasion". Knowing now how difficult it is to find a good photograph, not to mention two photographs, I changed my strategy to get one willing to cover our two separate ceremonies: the civil wedding registry in Paris and the Church ceremony - along with the receptions - in Wickersheim.

I found this great website of wedding journalist photograph association which is exactly what we were looking for. We hate unnatural looks on posed pictures. They even put estimated prices so we do not waste time contacting those outside of our budget. I contacted two of them working in France : Franck Aulnette and Fanny Dion. Mrs Dion responded almost right away but unfortunately she is not available for the date while Mr Aulnette was taking a bit of time.

Meanwhile I continued looking up for a photograph and by accident I found this website. I fell instantly in love with his works! I showed it to my future husband in the evening and he agreed right away to fix an appointment.

Friday - We met the photograph. For a second time, after my wedding dress, our instinct worked well. The guy, Luc, matched perfectly to the one we had been looking for! He was very passionated by what he did, with a good sense of humour without being too much, and of approximately our age. It was like having a friend for our photograph wedding. We booked him up a that same evening.

Saturday - We went to Dancourt, a wedding stationnery provider, to make up our mind on the choice of stationnery. They have a very nice website but I still find it important to feel the touch of their papers, their printing, ... The feel can make a difference. We picked this model for ours.

dimanche 10 février 2008

Civil wedding in two months

Our civil wedding registry date was out - April 12th, 2008 - that left me two months to plan the whole thing. There were only our witnesses and my family-in-law but I saw it as an occasion for an intimate celebration and I would not have missed a second of it.

Photograph - First thing I looked for was a photograph worth the occasion. We had a bunch of photograph pubs - french slang for publicity messages - since the day the City Hall put our civil wedding registry announcement on their wall. After inspecting them thoroughly, we decided to meet this photograph who did not really excite us but he sounded the least worst than the rest over the phone.

True that I had quite an expectation for a "photograph worth the occasion" - myself being for a moment a freelance photograph during my university study to get some pocket-money ending up in expensive materials for architectural maquettes - but this one was quite awful. He seemed in the least interested in our wedding since it would "just" be a simple civil registry taking a short half day and this was equal to half a day unprofitable for him. Then he talked and talked and talked about costs while pushing us to buy optional packages. We found out later that it was not him doing the photos, he would simply send one of his photographs - there I had the impression of going to a work agency to hire a cleaning lady. I was so relieved when the appointment was over and we politely said goodbye while promising to give a firm respon se within a week.

Marriage contract - Both of us come from a traditional family where divorce is not an acceptable solution. Mine living in 3rd world Indonesia and his living in France. The latter is quite surprising knowing that half of marriages in France end up in a divorce. However, we were not so blinded by romance to ever think of a happily ever after 'til death do us part - see how my husband-to-be made his contemporary proposal to me.

After deciding that we were not perfect, we went to sign our contract at our lawyer's office in Alsatia who was kind enough to accept our appointment on Saturday morning.

samedi 2 février 2008

Fifty - fifty

I am a Catholic and my husband-to-be is a Protestant. There is no "fundamental" difference except in Alsatia, torn apart a few centuries ago by religious wars and has never seemed to recover fully.

The village where we would hold our wedding celebration only had one church - a Protestant one - and my future family-in-law was Protestant. For some people, the whole thing was obvious. Thus, when we announced our eucumenic celebration some were surprised and some even sneered. This did not stop us from having our "useless" - as someone put it - eucumenic wedding.

What could be more beautiful than tolerance and sharing in a couple even if they have thousands of differences?

We met Nicolas Ribstein, the priest of the church and discussed for hours - he loved chatting and so did us. We were so glad that it was him who would conduct our wedding. At the end of the discussion - it was already end of the afternoon - he brought us to see his charming little church and promised us to bring Joseph Mann, the Catholic priest, who would join him for our wedding, the next time we went to see him.