Erik & Jess | Super pretty summer Paris elopement
A touching and emotional Paris elopement in summer. Wow. I know that little three letter word is overused, but this was a WOW elopement in Paris, followed by a romantic wedding photo session.
I was contacted by a wonderful gentleman named Erik, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with the love of his life, Jess. He and Jess were coming to Paris for a very special event–to get married! They wanted to do a very intimate and special wedding ceremony/elopement in Paris with a view of the symbol of romance, the Eiffel Tower. Erik explained to me that they wanted to do a ceremony with a view of the Eiffel Tower and then do a wedding photo session around Paris, as a wonderful keepsake of his magical day. Erik and I planned all of the details, and he also hired a celebrant and a videographer, so that they could show their family and friends back home in the United States at their wedding reception when they returned from Europe.
The day started at Trocadero, a beautiful, but hot June day. Hot and Paris are not two words often used together, it rarely gets hot in Paris, and when it does, there are very few places with air conditioning. With the climate change, it seems Paris is getting more hot and sunny days than in the past. Personally, it does get a bit hot in the house and at the cafés (stores are all air conditioned), but I love summer and the warmth it brings, and Paris looks so pretty in the summer. Despite the heat, it was such a wonderful day!
Erik met myself, his celebrant Sabine and her beautiful dog, and the videographer, Albert, at Trocadero for the First Look. For some of you who may not know what the First Look is, it means that the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, but just the two of them. This is to capture a special and private moment before the big day and is very touching. Erik looked absolutely dashing in his blue wool suit, and as we waited for Jess to arrive, chatted about their lives together. From the very first moment, it was so clear that Erik loved Jess so much. The way he spoke about her with tenderness and love, it’s the kind of love we are all looking for!
Finally, the big moment arrived, we were stationed near a tree at the carousel in the Trocadero Gardens. I led Jess to the tree and she stood on the other side. On the count of three, they met in front of the tree for the first look at each other, and it was amazing.
From there, we found a shady spot with a peek-a-boo view of the Eiffel Tower for the ceremony.
Tears from the bride and groom, tears from the photographer
Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me, why do I get so emotional? Well, I mean, it’s a Paris elopement photo session and ceremony, I suppose it make sense to be emotional. Erik and Jess had handwritten their vows and as I watched them read the vows to each other with love, sincerity, and purity, I started to cry. It was so beautiful, hearing these words between two people in love and committing their lives to each other. Some people say that marriage is old-fashioned, passé, and not at all modern. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but these two brought me to tears and this beautiful moment was amazing to witness.
They exchanged rings, beautiful rings, and at the conclusion, had a celebratory kiss, to seal their marriage, right here in Paris and at the Eiffel Tower. I felt like I’d known them all my life and that I was a guest at their wedding. This is how Erik and Jess made me feel, so welcome and an important part of the day.
Photographing the newlyweds around Paris
There’s no doubt that photographing a wedding in Paris is a lot of hard work. However, it’s also a ton of fun. I loved taking Erik and Jess to my favorite spots, they were so fun and super easy to work with. First, we photographed them at Trocadero, with the great view of the Eiffel Tower. I adored Jess’ gown, it had beautiful buttons on the back and delicate lace detail. I photographed her on the staircase of Trocadero because I always want her to remember how amazing she looked on her wedding day.
Then, we went nearby to Avenue Camoens, which has a very iconic view of the Eiffel Tower that to me looks like a bit of a fairy tale. Indeed, Erik and Jess looked like a prince and princess.
But as wonderful as the Eiffel Tower is, there’s so much more to Paris than this famous monument. We headed east to the gorgeous Tuileries Gardens, where I took Erik and Jess to some of my favorite spots in the garden, including the iconic carousel, I think the prettiest in Paris. Or one of the prettiest, the other I really like is in Montmartre. Then we wandered through the gardens and ended up on the east side, my favorite spot, with a view of the world’s most visited museum (that would be the Louvre!).
So many beautiful photo opportunities around the gardens and the Louvre itself, including the incredible columns that adorn this famous museum. Did you know the Louvre used to be the palace where the kings and queens lived? No wonder it’s so regal.
When I learned that Erik and Jess were staying in the Marais, I suggested we head over there for a few photos that very few people take. The Marais is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris and has oodles of charm. Including one of the oldest buildings in all of Paris, dating back to medieval times. The day was not complete without a champagne toast stop at the elegant Chez Julien restaurant! This couple is so kind that they ordered me a glass as well, I couldn’t believe it!
There we talked about life in Paris, and life in Louisville, and discovered our mutual love of music and music festivals.
I was having so much fun photographing them but we’d already gone way over time, and while I could have taken them around many more places, it was hot and of course they were tired from their journey and they deserved some newlywed time.
These are the days which make me so happy, to be able to capture the joy and love of two humans so perfectly matched. It makes my heart sing. Okay, that’s cheesy, but I do speak the truth.
Many blessings to you both Erik and Jess, and thank you for choosing me to capture your wedding day in Paris!
If you’re coming to Paris and would also love to do a symbolic elopement ceremony, you can see more here.
See you in Paris!