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This Candlelit Parisian Wedding is Everything

Parisian weddings are the end all, be all of romantic “I do’s” – and this stunning affair held at the breathtaking Shangri-La Paris?  Most definitely delivers on the WOW.  Think a talented team of vendors (hello, Et Voila WeddingsMadame Artisan Fleuriste, and French Grey Events), a beautiful gold and blush color palette and a candlelit ceremony that will make your hearts happy.  See every mesmerizing image captured by Catherine O’Hara right here in THE VAULT.


From Et Voila Weddings… Nicole and John came to us with an idea of planning a romantic, classic and elegant wedding in Paris. They had gotten engaged there a few weeks earlier and it was quite clear for them that Paris was where they wanted to say their “I Do’s.”

For this intimate destination wedding and these Paris lovers, it was clear to us that we needed to find a venue that was part of the city’s heritage, an historical Parisian venue. After looking at a few luxury hotels, museums and hotels, Nicole and John chose the Shangri La’s historical rooms to hold their special day. As they could not fly to Paris before the wedding, we sent them a lot of photos and they made their choice from pictures and trusting our knowledge of each venue.

Nicole had a clear idea of her colour palette from the start: she wanted natural tones, creams and whites. As the dinner table linen was going to be white, we agreed to add a bit of blush flowers to the arrangements to make them stand out a bit more. The florist did a great job on sourcing the perfect tones, especially the ranunculus which were perfect and encapsulating the whole colour palette on one flower.

At the Shangri La, ceremonies are usually held in one of their salons. Nicole was not very excited about the ceremony space available, and while on a logistical site visit we thought the rotunda (which is a large landing space) was a gorgeous space and definitely a great one for a ceremony, with its large stained glass, marbles and sculptures. It had never been done before and fortunately the venue agreed, as well as the couple. They had a truly unique, never done before wedding ceremony!

The couple was conscious that their party was quite small, and they had at heart to make sure that everyone would be entertained. During cocktails reception we arranged a photo booth with lovely Parisian props (huge success) and a caricaturist, like the ones you find in Montmartre. The guests loved it and all of them had their caricature made, to take home with them!

During dinner a band played some French oldies and some gipsy jazz music, which created the perfect chic, Parisian yet relaxed atmosphere the couple was after for their dinner reception.

At midnight, we planned a surprise group photo with sparklers at the exact time the Eiffel tower started to sparkle. It was magical!

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Photography: Catherine O'Hara Photography | Event Planning: Et Voila Weddings | Floral Design: MADAME Artisan Fleuriste | Dress: Michal Medina | Cake: The Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa | Stationery : Paper And Honey | Makeup: Charles Gillman | Hair: Ciara Coiffure | Grooms Suit: YSL Pour Homme Tuxedo | Celebrant: French Grey Events | String Quartet: Wedding Music in France | Venue: The Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa | Grooms Bowtie: Tom Ford | Grooms Tuxedo Buttons and Cufflinks: David Donahue | Jazz Quartet: Octave & Anatole | Menu/Placecards/Programmes: Every Little Letter | Photobooth: Sharingbox

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Picnic Like a Parisian with this 5 step Aperitif

If we had to pick one thing that the Parisians do crazy well, it’s picnicking (or maybe fashion). But for this how-to, we’re focusing on their ability to lay out the yummiest wine + cheese + baguette spreads. Learn the easy five step approach to packing a gorgeous French apero from Katie Donnelly Photography plus find even more pretty inspirtion in the VAULT.

Living in Paris there are only a few things that are ever certain: rain, red lipstick, the Eiffel Tower, and Parisians picnicking the second it becomes sunny. In France, picnics in the evening fall under the category of “aperitif” but everyone calls it “apero” for short.

While there are a few obvious things that always make their appearance (ahem, wine and cheese I’m looking at you!), there are some things you may not have thought of! Here’s your guide to the PERFECT Parisian apero. Santé!

An apero can consist of many different things but first and foremost, there is always wine. In the summer months you’re most likely to see people enjoying rosé. The best rosés come from the Côtes-de-Province. In France you can usually get them for less than 10 bucks. Even 5 euros will get you a good one! FYI: Rosé is drunk cold.

FROMAGE! (Aka cheese!) An apero is no fun without cheese. Traditionally, you have to have an odd amount of cheeses (3,5 or 7 different cheeses). There are over 3000 protected types of cheese in France so there’s a good selection to choose from!

Popular cheeses are:
Chèvre Frais (fresh goat cheese)
Tomme de Brebie
If you get a chance, head to a cheese market and ask the fromager (cheese merchant) what they would recommend! It’s a fab way to discover new and yummy cheeses!

Your quick guide to serving cheese:
If the French culture is anything, it is ceremonial. You have to serve and cut cheeses specific ways or else you could offend someone or give them a bad part with only the crust! Quick tips: if the cheese is round, you cut it like a pizza pie where everyone gets a triangular slice. If the cheese is square/horizontal (I’m looking at you Comté) you cut it horizontally so each piece has a bit of crust and no one is left with only a crust. Easy right? Bon appetit!

Snacks! Other essential snacks include olives, chips, and pretzels though aren’t limited there! Other ideas are hummus, peanuts, popcorn, and veges like tomatoes and carrots!

Baguette. Bread is a daily essential for the French and luckily for them, there is a bakery on about every corner! My favorite kind of French bread is the baguette tradition, it’s crunchier on the outside and more rustic. Perfect for eating with cheese!

Charcuterie. Dried meats are the last essential for your French apero! Saucisson (dried hard sausage), jambon de Bayonne (similar to prosciutto) and sometimes other European meats like chorizo make an appearance!


Photography: Katie Donnelly Photography | Floral Design: Avec Des Fleures | Dress: H&M | Blue Vase: Hema | Candles: Hema | Park: Ile Saint Germain, Paris | Picnic Blanket: Hema | Rosé: Domaine des Blais | Water Caraffe: Monoprix | White Tote: H&M

The Sweetest Italian E-Sesh, Cute Pup Included

You know what every engagement shoot needs?  A cute puppy.  Well, that AND a breathtaking backdrop like the enchanting streets of Italy.  Together with this stunning duo, it’s a combo that makes for some pretty amazing captures from Marta Guenzi.  Fall in love with every moment (sweet pup included) right here in THE VAULT.

From Marta Guenzi Photographer… Engagement shoots are one of the most creative parts of my job. They let me explore the territory to scout the perfect location trying to imagine a scenario, then they get me in touch with wonderful people that are the true inspiration for every picture I take.

Carolina and Nicolò received this engagement shoot as a gift. While being very happy and excited they were a little embarrassed about the idea of being photographed through the lanes in Orta San Giulio, that in a spring afternoon, could have been crowded by tourists. So we decided to start at the Sacro Monte di Orta, where among the greenery of the park and the colonnades of the chapels we had the necessary intimacy to start to break the ice. At that point, together with their puppy Ira, we headed for a walk along the paved road that leads from the hill to the center of Orta San Giulio. Once in town, thanks to the windy and not sunny day, we found very few people around the streets and the perfect atmosphere.

A heartfelt thanks to Lizzy, the flower designer of Petalo & Sepalo, who composed the flower crown for Carolina, and to the owner of the Enoteca al Boeuc, a delicious wine bar just behind Piazza Motta, who let us take some super romantic pictures sitting at one of its tables!

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Photography: Marta Guenzi Photographer | Floral Design: Petalo & Sepalo | Dress: John Zack | Flat Sandals: Steve Madden | Heels: Dsquared2 | Location: Orta San Giulio, Italy | Location: Enoteca al Boeuc

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