french wedding

I have this bucket list. Things I want to do, people I want to meet, places I want to go. After listening to them for over 15 years, it would be a dream come true to hear the Libera Boys Choir sing live. Preferably in an ethereal setting like a cathedral. Someday, I’d like to eat lobster in Maine. I’d love to visit my grandmother in Romania. In the past year, I’ve been able to check many things off my bucket list. Sang karaoke. Biked the Golden Gate Bridge. And fit into this perfect little black Allsaints dress I’ve had hanging in my closet forever.

Eight years ago, I became a full-time wedding photographer, and since then I’d hoped the day would come that I would shoot a wedding in France. It’s my favorite place in the world. I’ve loved France and everything French (the language, the fashion, the music) since I was a little girl. That dream of mine came true this past July when I was asked to photograph Margaux and Fuad’s wedding in the Normandy region of France, just outside of Paris.

I need to stop for a moment and just take this in….

13 years ago, Alin and I honeymooned in Paris for 3 weeks. I wanted he and I to experience Paris again because I knew it would feel as if it were the very first time for us because we were different people. We’d been married 13 years, raised four kids, and moved across the country twice. Been through many ups and many downs. We were totally different. We both had a better appreciation for life and the things we got to enjoy while living it. So we stayed in Paris for ten days. I spent more time observing people and less time photographing like I usually did on our trips. The more I did that, the more I got to really BE in these moments, and have a real part in them. If I’d experienced Paris mostly through my viewfinder, I would have never noticed some of the beautiful scenes I got to see, or struck up conversations with strangers; like the old French guy at the cafe who told us stories of what life was like on that street corner in the 70’s.

I am grateful that Margaux and Fuad trusted me enough to fly me all the way from to America to shoot their beautiful French countryside wedding. Photographing this day for them and getting to know their families and friends was an honor and an experience I’ll never forget.

With that said, I have to take the time to thank Maria Hedengren who came all the way from Finland to photograph this wedding alongside me. She is truly one of the best photographers I’ve worked with. Her heart and soul shine through her work. She manages to turn a chaotic scene into a quiet and whimsical photographic moment. A few of Maria’s images are displayed below, and so beautifully compliment the wedding story. Maria, thank you, once again for all you’ve done!

Also, I’m so grateful I got to spend quality time with my friend Richard Israel around Paris before and after the wedding. When I found out that he and Tim were doing video for Margaux & Fuad, I could not have been happier. Richard is someone whose photography I respect and it was an honor to work together with him on this wedding.

Without further ado, this is Margaux and Fuad’s French countryside wedding at La Grange de Bourgoult. (You can read more of their story at the end of this post, and see all of the wonderful vendors who helped make this day happen.)

“Mon Ami D’en Haut” by JP Nataf

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The Bride & Groom’s Love Story
Margaux and Fuad met at a bar in Chicago during Snowmageddon 2011 when they’d shut the city down for the first time in 30 years. They talked about cooking and Bieber, and afterwards shared a cab ride during which Margaux spoke French and Fuad sang a Bieber song. Not remembering each others’ names, they unknowingly saved the other’s number in their phones under the name ” Bull and Bear” which was the name of the bar they initially met at. Two days later, Margaux texted Fuad and after some back and forth, both realized they had a lot in common…

Both grew up abroad- Margaux in France and Fuad in Saudi Arabia. Both have foreign fathers with strange accents and American mothers with none. Both had connections to Florida- Fuad went to FSU for undergrad and Margaux lived there 7 years as a child. Both had connections to Georgia- Fuad attended boarding school there, and Margaux went to Emory for college. Both had connections to France- Fuad vacationed there almost every summer growing up in Saudi and Margaux is from there, obviously.

The proposal: Fuad proposed to Margaux in New Orleans which holds a special place in their heart since it’s an easy weekend getaway for them from Houston (where they live now). The French History in New Orleans has always interested Margaux and Fuad’s parents were actually married there over 30 years ago! On the observation deck of a nice hotel, Fuad got down on one knee and proposed to Margaux. They celebrated and headed back to the hotel where Margaux proceeded to tend to Fuad who came down with the Flu and Bronchitis. Margaux couldn’t wait to call her best friend, but she quickly found out that Katrina and her husband were already waiting for her at their hotel!

For the wedding day, all Margaux wanted was a beautiful place to get married, great food, and good music. She always pictured kids running around freely and adults enjoying conversation with one another. Margaux spent almost every summer of her childhood at her Grandparents’ house in Normandy, not far from where the wedding venue was. She remembers the cozy little house on the Seine River with a sprawling yard, full of flowers, hiding spots, bugs to catch, trees to climb, and berries to eat. She wanted to have that same feeling, reminiscent of all her summers surrounded by family, eating grandmother’s home-cooked meals and spending the days outdoors.

Margaux’s mother and grandmother (who is no longer here with them), are both avid quilters and have passed that skill down to her. Her mother quilted the ring pillow herself and the guests signed quilt squares instead of a guest book which her mother plans to sew together for her someday. Another special moment for Margaux on the wedding day was when her bridesmaid lent her her sapphire ring to serve as her “something borrowed”, “something blue”, and “something old”. She thought it was such a thoughtful gesture, and is very grateful to her for that. The surprises continued, when at the reception, Margaux’s sister put together a video from both Margaux and Fuad’s childhood. There were funny narrations, subtitles everywhere, and Fuad’s father cried- touched that Margaux’s sister had included their own family in this video. The humor continued when Margaux’s brother attempted to translate their father’s toast from French to English. He butchered the translations but it made for great entertainment and laughs all around.

From the jazz band, to the food, to the incredible floral arrangements, and even when the dramatic storm rolled in- all in all, Margaux and Fuad felt the wedding day was just perfect and as it was meant to be.

People Who Made this Day Magical
Assistant/Second Photographer: Maria Hedengren
Videographers: Pie & Mash Filmworks
Ceremony & Reception Venue: La Grange de Bourgoult
Event Designer/Coordinator: Bride + Mother of the Bride
Makeup: Ciara Costenoble Coiffure
Hair: Charles Gillman Cosmetics
American Wedding Cake: Sugar Plum Cake Shop
French Croque-en-Bouche: Xavier Hauville
Caterer: Xavier Hauville
Florist: Soline Lefort of Lily Paloma
Officiant: Christian Souchon
Jazz Group: Kicca & Intrigo
Reception DJ: Didier Marlay
Wedding Dress: “Cameron” Amsale Dress purchased from Mia Bridal Couture
Veil: Toni Federici (Lisette) from Mia Bridal Couture
Hair Flowers: Hair Comes the Bride
Jewelry: Earrings from Cherry Hills Bridal & Necklace is bride’s own
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bridesmaid Dresses: Dolly Pearl
Groom’s Suit: The Custom Shop
Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds
Groomsmen’ Suits: The Custom Shop
Stationery: Save-the-Dates & Menus from Minted; Invitation Suite from Minted
Transportation: Cars Perier

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