The city of light, fashion, museums and high aesthetic this is a wedding in Paris. In this whole culture if somebody adds a couple in love, Moroccan and Algerian traditions, then anybody can easily visualize images of Younes and Karina’s wedding. It was mid-October when Karina called and asked us if we can undertake their wedding. Some common acquaintances urged her to take a look at the marriage of Andreas and Vasiliki at Pelion which left her with a great impression. That’s how we met and all the rest followed.
The marriage preparation was extensive and the meetings via Skype with the happy couple frequent, in order for us to get acquainted with all the unknown customs. Certainly when you take on a wedding project that had a completely different culture and in a city that you have previously visited, only as a tourist, has its own challenges and you need to be fully prepared. In this we had all the support we needed from the couple itself. From the first day of our arrival in Paris, Younes gave us a tour of the City Hall, where the wedding ceremony would take place and as well as of the area that would hold the reception, which was approximately 40 minutes at the outskirts of Paris in a beautiful castle.
Really useful was the detailed plan they provided us with exactly what would happen throughout the duration of the wedding. For the rest of the day we had a relaxed stroll through the streets of Paris combined with taking some photos. We later returned to the hotel due to the rainy weather and for some rest, since ahead of us was a non–stop three-day photo shoot.
Friday morning and the menu includes morning coffee in a Parisian brasserie. At around 12:00 we visited Karina’s paternal home to cover any customs that take place the day before the wedding. It was our honor that we were invited to the traditional table that followed, in which only the two families and their close relatives take part in, to try some traditional dishes from Morocco and Algeria. A quick tour from the bride followed with regard to the six different wedding dresses she would change into throughout the day of the wedding, a white wedding dress, two Algerian and tree Moroccan as required, and then we returned to the start the ritual of henna. Afternoon and its time for the last visit to the reception area for any final details.
Morning awakening and straight to Younes’ family home where the wedding preparation would take place. Many friends, endless dancing with traditional music and copious amounts of sentiment, especially from the parents and Younes’ sisters. Around 10:00 along with Younes and the guests we arrive outside of Karina’s house where dancing’s continuous throughout the bridal preperation. Colourful traditional Moroccan costumes, instruments and the nonstop stream of guests arriving to the home compose the whole setting until Karina comes out accompanied by her father to meet Younes and to dance together.
At 13:00, which was the time of the ceremony, everyone had arrived at the city hall and after we got some commemorative family photos, we went to the ceremony room where the mayor began his speech. At this point we would like to note that civil marriage in Paris has nothing to do with the Greek equivalent. In addition to the fact that the ceremony lasts about 30 minutes compared to the Greek one which lasts only three, the whole process is very impressive and majestic. When the mayor finishes with the speeches, the couple arises and after Younes removes Karina’s veil he places the wedding ring on his bride. Karina not being able to withstand the enormity of the emotions bursts into tears of absolute happiness. After the ending of the ceremony we visit the Champs Elysee for a 40 minute photo shoot as our time schedule was pressing. Finishing the photo shoot we were desperately looking for some water due to the fact that we hadn’t had anything to drink from 7:00 am, something common to others but not to someone from Greece.
Arriving at the Chateau de la Trie, the reception area, the first drops of rain started falling, not so unusual in Paris. As expected the couple and the guests enjoyed fruit punch and some finger food, we realized that among the guests there was a couple from Greece. We cannot hide that it was a great joy for us! As the guests were waiting near the entry, the happy couple made their entrance and they had their fist dance. After all the guests were seated at the reception hall and dined, the dancing was in full swing until 5 am while Karina changed her wedding dress hourly as was traditionally mandatory, 6 in total. Thus the marriage ended with 22 hours of continuous coverage.
After waking up, and not too early, Younes and Karina passed by and all together we left for a short photoshoot at the museum of Louvre, considering that the time we had was limited due to the couple’s obligations. If we take into account that we had to get special permission to photograph the Louvre, you can understand the pressure we were under. Somewhere around there we said our goodbyes to the couple and we enjoyed our last moments taking a short walk among the streets of Paris. On our return to the hotel a surprise from Younes and Karina was awaiting, some delicious desserts and a thank you note.
A wedding in Paris is a great photographic challenge and what you experience in an adventure like the one we had helps you realize that for each day and for every marriage that passes you learn more. You need to be able to adapt to the different stimuli that you were given and create images with your personal style in an unfamiliar environment and a different culture without being influenced by what you have seen. All this for us is simply a challenge that we cherish.
Last but not least, we would like to thank the amazing team of Camshot cameramen for the great collaboration and the pleasant companionship for those five days of our trip to Paris.
This is how the marriage in Paris ended, with many photographic expectations and an enjoyable experience.
Venue: Chateau de la trye