Last week Gabe and I did a little bit of a crazy thing. We took 5 days out of our busy lives to hop on a plane to France to be there for the wedding of some very good friends. Christelle lived with my family for 9 months during my freshman year of high school and she had just graduated from college. It was also the year that my sister was born so all around a pivotal time in all three of our lives. We have always stayed close to Christelle and every couple of years she comes to visit or my family goes to see her. When I lived in Italy in college I frequently took the train up to see her and was lucky enough to catch her for her 30th birthday this way. Two and a half years ago she and Marc made it to our wedding in California and so really there was no way to say no to attending her wedding even though the timing was tough for all of us. It was sort of a treat for Gabe and I though because both of us have spent time in France and speak French but we have never been there together. It was also bonus time with my dad, Carolyn and Addie who I otherwise only get to see twice a year.
Although photography for me now is just a bit of a hobby, when Christelle and I met it was really my passion and looked like it was going to possibly even be my career. As this is still how she thinks of me she requested that I be the wedding photographer. This stressed me out a little bit, no pressure right, but in the end it went really well and it felt like a really special and personal present to them and was really glad to do it. It also didn't hurt that we are still borrowing my parents uberfancy digital camera and comically large telephoto lens.
As is the case for all weddings, to be legal, a ceremony has to be at the city hall (I didn't realize that all 120 guests would be there for that!) Then we all piled into cars and drove off into the countryside to a 12th century priory that has been converted into an event/bed and breakfast place. There there was a second, ceremony that was religious and then the cocktails, dinner and dancing late into the night. I remember that at our wedding I asked Marc and Christelle if there were any particular things that were different about French weddings and the only thing that they remarked on was that you stay up literally all night! So we came prepared to do the best we could and made it until about 2:00am before crashing. We got to stay over night that night at the priory which was dreamy. The next day brunch went from 8-11 and then lunch was from 12-4 so no shortage of food.
One of the real treats of the trip was that my family stayed at Marc and Christelle's house with them the rest of the trip and were taken in as her immediate family and helped with the preparations and were culturally and linguistically immersed for the few days that we were there.
Now on with some photos!
My stepmother Carolyn and Christelle's mom Paulette getting Christelle into her dress in Christelle and Marc's home:
The first time Marc saw Christelle in her dress:
Behind Marc and Christelle's house:
The official marriage at the town hall:
Arrived at the 12th century priory where the religious ceremony and festivities where:
In the religious ceremony:
Gabe and my sister Addie:
My dad and Carolyn:
There is a really wonderful old photo of Christelle's parents on their honeymoon 45 years ago in front of a well in Alsace and we really wanted to get a photo of Marc and Christelle in front of the well at the priory:
Me and Gabriel:
A spin on the traditional French wedding cake which is a hill of petit choux pastries, this one was made of all different flavored French macaroons which were amazing!
Oh, and cakes are even better if you put fireworks in them, why don't we do that?:
Carolyn is a professional pastry chef and she actually checked a wedding cake in her luggage for the Saturday night family dinner the day after the wedding. This was so they could have an "American" wedding cake experience. I love this picture of her, it reminds me of watching her work in her bakery 20 years ago: