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Planning A Wedding in France: Saying “I Do” In A French Chateau

“I’ve just been offered a job in Paris,” my boyfriend of one year announced. “I won’t even consider it if you’re going to rule out coming with me…”

Huh? Definitely an invitation, not quite a proposal. So what’s a young, gainfully employed, woman-in-love to do?

Quit her job, pack her bags and move to Paris, of course!

Fast forward six months. Newly engaged and living in the Marais, we spend weekends scouring flea markets for second-hand furniture and sipping cheap red wine on our sixth-floor terrace. It’s great. But with Greg off at work and a scant hour of French per week on my calendar, it quickly becomes clear: I need a project.

I decide to get serious about planning our wedding.

Le chateau: I spot the photo in the back of a French bridal magazine; Chateau des Conde, in the village of Vallery about 90 minutes south of Paris. We call ahead and arrange to visit. The village is French country perfection: a sleepy town center with a church, boulangerie, one restaurant, a bar/tabac and a post office. Summer vines climb stone walls and window boxes spill with blooms. We haven’t even laid eyes on the chateau yet but I’m already falling hard.

Chateau owner, architect Patrice Vansteenberghe, welcomes us with champagne that we sip as we tour the grounds. The chateau dates back to the 12th century, boasts 22 rooms to host our future guests and a reception salon designed by the architect responsible for the Cour Carree at the Louvre. By the time we see the room where Lenny Kravitz and Vanessa Paradis holed up for a month scribbling lyrics, we’re more than ready to let love rule (and hand over the hefty deposit). After several more glasses of champagne, dinner with Patrice’s chic weekend guests, and an impromptu overnight in the Kravitz suite, visions of a wedding bash are dancing in my head. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 3 Comments »

The Perfect Paris Wedding: Custom Gowns from Lohr Couture

HiP Paris friend and wedding planner, Heather, from Rendez-Vous in Paris, recently met with Aimée Lohrebauer, an utterly romantic wedding & cocktail gown designer who recently opened a delightfully inviting atelier in Paris. A talented designer, she has taught at Parsons School of Design and freelanced for companies including Ralph Lauren, Kenzo and Nina Ricci. After years of working for other brands, she is now putting the finishing touches on her first official gown collection, signed LOHR Couture.

Lohr Couture - Rendez-Vous in Paris

While sipping tea out of vintage china and nibbling sweet macarons seated in velour covered chairs she’d spotted at a local brocante (flea market), Aimée talked frankly and earnestly with Heather of her passion for design, fashion and weddings.

So, what’s the best part of being a gown designer?

First, with her gaze drifting towards the sunny window, she came out with a true artist’s response: “Draping,” she said, “the step between the design on paper and the first pattern. While working, laying, scrunching and draping the silk, satin or lace on the dummy, the fabric is full of possibilities and has the potential to become anything.”

Then, she looked me in the eye and came out with a true woman’s response : “And, the moment the dress is ready. I take 2 steps back and realize it’s perfect – there’s a feeling of accomplishment, admiration and 2 seconds of pride, followed by excitement. Once it’s done, I can’t wait to show the bride!”

Lohr Couture - Rendez-Vous in Paris Continue Reading »

Posted in Shopping | 3 Comments »