The first thing I did when I considered writing about this wedding was to look in the thesaurus for "awe-inspiring" synonyms but then got caught up in the realness of Olivia & Donovan's personalities and realized that I can't find ONE word to describe their wedding. I went with "Breathtaking" but wanted some sort of combo of these:
Magnificent, Opulent, Stylish, Luxuriant, Divine, Model, Ideal, and my favorite, Pulchritudinous. (I didn't know what it meant either). If anyone has a single word that sums these up, I'd love to hear it.
The trouble with a word to describe this wedding is that while every glorious detail--from the creamy calla lily bouquets tied with one elegant ribbon, to the crumbling abbey hall modernized with such taste and luxury that Jay Gatsby would have felt embarrassed by the state of his own parties--couldn't have been grander, Donovan and Olivia themselves were... so wonderfully, effortlessly... normal. That's not to say that you won't accidentally mistake them for visiting runway models or Kardashian relatives, because you will (because they and all their friends are strangely the most attractive people you've been around, ever). And it's not to say that Olivia's smile, which lights up not only the room but also every other person's face in that room, and Donovan's bright and sincere eyes, don't fit with the loveliness of their wedding day, because they do. It's just that had Olivia and Donovan been as aloof as dignitaries or as spoiled as celebrities, we wouldn't have been surprised, because they had the wedding of dignitaries and celebrities.
Instead, we found two of the kindness, most sincere, sweetest people we've had the pleasure of working with. They had so many guests with them in Paris, so many loved ones who came over the ocean for this event, and I have no doubt that every person felt as singled out and appreciated as Kevin and I did. They are just those people, the kind you want to be around, who value and love those who come into their lives and show them by giving you their attention and their warmth.
Moving on (I could keep going).
The couple said "I Do" in L'église de la Madeleine, in line of sight to Place de la Concorde and down the street from the Palais Garnier opera house. You can't miss it, it's one of the largest and most incredible churches in Paris. Olivia looked like a dream walking up those steps in her sparkly Jimmy Choos, her sweet father on one side, crowds of picture-taking tourists on the other.
The reception took place at Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay, about an hour drive out of the city. I really have no words that will do this romantic ivy-climbing, wall-crumbling, sun-flare inspiring location justice. And that's BEFORE Olivia and Donovan transformed it for the reception.
Our dear friends Ann and Nancy from Fete in France OF COURSE planned this wedding. Who else could take an old crumbly abbey and incorporate modern elements to create a fresh, vibrant, modern wedding venue where you feel transported to a VIP club in some elite, remote location? (I've never been to a VIP club in some elite, remote location, but if I had, I bet it looked like this). Or make an evening dinner cruise on the Seine feel like stepping into a plush nightclub? These professional wedding planners are the best at what they do and we were honored to work with them.
The lovely Synie made not just one cake, but a ROW OF CAKE!!! Cake is my favorite, and she is my favorite cake-maker.
Other highlights: Olivia's dress (dreamy, dreamy, dreamy), Olivia's twin sister's speech (see appropriate photo of O&D dying laughing), scouting the abbey with my mom and our daughters who joined us in Paris, and shooting at the church with the the couple prior to their wedding. Amazing. All of it.
Please enjoy looking through this pulchritudinous day :)