A Glamorous Destination Wedding in Paris

Paris wedding
Photo: Greg Finck

This elegant European affair was complete with gilded décor, a red dress, and nods to French history.

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Colleen and Matthew

Paris wedding
Greg Finck

Though Colleen and Matthew might disagree about who first approached the other, they're both grateful that one of them did. Matthew, a tech entrepreneur, and Colleen, a stay-at-home mother and part-time blogger at Touch of Curl, met while standing in line at Starbucks. "We had seen each other before and started chatting," says Colleen. "I thought he looked sharp in his Lanvin suit."

About three years after that fateful day at Starbucks, the couple picked out Colleen's engagement ring at Cartier right before meeting her family to celebrate Christmas. When the wedding planning began, the Minneapolis-based pair knew they wanted a small destination affair but weren't particularly excited by the idea of a beach locale. Having traveled to Paris together multiple times while dating, the European metropolis felt like a natural fit. "When Matthew suggested it, I was thrilled!" says Colleen. "The City of Love to seal our love!"

On August 5, 2016, Colleen and Matthew wed in an intimate ceremony in the salon of the Shangri-La hotel while 33 of their nearest and dearest looked on. "It truly surpassed any dreams I've had about my wedding day," says Colleen. "I felt as though I was living in a fairytale and was overjoyed my closest family and friends could join!"

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The Ring

wedding ring
Greg Finck

Colleen's 3.2-carat princess-cut engagement ring wasn't the only Cartier jewelry worn on the big day. Big fans of the brand, the couple also picked out their wedding bands at the original Cartier store in Paris.

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The Location

Paris wedding hotel
Greg Finck

Before becoming a hotel, Shangri-La was the home of Napoleon Bonaparte's grandnephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. The gilded décor on the interior is from that time period and gave the event a charming old-world feel.

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The Bride Wore Red

paris wedding couple
Greg Finck

After seeing a red Vera Wang gown in a magazine a few years before getting engaged, Colleen knew that it was the one. "Vera Wang was the first call I made after Matthew proposed!" she says. The bride rounded out her look with an Oscar de la Renta necklace and earrings. The groom wore a tuxedo by Lanvin (the same designer he was wearing on that fated day he and Colleen first spoke) and Dolce & Gabbana shoes.

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The Shoes

wedding shoes
Greg Finck

Crimson Valentino rock stud heels made Colleen a true vision in red.

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The Bridal Bouquet

paris wedding white bouquet
Greg Finck

The white bridal bouquet by Madame Artisan Fleuriste featured a mix of white dahlias, roses, rice flower, and greenery.

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The First Look

Paris Wedding Couple
Greg Finck

Colleen and Matthew shared an emotional first look on the balcony of their hotel suite before heading out into the streets of Paris for more photographs.

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The Gardens

bride in sparkling wedding dress
Greg Finck

The couple visited the famed Tuileries Gardens in their big day attire. Matthew remembers their time in the gardens "where hundreds stopped and stared and she was literally stopping traffic on a bridge over the Seine with her red dress," as one of his favorite wedding memories.

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The Landmarks

Paris wedding
Greg Finck

Paris provided a variety of photo opportunities such as the storied Notre-Dame Cathedral.

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The Wedding Party

Wedding Paris friends
Greg Finck

Colleen and Matthew chose not to have a wedding party stand with them but instead had informal bridesmaids and groomsmen. The bride had three of her closest friends while the groom had his best friend, brother, and cousin.

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The Flowers

wedding arrangement
Greg Finck

Madame Artisan Fleuriste created arrangements of dahlias, roses, hydrangeas, and assorted greenery in a neutral color palette that enhanced rather than distracted from the beauty of the gilded salon. The small pops of red florals referenced Colleen's vibrant gown.

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The Flower Girl

Wedding flower girl
Greg Finck

The bride's 2-year-old daughter made an adorable flower girl for the big day, in her sweet Janie and Jack dress.

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The Bride's Entrance

wedding processional
Greg Finck

To kick off the simple ceremony, Colleen's father walked her down the aisle of the elaborate salon while a harpist played Canon in D.

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The Reception Table

wedding reception
Greg Finck

After a cocktail hour on the patio, guests entered the hotel's grand room for the reception. Floral arrangements dotted the tables, which also boasted a runner made of eucalyptus.

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The Menu

place setting
Greg Finck

Guests ate like royalty during the reception's scrumptious dinner. The menu included a Thai-style crab salad with grapefruit and mint, grilled sea bass, and a citrus pavlova with gold leaf.

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The Tunes

wedding musicians
Greg Finck

Colleen and Matthew chose John Legend's "All of Me" for their first dance. Jazz Around Midnight played a mixture of classical and contemporary music that kept guests dancing until two in the morning!

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The Cake

wedding cake
Greg Finck

Synie's baked a scrumptious rose-flavored wedding cake garnished with fresh dahlias, roses, wax flower, and rice flower. The confection was served with espresso—a fitting touch for the couple that met at Starbucks!

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Happily Ever After

Eiffel Tower
Greg Finck

Forgoing a dramatic exit from the reception, Colleen and Matthew snuck back to their hotel suite, changed into robes, and sat on the balcony watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Of her favorite wedding memory, Colleen remembers, "it was the perfect end to an incredible day!"

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Paris wedding couple
Greg Finck

Photography, Greg Finck

Location and Catering, Shangri-La

Event planning, Fête in France

Flowers, Madame Artisan Fleuriste

Officiant, Aude Abadie of Celebrant in Paris

Calligraphy, Studio French Blue

Cake, Synie's

Music, Jazz Around Midnight

Bride's gown, Vera Wang

Bride's accessories, Oscar de la Renta earrings and necklace; Valentino shoes

Hair, Harold James

Flower Girl dresses, Janie and Jack

Groom's suit, Lanvin

Groom's accessories Dolce and Gabbana shoes

Engagement ring and wedding bands, Cartier

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