Summer is a busy time for weddings. Many of you may have attended (or at least been invited) to at least one wedding during the season. You can imagine how busy the wedding planners must be. So, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to interview Heather - owner wedding and event planner of Rendez-vous in Paris. I was excited to learn just how you would go about planning that picture-perfect-wedding in the city of light.
Q- What inspired you to move to France and start Rendez-vous in Paris?
France is a country that has always charmed me. I moved here, first near the beaches in the south, then to the French Alps in the east, and finally to dwell among the history and culture of Paris… because of Love.
Initially, it was the love of all things French that brought me across the ocean as a student. Then, it was the love of one thing French (a Frenchman) that made me stay.
Even after more than five years as an étrangère living in this beautiful country, my daily enchantment continues to make me smile.
I see beauty all around me every day, and I can’t imagine a better place to celebrate l’amour!
Fluent in French and recognizing the potential for amazing parties chic weddings, and off-the-wall events, I felt compelled to start Rendez-vous in Paris, an event planning company. Cookie-cutter weddings are not my thing. Here, every event is unique. From sophisticated to unbelievably romantic, to arty-chic — my goal is to amplify the style of my clients, add a little French-touch and create remarquable weddings and events.
So another American in Paris is realizing her dream. Where Carrie Bradshaw ran home, I created a home (the necessary "Sex and the City” reference…
I’m enjoying the best of Paris.... the horse races on the grounds of French chateaux, parties at the hottest new night spots, gallery openings for artists hoping to be discovered… Paris, this fashion capitol with its delectable food and profound wine culture…. Paris, a city I’d love to share with you.
Q - What advice do you have for other women moving from the US who might want to start a small business in Paris?
Hold on tight! The administrative process is extremely strenuous with a lot of hoops to jump through. But if you are determined and well advised, there are many cool business niches just waiting to be filled!
Q- What obstacles might someone from the US face starting a business in Paris that would be different from starting a business here?
France is an amazing place for tourisme, for a wedding or event, for having fun - but with regards to working, there are tons of obstacles. My suggestion is to be well advised by professional accountants, lawyers, fiscal specialists, chamber of commerce advisors, and french translators.
Q- I think a destination wedding in Paris would be very romantic but would not know the first thing about how to go about planning one. What is the process and how far in advance does the bride need to notify you to start the process? How do you handle working with a bride that is in another country? Does she need to come to France to meet with you?
Depending on the size of your wedding, you may want to contact someone earlier rather than later. For a 100+ guest event, 12-18 months is a reasonable starting time (especially to get the venue you want). For any smaller event 6-12 months is a safe bet.
The first step is to contact a wedding planner whose website fits your style, and whose personality seems to fit yours.
Your first email should contain : wedding date/season, number of guests, type of ceremony (religious, symbolic...), and location preferences (indoor/outdoor, chateau, city location, beach... we have it all in France!)
I reach out to each future Bride & Groom via email, and telephone, to get to know them and understand their needs.
Once we start working together, I present them with photos and details on any venues I think might fit their event.
If desired, they may come to France to visit, though that often depends on distance and time. Some of my clients travel to Europe often, or live in the area and we meet often, but some are as far as Hawaii or Australia, and can't make it here until the week of their wedding!
I generally handle every aspect of the planning process, including decoration. Though sometimes couples just hire me for consulting services or Day-of Coordination only. This depends on the type of venue they have selected or whether they have extensive knowledge of France or not.
The couple's responsibility varies according to their availability. Some want to sign off on every detail, some just want to show up to a beautiful wedding!
Come back tomorrow for part two - Rendez-vous in Paris - "how to plan a memorable Paris wedding"