When a Parisian Groom Marries an American Bride
When Morgan left the University of Georgia to study abroad and Pierre started a gap year on the other side of the world, little did they know their paths would cross and bring them together in Sydney, Australia. They only knew each other for three weeks before having to return back to their home countries, but that was enough time to know there was something different about each other. Three months later Pierre booked a ticket from Paris to Atlanta which started their whirlwind long-distance relationship. After three years chasing each other around the world, doing anything they could to find a way to be together, Pierre was offered a job opportunity in the U.S., finally putting them in the same country. Almost a year later, Morgan was able to join Pierre full-time in a new city, and they started their next chapter together in Vail. Shortly after starting to plan their wedding and visiting the Sonnenalp Hotel, they knew Vail was the place to have their wedding.
From the bride, Morgan: "Throughout our relationship we’ve had cultural differences come up and the wedding process was no different! Even from the beginning, I learned that a surprise proposal is not common in France. Rather in French culture it’s a joint discussion to get married and a couple picks out the engagement ring together. Pierre thought it was odd to “surprise” someone to make the biggest decision of their life. In never thinking of it this way before, I agreed, and we both went to have my rings custom-made at Le Joaillier du Marais in Paris. While it wasn’t a complete surprise, Pierre did propose at one of my favorite places, Sacre Coeur, on one knee in true American fashion.
Pierre and I instantly fell in love with Vail. It was a perfect mix of France and America with the town’s European charm and breath-taking Rocky Mountain views. We wanted an outdoor reception but were nervous about Colorado’s sporadic summer showers. The Sonnenalp’s glass-enclosed Ludwig’s Terrace was absolutely perfect, our guests felt like they were dancing the night away outside, without needing to worry about weather, and The Vail Chapel right across the street looked like it was straight out of a fairytale.
It was important for us to have our own vows, but we were nervous to say them in front of our guests. We decided to have our first-look and personal vows at the top of Vail Mountain. Our vows were written in our joint journal, which is something we’ve had since the beginning of our relationship. The wind, wildflowers and backdrop made the whole experience feel surreal as we laughed and cried over our life-long promises to each other.
We loved the freedom of being able to incorporate both of our cultures into our wedding day. For example, in France the “big exit” at the end doesn’t exist, instead the guests usually caravan together with the bride and groom from the chapel to the reception. Mixing both traditions, we decided to have a pedicab “exit” after our ceremony rather than at the end of the night. We had two wedding cakes, one traditional, American red velvet and one Croquembouche, which is the most delicious tower of pastry puffs drizzled with caramel. It was a challenge to choose the right balance of French and American songs. Luckily, we had an amazing DJ that kept everyone on the dance floor. When I told Pierre the wedding would end at 11pm he was shocked - French weddings don’t end until at least 2am. With guests coming all the way to Colorado from Europe, he insisted we’d need an after party. So, after the reception we were able walk to the bars in Vail Village with all of our guests – miraculously nothing spilled on my wedding dress! Another difference for us was our bridal party. In France, the bride and groom have one or two “witnesses” by their side. Coming from Georgia, I’m used to my friends having up to fourteen bridesmaids. We settled on five, but this was a very strange tradition for our French guests.
We were on a tight budget for the wedding so had to make some tough decisions on what was most important to us. We removed a videographer and chapel florals so that we could splurge on music, photography and food. With 90 guests, we wanted the day to feel intimate, romantic, minimalist and whimsical. It was important to have a mix of candles with feminine florals that were in the color palette of ivories, whites, soft pastel pinks and greens. Each one of our friends and family members had been such an important part of our relationship that our biggest concern was creating an environment where they were having just as much, if not more, fun than us!
Photographer: Carrie King Photographer | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab | Stylist / Planner: White Birch Weddings | Floral Designer: Flower to the People | Dress Designer: Rita Vinieris | Accessories: Le Joaillier du Marais, Paris | Venue: The Sonnenalp | Cake Designer: The Sonnenalp | Hair & Make-up Artist: WedLocks Bridal Hair & Makeup | Groom’s attire: The Black Tux