Terra Archuleta (née Ingalls), a 27 year old marketing executive in New York City married her French husband in Paris. Originally from Tampa, Florida she met her husband Marc in Florida – he was working for Flemings Steakhouse in Sarasota and Terra was waitressing there while at college. They became good friends and when Marc moved to Paris they continued being friends via email and phone calls. Their friendship deepened and Terra says “After a couple months, he was calling me every day with expensive phone cards from different phone booths all over Paris. He always started the conversation with his new view from the phone booth: “Today, I’m staring at the Paris opera house…” Terra says she felt that she got to know Paris through his descriptions long before she visited.
The phone calls and emails went on and finally Marc asked Terra to go to Paris on a date, and also to accompany him to a wedding in Sardinia, Italy. Terra says “At first I told him he was crazy! However, he convinced me and we spent an amazing 8 days in Paris & Sardinia, fell in love… and he moved back to Tampa a week after I got back home!”
When it came to getting married Terra and Marc didn’t want to have a large traditional wedding – they wanted something really special and significant to them as a couple. As Paris had been the location of their first real date, they thought retuning to the City of Light would be a perfect location for a wedding. They loved the idea of having all of their closest friends and family together there – and were thrilled when nearly every single invitee agreed to travel to Paris!
Terra says planning a Paris wedding was easy and not at all stressful. They chose local vendors, kept things simple “and everything came out amazingly- better than my wildest dreams! We did take a trip the year before to meet all of the vendors and share our ideas, which gave us a lovely vacation and extremely romantic wedding planning memories”.
Terra and Marc were married at a family estate in Villennes-sur-Seine, about a 20 minute train ride from Paris. The ceremony took place in the garden, followed by a long cocktail hour and then went to a restaurant right on the Seine called “Le Coq au Vin”. They wandered along the river, took pictures, and then had a very traditional French dinner. After dinner they returned to the estate for dancing and served croquembouche – the traditional French wedding cake.
Terra says it was very different than most US weddings in many ways. First of all, it was a vacation for everyone, there were dinners together in Paris and they took a trip to Champagne before the wedding.
“By the time the wedding came, everyone was so relaxed and we’d spent such great quality time with everyone. The actual wedding was much slower than a US wedding, it wasn’t rushed at all, and nothing blurred together. There was also a magic of the beautiful scenery that made everything feel just surreal; the magic of France and a foreign place gave everyone this giddy excitement that was palpable. “
Terra says she found it was the perfect mix of American & French traditions, which was important to them as a French/American couple. “We had amazing food and quality champagne, which was also very important to us. The entire experience felt like a fairy tale…”
“To me, Paris is the most romantic place in the world. The old world that remains unchanged there takes you to a simpler and truly magical place. Life in Parisian cafe’s, and strolling along the Seine, slow time down in a way that’s perfect for breeding the most unforgettable memories.
We’ve spent a lot of time in Paris, and still haven’t seen everything. I think it’s by far the most beautiful city in the world, and one you could spend your life exploring and continuing to fall in love with. We love art, architecture, the language, a slower pace, and perhaps most importantly, food – so it’s the perfect place in the world for us. I love Paris in such a unique way, almost like an old friend…”
Terra advises that the couple and their guests stayed in lots of different hotels while in Paris but really loved the Renaissance Vendome because of its romantic location and the manager’s champagne gift! They spent the wedding night at the Saint James hotel where the staff decorated their room with flower petals and sent champagne. Terra enthuses that” The hotel itself is definitely a must see – a converted Chateau with traditional features but hints of wonderful fantasy/whimsy. The staff and food were fantastic.”
We also did a Bateau Mouches dinner cruise on the Seine with everyone as sort of a welcome/rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding that was fun. French music and great views.”
We asked Terra for her tips for other brides wanting to get married in Paris:
“You only have one wedding (hopefully!), so make your dreams come true. A wedding in Paris guarantees a longer experience – it’s a powerful feeling… The sights, sounds, and tastes of France are magical and genuine, not thematic – and sure to create an unforgettable experience.”
She adds that you need to be mindful of her fickle weather” it rained almost every day but our wedding day” …
She also recommends a trip to Reims for a pre-wedding champagne tour and tasting session. The Good Life France was pleased to make some recommendations and Terra says “About 15 of our friends who were in town took the train out to champagne with us…. we had a blast! The town was beautiful and everyone was awed by the Notre Dame de Reims, we all spent a long time there taking it in. We did tours at both Tattinger and Mumm, and it was very neat being down in the cellars underground. The champagne was of course fantastic, and we really enjoyed buying bottles and drinking them on the train ride back together!”
We wish Terra and Marc felicitations on their marriage…