This wedding is truly one for the “pinch me” collection – never in a hundred years would I have expected to be shooting a wedding in Paris. I couldn’t believe it then and I think back to the experience and it still feels surreal. I know I was there but it feels like I was in auto-pilot or it’s just a fabricated memory.
Having visited Paris last year to spend time with my friends Joana and Marcio who run French Kiss the Bride, I was excited to be going back but with Kristen this time. We spent 3 wonderful weeks there and experienced a different Paris, one away from the tourists and crowds. We caught the Metro, went to the boulangerie and bought bread to eat with our cheese (who knew I could still remember French from when I studied it in year 7) and walked the quiet streets. We lived as Parisians and meeting Selim and Nawal was one of the highlights of our time there. Traveling for us is never about seeing stuff or doing things, it’s about glimpsing a part of a different culture and meeting its people to find out about them. To Selim and Nawal, we were total strangers but they very much welcomed us like old friends.
Both Selim and Nawal’s families are French-Algerian Muslims. As with tradition, there would be two weddings, one for the bride’s family and one for the groom’s. We weren’t able to make the first wedding which was held in Bordeaux a month earlier but honestly were nothing less than ecstatic to be part of the Paris celebration. We had been warned though, it would be a wedding with many outfit changes throughout the night which we needed to be prepared for and the friends and family would dance until 4am. I initially though Selim was joking about that last part, but I can assure you that as Kristen and my heads hit the pillow at 5.30am the morning following the wedding day after a 20 hours working, it was very much true. But we had just experienced a colourful, energetic and passion filled day with these two kind souls. I was in Paris with the woman I loved and sharing in the love of these beautiful people – I won’t ever forget it.