Yes, we are!!!
And it was literally the happiest day of our lives, surrounded by our families and loved ones.
It was actually our French civil wedding. The most intimate and the most stress-free preparation. Or so we thought.
Getting to that day was about ten months of paper works and planning, after we decided that July 2018 was the perfect date for us. I was warned that it would be a long and difficult process. I didn’t know that it would also cause frustrations and tears (mostly from my part, of course). That we literally considered to just get married in Las Vegas. Like for real!
Planning a wedding as an expat is tough. Seriously.
First, I have to get all my documents from the Philippines through the Philippine embassy in Brazil, since I live here. Sometimes, bureaucracy sucks! Then, I had to translate everything in French at the Philippine embassy in Paris because we were getting married at his hometown in the Vendee region. And submit everything there, while Frenchie lives in Paris.
When all of that was done, we had to arrange my family’s visa application in Manila, Philippines so that they could attend our wedding in France. Hashtag third world passport problem. For this processing alone, it also brought us stress and difficulties. And money for sure.
We almost canceled this wedding, too— because Nanay had a medical scare when they were about to board their flight to Paris from Manila. She literally passed out by their boarding gate. She was admitted to the nearest hospital from the airport for five days! As hardcore Catholics, we still considered this as a blessing, because we were thinking— things could have probably been worst if she took that flight that day. All in all, she’s a lot better now, but sadly wasn’t able to attend this wedding (that made me a mess and sleepless, days leading up to our wedding day).
Thankfully and gratefully, the wedding details were all graciously arranged by Frenchie’s awesome parents and his friend, Seb. They were able to arrange the time & place of our wedding, find a photographer, book the reception restaurant, talk with the chef about our wedding menu, deal with our guests’ travel arrangements, arrange our dinner plans, and manage to give us a surprise presentation!
Without Frenchie’s parents’ help, it wouldn’t have turned out to be a perfect event for all of us.
If you’re planning a small and intimate wedding abroad, details are very important. As I’ve said earlier, it took us about 10 months to plan and prepare everything.
Here are some of the helpful lists from our French wedding:
1. Proper documentation. Make sure you check all the documents they need from both of you. For France they have to know ahead of time who are listed as your witnesses.
2. Look details. Although this was a small wedding, I made sure that I will look fabulous! It’s my wedding day after all!😉
My gown was designed by my former student in the Philippines, Ram Silva. It was cheaper to have it made in the Philippines than buying something online. He also suggested that I should wear a hat, which I DIYed in Brazil, that actually worked to my advantage because I had bad acne breakouts on my forehead that time. Make up was done by moi, as inspired by Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day.😉 My travel-inspired bouquet was made by my sister & I. Hydrangeas flowers were taken from Frechie’s parents’ garden but the globe was brought from the Philippines. And I was generously gifted by my class in Brazil, with a gold necklace with our names on it. So thoughtful and sweet!
3. Wedding bands. This is of course the most important accessory and detail on any wedding day. I knew from the very start that I wanted something unique. With our same passion for traveling and exploring the world, I was able to find a world map wedding band on Etsy. Frenchie was in charge of dealing with the maker/jeweler because they were from Ukraine. Thankfully, Etsy is very convenient and trustworthy website/app to have our bands made from them.
4. Wedding photographer. I really wanted to cherish and document our wedding day, so I convinced Frenchie so hard on this one.😉 We opted for photographs because it’s more tangible and cheaper than having a video. Of course, you can rightfully choose to video record your wedding. We were able to find our photographer through Frenchie’s parents’ research skills. Adeline Baudy is really cool and she took raw moments on our event. She talked to us a day before our wedding and explained how she works. And I believe it’s really important that you do this as well with your photographer.
5. Wedding reception. On our wedding day, we were 16 people in total. So we knew we just need a small space or reception room. Again, Frenchie’s cool parents were able to book our reception restaurant. Since our wedding took place in the morning, our reception was a lunch setting. We have to drive to the location for another hour. And it was worth the drive! Because the place and scenery was majestic!
6. Wedding menu. It is very important to go through your wedding menu. You have to know your guests’ allergies or if they’re vegan or not. We had two little children as guests, so we also considered their food choice. But French food is without a doubt the best, so this part was a no-brainer for us.😉
Our wedding cake was a present from the chef of the restaurant. It’s a traditional nougat cake.
7. Entertainment. This part was a surprise gift from Frenchie’s cool parents. Since my husband(!) and his best friends were big Medieval nerds during their youth. They booked a Medieval performer to entertain us after our reception. We all had fun and learned dances from that age. Super awesome!
8. Dinner venue. French wedding is usually a loongggg day of celebration. So we also had a dinner set-up or continued celebration. But more casual. We just went to a crepe place and ordered whatever we liked to eat from their menu. It was another nice time of just really talking and catching up (more from our French guests) and an interesting experience for me and my family.😉 After this, we of course had our…
9. Wedding night. First night to be husband & wife!!! We stayed at a hotel and did what newly-weds would do on their wedding night, and perhaps more! 😊