fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

With Love to Paris

By Mara Clark

When my now husband, Jim, proposed on December 19, 2014, I could never have imagined that we’d be saying “I do” in the City of Light. With this being a second marriage for us both, we knew a big wedding with bridesmaids and tons of guests would not be included in our plans. The one thing we knew for sure was that we wanted a celebration of love. Our romantic, crazy-for-each-other, can’t-wait-to-spend-the-rest-of-our-lives-together love.

They say “When you know, you know.” That’s what happened to us and what led to our decision to elope. While exploring options for the celebration of our life, I realized how time-consuming planning a wedding can really be. I spent countless hours on Pinterest, obsessing about every little detail and possibility. But, the more I pinned, the more anxious I became. I was overcome by exhaustion combined with love drunkenness, and a brilliant thought came to me: “Let’s elope to Paris!” After all, seeing Paris was something we had always wanted to do. So, why not get married there? I imagined us walking through the streets of Paris with complete joy and abandon. And since Jim and I are hopeless romantics who love art and travel, the decision to get married in the most romantic city in the world felt like the right thing to do. No more pinning anxiety!

Eiffel Tower; Paris

The Paris Plan

Just like in the States, Paris has plenty of options when it comes to weddings and elopement services. After much research, we decided on Wedding Paris, a full-service agency specializing in weddings and ceremonies all over the city, including close to the Eiffel Tower. I thought, “Hmm. I can marry the love of my life close to my favorite metal structure? Yes, please!” Agathe, the owner of Wedding Paris, is a Paris native with a carefree spirit and a love for making people’s dreams come true. After a few e-mails to discuss dates and details—voilà—we had a wedding planner who could take care of everything. Planning a wedding requires effort, and it put me at ease to have someone who knows the lay of the land in a foreign country. France doesn’t legally recognize marriages by nonresidents, which required us to arrange the official ceremony and paperwork here at home. In the end, our special ceremony in Paris would simply be a grand gesture to show our loving commitment to one another.

Once the ceremony details were set, the real questions began: Where do we stay? What do we do? Do we venture to another city or country afterward? How do I get my wedding dress there? My planning brain was moving fast and ready to tackle all these things and more. We chose Air France as the airline, and I’m so glad we did. Their customer service representative assured me that almost every one of their flights to Paris has a wedding dress on it. Silly me, to think I was the first one to have this idea. Our travel experience was delightful, and I can’t wait to fly with them again.

Jim Clark; Mara Clark; Clark Wedding

Paris, Mon Amour

For exploring the city, we took cues from Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The cinematography is fantastic and full of life, exactly how I wanted our Parisian experience to be. We found (via VRBO) a two-story apartment in the middle of the Le Marais district. The historic building featured the most modern details inside, including an elevator and a concierge! Le Marais, which spreads across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, is one of the trendiest areas in Paris, and it includes the Latin Quarter, the Jewish community, and popular LGBTQ hangouts. There was so much to do and see! A melting pot of cultures, customs, and arts, the area has charming cobblestoned streets filled with art galleries, boutiques, and delicious eateries that made it an excellent place to fall in love again and again. Our apartment had a window with a view of la tour Eiffel. After a long day of walking the city, we would enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sparkling tower lights. We quickly got used to being Le Marais residents.

Our Paris days were filled with adventures and priceless memories. We indulged in a decadent dinner at Le Jules Verne inside the Eiffel Tower (excellent dinner and view!). There were trips to beautiful Giverny, where we explored Monet’s house and his fragrant and colorful gardens, and more trips to the extravagant Palace of Versailles. We had a fun night at the Crazy Horse burlesque show and toured the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. We shared our first dance as a married couple on the Pont Alexandre III and splurged on thirty-dollar drinks at the swanky Le Meurice hotel. (This adventure included two free umbrellas, but that’s a story for another time.) We celebrated our wedding with dinner at Le Dôme du Marais, where a neoclassical dome provides the most spectacular light and a charming Parisian atmosphere. Endless walks in the rain, a plethora of cuisines and flavors, a million new experiences and friends, and, of course, a wedding made this the most magical voyage we could imagine.

Jim Clark; Mara Clark; Clark Wedding

Our Wedding Day

It was a gray and rainy Thursday morning in Paris. The locals had been telling us how unusually cold it was for the time of year (May) and how much it had been raining. Great, right? Well, actually, yes. When you are excited and happy about something, no amount of rain or cold weather can take that away from you.

Our morning began promptly at seven o’clock. The ceremony was at eleven, so makeup and hair needed to start at eight. I got a quick shower, made some delicious French coffee, and sat down by the window to enjoy the Parisian scenery while trying to calm my nerves and growing bridal anxiety. The talented hair and makeup artist Anissa Renko arrived right on time. We quickly hit it off, chatting and laughing while sharing life stories and tales of the city. Jim, observant as always, grabbed the camera to capture photos. Suddenly, the anxiety I had been feeling turned to gleeful anticipation and an incredible joy. Our wedding day was finally here, and we couldn’t have been more excited. When Anissa was done, I quickly peeked at my image in the mirror and loved every little detail. I looked exactly how I had envisioned, with a carefree side bun hairstyle and fresh, natural-looking makeup. Then it was time to get dressed!

In my opinion, it’s not until you put on your wedding dress that you feel like a bride. My experience getting ready was so magical and peaceful. There were no “bridezilla” moments, no panic about little details—just a sense of calm and enjoyment. As Jim was helping me put on my ten pounds of wedding undergarments and gown, Sonja, our official wedding photographer, arrived. She found the perfect lighting, and we began our photo session in the living room by my favorite window. As I sat and posed for the camera, Jim and I looked at each other with “pinch me” expressions on our faces. “Is this really happening?” I thought. It was crazy for us to believe that in the next couple of minutes, we would be getting married in what felt like a romantic setting from the 1920s. It was truly a dream come true for both of us.


After the prewedding photo session, we headed out to our ceremony location, the romantic Pont de Bir-Hakeim. Through the car window I could see wedding coordinator Agathe and ceremony officiant Ms. Aude Abadie awaiting us with big smiles. The Eiffel Tower was there in the background, seemingly waiting for us as well. The moment had arrived. It was time to get married. Once outside the car, I immediately noticed everyone wearing winter coats. My ten pounds of dress was keeping me warm or my adrenaline was at an all-time high—whatever the reason, I was hot and sweating. I didn’t really care; all I knew was we were finally there, at the moment we had been planning and awaiting for months. The ceremony was emotional and full of love. In preparation for the ceremony, Ms. Aude had sent us each an e-mail asking how we felt about each other. Happy tears came to both our eyes when she read our responses, and we said our vows. It made us immensely happy to hear how highly we think of each other and how strong our commitment is. The look of love in both our eyes said it all: Always and forever my love you will be.

After the ceremony, our driver and Sonja took us all over Paris to complete our photo session. We didn’t let a little rain or cold weather stop us, and we enjoyed walking around the city wearing our wedding attire. It became one of the most fun and memorable moments of the trip. Sonja did an outstanding job capturing all the little moments of intimacy between us. The City of Light gave us the most majestic scenery and brilliance for our wedding album, and for that, we will be eternally grateful.

— V —

Special Thanks Elopement Services by Wedding Paris Wedding Photography by Sonja Photography Makeup and Hair by Anissa Renko

Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - The Art & Design Issue November 2021
VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail