A Paris Elopement : Mery + Juan

What is better than a wedding? A second wedding….. in Paris!!! Ok technically this is a vow renewal, but the moment I read Mery and Juan’s story I fell in love and knew that I had to feature their Paris vows. Plus who doesn’t want to run away to Paris with the love your life?!

Please enjoy some words from the couple throughout this post that tell their story and more about their day in the City of Love!

Photography: Paris Photographer Pierre Torset

Ceremony Venue: Shangri-La HotelĀ 

Officiant: The Paris Officiant

Makeup Artist : Cheryl Chua


Juan and I met June 13, 1987 at my cousins Jenny 5th birthday party at my grandparent home in New York. I was 10 days away from my 13th birthday and Juan was 16 years old. “It was love at first sight!” We dated for 5 years before we married on June 13th 1992. We had over 300 guest attended our wedding, we were blessed to celebrate with all our family and great friends.

When our girls were much younger they would get very upset when they saw our wedding photos/videos. They ask why they were not in the photos and why we didn’t invite them. They thought we left them somewhere and did not want them there, they would question why the flower girls were there and not them!!!! We always had to explain to them they were not born yet, which led to the big question…..”where was I?”

Although, they are now young adults and understand the reason why they were not in our wedding. This time it was important to include them and celebrate with the only 2 most important people in our lives who were not present in our first wedding. This time around we wanted to make sure they were an important part of this big day.

25 years seems a long time, but it goes by pretty quickly, in the first wedding I remembered being nervous, thinking if we were ready for such a big commitment and the responsibilities that came with it, if we were prepared for the unknown and what in stored for us? At the time, I remembered I was positive on one thing, “I don’t see my life with out him in it!” and this was enough to conquer anything that came our way, as long as we stuck together. After 25 years, this time around it was very different, mainly emotional as we reflected on our journey and what got us to this point in our lives, how we managed to stand together after all this time with no regrets of our initial decision to unite our lives 25 years ago, but most importantly its a reflection of how destiny bought us together on that infamous day 30 years ago at my cousins 5th birthday? Makes you think how destiny and love played a big role in this love story. For those who may not believe in “Love” or in “Love at first sight,” I recommend you take a second look and think again, it exists!

The inspiration behind our vow renewal really came from my husband Juan. For the past year Juan mentioned he wanted to renew our wedding vows for our upcoming 25th Wedding Anniversary. I was not completely sold on the idea, since we were already married and we had a big wedding first time around, I didn’t feel the need for it nor I did not want to go thru the wedding preparation due to our work schedules. As the anniversary date approached and I went thru some health issues, he became more persistent with the idea. One evening over dinner he mentioned it to our 2 daughters, which of course my girls response was jokingly…..”Don’t tell us dad, ask mom!” My response was, “Maybe if you ask properly I would consider?” 3 weeks later he surprised me with a marriage proposal, which of course, I said “Yes.” From the initial preparation we decided we wanted a private and intimate wedding with the only 2 most important people in our lives, our 2 daughters. It did not take long for us to decide Paris was the perfect place to have this memorable celebration. However, we were somewhat nervous to have a destination wedding in a country we knew little about and had no contacts there. My research began with the photographer and that’s how I found Pierre. I emailed Pierre my story and he replied immediately. From his initial response I felt he was genuine and he was just as excited as we were, which was great!

We proceeded to book our flights, confirm hotel reservations and contact the other vendors on our list. In communicating with the Officiant we knew we wanted to do something symbolic to incorporate our daughters to the ceremony, therefore, I communicated to Laura we wanted to surprise our daughters with a ring, which we engraved a word that each one chose as their “life Intent.” We also wanted a religious ceremony since we were initially married by church and this was important for us.

We decided to stayed at the Shangri La Hotel Paris, because it has the most spectacular place for this occasion and has the perfect setting for a private/ intimate ceremony. We reserved their infamous Terrence Suite with Eiffel Tower view. The Shangri La decorated the Terrance with Rose Petals and the view was the perfect backdrop to the ceremony. Very little decorations was required, since the view was everything!

It was very important for us to incorporate our daughters to the ceremony. Since they were not born yet for our first wedding, we wanted them to enjoy this day as much as we did. The color palette was a soft rose color and my husband wore a blue suit, the under lay of my dress was a natural color with lace, I kept it simple yet elegant and romantic.

The entire event was special, therefore, I have several special moments which include – having our daughter present to witness our day was quite emotional and surreal, but seeing them get emotional was even more special for us. Another, special moment and one of my favorites was our wedding vows which we wrote and kept secret until that moment. Incorporating our girls to the ceremony and surprising them each with a ring was unforgettable for us and more so for them. I think I speak for us all; renewing our wedding vows in Paris was the best thing we could ever done!

For any couple considering planning a wedding, regardless if it’s your first or if you are renewing your wedding vows, hiring the right vendors (ie, Photographer, Officiant,Hair/Makeup etc.) are very important factors and will make a big difference on the outcome of your wedding day, but most importantly the experience will last you a life time.