The phrase “fairytale wedding” sounds so cliché, but I think it may be the only way to explain what I attended last week. How else could you describe a two-part, bi-cultural wedding set in Paris? As if that wasn’t enough, the floral arrangements were like something out of my dreams. Combined with the love and hospitality I felt all weekend, this wedding was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
To give you a bit of background: whenever I visit France, I visit my “family in Paris.” They might not be related by blood, but our families have been friends for decades. The story of how our families met is a great one:
While visiting Morocco about 40 years ago, my parents were shopping at dusk. The shops were closing, but as my Dad peered into the window of a small jewelry store, the owners were nice enough to open their doors. The owners, Maxine and Chunette Benchitrite became fast friends with my parents. Their kindness was unbelievable—they offered to take my Mother and Father around Casablanca, showing them all the wonderful things the city had to offer.
They kept in touch long after, even visiting Texas to stay with my family. The Benchitrites later moved from Morocco to Paris, where we would visit them over and over again. Some years into the friendship, I met their daughter Sonia, and we’ve since become close friends. Our bi-continental friendship has stayed strong over 30 years, and it was a delight to be invited to her daughter’s wedding this Summer.
The wedding was divided into two evenings, Moroccan and traditional. The Moroccan-style party was, in a word, wild. The music and dancing didn’t stop until 4am. The women wore the most spectacular ensembles, and yes, some belly danced.
The food was exotic and delicious, but my favorite part was the henna ceremony. As is tradition in Moroccan culture, the bride inked our palms and then tied that hand with a sash. We were told to sleep with the sash on to wish the bride and groom good luck in marriage. How wonderful is that?
Luckily, the traditional wedding ceremony wasn’t until two days later. We all needed time to recover! Here are some of my favorite shots that night from the famous Hotel Salomon de Rochschild (click for the history!).
Here’s Sonia and I! She was the most brilliant hostess. Made me feel so welcome among 500 unknown wedding guests!
An awe-inspiring table setting. Beautiful floral details right down to the blue patterned candle holders. Just look at that menu– it’s art!
Another view of the table. Do you see how all the vases and table pieces are unique? Oops there’s me in the mirror!
I have died and gone to heaven. That chandelier! Those ceilings!
I wasn’t able to get very many pictures of the incredible food, but take a look at this cute presentation. Clothing pins! Just precious. I might steal this idea!
Like I said, the flowers were like something out of a dream.
Now that I’m home and I’ve had time to think about this amazing experience, I can’t stop thinking about Sonia and her incredible gift as a hostess. Her warmth made me feel so comfortable and included in this special occasion. I was stunned by how gracefully she handled all of the craziness that comes with a wedding.
Graceful hostessing like this is a true talent. It’s certainly not something that comes naturally to everyone, but it can most definitely be learned. To me, this forgotten art is so important. In fact, I’ve even created a teleseminar all about it!
It’s entitled The Joy of Entertaining: Host and Guest Etiquette, and it will be taking place next Wednesday, July 16th at 12pm EST.
I’ll be solving your most dreaded entertaining fears by getting into the do’s and dont’s of party etiquette. After years of throwing and attending parties, I‘ve racked up a long list of faux pas and hostess secrets.
By the end, you’ll have learned:
- What’s the perfect hostess gift
- How to seat your guests at the table
- Is there correct “Party” conversation?
- How to make your guests feel comfortable
- and much more….
To register for the 1 hour session, click here:
Hostess and Guest Etiquette (7/16, 12pm EST)
*If you are unable to attend live, a recording will be available afterwards.