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Wedding Tourist Season In Paris

Love conquers all — even the weak dollar

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May 07, 2008

PARIS — Never mind the daunting dollar/euro rate: Destination weddings are hot, and France, with its chateaux and countryside charm, not to mention Paris, is one of the world’s most popular locales for couples wishing to marry abroad.

Demand for destination weddings appears to have increased recently as a result of the economic slump in the United States. ‘‘More couples are moving away from large local weddings and leaning towards smaller destination weddings that are really luxurious,” said Anne Mulvihill of Fête in France, a Paris-based event planning consultancy that does wedding coordination for largely American, British, Canadian and Australian couples.

But in exchange for Parisian luxury, these brides and grooms are willing to scrimp on guests.

For our wedding it is just going to be the two of us,” said Bianca Sosa, a New Jersey bride, who came to Paris recently to marry Jull Valentin, her fiance from the States, at the American Church facing the River Seine in the capital’s wealthy 7th arrondissement.

“We chose to do a destination wedding here because it’s Paris!” she said. “It was a rather spontaneous decision and when we thought of coming to France we just couldn’t pass it up.”

Sosa estimated the cost of the wedding alone to be up to 5,000 euros ($7,750). The total bill will also include the couple’s airfare, hotel and food.

But love conquers all — even the weak dollar. “I really haven’t been thinking about the money,” Sosa admitted. “I think we will just worry about that later.”

With many global destinations to choose from, France is popular despite strict marriage regulations, including a 40-day residency requirement. So enter the wedding coordinator who can help couples around those regulations with “blessing” ceremonies that look like the real thing with frothy wedding gowns and black tuxes. A simple Internet search will bring up numerous companies that specialize in planning French weddings.

“I get a lot of requests for destination weddings based in and around Paris, as well as in the south of France, especially the Côte d’Azur,” said Mulvihill.

Why do they come here to say “I do” ?

“Couples come to France,’’ said Mulvihill, ‘‘because they associate it with everything romantic — the wine, the food and the castles.”

Love conquers all — even the weak dollar

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