The Eiffel Tower Was the Backdrop to This Wedding Welcome Cruise and Dinner in Paris

A couple hosted charming welcome to their French wedding weekend.

Angela and Allister on boat welcome cruise on the Seine River in Paris surrounded by rose bushes

Photo by Oliver Fly

Angela and Allister both grew up in Vancouver, attending rival high schools before moving to New York for college; Angela to Columbia and Allister to NYU. Fate brought them together at a mutual friend’s birthday party in June 2019 and they shared a first date about a month later. “Our joke is that I 'ghosted' him after that first evening,” Angela says. The truth was she had just gotten out of a long relationship and didn’t want to explain her relationship history over text. “In typical millennial fashion I left him on read,” she admits.

When the two saw each other again at another mutual friend’s gathering, they hit it off this time. Almost exactly two years after their first date, Allister proposed to Angela on the Low Steps at Columbia University. They went back to their apartment in Tribeca for an engagement party to celebrate with 30 of their closest friends. “It was a surprise for me, but also for all our friends who had no idea that was why they were there,” Angela says. 

Angela and Allister knew right away that they wanted to invite their 138 guests to Paris for a destination wedding. Angela lived in Paris for a time during middle school, and for Allister, Paris was the first city in Europe he visited with his family. “Paris was also meaningful for us as a couple – it was our first international trip, just three months into dating,” Angela says, “People always say you don’t know if you’re truly compatible until you travel together, and our trip to Paris really propelled our relationship forward.”

They kicked off their wedding weekend with a welcome boat cruise on the Seine on July 15, 2022, and a rehearsal dinner at Café de l’Homme by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France the next night. The bride says, “We thought it would be a great opportunity for different friend groups to mix and get to know each other, while building up excitement and anticipation leading up to the wedding day!” The couple leaned on Coralie and Beryl from Loli Events to help coordinate and plan all of the Emily in Paris-inspired wedding weekend details, captured behind the lens of photographer Oliver Fly.

Wedding welcome tote with floral invitation, floral fan, Moët champagne, and an eiffel tower statue

Photo by Oliver Fly

Angela and Allister gave their guests a warm Parisian welcome with their favorite things from France and a few practical items to get them through the wedding weekend. The custom totes created by Jo Studio Design featured the couple’s monogram. They filled them with assorted candies and chocolates from Maison Boissier, custom cookies of their wedding venue and other Paris landmarks from Kat Makes Cookies, mini bottles of Moët champagne, a hangover survival kit with all the essentials, and a welcome letter with all the weekend details.

Angela and Allister kiss while holding champagne on boat with Eiffel Tower in background

Photo by Oliver Fly

Angela wears a Rime Arodaky white jumpsuit with deep v-neck floral lace top and train and Chanel earrings

Angela and Allister kicked off their wedding weekend with a boat cruise along the Seine River through Yachts de Paris. “Seeing Paris from the River was such a special way for guests to experience iconic Paris landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame all in one afternoon," Angela says. The bride wanted to wear a French designer to start the weekend, so she donned a V-neck Rime Arodaky jumpsuit with an embroidered lace train and flared sleeves. She accessorized with a pair of Chanel earrings her mother-in-law gifted her, Manolo Blahnik white polka dot pumps, and a Louis Vuitton silver clutch. For her hair and makeup look, Angela went with a high ponytail with soft waves and a vibrant lip and cheek.

Allister wore a navy tee paired with Paul Stuart pants and an Isaia jacket. “We wanted to have a more cohesive look for the first event, and given Angela was going to be in all-white, I figured why not try and match her,” he says. He completed his look with Brunello Cucinelli calfskin sneakers.

Wedding welcome party boat stairs with greenery and welcome sign

Photo by Oliver Fly

Angela and Allister wanted to repurpose their welcome sign at all three wedding weekend events. “Our stationer, Jo, had the idea of creating a linen sign which could be tailored with different florals or styles to maintain a unique look for each event,” Angela says. For the welcome party on the boat, the sign was embellished with greenery garlands that continued up the staircase.

"Bonjour Paris" floral fan favors and "Keep Cool" sign

Photo by Oliver Fly

Guests were given custom fans, designed by the couple’s stationer, Jo Studio Design, that featured their custom initial monogram and watercolor florals in the event's color scheme.

Jazz singer and bassist on boat welcome cruise with Eiffel Tower in background

Photo by Oliver Fly

Artist paint couple's portrait at wedding welcome cruise

Photo by Oliver Fly

Angela and Allister hired O de Mon Cheri to perform jazz, swing, and French music from the '20s to the '60s while dressed in French cabaret-style clothing to entertain guests on the boat. “Ode was so fantastic to work with and even took requests from us and the crowd,” Angela says. Instead of a traditional photo booth, Angela and Allister decided to bring in a live wedding illustrator, Aaron Jacob Jones from Event Illustrator. Before the wedding weekend, the couple designed two custom backgrounds for the portraits, and the artist created portraits of guests in under 15 minutes. "Now when we go over to our friends’ homes, it’s so fun to see how many of them have framed the pictures and have them displayed!” Angela says. “He also painted a few portraits of Allister and I in each of our outfits throughout the wedding weekend that made for a wonderful series framed in our bedroom.”

Angela wears Rachel Gilbert feather and sequin dress and Allister wears green suit in park

Photo by Oliver Fly

Angela had a few options in mind for her rehearsal dinner dress, but it wasn’t until the last minute when she spotted a Rachel Gilbert dress with ostrich feathers and sparkles that felt reminiscent of the 1920s that she knew was the one. "By the time I had found this dress, it was only two weeks out from my wedding, so I shipped it directly from Australia to our hotel in Paris, sight unseen,” Angela says. “Thankfully, it fit like a glove (no alterations!) and was one of my favorite looks of the entire weekend. When I look back on that event, I truly can't imagine myself wearing anything else.”

The bride paired the dress with Amina Mauddi slingback pumps and an Olympia Le Tan book clutch featuring the Eiffel Tower. “Since the Eiffel Tower was featured so prominently at our rehearsal dinner given the spectacular Café de l’Homme backdrop, it was the perfect final touch to my overall look at evening,” the bride says. She wore her hair in Hollywood waves and accentuated her eyes with her makeup look.

Allister wore a mid-green Italian linen suit from Suit Supply for the rehearsal dinner paired with John Lobb leather shoes. “I was so close to wearing a classic navy suit to this event, but Angela vetoed it saying I would look like every other guest there,” he says. “So we pivoted to try and find a dark green suit to match the interior color scheme of the restaurant.”

Gold reflective seating chart reading "find your city" with rose bush floral arrangement

Photo by Oliver Fly

Postcard guest book with US Mail box

Photo by Oliver Fly

As guests entered Café de l’Homme for Angela and Allister’s rehearsal dinner, they found their table assignments on a mirrored sign with a white Eiffel Tower decal decorated with lush white floral arrangements. The tables were named after the couple’s favorite cities. Guests grabbed postcards of places the couple is hoping to visit next and wrote travel recommendations for the couple instead of writing in a traditional guestbook.

Rehearsal dinner with green and white chairs and white florals

Photo by Oliver Fly

Rehearsal dinner table with white florals and couple's photo in Aspen

Photo by Oliver Fly

The restaurant has jewel green tones in its dining room, so Angela and Allister went with neutral tones in their decor and all-white flowers. They went with a theme of "Around the World with Angela and Allister." “We love traveling, and despite having gone through the majority of our relationship at that point through a pandemic, we had managed to travel to nine countries and multiple cities in the US during our time together,” Angela says. They named their signature cocktails after their favorite cities, each table name included a photo of the couple at that place, and the back of the dinner menus included their favorite things to see, eat, and do in each of the featured cities.

DJ on rooftop with large sculpture and Eiffel Tower

Photo by Oliver Fly

The couple had the restaurant’s resident musician, DJ Clain, spin on the terrace as guests enjoyed views of the Eiffel Tower and a crepe stand they brought in for dessert.

Angela and Allister kiss on rooftop with Eiffel Tower in background

Photo by Oliver Fly

Angela and Allister pour champagne tower while guests hold sparklers

Photo by Oliver Fly

Since the Eiffel Tower sparkles for the first five minutes every hour after sunset, the couple timed a special moment with the beautiful backdrop. “My favorite moment during the rehearsal dinner was our champagne tower, which took place after dinner at exactly 11pm,” she says, “Allister’s groomsmen and childhood buddies came out just as the Eiffel Tower started sparkling with a sparkling Ruinart Champagne tower, to the song 'Paris' by the Chainsmokers.”

To couples who are currently planning a wedding weekend, Angela and Allister recommend taking a step back to think about what you really want and balancing that with what is expected or traditional. They reflect, “At the end of the day, the wedding should be an expression of yourselves as a couple, and some deviations away from what is expected is what makes the wedding weekend memorable and unique to you."

Wedding Team

Welcome Party Venue Yachts de Paris

Rehearsal Dinner Venue Café de l’Homme

Planning and Design Loli Events

Bride’s Welcome Party Attire Rime Arodaky 

Bride’s Welcome Party Accessories Chanel Louis Vuitton

Bride’s Welcome Party Shoes Manolo Blahnik

Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Attire Rachel Gilbert

Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Accesssories Olympia Le Tan

Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Shoes Amina Mauddie

Bride’s Hair and Makeup Reina Kim

Groom’s Welcome Party Attire Isaia Paul Stuart

Groom’s Welcome Party Shoes Brunello Cucinelli

Groom’s Rehearsal Dinner Attire Suit Supply

Groom’s Rehearsal Dinner Shoes John Lobb

Florals Floraison

Invitations and Paper Products Jo Studio Design

Welcome Party Entertainment O de Mon Cheri

Rehearsal Dinner DJ DJ Clain

Bar Le Bar Paris

Videography Chromata Films

Photography Oliver Fly

Related Stories