If the destination wedding is de rigeur, why has Deborah Cicurel been fending off so many complaints?
George and Amal did it in Venice, Brad and Angelina just north of Brignoles in France, and for Kim and Kanye, it was Florence. Interestingly ‘Kimye’, as Kardashian and West are better known, had everyone believing they were getting hitched in Paris, but then switched locations.
This wasn’t a problem for their guests, who were probably not booked in for speedy boarding on EasyJet, but when my fiancé, Andrew, and I announced we were to wed in Paris, the response was certainly interesting. “You’ve turned into the Kardashians!” my friend cried in disbelief, even though I’m not in possession of an enhanced derrière or marrying an egotistical rapper.
Granted, Paris as a destination for our nuptials has meant inconveniencing hundreds of our friends and family and tasking them with taking the Eurostar, staying in a hotel and mastering the Parisian Métro. But we had a reason – and it isn’t just because my family is French.
We wanted a wedding abroad to remove the possibility of our guests checking their watches once the groom’s speech was over and sneaking out because they had work the next day. We wanted everyone to be excited about a weekend away.
Most of all, we wanted friends and family to feel as if they were on a holiday – but not one that involved a five hour flight, tons of bureaucracy and hours of travelling time. All they have to do is pop into St Pancras, sit back for two hours and arrive in a city where they can buy a baguette on every corner.
We knew Paris wasn’t as easy as driving to Kinloss, parking next door, and being able to run home and change should anyone be wearing the same outfit as you, but judging from the reactions, you’d think we’d planned a wedding in Sydney. “But it’s so anti-Semitic in Paris!” “Paris? But that’s like, in Belgium, isn’t it?”“What the hell! Paris? That’s so far away! Why couldn’t you just do it in Israel?”
Ironically, it was those who had recently held family events in Israel who went on about the inconvenience of a Parisian wedding, as if going through El Al security, sitting on a raucous five-hour flight and then trying to navigate the immigration system at Ben Gurion was a walk in the park.
We could have kissed (and sometimes did) the people who said things like: “Thanks for giving me the chance to visit Paris!” and “Ignore everyone else and just do what you want.”
Encouraged, we pushed ahead, confident that if our guests booked a Eurostar ticket in advance, they could get it for £60, which is cheaper than going to Manchester!
No sooner had we fixed the location than we had to deal with #JeSuisCharlie and the catastrophe at Hyper Cacher, which was a worry for us and terrified many of our guests.
The calls came thick and fast with angst-ridden guests asking: “I assume the wedding is off?”, ”Will there be armed guards at the chuppah?” and “I told you to do it in Israel!”
Each person who called was transferred to my French father who embarked on a lengthy and well-researched discussion about the rise and fall of French anti-Semitism, and if they still weren’t satisfied, I passed them on to my French cousins who are visibly Jewish and have lived in Paris without ever experiencing a problem.
Suddenly, I felt far more empathetic to my friends who had married in Israel last summer with the very real fear of a war going on just miles away from the chuppah. And then there were the other typically Jewish issues to deal with.
On Twitter, I would refer to them as #firstworldproblems. For example, despite the hall having a capacity of hundreds, we finally comprehended the very real problem of having to brutally cut down our list of close friends to be able to accommodate those ancient foreign cousins you only see once every 10 years at a family function, but who it would be criminal not to invite.
Other #firstworldproblems you will probably experience if you are Jewish and engaged include:
1. Deciding where to host your gift list, and enduring ill-informed opinions about John Lewis, Harrods et al.
2. Spending an inordinate amount of time and money picking things, such as invitations, benchers and flowers, which no one will remember.
3. Trying to please singles by paring them on a table with the perfect balance of potential life partners and trusted friends, but offending them when they’re not next to someone they secretly fancy.
4. After the pain of cutting dear friends off the list, the ancient foreign cousins announce they are bringing their eight children and even more ancient father-in-law, because weddings are fun and a good opportunity to see old faces and meet new ones.
5. About a million friends getting engaged at the same time as you and, like, totes stealing your thunder. Then after the inevitable rows over something totally irrelevant, such the colour of the page boy’s tie or who should say HaMotzi, the big day is just weeks away and you realise that none of it matters anyway and you’re just happy to be marrying each other, regardless of the centrepieces, the bouquets or whether Jay-Z and Beyoncé are going to show up. Kimye didn’t care – and neither do Dandy.