Love Me, Love Me Knot: A Nautical Wedding In France

Couple walk hand in hand down gravel path with back to camera

Today we are privileged to take a walk through the truly romantic love story of real-life couple Michelle and Russell.

Michelle and Russell share the funny circumstances of how they met, the whimsical Amélie-inspired proposal that Russell planned, and the stunning and emotional photos of their special Nautical themed wedding day in the Côte D’Azur, France…

The Love Story

Black and white photo of couple laughing and hugging

We met the day after Christmas. Russell and his friends were doing a bar crawl through Brooklyn, New York and they ended up at a brewery. Michelle, living in Brooklyn, went out to celebrate her best friend’s boyfriend’s birthday, which happened to be at the same brewery.

View of water at Cote d'Azur in France

Man in white shirt and woman in red dress embrace by waters edge

Michelle did not arrive until around 10 p.m. since she had been on the fence about going out that night – it was a particularly cold winter in New York. When she arrived, another guy in the birthday party group kept hitting on her and she was clearly not interested.

Water views at Cote d'Azur in France

Yacht Marina at Cote d'Azur France for nautical themed wedding

Leave me alone, I’m not interested

Finally, she had enough and took the guy by the collar, pushed him aside and said “Leave me alone, I’m not interested.” Russell, seeing this exchange, was intrigued and approached Michelle when she was at the bar ordering a drink.

Friends and family walk together along yacht marina at Cote d'Azur France

Men in the family gather to talk before nautical themed wedding on the deck of a yacht

Russell asked if he could buy Michelle, and her friends, a drink. Michelle, looked at Russell with his beard and red/black checkered shirt, and good naturedly responded, “You can’t afford to buy me a drink but I’ll buy you a drink.”

After some back and forth, Russell ended up buying drinks for Michelle and her friends, and the rest is history.

The Proposal

Bride-to-be in striped shirt sits down and laughs

Russell’s Perspective

It’s a cold winter night in Brooklyn, and Michelle is scrolling through a list of on-demand movies when she spots “Amelie” and says, “that’s one of my favorite movies!”, unaware that the little known French comedy is also one of my favorites. It’s the first movie we ever watch together, and one more reason why I’m quickly falling in love with her.

Pre-wedding speeches are given and bride is crying on deck of yacht

Couple pose at the bow of the yacht with a grey sea behind them

Set in Montmartre, Paris, Amélie is about a quirky girl who happens to see Nino, a boy she doesn’t know, collecting discarded prints from photo booths. Puzzled by his behavior, she finds herself wanting to meet him, but is too shy to approach directly.

Black and white image of couple touch heads in warm embrace in floral and striped shirts

Fresh rows of bright orange lobsters is the food for a nautical themed wedding

Instead, she uses elaborate clues to pursue him, without revealing who she really is. Nino responds by covering Montmartre with posters asking “Ou et Quand?” (“Where and When?”). In turn, Amélie takes a photo booth picture of herself holding a plaque displaying a time and place to meet. Tears the photo into tiny pieces, and places them underneath photo booths across Paris.

Nino eventually finds the pieces, stitches them together, deciphers the message, and finds Amelie.

Black and white image of groom getting ready and framed by window

Black and white image of bride laughing while getting ready

Fast forward two and a half years, and it’s the 4th of July, Michelle and I just landed in Paris, and we’re en route to our hotel. Emerging from the Metro station in Montmartre. Michelle is surprised to see the first of many posters displaying the words “Ou et Quand”, looks at me and says, “Oh my God! They must be filming a sequel to Amélie!”

Groom in suit waiting for bride on balcony of hotel with back turned to camera

Bride approaches groom before wedding on balcony of hotel in white gown

Little does Michelle know that weeks earlier I shipped these posters to our hotel. Miraculously, the hotel agrees to my plan: Place the “Ou et Quand” posters at the beginning of our route. To remind Michelle of the movie, followed by the far more important 2nd set. Which shows a picture of me holding a plaque asking her to marry me, torn up and stitched back together, just like the movie.

Bride and groom pose for photo in wedding outfits on balcony of hotel looking at each other

Bride and groom are photographed through door frame signing their wedding paperwork

The “Ou et Quand” posters could not have worked better. But now, as we continue along our route, I start to scan rather anxiously for the “Marry Me” posters, and am relieved to see not one but two prominently displayed right ahead of us.

Black and white photo of bride hugging mother in law

Close-up of bride looking down holding bouquet

As we approach the posters, my heart rate soars, and I ready myself for the big moment. Only to watch in horror as she strolls right by them, oblivious to the posters of me staring right back at her…

Cute young boy carries wooden sign down aisle that reads "Here comes the bride"

Bride walks down aisle on the arm of her father she wears a white strapless gown

Michelle’s Perspective

We take a redeye from New York to Paris, and after boarding our flight. Russell insists that we go to sleep after dinner service. I want to stay up and drink lots of wine watch movies. But he keeps telling me to go to sleep, to which I respond, “you’re not the boss of me!”

Couple just married throw arms up in air and look at friends and family

Just married couple smile brightly as wedding guests throw white confetti over them

After landing we take the Metro to our hotel in Montmarte. Once we arrive at the Montmarte Metro station, Russell carries our suitcases up the stairs while I bound ahead of him to clear the path. At the top of the stairs, I notice “Ou et Quand” posters on two lamp posts flanking the station exit.

Bride hugs mother and father after the wedding

Nautical themed wedding table setting with place card that has nautical knot names

When Russell finally gets to the top of the stairs, I say to him, “Oh my God! They must be filming a sequel to Amélie!” “That, or there’s nothing else going on around here”, I say sarcastically. He chuckles as we exit the station.

Mid-shot of bride and groom looking into each others eyes with sun shining through behind them

Bride in trailing dress and groom descend stairs into garden of hotel in France

We cross onto a small traffic island, where I spot from the corner of my eye more “Ou et Quand” fliers and other posters. Which I assume are for guitar lessons or something. I think nothing of them and start looking for the street name of our hotel. All I want to do is check in and take a hot shower (little did I know I should have slept on the flight).

Husband and wife walk hand in hand in garden under setting sun

Groom lifts bride into the air as they take their first dance

I spot the street that we need to take, and as I turn to see where Russell is. I notice that one of the fliers has a bearded man’s face on it holding up a sign. The flier has an image that has been pieced back together after having been ripped up, which I assume is a teaser ad for the Amélie sequel.

Black and white image of bride and groom dancing and smiling at wedding party

Bride and groom seated at wedding table laughing at speeches in the evening

The man looks a lot like Russell and as I’m about to point out his doppelganger to him. I scan down the flier and notice it says “Michelle, Marry Me”. My heart starts racing and for a split second I think there’s a man that looks like Russell. Who wants to marry someone named Michelle and I think, “what a coincidence!”.

Evening lights sparkle over the water in the Cote d'Azur in France

Black and white image of groom and his mother

It quickly dawns on me that the bearded man on the flier is Russell and the “Michelle” is me. I turn around to find Russell on his knee, surrounded by our luggage, and he asks “Michelle, will you marry me?” And I say, “Of course I will.”

The Honeymoon

Bride and groom cut cake in going away outfits

Bride and groom hug in the last moments of their wedding in going away outfits

For our honeymoon, we left the day after our wedding and we did a bareboat charter in the Aeolian Islands. Our only regret was not taking a day after the wedding to unwind and then setting off on our honeymoon. It seemed a bit rushed. But we still had an amazing honeymoon.


Love Me, Love Me Knot: A Nautical Themed Wedding In France Snapshot

Love Me, Love Me Knot: A Nautical Themed Wedding In France Collage

Love Me, Love Me Knot: A Nautical Themed Wedding In France Vendors

Photographer & Videographer Gione da Silva ImagesWedding Planner 1000 Times YesVenue Hotel Tiara Yaktsa Cote d’Azur | Wedding Dress Pronovias | Bridal Accessories Jangmi | Shoes Nine West | Florist Mara Ferris | Hair and Makeup Makeup Riviera | Suit Tom Ford | Grooms Shoes Stubbs and Wootton | Cufflinks Kamakura ShirtsWedding Rings Jangmi | Caterer & Wedding Cake Hotel Tiara Yaktsa Cote d’AzurWedding Band/ Entertainment Brightlights Band

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