Love, they say, strikes at will. Weddings, however, require careful planning. For Philadelphia native Nicole Blicher and French (specifically, Nice-born) Charles Paloux, love came during a vacation among friends in Florida. Then it grew, first in Philadelphia, as the couple shuttled between Nicole’s loft in Old City and Charles’s suite at the Sofitel, then in a London flat they shared while Charles awaited his U.S. visa — and then, finally, back at the Philadelphia Sofitel, where, after more than three years of dreaming about it, Charles made a Christmas Eve proposal with rose petals, champagne and a ring.
In the ensuing year and a half, each happy memory became a wedding-day possibility. Drinks at James restaurant inspired the perfect springtime aperitif for cocktail hour. The bride-to-be’s frequent forays on Etsy unearthed a motif for thank-you notes, and hair adornments for the bridesmaids. A post-dance-practice drink introduced the couple to pastry chef Robert Bennett, who offered to bake the croquembouche. Visits with Charles’s family in Nice inspired both favors — hand-tied lavender bouquets and miniature bottles of pastis — and a Gallic approach to the wedding day: no dancing until after a formal five-course dinner.
When the warm weekend in late May finally arrived, the details came together. Fifty of the 140 guests came from Europe, and most stayed in Center City, gathering for a rehearsal dinner in the pearl-spangled café room at Nineteen, and convening again for a late-afternoon bus ride to West Chester’s elegant Greystone Hall, where they wrote their well-wishes and names on river rocks rather than in a guest book. For her part, Nicole walked down a rose-petal-strewn aisle to Pachabel’s Canon in D. It was, she remembers, “The moment every girl waits for.”
The ceremony, held in French and English and combining rituals both Catholic and Jewish, paid homage to the couple’s once diverse, now mutual heritages. For the first dance, Nicole waltzed with her father (another French tradition) before spinning across the floor into Charles’s arms. The waltz, the couple says, was well-rehearsed. The feelings, however, were not.
Venue: Greystone Hall West Chester
Event Coordinator: I DO Wedding Consulting, Philadelphia
Caterer: Peachtree & Ward, Willow Grove
Cake: Classic Cake Company, Cherry Hill
Decor: Flowers by Table Art, Wayne
Photography: Laura Novak, Wilimington
Videogapher: Video One Productions, Havertown
Bride’s Look: Gown by Vera Wang (custom sash), Ever After, Miami; makeup by Noel Sy and hair by Traviss Kraisopraphong at Noel Sy, Bala Cynwyd
Bridesmaid Dresses: Priscilla of Boston, Ardmore
Groom’s Formalwear: Hugo Boss, Nice, France
Stationery: Custom Vera Wang invitations, The Papery, Philadelphia; day-of stationery and custom ketubah by Two Paper Dolls, Wayne; calligraphy by Jenna Hein, Brooklyn, NY.