Writer, influencer, and broadcaster Camille Charriere met film producer Francois Larpin at an intimate birthday dinner. “I was seated opposite him and immediately texted a friend to say I’d met my future husband,” Camille, one of the OG bloggers who started the blog, Over the Rainbow, back in 2010, remembers. “He did not seem so convinced as he swapped numbers with my closest friend at the end of the night. I waited six months for him to finally ask me out. When I say ‘wait,’ it was not totally passive, as with most modern day romances. I managed to add him on social media and would make my presence known every now and then by firing away a quippy DM in response to a story he posted. We ended up on a very good first date—although it took him another three weeks to get in touch again after that…at which point I had totally given up hope. Apparently, he was on a work trip: turns out there really are men that are too busy to text, ahem.”
Camille and Francois got engaged on her birthday, during a brief period of respite in between lockdowns at their favorite spot in Sicily. “Hilariously, I decided to do an online exercise class instead of sitting down with him for a glass of wine, which threw him off as typically I am allergic to fitness,” Camille says. “In the end, he did manage to pop the question over dinner, and I was so shocked I burst into tears.” They immediately called her parents to let them know the news and spent the next morning organizing with the hotel, as their original plan was to have a big religious wedding in Sicily for all their friends and family. But COVID got in the way, and they moved their wedding date twice before giving up on that plan altogether.
At the end of the summer, Camille and Francois decided they didn’t want to wait a whole other year to get married, especially given all of the cancellations that happened during the spring and summer wedding season. “We talked a lot about it and decided to completely change the plan and organize a small civil wedding in Paris just before Christmas,” Camille explains. “It was a bit of a mission to get a date from the French administration, so we sent out our save the dates just two months ahead of the event. My reasoning was that with COVID things are so unpredictable, I would rather try to put this together in two months than risk spending another year on it only for it to be moved again.
December has always been Camille’s favorite time of year in Paris. “We knew COVID might come knocking, but at least keeping it to the town where my family lives meant that worst case it would be just a very small family gathering, and if we got lucky, we could have a big party with all our loved ones,” she says. They chose the Mairie of the 6th Arrondissement because that was where Francois’ late mother Chantal lived just before passing away.
As with almost all weddings these days, there were a lot of last-minute cancellations, which was difficult for the bride and groom, but they knew to expect it. They had everyone do a PCR test ahead of the main event. “My grandfather really wanted to be there, and I didn’t want to take any risks,” Camille says.
Across the board the planning process was chaotic. “We had originally planned something a lot smaller but our venue pulled out a month before the big day so we had to rush to Paris to visit other places,” Camille explains. “The only reason we had overlooked Maxim’s in the first place was because we thought it would be too big. But we truly could not have hoped for a more historical and special place to celebrate.” The couple decided to host a big dinner with speeches, followed by dancing.
Camille’s friend Solveig Rawas, who normally works in film production, agreed to help the couple put the weekend together. “It was her first wedding as she is not a wedding planner, but given how much work goes into producing a movie, we thought she would be perfect,” Camille says. “Francois was very hands-on. I might even have to admit that he worked harder than me—anyone who knows me knows that am not really a logistical person. That said, we put our heart and soul into the event and every decision, every detail was imagined and implemented by us.”
A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic and “emotional dresser,” Camille had some trouble finding a wedding dress at first. “I was really worried that I would never find anything in time, when I came across a slip lace dress while reading a profile of Harris Reed in The New Yorker. I knew it was the one. I wrote to Harris—I DMed the poor guy the day after his show—and asked if I could try the dress. Hysterically, it didn’t fit as my bum was too big for it, and because it was made out of an up-cycled piece of lace that had been embroidered by an haute couture atelier in Paris, there was no more fabric to play around with.”
Ultimately, they had to race against the clock to find something that would work, but Harris was convinced that he could create a train to give the dress a little more va-va-voom. The idea was to make a naked dress that was an ode to the ’90s, but also had a ’60s feel to it. “One big question was what underwear to wear—this was a real headache,” Camille admits. “I settled in the end for a lace panty by La Perla, because that’s exactly what one wants to be wearing to enter married life.”
The bride’s good friend and stylist Alexandra Cronan helped her every step of the way. “She really tied every look together, insisting I always remove one thing—very Coco Chanel of her!—before leaving the suite,” Camille says. “We wanted to create looks that were fun and timeless and didn’t feel so bridal that I would not recognize myself, which was very important to me as I can start behaving a bit funny if I don’t feel good in my clothes. She also came to every fitting with Harris with me and gave me endless style advice and support throughout the wedding weekend.”
Harris embroidered Camille’s something blue onto the lace, and her wedding coat was her something borrowed: a John Galliano silk coat that has already been returned to the archives. Camille’s good friends Gilda and Giorgia from The Attico made her two pairs of bespoke mules in white satin and crystals for the dinner and for the after-party. “For dancing, I switched to a Chanel sequin mini that I’d bought for the wedding but got excited about and wore to another event,” she reveals.
The dress code for the bridal party was “Roaring 2020s.” “This got brought up a lot in the speeches,” Camille says. “I didn’t want to dress them in matching looks as it’s not really a done thing here in France. That said, after sitting down with the girls, we all agreed it would be nice if the bridal party reflected my desire to have an eco-friendly approach to wedding dressing. The main thing is that I didn’t want anyone to have to buy something new to wear to the wedding. Some of the girls wore vintage dresses from their own closets, the others borrowed vintage gowns from @myrunwayarchive or from my friend Emma Reynaud’s eco-friendly label @WearMarcia.
The couple normally lives in London but stayed at Le Bristol for the duration of the weekend. “It served as a dream backdrop for us whilst getting ready,” Camille says. The private civil ceremony lasted just 30 minutes, but felt intimate, formal, and very emotional to Camille and Francois. “[At the end,] there was whooping, cheering and lots of tears,” she says. Afterwards, everyone changed for cocktails at Maxim’s, followed by a seated dinner for 180 people. “I had told my mom that she couldn’t make a speech as there were already too many, so when I saw her take the mic on stage I had a moment of panic,” Camille recalls. “But true to herself, she started to sing ‘I Say A Little Prayer For You’ and the whole room erupted into song. I think it was my favorite part of the whole night. She knows me so well, I couldn’t really get over how magical that moment was.”
The cake arrived to the track “La nuit n’en finit plus” (“The Night Never Ends”) by Petula Clark. “Then the dance floor exploded out of nowhere and was so quick to catch on fire that we forgot to do our first dance,” Camille remembers. The party may have taken place at an iconic venue that served as an often referenced focal point in the movie Midnight in Paris, but the late-night shenanigans evoked another Owen Wilson film. Funnily, Mary Kate Olsen made for a memorable wedding crasher, tearing up the dance floor and partying with everyone until the wee hours. “Looking back,” Camille says, “I’m just so grateful we were able to get all our friends together.”