The Paris Diaries (a.k.a I BOOKED A F*****G WEDDING IN PARIS.


Where to even start?

As most of you probably know, I'm OBSESSED with Paris! It is a city like no other, and if you don't understand the obsession you've probably not been there (some people have and hate it and we'll leave it there...because you're wrong). The City of Lights of The City of Love, whatever people call it, there's magic in the air. 

Now as a workaholic I have always wanted to work there but I was also torn between taking an ACTUAL holiday and not work and take time for myse...ppppffft as if. I think after I came back April 2017 it took my about a month before deciding to go back. With what money and credentials I had no idea but us Toerien-women are like pitbulls - if we have an idea we cannot and I mean CANNOT, let go (love pitbulls, they're fantastic dogs). So I decided May 2018 would be the month, come hell or high water.. or SARS.


Enter Marcelle, who saw the shoot I organized in 2017 in Paris and contacted Janita who in turn referred her to me (in her words) "I have no idea how she organized it, I just gave the dress". Marcelle and Johan were planning their elopement and we started chatting about the details until, out of curiosity I asked but when were they planning on doing this. 

MAY 22nd 2018... I think a collective shriek went across the globe and I told her that was square in the middle of my (still in planning, unpaid) trip. She promptly paid me a booking fee the next day. Right, pee'd my pants.


What followed were months of denial, chats, whatsapps between me and Marcelle, ideas of how the hell to book possible jobs, how to make my kit compact/travel friendly... basically not believing THIS till-you're-on-the-plane-thoughts. 

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I mailed and stalked agencies like a frikking PI. Updating and "streamlining" my website, Instagram, Facebook etc to present the best version of Marnel-the-makeup-artist and although I received responses from some agencies, most were very nice but concerned that most of my work was bridal. You know when you've got a feeling about something and you have no idea why but you're like maybe I shouldn't try so hard and focus on THAT right now? Yeah, that was me so I decided to rather focus on planning shoots I've dreamed of doing, visualizing the shots I want in my portfolio and basically I knew that I would 110% enjoy myself because it was MY dream. Deciding to not do what I initially thought I would felt like I gave up or I failed at that... but somehow I'm not bothered about failing that. My plans became better.

Honestly, I have no idea how I managed this. Between mailing strangers in a foreign country (luckily Ian Holmes was a massive help!), telling them about an idea and how you'd love for them to help you realize this vision, hoping and praying that your work impresses them enough to trust you, organizing MODEL models and feeling absolutely shit not being able to pay them... because you know, the Rand and le'Euro exchange rate is killing us. Sourcing gowns was easy but deciding to not only take Janita's dresses was a big 'thing' for me as I actually do enjoy working with other designers as well and I don't want to give the idea I'm preferential; it's just a massive perk having her as my sister too. 

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It's flippen daunting. And yes I have people sneering because 'are you off to Paris AGAIN' (really dragging  that 'agaaaaain like thanks Carol, I get it!) and 'wow you go overseas a lot!' - yes, because I don't have kids, I don't buy new cars, I don't pay any loans because it's my choice. 

ANYWHOOO... photographers came on board including Kusjka du Plessis (we did the wedding and a shoot together!) - special shout out to The Paris Photographer, Rachel Calvo, Ian Holmes, Carolina Evanno, I got dresses from Janita Toerien, Elli-Nicole Bridal, Anna Georgina and Safanja, the most GORGEOUS rings from Marion Rehwinkel Jewellery and then the day came: my tassie was gepak en ons was op die vliegtuig.

Guys... it was the unreal. The wedding was a MASSIVE SUCCESS! I would probably sell my one kidney (any takers?) to do this again! Everyone involved were so happy, everyone was so excited and my gosh... the photos. THE PHOTOS YOU GUYS!! JUST HAVE A LOOK!!

Two weeks of living in the city walking around as much, as late, and as far as I pleased was effing phenomenal. Carrying my entire/compacted makeup and hair kit was a little more difficult but a small price to pay. Mind you, the season decided to switch from 20 degrees to 30 degrees average in 2 weeks so Accuweather betrayed me.

I got to visit the Yves Saint Laurent museum (located in his old studio), I had drinks on the Seine, I got to walk in a downpour almost every day because summer in Europe hey... but hell, the rain was amazing! I got to see the show at Lido and I downloaded the can-can song immediately afterward because my inner child is a dancer and not a vet as I thought all these years... I went to the Louvre for FIVE HOURS (3rd time is the charm truly) and I got to shoot in the greatest locations in the city. And I discovered Croque Monsieur... yes it's simple but goooooood!!!

Gosh the one shoot (with Kusjka) was insane - model had cancelled the day before and fellow Saffa living there, Samantha, stepped in to help again! Except I apparently bought the wrong ticket type for travelling out of the city and got stopped on the platform by this toad-looking boy (he might be toad-looking only because he behaved like it) and penalized  35 Euro... mens dit vat mos nou alles in jou om hierdie padda-seun nie plat te duik nie,veral as jy 'n kop bo hom uitstaan. I'll let you do the math. So eventually I get to Sam, who lives in the post picturesque town, cobblestone streets (me freaking out because they drive on the wrong side of the road), hills and greenery, just so beautiful. Makeup did, hair did and off we go! Straight into afternoon traffic which is just as bad, for me at least, as CPT traffic. 10km takes you forever. Which was actually a blessing in disguise as we had the most beautiful light at the Louvre by the time we arrived. 

Which ended up me doing shopping... and not even (just) clothes mind you, just trinkets and 'stuff'. Sneakers..magnets... coffee cups etc... but enough to take my collective baggage (Emirates allowed 2 bags of 23kg's each for economy passengers) from a healthy (SA - PAR flight) of  22.1kg and 23.4kg each to returning with 24kg and ........... 36kg... 60kg TOTAL

HOW DID I GAIN 15kg of LUGGAGE?? The poor gentleman (here after known as man-angel) helping me with baggage check let the 1kg slide but politely informed me I had to redistribute my contents and promptly brought two bags (like 25 x 30 cm) bags to help me, which again I somehow managed to fill with 4kgs (of wait for it) makeup pallets and 2 pairs of sneakers. Meaning as a Economy passenger, I'm still very, very overweight. This all happened after I paid a fortune to have my bags wrapped.

So, bags wrapped - unwrapped to take out crap - tried to rewrap, can't do it myself, head back to have it wrapped properly - pay to have the big bag wrapped again - redo check in - get sent to original guy to continue check in - sent to Emirates desk to pay for extra luggage which man-angel did for me by translating French-English, English-French back and forth - baggage paid while being wished a wonderful flight - continue with man-angel to get me on the flight. This all took about 90min, I was sweating like a pig, I was red from wrestling with my bags on the floor, square on my bum in the open airport surrounded by panties, tops, ziplock baggies, makeup, toiletries etc all while making sure any fragile items are still in their secure positions... I was DONE. Laughing manically, but done. 

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I'll be adding some more images over the coming days/weeks so keep an eye out!

And to the Carols of the world, yes, I'm already planning my next trip!