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The notebook-guestbook?!

Don’t pretend you don’t remember: this big moment of solitude during a wedding when you find yourself in front of the guest book, desperately trying to find the little word that will really hit the nail on the head with the couple. Because this is the big problem with guest books: as a guest, it’s sometimes difficult to find inspiration.

So this is where this idea comes from: provide them with leads to give them ideas. Here are 9 little notebooks to distribute on the tables on your big day, each with a question that your guests can respond to: a good memory that you share, their hopes and dreams, their idea of love… We bet these little notebooks will be full to bursting with anecdotes, sentimental words and other affectionate funny comments by the end of the evening.

The equipment that you need: 

- The downloadable template

- Sheets of printer paper

- White Bristol board

- A ruler, a stanley knife, and a work surface

- Thread and a large needle

- Small bulldog clips

- A hand-held punch, or failing that a hammer and nail

Time: Allow 2 hours to make ten notebooks

Cost: Around 10 euros in total (paper, thread, needle, bulldog clips)

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1. Print the downloadable template on the sheets of white Bristol board. This contains the covers of 9 notebooks with different questions, and 1 blank cover, the colour of which can easily be changed, that you can modify with your own questions. Next, cut this out with the stanley knife, following the cutting lines. Also cut 3 sheets of printer paper down the middle so that you end up with 6 sheets of A5 paper (14.8cm x 21cm).

2. Fold the cover down the middle, as well as the sheaf of 6 sheets of paper.

3. Insert the paper into the cover and open the notebook down the middle. Fix them together with the help of the little bulldog clips. On the fold, mark a dot every 1.5cm, then pierce the paper with the punch. If you don’t have one of these, use a nail and a little hammer.

4. All you need to do is to sew up your notebook with a really simple stitch: go “above-below”, return “below-above”, and finish it off with a little knot. Your notebook is nearly finished. A little clarification: I used nylon thread (which can be found in all creative hobby shops), but you can also use embroidery thread, which comes in a much wider range of colours.

5. You have nothing more to do than even up all the “excess” with the stanley knife, to perfect your notebook and give it a finished appearance. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. The trick is pressing hard on the ruler rather than the cutter, making as many cuts as necessary. Your first notebook is ready – on to the next!

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A beautiful setting

Have some photos taken of you and your partner by a professional photographer. It’s often a little gift, which has been offered to future wives and husbands here in France for several years (the English have always done it, for example).

It’s great for replacing the only photo of your couple that your family seems to have – you know, that horror that sits in state on your grandmother’s dresser, taken at the end of an evening that had featured plenty to drink, at Christmas 4 years ago. She’s going to be able to get rid of it now, because you’re finally going to pay for a little photo session with your loved one!

A little detail that we can sometimes overlook, or that we don’t really know how to handle for a couples photography session, is the setting. We sometimes have an idea of a little place that we love, but in which the photographer might have difficulty in taking something. So we thought we might give you a few ideas. I’ve ransacked Paris and the surrounding area in the quest for such places!

We’re Parisians so we aren’t as clued up on other cities in France, but if you have ideas don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments!

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Parisian Gardens

A number of gardens open their gates to the public, and in them you will find great viewpoints where you can pose or give off the air of just going on a casual stroll (although you will see that it’s not quite as simple as that). Not all of them are accessible in Winter (the lawns can be closed, so check in advance) or great for taking photos (forget the Tuileries Gardens, for example). So here are our favourite gardens for a shoot:

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Les Serres d’Auteuil

In Summer or Winter you can take lovely photos here in the walks or on benches, and if it rains you can also take shelter in the big glasshouses, which will give your photographer the lighting that they’re looking for.

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Le Jardin des Plantes

In Spring this is a must – here, you’ll find plenty of Japanese cherry trees in blossom. The paths are not the best viewpoints, but go around the rose garden (enter at No.18 on Rue Buffon).

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Le Jardin du Luxembourg 

There are some pretty viewpoints around the Medici Fountain, but elsewhere the white ground will not flatter many images.

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Other tracks 

There are also some little lesser known gardens: for example, Le Square de la Rouquette in the 11th arrondissement has plenty of little nooks and crannies with hidden lawns.

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Parisian Covered Passages

Historic semi-privatised streets or public covered passages will be much more peaceful for taking photos because there are fewer people passing through. If it’s a dreadful day, the light’s not there and you don’t want to get your beautifully brushed hair wet, the covered passages are your friends. But take care, not all of them are quite as photogenic as they seem.

If it’s a nice day, give priority to the little passages off the street, some of which are quite well hidden, but so pretty. Here are our favourite Parisian passages.

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The Galerie Vivienne

Full of very well lit little shops, bright little garlands, second-hand booksellers, with a slightly retro, charming décor – typically Parisian.

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.Le Passage du Grand Cerf

The lighting is sublime and the glass roof really lets the light in. The red carpeted floor really comes out well in photos ;)

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Le Passage L’homme

One of the prettiest secret passages in the 11th arrondissement, with old shops and wooden windows.

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.Le Passage de l’Ancre

With its pretty coloured wooden windows, it feels like you’ve been transported to a little London street ;)

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Pretty Streets

Sometimes, if you’re not looking for somewhere you can use between 12pm and 2pm, a street can really do the job if it offers a little something special: a little boutique, a certain light, colours. Montmartre is flooded with streets like this, but we don’t know that area particularly well. Here are our favourite little streets.

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La Rue Crémieux

You’re sure to come across other shoots here, with photographers and people who are just curious attracted to this enchanting little byway near Gare de Lyon.

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Le Port de l’Arsenal

Of course it’s like a road – at least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves ;) It’s so pretty in spring or in good weather.

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